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I know this is a bit localized, but I can't find ANY information on this at all on the internet, because all of the information for the Nexus S assumes the T-Mobile band version.

I would only purchase this phone to immediately unlock the bootloader for custom ROM development.

Is the only difference between the two phones the bands the 3G radio uses?

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2 Answers 2

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If the bootloader comes locked, it can be easily unlocked. Google doesn't let the flagship devices be sold any other way, since they are designed for development.

Endgadget says it's SIM locked. This review says it's unlocked, but I bet they didn't buy it with a contract.

The specs for Best Buy's "T-Mobile version" state that it works for EDGE (2.5G) on the 850 and 1900 MHz frequency bands, in addition to others, which are what AT&T uses. So EDGE should be usable on any GSM network in the world (I can't find the specs to see if the AT&T version is likewise compatible). 3G/HSPA won't work on AT&T and some others, though, since it's limited to the 900/1700/2100 bands used by T-Mobile. Google confirms this info.

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I'm aware of the band compatibility issues (using an MT3G on AT&T right now), but I figure that'll be of use to other readers of this question, so thanks. –  Broam Aug 3 '11 at 3:38

A review on Best Buy's website suggested that the AT&T Nexus S is SIM unlocked. The author of the review claims that he was able to insert a T-Mobile SIM card immediately after purchasing the phone without any issues. This make sense since Google touts the lack of a SIM lock on (its Nexus S feature page](http://www.google.com/nexus/#/features).

All information that I can find online supports the idea that the AT&T version, even if it bought subsidized, is SIM unlocked. The only source I could find suggesting otherwise is the Engadget article previously mentioned, but that claim seems unsourced (and therefore likely incorrect).

Since the Nexus S is intended to be a developer phone, all models should have bootloaders that are easily unlocked.

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