An interesting tidbit from Hackint0sh member un4:
If you are already a member of ORANGE FR network then you can go to orange and ask them to unblock your phone for 100eur.
Ie: You can buy a 1.1.2 bootloader 4.6 USA phone and go to orange (if you are part of orange network intially) and they will unlock your phone using IMEI and special apple authorization to do so.
This unlock procedure is OFFICIAL and LEGAL since its done but the operator with apple's authorization. ie: You can update legally using itunes...
They have access via apple to unlock any phone they like...
I myself am a client with orange... But I've already got bootloader 3.9 so I'm OK.
Just thought i'd share my information being a French citizen and haven seen this with my own eyes.
Another member DjMiX adds that
This works the same way in Germany... Orange actually adds your IMEI to a list of a iPhones that can be unlocked. Then, when your iPhone is connected to iTunes, it gets in the official unlock process... nothing new actually.
The important bit here is that Orange will unlock your iPhone for 100 euros regardless of where it was bought. The same appears to be happening in Germany as well. Considering that US iPhones are sold at a "cheap" 399 USD (270 euros), it may be worthwhile to ship them to France (50 euros?) for unlocking (100 euros) and resell them at say 650 euros. That is still 100 euros cheaper than an unlocked iPhone (without a plan) in France.
Will we begin to see an influx of officially unlocked US iPhones on ebay?