US carrier Sprint has publicly repudiated a recent report which spread around the web suggesting that the carrier would be offering the iPhone 4S with an unlocked SIM card slot.
Michelle Mermelstein, PR representative at Sprint, declared in a statement to ArsTechnica (opens in new tab) that the Sprint iPhone 4S would not work with international micro SIM cards, which would have allowed cheap international roaming. In addition, she stated that this would likely be the case for the Verizon iPhone 4S as well (the carrier was also mentioned in the original article).
This means iPhone 4S users will not be able to replace the SIM card while travelling abroad and insert one from a local carrier to use local GSM networks. This would have allowed the users to benefit from cheaper local rates instead of paying for much more expensive roaming services.
Sprint representatives mentioned that roaming plans will be available in its contracts, but the new Apple handset will not give subscribers the option of bypassing Sprint's services.
However, in just a month, Apple will release the unlocked contract-free iPhone 4S, though the prices are predictably rather steep: $649 (for the 16GB iPhone 4S), $749 (32 GB), $849 (64GB). However, these versions of iPhone 4S will only work on GSM networks in the US.