Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?

Mentor

Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?

If I recall correctly, in the past, AT&T's excuse for not unlocking the iPhone was that their policy was to not unlock any phone for which they have an exclulsivity contract. I was hoping this would've changed when Verizon got the iPhone 4, but it didn't... I assume because technically the CDMA iPhone 4 isn't the same as the GSM model.

 

But now all 3 carriers are getting the exact same hardware.Sprint has even confirmed that the GSM side of their iPhone 4S will come unlocked, and Verizon confirmed that they'll unlock the GSM side of their 4S after 60 days of service. So will AT&T start offering unlocks to remain competitive? As it stands now, Sprint and Verizon have the competitive advantage for international users, since their customers won't be forced to sell a kidney to get service in other countries.I've always stuck with AT&T mostly because GSM is a world standard, but it seems like they're doing everything in their power to make that a disadvantage instead of a competitive edge.

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Message 1 of 40
Teacher

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?

I understand your fine points on technical aspect. But consider the following:
1. AT&T unlock SIM before contract expire. No fair to AT&T since AT&T pays Apple for portion of your iPhone price.
2. AT&T lock SIM forever. No fair to customer since customer already pays back AT&T of subsidiary portion.
3. Therefore, what is fair to both AT&T and customer is AT&T unlock SIM after two years contract, or before contract expire with a big fee.
Is this clear to a rational human being? If not, please let me know.
Message 31 of 40
Mentor

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?

I'm not too cheap to buy an unsubsidized phone; if that was my only option that's probably what I would do. However, I am too cheap to needlessly waste money.

 

If another carrier can give the service I want for the same price or less than my current carrier, and is willing to unlock a subsidized phone, why shouldn't I pocket the extra money? It's not like any of the carriers reduce your monthly bill if you buy a phone without a subsidy (except T-mobile). Don't get me wrong - I'm not short on cash by any means, but I didn't get that way by spending extra money needlessly. Like I said in my previous post - I have no emotional attachment to AT&T. I'm giving them a chance to keep me as a customer, but if that doesn't pan out, then I and my 4 lines are gone.

 

And explain to me, how is AT&T unlocking the phone put the company at any worse position than Verizon and Sprint unlocking the GSM sides of their phones? That'd put all 3 carriers on equal footing - in fact slight advantage to AT&T since VZW and Sprint phones will be usable on AT&T, but not vice versa.


BadBadLeroyBrown wrote:

I'd wait and see how Verizon comes to define customers "in good standing". AT&T used to require that customers have 6 months of on-time payments before being considered for phone unlocks, international roaming, etc.

 

So you're saying essentially that you're too cheap to buy a SIM-unlocked phone at the full retail price? You want AT&T to subsidize it, but then don't want to use AT&T's network when traveling internationally. I think AT&T may come around on eventually unlocking out-of-contract phones, but I wouldn't hold my breath on them unlocking still in-contract phones. They don't really want to make it easier for grey market salesmen to port these to countries where the iPhone hasn't officially been launched.

 


TerraPhantm wrote:

BadBadLeroyBrown wrote:

Right, but at that point you'd pay whatever you paid for the phone + a likely $325-$350 termination fee to take the phone from Verizon or Sprint to AT&T or any other GSM carrier. If you absolutely, positively have to have a SIM-unlocked phone, why not wait for Apple to release 1 in November? Then you're not beholden to anyone.

 

And while I think AT&T should unlock out-of-contract iPhones, I don't make the rules.

 


TerraPhantm wrote:

CDMA is different than GSM in that regard. From what I understand, there is no subsidy lock per se, but Sprint and Verizon have the discretion to only activate phones that were sold by them. Unlike with GSM, there's no FCC regulation requiring CDMA carriers to allow unlocked devices to be used on their network. If you can find a carrier that's willing to activate any MEID, you could probably even use an AT&T iPhone 4S on a CDMA carrier... unless Apple artificially limits that capability

 

Those who are saying that AT&T will be the only one with a GSM iPhone are wrong. The hardware is identical between all 3 carriers. If Verizon and Sprint fully unlock their phones (which seems to be what they'll do) there's no reason those phones can't work on AT&Ts network. 





I don't have any particular attachment to AT&T - I want an unlock so I can travel internationally without having to spend my life savings to make phone calls. If Verizon offers me that, then I'll gladly switch over. They have better coverage here anyway. 

 

I'll give AT&T a couple months, but if they want to keep me as a customer long term, they're going to have to change their unlock policy.







Message 32 of 40

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?

AT&T unlocking in-contract phones increases the likelihood they'll wind up in some backwater via grey-market means. That's not to say that there aren't people actively purchasing these phones only to ship them off somewhere else, but it doesn't really behoove AT&T to make it easier.

 

Verizon & Sprint aren't saying, "Here, go use the phone on another CDMA carrier (like Cricket or Credo)". If you can't understand how there is no good corollary of this situation, since AT&T really can't unlock the CDMA side of the phone, I'm not sure how best to explain it. It's something of a win-win for Verizon, since they may not have been counting on international roaming from their iPhone customers (iP4 was CDMA-only), and they get to cast their largest competitor in a negative light (which they are apparently doing successfully, judging from the comments in this forum).

 

And has anyone actually gotten any confirmation from Verizon that the GSM-side of the phone will be completely and unequivocally unlocked, with no restriction on GSM carriers? If I recall, other Verizon world phones had GSM fall-back radios that could only be used outside the US. Do we know of any unlocked VZW world phones that have been ported over to AT&T?

 


TerraPhantm wrote:

I'm not too cheap to buy an unsubsidized phone; if that was my only option that's probably what I would do. However, I am too cheap to needlessly waste money.

 

If another carrier can give the service I want for the same price or less than my current carrier, and is willing to unlock a subsidized phone, why shouldn't I pocket the extra money? It's not like any of the carriers reduce your monthly bill if you buy a phone without a subsidy (except T-mobile). Don't get me wrong - I'm not short on cash by any means, but I didn't get that way by spending extra money needlessly. Like I said in my previous post - I have no emotional attachment to AT&T. I'm giving them a chance to keep me as a customer, but if that doesn't pan out, then I and my 4 lines are gone.

 

And explain to me, how is AT&T unlocking the phone put the company at any worse position than Verizon and Sprint unlocking the GSM sides of their phones? That'd put all 3 carriers on equal footing - in fact slight advantage to AT&T since VZW and Sprint phones will be usable on AT&T, but not vice versa.


 




Message 33 of 40
Scholar

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?


BadBadLeroyBrown wrote:

And has anyone actually gotten any confirmation from Verizon that the GSM-side of the phone will be completely and unequivocally unlocked, with no restriction on GSM carriers? If I recall, other Verizon world phones had GSM fall-back radios that could only be used outside the US. Do we know of any unlocked VZW world phones that have been ported over to AT&T?


The reason for other CDMA "world phones" working internationally but not in the US is technical. AT&T and T-Mobile work on GSM 850/1900MHz band. Most international carriers work on GSM 900/1800MHz. Most of the CDMA world phones I've seen just didn't have the radio for AT&T/T-Mobile frequency. This is a hardware limitation and not a software limitation which SIM locking is.

 

So far, the iPhone 4S is the only CDMA/GSM phone I know of that's quadband. I guess we'll know the answer to this particular question after 60 days.

Message 34 of 40

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?

Nope.... I've read reports that even Verizon-branded phones with the proper GSM bands have been blocked for use on AT&T - http://phandroid.com/2010/11/17/verizons-global-phones-being-blocked-from-accessing-atts-network/

 

 

Message 35 of 40
Scholar

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?


BadBadLeroyBrown wrote:

Nope.... I've read reports that even Verizon-branded phones with the proper GSM bands have been blocked for use on AT&T - http://phandroid.com/2010/11/17/verizons-global-phones-being-blocked-from-accessing-atts-network/

 

 


Hmm, makes sense for Verizon to do. It'll probably be the same for the iPhone 4S, then. Verizon probably has a way of blacklisting network profiles of AT&T and T-Mobile (and other US carriers).

Message 36 of 40

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?

Yeah, and it's really unfortunate that some people have seized this as an opportunity to cash in. There was a thread at XDA Developers about trying to develop a free unlock, but it apparently didn't go anywhere.

 

And I agree that ALL phones should be unlocked, if not within contract, at least at the end of the contract. Of course, I have about as much effect on that policy as I do on the weather in Zanzibar.

Message 37 of 40
Professor

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?


OpenMinde wrote:
I understand your fine points on technical aspect. But consider the following:
1. AT&T unlock SIM before contract expire. No fair to AT&T since AT&T pays Apple for portion of your iPhone price.
2. AT&T lock SIM forever. No fair to customer since customer already pays back AT&T of subsidiary portion.
3. Therefore, what is fair to both AT&T and customer is AT&T unlock SIM after two years contract, or before contract expire with a big fee.
Is this clear to a rational human being? If not, please let me know.

No one is saying that doesn't seem fair.  It's that AT&T is choosing not to do it, for whatever reason, and they aren't obligated to provide a reason.  Peope can make of that what they want and choose not to do business with them.  It's that simple.

Message 38 of 40
Expert

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?


BadBadLeroyBrown wrote:

Yeah, and it's really unfortunate that some people have seized this as an opportunity to cash in. There was a thread at XDA Developers about trying to develop a free unlock, but it apparently didn't go anywhere.

 

And I agree that ALL phones should be unlocked, if not within contract, at least at the end of the contract. Of course, I have about as much effect on that policy as I do on the weather in Zanzibar.



there was a site out there for a short period of time that would "sell" unlock codes for the iphone - it did not last long, there where threads on this forum about it

Message 39 of 40
Highlighted
Teacher

Re: Now that AT&T no longer has exclusivity, will AT&T offer official iPhone unlocks?

Yes, AT&T can choose not to unlock after contract. Now there are choices beside AT&T. That is simple too. If AT&T management has same mindset as you (dwill05), I do hope AT&T suffers in term of subscriber growth if that can change AT&T executives' mindset.
Message 40 of 40
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