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Apple selling unlocked iPhone 5 on US website

Although Apple has always sold an unlocked iPhone 5 in the UK, it is now selling an unlocked version of the iPhone 5 in the US, which will enable citizens of the country to ditch the two-year carrier contract. However, it'll cost at least $649 (£403) for the 16GB version.

The 32GB unlocked iPhone 5 is on sale for $749 (£465) and the 64GB version costs $849 (£527) on Apple's US website; no word on when they might appear in Apple Stores. The phone is currently available to ship in one week, but Apple is limiting people to two devices per customer.

"Unlocked iPhone isn't tied to one network, so you have the freedom to choose any supported GSM network worldwide," says Apple on its US website. "Whether you are starting a new service contract, using your existing one or choosing Pay as you go, you need a compatible SIM. For iPhone 5 you need a nano-SIM card."

To purchase, click over to the "buy now" section of the Apple's iPhone 5 section. Once you choose a colour and a model, links offering a 3 starter pack, a Vodafone starter pack, and a simple SIM-free option will appear.

Unlocked iPhone 5 pricing made a brief appearance on the US Apple website back in September, but Apple quickly removed any such references to the devices.

Apple first started selling unlocked iPhones in June 2011 with the iPhone 4, and expanded this option to the iPhone 4S in November 2011.

Apple in the US is still selling a 16GB, unlocked iPhone 4S for $549 (£341) on its website, and an unlocked 8GB iPhone 4 will set you back $450 (£279). (Prices quoted do not include sales tax).