Part of the promotion for the upcoming iPhone 5 release is the announcement of a trade-in program for Softbank phones that are in good condition. These phones will be unlocked and sold overseas. This includes all iPhones, the Dell Streak, and all variants of theHTC Desire.
Softbank has obtained the permission of Apple to unlock the iPhones.
Um... maybe it's just us here, but this kind of stinks a bit. Here is Apple and softbank refusing to unlock the iPhones of loyal customers so that they may freely use them as the wish - be it with a domestic or overseas carrier - then turn around and unlock them so that you can sell them overseas (most likely in a re-locked state). Foreign markets will bear a price that the domestic market will not.
Not unlocking a subsidized phone is understandable, but refusing to unlock something that is fully paid for would be inexcusable. In fairness, Softbank has indeed subsidized these phones with the monthly discounts, and it appears that some of the phones are being bought back at a higher price than what was paid by the customer.