AT&T unlocking iPhones!

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AT&T unlocking iPhones!

AT&T unlocking iPhones!

If you have ever left the country with your smartphone or even wanted to change to a different GSM carrier you had to pay for a factory unlocked phone. The Apple iPhone would cost you almost double the original price, depending on your discount level. As the story goes, a customer emailed Apple and Mr. Tim Cook about a frustrating but common problem is leaving the country but still wanting to use your iPhone. The customer was ping ponged back and forth until they were told to simply jailbreak it by AT&T support. This customer emailed Apple and Mr. Tim Cook and he contacted AT&T directly and made the unlock happen as an exception for the customer. The best part is, this seems to have fueled the fire to unlock all iPhones!

AT&T has announced this past Friday that starting on Sunday April 8th, once your two-year contract has been fulfilled that you can have them unlock your Apple iPhone for traveling overseas or for moving to a different carrier. Europe has been standardized to the GSM network for cellular data for some time now but in the states, as far as networks go, unlocking only means you can go freely to T-Mobile. T-Mobile is the only other GSM network in the USA currently. It has also been rumored that AT&T is offering free unlocks for Military serving overseas, if this is true we applaud you AT&T!

“Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones. 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.”


Hi Tim,

My family is immersed in the Apple brand. All 4 of my children (aged 2 to 8) have been using iPod touches, iPhones, iPads, and iMacs since they were a year old. Our television is a 27” iMac using eyeTV. My kids talk to their grandmother every second day via video Skype on the iMac. All of our computers are Macs (we have 4 in the house). Apple has touched every aspect of our lives and made it richer!

My company recently moved me to Canada for a work assignment for a few years. My wife’s iPhone 3GS had finished its contract with AT&T so I bought her an iPhone 4 the day we moved to Canada. I took her iPhone 3GS and I contacted AT&T to see if I could have it unlocked so that I could use the phone with a Canadian carrier with a “pay as you go” plan for casual use (I’m forced to use a Blackberry for work, but I hate it so I’d like to use the iPhone for phone calls). This is where my problems began.

Basically AT&T told me that they couldn’t unlock it, only Apple could. I called Apple (but was routed through Apple Canada) and they told me “ask to talk to a supervisor at AT&T because the customer service rep won’t know the process, but AT&T definitely can unlock it”. So I called them back and the supervisor was adamant that they couldn’t help me. “Just jailbreak your phone” was their advice.

I didn’t want to jailbreak my phone, I like Apple’s curated experience and I don’t want to stray from that. However after several more calls to both AT&T and Apple, I made no progress. So I’m turning to you for a final plea.

I love Apple and will continue to buy your products regardless of what happens with this situation. However, I did pay $600 some odd dollars for this device (even though I bought it on contact and they say its subsidized, I’m basically paying for the device in my monthly payments) and I’d like to be able to use it.

My thanks to the Apple team, keep innovating!


If your two-year contract with AT&T Wireless is NOT yet fulfilled, you can pay the early termination fee and have your iPhone unlocked then. Hopefully this does not mean that the prices for the iPhone 5 will go up, we suspect Apple will be releasing it by Oct-Sept of 2012.

You could jailbreak your iPhone and software unlock it, however you run into some do’s and don’ts that you have to remember and often times not for the average user.

Verizon and Sprint are utilizing CDMA technology and are compatible, but good luck getting them to support you since it is all #ESN based. Even prior to AT&T’s unlock announcement, it is pretty well known that T-Mobile supports you as an iPhone user even though they do not sell it formally from their company. If T-Mobile had some better penetration into buildings and coverage I would switch.

Now we just need all the smartphone companies and carriers to follow suite and do the same, flat-rate unlimited high-speed mobile data standard and for the love of g*d can we all move to a mini-usb charging standard for mobile devices instead of proprietary hardware for every throw away device?!