Finally! Unlock your iPhone: Legit, via AT&T

Want to unlock your iPhone? AT&T (NYSE:T) is actually allowing its customers to use other carriers' SIMs in your device, which you own. No jailbreak required! Yes, hell has finally frozen over. In IT Blogwatch, out-of-contract bloggers get busy.

[Updated: mapping out the alternative carrier landscape]

By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: What’s in the box Alan?..

    Jared Newman reports the good news:

To unlock an AT&T iPhone, subscribers must have completed their service contracts...and their accounts must be in good standing...[or] pay an early termination fee. ... Previously, AT&T refused to unlock subscribers' iPhones, though the company had no problem unlocking other phones.


Verizon Wireless and Sprint both allow users to unlock their iPhones...even while still in contract. ... AT&T's out-of-contract policy is less favorable, but it could still come in handy...[if you] don't want to pay a fortune for service abroad.   

     Kasper Jade adds other bits and pieces of info:

Previously, customers who finished...their two-year contract with AT&T had an iPhone that could not be unlocked through official avenues...though they were free to leave for another carrier, they could not bring their iPhone with them.


[C]ustomers who unlock their iPhone from AT&T will not be able to use it with Verizon, even if it is the iPhone 4S...the unlocked iPhone only works with supported GSM networks.   

And Matthew Panzarino details the process:

[You] can do this in-store [or] in an online chat at AT&T’s website. ... The only piece of information required by AT&T is the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number.


Apple pushes the unlock code during the next 72 hours to your email address...[you] back-up and restore and tether the device to iTunes to complete the unlock process.


For used devices, AT&T will check the account make sure that the contract has been completed.   

So Cody Lee selflessly tried it out on our behalf:

This is a big departure from the typical trials and tribulations you have to go through to unlock.


[I have] an iPhone 4 that’s been out of contract for quite some time. ... I started off by dialing 611 from my current iPhone, and navigated my way...[to] the tech support department, [but reached] a customer service representative who obviously hadn’t gotten the memo yet. ... [She] did some quick research on her end and came back...asking for my iPhone’s IMEI number. And...she submitted my request for unlock.


All in all I spent about 20 minutes on the phone, which wasn’t too bad all things considered.   

  But Jupiter212 brings jollity bad news: [You're fired -Ed.]

I have a long out of contract 3gs. I...was told by AT&T that since the phone was purchased at the apple store...they could not...unlock the phone.


Outrageous. ... I think i may write to my congressional representatives and the FCC. ... After three years the phone has long been paid off and now that is MY phone.   

Update: Kevin Fitchard checks out the alternative domestic carriers:

Among the major U.S. operators, options will be a bit limited, since T-Mobile won’t be able to supply any of those devices with 3G. ... However, there’s a huge opportunity here for...MVNOs that resell the carriers voice minutes and megabytes.


FreedomPop’s iPhone play...turn[s] data into a nearly free commodity that customers can earn and trade. ... When it launches in the third quarter, [it will] offer a smartphone shell that fits the iPhone 4 and 4S [and] will Clearwire’s 4G WiMAX network as well as act as a mobile hotspot. [It] plans to give away around 1 GB of data a month.


FreedomPop, however, won’t sell voice service...[so] buy a prepaid micro-SIM card from T-Mobile, Tracfone or any other regional operator or MVNO with a GSM network. ... A customer could feasibly pay as little as $40 a month to go online with an iPhone using a T-Mobile SIM and FreedomPop.

    And Finally...
Amazon UK goes wild, in packaging overload shocker

[Please avoid reading the NSFW comments]
Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch, for which he has won ASBPE and Neal awards. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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