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The Samsung Galaxy S24
detrini868's profile



2 Messages

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 7:56 PM

Unable to unlock device under ATT Next Plan

Hi - 


I'm trying to remain calm about my entire ordeal, but I'm to the point where I may end up having a stroke due to the frustation that I've encountered today. 


I connected via your Live Support Chat in an effort to have my new phone (purchased via ATT Next Plan) unlocked. This process is not out of the norm for me, as I have been following this process for as long as I've been an ATT customer (2/27/2008).


Here is how my day started:  



  1. Connected to "Jomaire" via Live Support around 9:45am
  2. My request: I'm travelling out of the country in a few hours and I need to unlock my phone to be able to use the local SIM card.
  3. I am told that a request form must be completed online - NEVER DID THIS BEFORE
  4. I am told that my request can take up to 14 days to be approved - NEVER HEARD THIS BEFORE
  5. I express my shock and confusion to Jomaire and she tells me that it's been the policy forever - DEFINE FOREVER
  6. I comply and proceed to complete the online form
  7. My IMEI number was not being accepted and I tell this to Jomaire
  8. Jomaire tells me that my account still had my old IMEI number on file and she changed it to the new one so that I can complete my request
  9. Jomaire reminds that my request will take up to 14 days and suggests that I call the 1-800 line. 


After an hour with Jomaire I call customer service. Here's that experience: 


  1. Connected to  the phone support agent - wish I got her name. 
  2. The agent must have been new to ATT, because this my coversation went like this:
  • Me: I need to unlock my phone to travel out of the country today
  • Agent: Okay hold on. I need to get my scripts up. 
  • Me: OK
  • Agent: My script system is really slow and I need to wait for it to come up so that I can tell you what to do
  • Me: ... <15mins pass by>
  • Agent: OK. My script system is up and it's telling me that I need to ask you about your SIM card.
  • Me: ....
  • Agent: Is your SIM card working? 
  • Me: Yes. There is nothing wrong with my card
  • Agent: OK. My script is down again....I don't know what's going on. 
  • Me: ....
  • Agent: Now my script is telling me that I need to transfer you to technical support. Why?? I don't know why it's telling me that. But OK. 
  • Me:...


Now it's been two hours and I still don't have anything resolved. I call ATT 1-800 line and get to the Technical Support Team. 


  1. Connected to Technical Support Agent - didn't get his name either. 
  2. Agent asked me a number of questions and was very apoligetic for the wait time and the slowness of the process. 
  3. Agent asked why I wanted my phone unlocked. I explained that I travel frequently out of the country and will be doing so today. 
  4. Agent explained to me that due to the policy I cannot be provided with an unlock code because I'm still under an ATT agreement and that I would need to pay over $700 to buyout my phone device, which would make me eligble for the unlock code and even then it would take up to 14 days to complete the process. 
  5. I explain to agent that it's only taken me 5 mins for the three times I've requested unlock codes in the past. 
  6. Agent puts me on hold to see if you could get his manager to make an exception, after I explained to him that I have never encountered these issues before. 
  7. Agent was overall very nice and tried to be accommadating. 


Now 45mins into this session, I get the manager on the phone. Manager name: Brad. 


  • Brad: Hi this is Brad, I know you're trying to unlock your phone, but there is nothing we can do for you. It is still under an agreement. So what else did you need help with?
  • Me:  I explained to Brad that I have never had these issues in the past and I am completely surprised by the way I'm being treated. 
  • Brad: Well our policies have been in effect forever. I'm not going to get into exact company policy change dates with you. Regardless, you need to pay the $700 balance for the cost of the phone before we do anything for you. You obviously got lucky in the past with other agents not checking your account info and that's probably why you got the unlock code. 
  • Me: That does make sense that I've unlocked three cell phones in the past, while they were under contract, and I got lucky each time. Can you provide me with my contract execution dates, as well the dates stating when I requested that each of these devices be unlocked. 
  • Brad: I'm not going to go into your notes, that's too much of a process and if I do, that's still not going to change anything. I can't explain what other people do and you still can't get your phone unlocked right now. 
  • Me: Well if I pay for the full cost of the phone right now, can you unlock it immediately?
  • Brad: No. You'll need to go online and fill out the request form and that can take up to 14 days. 
  • Me:  I have never filled out a form online for a request and it's never taken me 14 days. I just call or use LIve Support Chat and I get it done in 5mins. 
  • Brad: Well that's impossible and I'm not changing our policy for you. Is there anything else I can help you with? 


You get the gist and by now it's 11:30am. I'm fuming and perplexed at my encounter this morning. Feeling a headache come on , I break for lunch. While at lunch I notice that I have no mobile data service - now my chest is beginning to hurt. Getting back to my office I immediately contact Live Support Chat. 


I get a very pleasent agent, Richard, but the information he gives me is working me into a heart attack. 


Richard has me restart my phone while he tries to reactivate my data service using my IMEI number. I turn back on my phone and still no data. He then realises that during my first support call with Jomarie, when she updated my IMEI number, a new SIM card was also assigned - thus deactiviting the one that I currently have. 


Here are snippets from my conversation with Richard: 


  • Richard: ok there is the problem that was the sim that was disabled, a new one was activated the same time the IMEI was changed, can you check the box this phone came in for a sim card
  • Me: That box was trashed over a month ago when I recieved my new phone. 
  • Richard: ok from what it looks like you had a parked equipment file on your account that had the IMEI and the and number for the new sim and all the changes for the new phone ready to go, when you changed the phone the phone the agent just activated that file, which normally works fine since
  • Richard: all you need to do is go to any AT&t store and get a new sim card and have them activate it, it just takes a few moments and its free
  • Me:  I'm in the airport right now with a flight to catch
  • Richard: Oh! Well that's a problem and a major issue. 

Richard then submitted a request to have the changes reversed and told me that it would take two hours to be completed. 


So to conclude, it is now 2:43pm, I don't have an unlocked phone and therefore won't be able to comminicate during my trip. I have no data service, and I have a massive headache. 


Thank you ATT, this is no way to treat your customers. 


[Edited for privacy-please do not post personal or unique information such as but not limited to full names, employee ID numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, etc.]

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

ACE - Sage


118.2K Messages

9 years ago

Yes. You can't unlock it until it is completely paid for.
You can add passport for international travel which cuts your cost down considerably. Is is a $5 add on for one month, then service is a tiny, per use fee.

Below are links to information on the requirements to get your phone unlocked.

ACE - Expert


23.9K Messages

9 years ago

there is one difference here.  Att next.  They do not allow phones on next payment plans to be unlocked because of fraud.  Some people do just take the phones and run.  Happens here all the time with the U of I. 

ACE - Sage


118.2K Messages

9 years ago

I should add, that if you still had your previous phone and are 14 days past your upgrade date, that phone is out of contract and could be unlocked for travel.



3.1K Messages

9 years ago

Wow, that's a tough day.


In hindsight, waiting until the day you travel to unlock a phone is a "bad plan". That should be the take away for others in similar situations, because even when it goes smoothly unlocking can often take a bit of time, possibly even days, to get squared away.


You've not been on AT&T Next since 2008 (because that's not a plan that existed then!) so you might reasonably expect the unlocking requirements to differ slightly. The unlocking rules as they stand for NEXT devices has changed very slightly this past year, but have remained essentially consistent from the start: You own it outright and don't have any service commitment remaining on it (ie, its "off contract") they'll unlock it. You don't own it yet (still making payments, or still on a contract with that phone) they won't.


Now that you're wherever you're travling to, your best bet if you don't want to roam on that phone is to just buy a cheap local phone, or even rent one for your trip (most airports have kiosks where you can rent or buy local phones.) If you're making more than a handful of calls it will still be cheaper than roaming.


When you get back, buy a cheap unlocked phone outright, not branded to AT&T, for international travel. Plenty of sub $100 phones on amazon will fit the bill.


Have a safe trip.


ACE - Sage


118.2K Messages

7 years ago

To update... there are new travel plans since this post.

Passport stating at $40 and Travel day pass for $10 a 24 hour period allows yup to use your domestic plan.

Newer plans also may include free roaming in Mexico and Canada.  Check with support or online for your options.

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