AT&T will allow out-of-contract customers to unlock their iPhone

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Comments

  • applegreenapplegreen Posts: 421member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    So let me get this straight.



    I can take my 4GB iPhone 2G, a device I've had for three months short of five years and NEVER used as a phone or had a plan at all to AT&T, and they'll permanently unlock it for me.



    I like that. I like that a lot.



    Excited about getting a phone unlocked that is not 3G and you never want to use as a phone?



    That's quite a brain you have there !!



  • galore2112galore2112 Posts: 49member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Keda View Post


    Forgive my ignorance, but what can you do with an unlocked phone?



    The best use for me is international. When I travel now with my locked ATT iPhone, I have an ultra expensive smartphone in Europe and Asia. Places where I really would like to use maps on the iPhone (not pre-downloaded), stay in contact through e-mail, check out local restaurants etc. If I would want to do this now, it'd be prohibitively expensive because of INSANE data roaming charges. Same with voice calls. $2/minute. So I always switch data off and time my calls. And still end up with about $200 roaming charges for a typical 14 days vacation. Last time I used an unlocked Android phone instead of my iPhone in Europe because of this.



    With the unlocked iPhone, I can pop in a local $30 SIM with a few GB of data and hundreds of minutes of talk time.



    In a way it's a step for Apple to stay competitive because personally, I was seriously considering switching to an unlocked Android phone on T-Mobile (they give you a monthly discount if you bring an unsubsidized phone) because of the extremely uncompetitive international option with the iPhone.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    Excited about getting a phone unlocked that is not 3G and you never want to use as a phone?



    That's quite a brain you have there !!







    You're joking, right?
  • kdmeisterkdmeister Posts: 45member
    I want to share an experience with how I was able to unlock my iPhone 4S so you all know who really controls the unlocking:



    My sister bought an unlocked iPhone 4S from the Apple Canada website. She sent it to me as a gift. I am currently living in Vietnam on a work assignment. After 3 days of using it, the phone developed a vertical line on the screen. Since the nearest place where I could get the phone replaced was Hong Kong, I decided to send it back to my sister in Canada through my parents who came to visit me. She then sent it back to Apple and got a replacement. Then through a friend, the new iPhone 4S made it back to me.



    I was so excited to get the phone since I had waited 2 months to grt this replacement. I opened the phone to insert my SIM card and noticed there was an AT&T SIM card already inside this new phone. That's funny. An unlocked shouldn't have a SIM card inside. Anyways, I put my SIM card in and to my horror, I could not activate the phone! I tried and tried, reloaded the software and everything, but the phone would not activate.



    So I called tech support and the first guy said I should try some place in Vietnam to get help. Of three places I went to, they all said I have to jail break the phone because it is a locked phone. I called Apple support again and mentioned there was an AT&T SIM card in my phone. They said that was odd and asked me to try resetting the phone. That didn't work either. So I called a third time and talked to a higher level engineer. He told me that what happened in my case was that someone at the warranty depot sent me a locked AT&T iPhone instead of an unlocked phone as originally purchased. But he said not to worry as they can unlock the phone from their end. So I had to wait about half a day and boom! I was able to activate the phone.



    The lesson I learned is always give your new phone a good burn-in before taking it overseas. I also learned (and this is a guess) that Apple owns a master database that determines whether your phone is locked or unlocked. By simply associating the UUID of the phone with an entry in some database (locked or unlocked), they can control which carrier, if any, your phone is locked to.
  • cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TonyInSeattle View Post


    Of course they refused.



    I believe that they are making this change because the newest iPhones are world capable and the Verizon has become a better value proposition and ATT believes that their customers will realize this.



    I was quite clear on the phone that I have 4 iPhone 4's in my family plan and they have all aged out of their contract. Why would I renew in the fall with ATT with whatever the new iPhone will be when I can get an equivalent phone from Verizon and that phone would work well overseas without paying huge fees?



    It showed no loyalty to a customer to "hold" them after the contract. Why should the customer stay with ATT?



    If this turns out to be true I might well stay with ATT.



    Tony



    This still won't allow an ATT iPhone 4S to be used on Verizon though.



    Verizon, though, will unlock the SIM card of any iPhone 4S on their network if the account is 6+ months old and in good standing.
  • libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,012member
    FINALLY. Great news, but this should be AUTOMATIC upon completion of your initial contract, or available as a button in iTunes or an option to click in the AT&T app, instead of having to waste time to phone them!!!



    The other good thing about this is it opens pay as you go options!
  • libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,012member
    T-Mobile actually has data speeds FASTER than AT&T currently with their HSPA+ offerings, BUT they work on frequencies the current iPhones mostly don't work with.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    which carrier is he planning to switch to? The Edge only carrier called T-Mobile?



  • maciekskontaktmaciekskontakt Posts: 274member
    Unlocking is not condition for roaming. Agreements between carriers is. This article states incorrectly that you would have to unlock your phone in order to be able to roam.



    Roaming in the USA however is something non-existent due to idiotic competition policies and lack of agreements between US caririers.





    Sorry, but as foreigner living in the USA and traveling between countries with GSM phone I know one or two things about roaming on mobile. I also know one or two things about unlocking GSM phones... even without some "permissions" from carrier. A lot of online services do this for $10-$20.... and for sure it is normal, legal business in foreign countries.
  • tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 257member
    Finally! And of course just a few weeks after I went out and bought a new unlocked iPhone 4S the day before I was leaving the country for many months.



    Still, who wants to wait two years for an unlock! Verizon Wireless will unlock (for international use) for any customer with an account in good standing for 60 days.
  • irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,429member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post


    Unlocking is not condition for roaming. Agreements between carriers is. This article states incorrectly that you would have to unlock your phone in order to be able to roam.



    Roaming in the USA however is something non-existent due to idiotic competition policies and lack of agreements between US caririers.





    Sorry, but as foreigner living in the USA and traveling between countries with GSM phone I know one or two things about roaming on mobile. I also know one or two things about unlocking GSM phones... even without some "permissions" from carrier. A lot of online services do this for $10-$20.... and for sure it is normal, legal business in foreign countries.



    All European carriers will unlock your phone either for free or for a nominal charge. Only the misguided or thieves use third party scammers to do this for you. always do this through the carrier. Unless you have a lost/stolen handset lol.



    Using an unlocked phone allows you to use a local carriers SIM for calls and especially data which can work out far cheaper than roaming on your home carrier.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    In the end it is better for AT&T to have me for a customer paying the same rate as subsidized customers. It isn't like I can go somewhere else ad get the same sort of service I get around here from another carrier so it isn't like they will loose a customer if my phone is unlocked.



    That's my complaint - even after your contract expires, you have to pay the same rate as when you're in the contract. So, let's say the subsidy on my phone is $480.00 and I have a 24 month contract. $20 per month of my bill goes to pay the phone subsidy. After the contract expires, my bill should drop if I don't renew the contract with a new phone.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post


    Or possibly a regional carrier such as GCI http://www.gci.com/ like I am, that supports HSPA+ on the same frequencies as AT&T, and offers $200 or 20,000 Alaska Airline miles to any new wireless user who supplies their own phone.



    Just to break down the numbers:



    500 minutes Nationwide = 39.99

    5GB Data/month w/ Tethering = 29.99

    SMS/MMS Unlimited Message = 15.00

    -----------------------------------------------

    Total Monthly Service 84.98



    Same plan, with AT&T

    450 minutes Nationwide = 39.99

    5GB Data/month w/ Tethering = 50.00

    SMS/MMS Unlimited Message = 20.00

    ------------------------------------------------

    Total Monthly Service 109.99



    Amount I'd save monthly by switching to GCI vs AT&T = 25.01/month X 12 = 300.12



    So that's HSPA+ speeds, nationwide calling, unlimited text, and better coverage in my home state, all for 300 dollars less per year? Not something to sneeze at.



    That's a good point and one that I didn't consider - since we don't have any strong regional providers around here and I travel enough that I need good International coverage. It might make sense for some people.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    So let me get this straight.



    I can take my 4GB iPhone 2G, a device I've had for three months short of five years and NEVER used as a phone or had a plan at all to AT&T, and they'll permanently unlock it for me.



    I like that. I like that a lot.



    I'm curious. Why in the world did you buy an iPhone that you never used as a phone and never plan to use as a phone? Wouldn't an iPod Touch have made more sense?



    Unless you're talking about using EDGE for data access. If so, I would consider that to be equivalent to using it as a phone.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post


    FINALLY. Great news, but this should be AUTOMATIC upon completion of your initial contract, or available as a button in iTunes or an option to click in the AT&T app, instead of having to waste time to phone them!!!



    The other good thing about this is it opens pay as you go options!



    I don't care about automatically unlocking the phone. Making it easily available on request is OK with me. I would much rather have an automatic reduction in my monthly payment after completion of the subsidy period.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,085member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I don't care about automatically unlocking the phone. Making it easily available on request is OK with me. I would much rather have an automatic reduction in my monthly payment after completion of the subsidy period.



    That might be legally problematic since they advertise the 3GS along with a few other phones as free with contract.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I'm curious. Why in the world did you buy an iPhone that you never used as a phone and never plan to use as a phone? Wouldn't an iPod Touch have made more sense?



    It would have, yeah, but I won the iPhone. You're absolutely right; there's no way I would have bought it back in 2007. Both the phone and the plan were way too expensive.
  • trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,271member
    I'm looking forward to getting my iPhones unlocked. We currently use them on Straight Talk which subleases AT&T's network here in the U.S. We get unlimited everything for $45 a month each.



    This is a very smart move for Apple and AT&T. Older iPhones can be unlocked and now leave the U.S. market. That means there will be a larger audience clamoring for newer iPhones and AT&T can help satisfy that need.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,525member
    Really, this is the only cue Apple needs to stop selling locked iPhones at all. Just start selling one model on the store. Remove the AT&T/Verizon/Sprint buttons and be done with it.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by trumptman View Post


    I'm looking forward to getting my iPhones unlocked. We currently use them on Straight Talk which subleases AT&T's network here in the U.S. We get unlimited everything for $45 a month each.



    This is a very smart move for Apple and AT&T. Older iPhones can be unlocked and now leave the U.S. market. That means there will be a larger audience clamoring for newer iPhones and AT&T can help satisfy that need.



    Thanks for the information. My AT&T contract ends in a few months. I may switch to Straight Talk. Even if I buy an unlocked iPhone, I'll save enough to pay for the phone in under a year.
  • balsy2001balsy2001 Posts: 48member
    I just spent over 90 minutes on the phone trying to get two iPhones unlocked that met all of the requirements. The support people all agreed that I should be able to unlock the phones under the new policy, but no one knew how to implement it. The information at this point is it may require filling out a form and mailing it to ATT, but they support people couldn't provide the form. They couldn't take the IMEI number and enter it in the system (even though I canceled my service 8 months ago they still seemed to have most of the account details including the details on the phones). They sent 3 emails to me that told me to fill out said form but there was nothing attached.



    If you have iphones you want unlocked I recommend waiting a few days for the dust to settle. ATT clearly hasn't thought this through yet.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,081member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    What would be their motivation for doing this? Just being nice guys? Seems odd but I'm sure someone can explain the reasoning.



    Negative PR. They have done this for all other phones for years and never should have been allowed to have different rules for the iPhone and now it is catching up with them
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,081member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rtm135 View Post


    There's no financial incentive that I'm aware of to purchase an unlocked phone in the United States. Part of your monthly bill still goes towards the subsidy of the phone, regardless if it needs it or not.



    In my mind, that's the biggest crime here, and something the federal gov't should have stepped in about a LONG time ago.



    Agreed. And I bet if you hit change.org or the like and set up a petition a several thousand other folks would turn up that also agree.



    Or if you have a lawyer friend the two of you could try filing a class action suit against the carriers for overcharging customers. You might not win but it could get a ton of press and start the right wheels moving
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,081member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by oberpongo View Post


    Great Time to buy a subsidized iPhone on AT&T, pay ETF and walk over to the t-mobile store to get a micro sim on a value plan! I know it's only going to be edge speeds.



    Or just buy it full price and save the bother.



    Full price 16gb iPhone 4s is $649 plus tax. Out the door it is unlocked and you never have to deal with AT&T for the unlock, for fees etc.



    Subsidized iPhone is $199 plus tax (which in about five states is on the full price) plus $36 activation fee and a trip to AT&T to pay the $450 eft etc. and they might make you pay that first months charge on top of the non refundable activation fee.



    So in Cali that's $705 and I'm ready to go from Apple to t-mobile or at least $741 and I have to deal with AT&T who I am trying to get away from.



    Even outside of those five states the math doesn't add up. In Memphis where I just finished a job and bought my iPhone the sales tax is 9.25% for that 16gb phone. So full price that's $709 and I avoid AT&T or at least $703 and I have to talk to them.
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