Apple made the right decision when they introduced the iPad. It was unlocked and capable of working on any 3G network in the world. So why have they not followed this precedent with the new iPhone 4? Locking to carriers is now a redundant restriction and causes endless annoyance among consumers. There is absolutely no excuse for locking phones. Even if carriers offer hardware discounts as an incentive to a longer or more expensive contract, there is still no reason to lock. If I take out a two-year contract at, say, £35 a month, does it really matter to the carrier if I swap out the SIM for a rival after a few months? I'm still committed to paying for the original contract. The concept of locking is even more outrageous when we're paying full retail price for a phone.
With the iPad, for the first time, we buy the device at a commercial rate and then make our own free choice as to which carrier to use. In many cases, too, we choose to buy SIM cards for a variety of different countries. As a result of this freedom, carriers throughout Europe are now offering no-contract monthly deals for 3G data and that's as it should be. We should demand the same freedom with the iPhone.