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AT&T To Unlock Out-of-Contract iPhones

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the with-great-reluctance dept.

Cellphones 146

NicknamesAreStupid writes "Many outlets are reporting that AT&T will allow owners of iPhones whose contracts have expired to unlock their devices. One might think that a call or a quick trip to their local AT&T store would do the trick, and they do provide this service to people who are currently under contract with a newer phone and want to use their older one. However, AT&T has never made anything free to be easy, and this may not bode well for former customers who offer no profitable revenue. For example, when AT&T bought Bell South, they were ordered by the court as part of the acquisition to offer $10/month 'DSL lite' service. The maze in their website which led to this opportunity is now a story of legend. Will the key to this unlocking the iPhone be as byzantine for former customers?"

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AT&T will unlock the secrets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610073)

of my mom's ballsack!

My experience (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610079)

AT&T has always been very reasonable with me and I see no reason why this would be any different. Rather than just assume the worse, let's give them a benefit of a doubt before we starting worrying that the sky is falling.

Re:My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610405)

My uncle felt that way too until I explained to how how AT&T was screwing him over compared to the competition.

Re:My experience (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610655)

You are a SEVERE minority. I envy you.
Maybe you are very young. Or have been lucky enough NOT to need to deal with at&t often.
Or you might be one of the lucky few who got what they paid for and never had a problem where you needed to talk to at&t.

The rest of us however... Despise at&t for how confusing, incompetent and evil they can be.
It's an old hate tho. And after this many decades the fury has changed to depressed resignation when we have to deal with them.

But just because we're all not still frothing with red hot rage at at&t... Don't believe they've gotten any better.
We've just gotten tired and worn out with their special brand of incompetent clueless.

Re:My experience (3, Informative)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610903)

Funny, I've been an AT&T customer (wireless the whole time, intermittently DSL when cable wasn't available and currently U-verse because Comcast blows hard) since 2000 and, while service and device issues arise, AT&T has always been willing to work with me and resolve the issues. Maybe it's because I'm not a dick to the CSRs who are just trying to do their jobs? I treat them with some compassion, explain my expertise and how it relates to the problem at hand, what troubleshooting I've done, provide my suggestion for what the issue is and/or how to resolve it, then ask their opinion. If they ask me for information related to the problem, I provide it. I try to be generally pleasant towards them and, as a result, they spend more time with me, rather than trying to get me off the phone or out of their store. Try it sometime, it works.

Re:My experience (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611875)

Not only did those crooks *NOT* receive my non-working router with *THEIR* address sticker and Bar Code, but they charged me for the replacement and when I sent that back they did NOT correct the account and they DID put it on my credit report. If I could hurl feces at any human beings, it would be right in the middle of an AT&T board meeting right before I kick the living shit out of each an every one of them!

Re:My experience (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611803)

The incompetence runs deep. From cellular to commercial T1 and data lines. They only hire techs that are color blind or morons. I have had to troubleshoot a smartjack for a tech before because the idiot did not understand how a T1 worked.

The incompetent runs deep in this one they call AT&T.

All Talk & Transvestites (2)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611845)

AT&T = All Trash & Turmoil
                      Anorexic Theater & Thumbscrews
                      A Tin-can & Tin-can
                      Awful Telephone & Typhoid
                      Angry Trump & Toupee
                    Ass Tube & Trajectory
More...?

Re:AT&T will unlock the secrets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610085)

I love to fuck your mom in the ass. Something about the sound of her balls and cock flopping around gives me a hard-on that won't quit.

Seriously? (5, Informative)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610091)

I've just called customer service, gave them the IMEI, they submitted a request to the manufacturer, and I got an unlock code about 3 days later. There wasn't anything painful other than taking the time to just call. Mind you - I did this as a former customer and this was maybe a couple months ago.

Re:Seriously? (3, Informative)

Mr. X (17716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610325)

AT&T has always unlocked non-iPhones, but the news here is they finally are unlocking iPhones.

Re:Seriously? (5, Insightful)

schnell (163007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610465)

Yes, AT&T has always unlocked phones except for the iPhone - this was a legacy of their early exclusivity with Apple. Now they unlock iPhones too. It has never been terribly hard from my experience (with two non-iPhones over the past 10 years).

But remember this is Slashdot. If it the article is about AT&T, Microsoft, Apple or any cableco, the story must be written such that even if the company is doing something good the summary must be negative. I'm guessing there is a step two for Slashdot somewhere and step three is profit.

Re:Seriously? (1)

NicknameAvailable (2581237) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610509)

This seems less about a forced court order they didn't want to comply with and more about the tyrannical douche-bag Steve Jobs no longer being around to control them.

Now as to why the article is meant to make them bad when they are in fact bad, but not in this case - I welcome even the craziest of black helicopter touting tin foil hat wearing people to comment on.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611297)

Nothing to do with Jobs; iPhones have been unlockable on international carriers since 2008. AT&T have just been jerks.

Re:Seriously? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610671)

they submitted a request to the manufacturer, and I got an unlock code about 3 days later

Erm... Are you trying to tell me AT&T don't have the software to generate the unlock codes for a phone? You know the software that can be bought on the open market for pretty much every phone and memory stick on ever sold? The software that friendly people will use to generate an unlock code in exchange for some $10 on the shadier forums on the internet?

The biggest telecom provider in America doesn't have the resources of every other telecom company and a handful of hackers?

I mean my service provider had an online webpage that worked as an interface to unlock out of contract phones. Just log in, enter a few details, and it sends you the unlock code via text message not 2 minutes later. It's a shame I'm not a conspiracy theorist because otherwise I'd have fun with the 3 days it took you to get your unlock code.

Re:Seriously? (3, Informative)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610829)

All other brand phones are apparently easily unlockable, but officially unlocking an iPhone isn't done with a code.

It requires a full firmware restore, during which Apple servers are contacted, and confirms that the carrier has updated their records with Apple that your IMEI is now unlocked. If all went well, the Apple server sends the unlock commands to the phone, and when it's done iTunes shows a message confirming you're unlocked.

I went through this about 12 hours ago when unlocking my old iPhone 3GS. Other than taking a godawful long time, it was pretty seamless--all the previous settings, apps and music were restored automatically.

Re:Seriously? (3, Informative)

cmdrbuzz (681767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611509)

It doesn't need a firmware restore on the iPhone. All it needs is the Operator to update Apple's records.

Once that has been done and you put another SIM-card into the iPhone for a different operator, it will contact Apple's servers and check if the phone is unlocked before allowing that SIM to be used.

I've done the exact same thing with my 3GS and 4 (with O2 in the UK, but its the same principle)

Re:Seriously? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611831)

That is really Wrong.

I had AT&T sim unlock my iphone back in the 3G days.

you give them your phone info and they give you a code to enter on the keypad that tells the radio modem chipset to flip off the carrier lock bit.

There is no "contact Apple servers" BS. That is not how cellphones work. even the iphone and android phones use the exact same radio chipset as a cheapie $3.00 flip phone.

Mod Parent Up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611559)

It's exactly right.

Re:Seriously? (1)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610917)

Such software for the iPhone does not exist, in any official capacity that would allow AT&T to use it legally, on the open market. Apple holds on to those unlock codes with an iron fist.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611235)

Apple manage the iPhone policy servers, which keep track of which carrier the iPhone is locked to... or unlocked. Only a request from the carrier will change this system. It works fine with carriers around the world (notably in Europe and and Australia; this has been working fine since 2008).

AT&T has previously refused to unlock iPhones. They're the ones with the iron fist.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611841)

This is a blatent lie.

I have and many others have had their iphones unlocked in previous years for international travel. you just need to know what number to call back then. I never called apple, I called AT&T international tech support. they gave me the code after I gave them info and they checked to see if my phone was at least 1 year into contract. He then gave me the code to type into the dialing keypad that unlocked the phone's cellular chipset.

I know of 7 other people that have done this with iphone 3G, 3GS and a iphone 4.

Re:Seriously? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612019)

Nonsense. The USA is not the world. Non-US carriers have been legally unlocking the iPhone for years. This is just AT&T finally catching up with the rest of the world due to a lot of complaining to Apple HQ by customers who are rightly pissed off that their out of contract (and thus free from subsidy) phone was forever locked to AT&T for no good reason.

The change came after Apple contacted AT&T about it, so I assume they threatened to offer free unlocks to any customer directly unless AT&T started offering it after contract end, or something like that - neither company wants to threaten its own revenue stream, and Apple values its image above almost all else.

Re:Seriously? (1)

tapspace (2368622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610929)

Phone #?

Re:Seriously? (1)

tapspace (2368622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610955)

I ask as I just called a number I believe should have helped me, but the woman had no idea about this and claimed that AT&T does not have the unlock codes.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612187)

https://www.att.com/esupport/main.jsp?cv=820&gnLinkId=s3001 [att.com]
I want to say I also used their chat to unlock one of them (i've done this more than once - non iphone though).

Number:
1-800-331-0500 (don't call from the phone you're trying to unlock, btw)

former customers? (4, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610095)

Some of us are current customers, just we have had our phone for more than 2 years.

Anyway, I find this ridiculous. Why does AT&T have to wait until the contract is up before unlocking? I already am under contract with an ETF penalty if I try to stop using their service.

So unlock it earlier, like Verizon does.

Hell, stop locking the dang things.

Re:former customers? (5, Informative)

puto (533470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610179)

I work for ATT and might not agree with some of their policies, the unlocking of the Iphone is a contractual obligation the company has with Apple.

Re:former customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610269)

So? Are you saying that AT&T was /forced/ by Apple to do something they did not otherwise wish to do? Just because the two parties made this part of an agreement between them, does not mean it was not mutually agreeable.

Re:former customers? (4, Interesting)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610279)

Re:former customers? (1)

bartoku (922448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611341)

We need Tim to take it a step further and force Sprint and Verizon to allow all CDMA capable iPhones on their networks. Hell I would even set aside my Android phone and buy an iPhone to support that!

Re:former customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612099)

I thought that there was a technical glitch where CDMA had to be TIED to the carrier, since they do not use a SIM. Not a engineer, but I thought I heard that somewhere.

Others with more knowledge could explain and prove this wrong.

From what I know, the AT&T GSM version comes with the CDMA chips inside. The unlocked version (from Apple for $400 more) is a GSM only model. The VW and Sprint models are tied directly to each national carrier.

oh, you were at the table for the negotiations? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610365)

Or did you just hear that at work?

Sorry, what you say just doesn't make sense. Apple wants to sell as many iPhones as possible. It's AT&T who wants to hold onto some form of exclusivity. They are under attack from the cheaper companies like MetroPCS, and so they wanted to make sure you had to go to AT&T to get an iPhone.

And now that iPhones are available with select regional carriers (http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/05/iphone-4s-to-launch-with-select-regional-carriers-april-20th/) they're starting to unlock devices because with their exclusivity lost, they might as well pretend they care about customers in hopes of keeping them.

Re:former customers? (2)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610567)

That does not pass the sniff test.

I am sure Apple would love all iPhones unlocked, eliminating the primary reason for jailbreaking. It would also keep old devices in service, giving Apple more "credit cards on file", and active on the iTunes store. In fact I could see Apple requiring unlocking to keep selling iPhones.

Locking the devices makes it more difficult for the very popular iPhone to work on competitors networks.

I have no insider knowledge, but locking iPhones only benefits AT&T.

Re:former customers? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610599)

If apple wanted that one Ios update later to disable any carrier lock ability and a letter to AT&T's CEO with a "suck it, we just unlocked all iphones world wide and will never lock another iphone again. We are also starting a big advert spread that will make you look like a total scumbag if you do anything but say "thank you for doing this"

Enjoy that turn in your morning cheerios, we have another one ready about you BS with data caps but will give you 90 days to fix it yourself.

That would rock. Like ship a new IOS that turns on tethering and tether masking so carriers can not detect it.

Apple wold win the world overnight and not one carrier would dare to do anything but say... thank you may we have another.

Re:former customers? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610689)

Apple wold win the world overnight and

then likely cease to exist after then ensuring lawsuits pummels them out of the mobile phone industry.

Re:former customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611779)

Lawsuit for what? You cant sue for something t hat is not in a contract, and I will bet that locking a device is NOT in a contract.
and sorry, but you must not know anything at all about apple or any of the cellular carriers. They have more money than ALL the carriers put together. If they all got together and tried to sue apple at once they would lose.

Winning in court depends on how much money you have, and apple has a far larger pile than the barely any money AT&T. Sprint and T mobile are homless on the street compared to AT&T. Verizon is the second strongest.

Re:former customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610637)

> I am sure Apple would love all iPhones unlocked

I am sure Apple loves the substantial kickbacks that the carriers pay them even more.

Re:former customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611211)

That's bullshit, Apple allow carriers all around the world the ability to unlock iPhones. AT&T just choose not to.

Re:former customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611265)

That's just the line you've been feeding your customers. Hell, you might even believe it. It's not true, though.

Think about it: What do Apple have to lose if an iPhone is unlocked? Nothing. What do AT&T have to lose if an iPhone is unlocked? Exclusive use of that phone on their network.

Apple and carriers have been unlocking iPhones since 2008 all around the world. AT&T have simply refused to. It's nice they're finally changing, though.

Re:former customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610327)

Depriving you of options is a lot easier and more profitable.

Re:former customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610725)

Anyway, I find this ridiculous. Why does AT&T have to wait until the contract is up before unlocking? I already am under contract with an ETF penalty if I try to stop using their service.

because people would figure out ways to abuse new phone subsidies... e.g.

1. upgrade phone, but keep old one
2. unlock new phone right away
3. switch sim back to old one
4. resell new 'unlocked' phone for way more than was paid

Re:former customers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610891)

Who does this harm? The customer is locked to the carrier by contract, the carriers finance people got work, and the customer got a payday loan.

Re:former customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611013)

No, probably, it's that ATT is very confident the world is going to end this year

Re:former customers? (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611017)

It is Apple that enforces the unlocking prohibitions not the carrier.

Telus (3, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610099)

I wish Telus in Canada would do the same thing. This whole unlocking thing should be mandated as soon as the contract paying for the phone is done.

Re:Telus (2)

NoKaOi (1415755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610231)

This whole unlocking thing should be mandated as soon as the contract paying for the phone is signed.

FTFY. If I want to travel to Europe and drop in a prepaid SIM card while I travel, or if I want to switch phones and sell mine to somebody on another provider, what business is it of theirs? I'm already either paying the same amount monthly, or paying an early termination fee.

Re:Telus (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610523)

Telus does. My father just took a trip to Europe and had Telus unlock his phone first so that he could get a SIM card to use over there. No problem.

Re:Telus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611011)

Telus does not unlock iPhones.

Please see: http://www.telusmobility.com/en/AB/Unlock-Device/unlocking_your_device.shtml

Quote from that page: "*TELUS currently is unable to unlock any version of the Apple iPhone or any other device not listed above."

Re:Telus (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610613)

They shouldn't be locked in the first place, like in Europe.

Re:Telus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611031)

are you trying to be funny? I'm in europe and we got carrier locked phones here too

Re:Telus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611081)

same ac as above. I forgot to mention, one good thing that have happened in Europe in resent years, is that they have changed regulations so that no contract can lock you in for more than 6 months. I believe that this apply for Internet, cable TV, land line phone and mobile contracts.

Re:Telus (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610693)

This whole unlocking thing should be mandated as soon as the contract paying for the phone is done.

Why wait? I mean in my country the phones only come locked in a very limited set of circumstances and can often be unlocked for a small fee.

I'm in contract with my mobile phone company. If I use my phone with them I pay the phone + my monthly plan. If I don't use my phone I pay the phone + my monthly plan. While I was overseas for 2 months using my phone with another service provider on a pre-paid sim card, I still paid the phone + my monthly plan. Whatever I do with my phone these guys extract $43 out of me every month.

Where's the incentive to lock?

Re:Telus (1)

Fuzion (261632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610713)

This whole unlocking thing should be mandated as soon as the contract paying for the phone is done.

Why wait? I mean in my country the phones only come locked in a very limited set of circumstances and can often be unlocked for a small fee.

I'm in contract with my mobile phone company. If I use my phone with them I pay the phone + my monthly plan. If I don't use my phone I pay the phone + my monthly plan. While I was overseas for 2 months using my phone with another service provider on a pre-paid sim card, I still paid the phone + my monthly plan. Whatever I do with my phone these guys extract $43 out of me every month.

Where's the incentive to lock?

The incentive is that when you're overseas for 2 months, if you're not unlocked, you'd have to pay roaming charges to your current mobile company to use your phone. Otherwise you'd have to get another phone. Once they unlock it they no longer have that revenue stream. I'm not saying it's right, but I'm just saying that's their incentive.

Re:Telus (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611171)

Does any non-business customer every actually pay roaming fees? Serious question. I travel a lot, and so do friends. We've had people overseas with us plenty of times and I've never seen someone with a personal phone actually roam in another country. Given the choice between roaming and not using a phone at all I'd go with the latter due to the simply insane cost.

For the cost of about 15minutes of conversation or 4MB, yes that's FOUR MEGABYTE of data, you can buy a feature phone in another country, and that's not even the cheapest feature phone I found on the website. Oh best part is the phone comes with about $20 worth of calls which gets you much further than 15 minutes.

Re:Telus (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611349)

Well i have prepay, and i do a lot of roaming in the EU. I pay 50c per min for active talk and 20c for passive. Txt is 13c. Its cheaper than a lot of contracts. Outside the EU it gets pretty expensive, and then just getting a local prepay card is cheaper. However data roaming is still insane even in the EU.

Re:Telus (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611923)

Yes, quite often...I get many calls a week about international roaming. About half are putting an international feature on their phone, the other half are arguing that they "never used their phone" when they get their bill with international charges. In my whole two years I've only once seen a system error that charged someone...all their calls where in the US, except one that came from the middle of Mexico - but he had made a call from the US just minutes before and afterwards...so I removed the charges since it was physically impossible. With our phones you'll know it's roaming internationally when it says something else than AT&T at the top. And yes, international data is very expensive...I often instruct customers on how to disable their data, and educate them to only use wi-fi when overseas.

Re:Telus (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611485)

You're the one who bought a phone they say explicitly that they "can't" unlock. Everything else they sell, they will happily unlock for you, for a small fee (that's usually greater than just going to gsmliberty.net or a similar site and buying an unlock code).

Don't bitch about it, when you have a choice with Telus to buy something that they *will* unlock.

What about older devices? (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610105)

I have a 3GS sitting in a shelf from 2010. Am I eligible for unlocking on this phone?

I'm going to guess no. :(

Re:What about older devices? (4, Insightful)

Patent Lover (779809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610159)

google "jailbreak oldass iphone"

Re:What about older devices? (1)

Myria (562655) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610247)

google "jailbreak oldass iphone"

There is no unlock exploit for the iPhone 3 GS on any recent firmware. (At least, there isn't one that doesn't involve permanently losing GPS functionality.)

Re:What about older devices? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610271)

Jailbreak != Unlocking

Jailbreaking is gaining root-level permissions on your phone.
Unlocking is removing the carrier restriction on the phone, e.g. allowing your ATT branded phone to be used on Verison's network.

Re:What about older devices? (3, Informative)

Analog Penguin (550933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610565)

Except that you can't use a pre-4S AT&T iPhone on Verizon, because Verizon's network is CDMA and all iPhones before the 4S (besides the Verizon 4) were GSM-only. And Verizon won't activate a phone that they didn't sell. The only option for an unlocked GSM iPhone in the US is T-Mobile, and even then you're limited to EDGE speeds because of their weird-ass frequencies.

Re:What about older devices? (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610661)

[...] and even then you're limited to EDGE speeds because of their weird-ass frequencies.

Depends.

Because of the failed buyout, I guess T-Mo got some frequencies that work with the older iPhone. So, depending on where you are, you may be able to get a 3G signal on T-Mo. But it depends on where you are, etc.

Besides, who cares about 3G? My iPhone 4S has the 4 Gees and the Wi Fis! (Yes, I know it's bullshit)

Re:What about older devices? (1)

Phil06 (877749) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610663)

You lose GPS if you unlock, search: iphone unlock gps baseband 06.15.00

Re:What about older devices? (3, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611033)

You lose GPS if you unlock, search: iphone unlock gps baseband 06.15.00

I'm pretty sure AT&T's official unlocking method won't involve replacing the firmware to trick your iPhone into thinking it's an iPad.

Re:What about older devices? (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611933)

It actually involves us submitting a ticket to Apple, because Apple won't actually give us access to the IMIE unlock database...same case with many Nokia phones, when I go to get the code it shows "eligible" but the code is "not found", so I have to submit a case for us to request the codes.

Re:What about older devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611583)

So unlocking a GSM Phone transformers it into a CDMA phone...?

Re:What about older devices? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611963)

AT&T's GSM network != Verizon's CDMA network. Not all phones have both GSM/CDMA capabilities.

How about "Unlocking removes the carrier restriction, allowing you to use the phone on other carriers' networks utilizing the same technology".

Re:What about older devices? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610185)

It won't cost you anything to call them and ask anyways (well, unless your phone plan REALLY sucks!).

Re:What about older devices? (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610569)

AT&T says they'll unlock iPhones that are no longer under contract, to customers who are in good standing. Yes, your iPhone is either out of contract, or you may have upgraded to a newer iPhone. Either way, the 3GS is most likely eligible to unlock

Re:What about older devices? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611499)

AT&T says they'll unlock iPhones that are no longer under contract, to customers who are in good standing. Yes, your iPhone is either out of contract, or you may have upgraded to a newer iPhone. Either way, the 3GS is most likely eligible to unlock

If you don't owe them anything, your account is in good standing, regardless of whether you're still paying them a monthly tithe.

Re:What about older devices? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610573)

>I have a 3GS sitting in a shelf from 2010. Am I eligible for unlocking on this phone?

Yes. The contract term on that 3Gs has expired.

-jcr

Re:What about older devices? (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611873)

I work for AT&T as a CSR, this was in our team meeting last Friday...yes, it is potentially eligible. It has to meet the following criteria: 1. Completed a two year contract OR be able to prove it was purchased at non-commitment pricing. If you bought it from us at the no-commitment pricing, then we usually have the records so you don't have to prove it...you only need to prove it if you bought it from a 3rd party. 2. Not on an line that has had the phone listed as stolen, as in the original customer has called us and reported it stolen. 3. If your a current customer, your account has to be "in good standing", which usually means no past due, and no recent disconnects or late payments. It wasn't specific in how far back we will check...but I haven't yet read the actual policy.

Obligations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610233)

They will only do as much as they are forced to.

Now that their obligation to the FCC is up, that $10/mo DSL doesn't exist any more. It's now $25/mo. Thanks for the help FCC.

T-Mobile does this for IN-CONTRACT phones (3, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610239)

T-Mobile will unlock a phone 40 days after it was bought, no need to wait 2 years for the end of the contract.

Re:T-Mobile does this for IN-CONTRACT phones (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610597)

How much do they charge?

Re:T-Mobile does this for IN-CONTRACT phones (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610673)

How much do they charge?

Nothing.

Re:T-Mobile does this for IN-CONTRACT phones (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612111)

I must be misunderstanding something, then.

1) T-M subscriber enters standard 2-year contract, gets standard subsidized phone at a discount which assumes the carrier gets their money back from extra fees over two years.

2) Subscriber gets phone unlocked after 40 days, for no charge.

Since you're locked in for the remainder of your two-year contract unless you presumably pay a hefty early-termination fee, I don't necessarily see the advantage of unlocking the phone before the contract's up.

Re:T-Mobile does this for IN-CONTRACT phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610909)

T-Mobile appears to discount their phones less than their competitors. Also their service rates are very competitive, so they just have less motivation to keep a phone locked.

Counterproductive (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610251)

What would the telcos have to gain by not letting out-of-contract customers unlock their phones?

It would seem pointless to needlessly piss off your customers, especially when the phone in question is hopelessly obsolete in any case.

But then expecting big business (and the dickish, mediocre MBA types who run them) to see beyond the end of their noses -- and actually do something to not antagonise their paying customers -- is probably also a big ask.

Re:Counterproductive (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610553)

"We're the phone company. We don't have to care."

Re:Counterproductive (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611943)

It's not our policy, it's Apple's. If it was up to us it would follow the same policy as everything else...Apple has many iPhone-specifc policies...like they won't let us waive Iphone activation fees, and they get to actually audit our adjustment logs to see if we have!

Still have a contract tho (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610255)

I have a contract on a new phone, but id still like to unlock my old phone, 'just because its mine' ( and the subsidy has long since been paid off ). Wonder if they will do it. ( 3GS )

Phones upgraded over are allowed (1)

alispguru (72689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610473)

From the AT&T announcement:

The only requirements are that a customer's account must be in good standing, their device cannot be associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T customer account, and they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee.

I have an ancient 3G recently superseded by a 4S - I want it unlocked on general principles, and will ask them to do it sometime soon.

Story of legend? (2)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610337)

Tsk. I was expecting something at least as maddening as spending an hour trying to cancel an AOL account, or involving disused lavatories filled with leopards.

Re:Story of legend? (1)

FishOuttaWater (1163787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610451)

In fact, AT&T's website is always labyrinthine, especially if you have cell, land line, and DSL. This stuff is par for the course with them.

Re:Story of legend? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610591)

I was expecting something at least as maddening as spending an hour trying to cancel an AOL account, or involving disused lavatories filled with leopards.

Taxes are due in 8 days. You still have a shot at getting your wish.

Re:Story of legend? (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610593)

But...but...you had to click a link! And enter your phone number A SEEEECOND TIIIIIME!

/me rattles heavy chains menacingly!

/me shakes chains some more.

/me feebly quivers them a bit.

Okay, I admit it; Slashdot "Stories of Legend" aren't quite what they used to be.

semi-OT: Skynet posting here? (0)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610769)

The maze in their website which led to this opportunity is now a story of legend. Will the key to this unlocking the iPhone be as byzantine for former customers?

Is it just me being a burnout, or do these two sentences, when viewed without context, sound like they could have been written by a computer rather than a person?

Re:semi-OT: Skynet posting here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610833)

That's very interesting. Why do you think the maze in their website is now a story of ledend?

Not available quite yet (0130 EST) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39610781)

I just called, figuring that it was worth a shot since I was up late anyhow.

AT&T only kind of knew what was up - the rep I spoke with stated that they had sent out a communication that it was coming to the reps but had not given any additional details or a date. I referenced the press release, and he checked with his supervisor. His supervisor stated that it will be available later today, but wasn't available yet and to call back.

Presumably that means that it will be like other carriers, where you call, they send the authorization, and you sync with iTunes and it's unlocked.

New laws.. (3, Informative)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610785)

In some countries there are laws prohibiting the provider from maintaining a perpetual lock.

The idea in Denmark for instance is that they can at most maintain a sim lock for the initial minimum contract period, which can not exceed 6 months for regular cell phones, and I think 1 year for the more expensive smart phones, and then only if you buy them at the providers' discount, after this they have to provide the unlock codes and assist the user in performing the unlock, free of charge.

Some providers here don't even lock the phones any longer, you are after all still legally obligated to maintain and pay for your initial contract period.

Data Plan (2)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610815)

So can I get somebody's old unlocked iPhone and put my SIM card in it, without being forced to buy a data plan yet? Wifi-only would be just fine, and I see no reason to pay exorbitant fees for tiny amounts of bandwidth on 3G or 4G data.

Re:Data Plan (3, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611161)

No, AT&T will still detect that you have a "smartphone" (whatever their definition of that happens to be) and force you to buy a data plan.

Re:Data Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612229)

Not true. I have a iPhone 3G with an AT&T sim in it that only has voice and sms associated with it. It came from my old work smartphone. The company set it up with no data. I use the iPhone because the old phone died, and since I had the iPhone I just popped it in.

Re:Data Plan (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611959)

No, because our system detects the IMIE is a smartphone, and automatically adds the plan. In fact, I get alot of calls where someone's kid put their SIM in a friends smartphone just to test their card (or whatever reason), and then the parents call because their bill went up by $30...luckily we can check to see what phone is currently being used and see exactly how long that IMIE was used with that SIM...I often have to remove data plans and charges, using the "feature not compatible with device" reason.

Re:Data Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612223)

You can get a prepaid AT&T Go Phone account and use the iPhone without data. Onlye contracts force you into a data plan. Actually, Android phones can get prepaid data added for an extra fee but iPhones *cannot*. They obviously want you to foot a contract. I'm with you, I decided paying $80 a month for the cheapest contact with data aint worth it versus a $25 phone & unlimited prepaid minus data option.

Ulocking millions of stolen phones (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611953)

AT&T won't lock down stolen phones, but they will unlock them. Who drives this boat?

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