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Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?

Teacher

Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?

dont understand why I can not have my phone unlocked while I'm traveling.  AT&T claims it's because I haven't fulfilled my contract, but I don't understand why that's an issue.  If I were to sell my phone and leave them I still would have to pay the termination fee.  In fact their answer to my unlock request was to cancel my account.  What kind of customer retention practice is that?  All I am asking is to be able to use my phone while I'm away.  I've been with the company since 2007, and they're willing to loose a dedicated customer because they fear what?  It does't make sense to me.  

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Message 1 of 48
Professor

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?

If AT&T subsidizes the cost of the phone, AT&T can also decide whether or not they will unlock it.  The US laws allow this and I doubt that it will change any time soon.

 

Message 2 of 48
Teacher

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?

I get that they have the ability to choose whether to unlock or not.  It doesn't make sence from a customer care standpoint.  Why tell me to cancel my service just because I want my device unlocked?  I have no choice but go with a unsubsidized provider in the future.  As much as I liked being with AT&T for the past 7 years, I'm very frustrated with the artificial bariers they are creating for me.  

 

They loose nothing from unlocking my device, but they are loosing a customer because they won't.

Message 3 of 48
Former Employee

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?

Hey, Based on this press release and releated links the White House official statement, based off the new legislature, actual  looks like this.

"The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It’s common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs."

 

I believe that unlocking an iphone introduces the possibility that someone can disapear w/o paying their bill/ETF and AT&T is stuck in the hole. The contract effectively implies that AT&T is still paying back the cost of the phone. At least with this, cell phone companies can make sure that the phone is fully paid for, before it becomes unlocked. (by fully paid, I mean, the full retail price that the manufacturer's sell for)

Message 4 of 48
ACE - Expert

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?


@mburshteyn1 wrote:

They loose nothing from unlocking my device, but they are loosing a customer because they won't.


That's not entirely true. You do realize your locked phone will work fine when you travel, yes? If your phone is unlocked and you use a foreign carrier instead of international roaming, then obviously AT&T won't be getting revenue for those calls. So, yes there is something to lose.

That said, I thought ATT policy was to unlock phones for international travel for customers in "good standing" even if still under contract with a few exceptions, one of them being the iphone. You don't happen to have an iphone, do you?

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*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 5 of 48
Teacher

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?

I do have an iPhone.  In that case it further confuses me.  Why is my phone less eligible than others?  

 

I understand rules and policies, what I dont understand is if AT&T is willing to pay T-Mobile customers up to $450 to switch, they are not willing to unlock my phone to prevent me from going to T-Mobile, which is exactly what will happen.  I am a long term customer, with good standing, and with a coorporate linked account who had no plans of leaving them.  

Message 6 of 48
ACE - Expert

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?


@mburshteyn1 wrote:

I do have an iPhone.  In that case it further confuses me.  Why is my phone less eligible than others?  

 

I understand rules and policies, what I dont understand is if AT&T is willing to pay T-Mobile customers up to $450 to switch, they are not willing to unlock my phone to prevent me from going to T-Mobile, which is exactly what will happen.  I am a long term customer, with good standing, and with a coorporate linked account who had no plans of leaving them.  


I understand your frustration. I have an iPhone myself and will be travelling to Europe this summer but I won't be able to get my iPhone unlocked either. So, why the difference with iPhones? There was a time when ATT would not unlock iPhones at all. This is just speculation but it is possible that the contract requirement being fulfilled is an Apple stipulation. Afterall, it is not ATT that unlocks an iPhone, Apple does it. Unlocked iPhones are a hot commodity on the secondary market and believe me, if they could get new iPhones unlocked right away, there are plenty of customers that would buy a new iPhone and turn around and sell it. Perhaps Apple just does not want the secondary market flooded with new unlocked iPhones.

 

Something you might consider is get a cheap phone to use when travelling overseas. It would probably be cheaper than paying termination fees plus you would still have your normal number active and reachable on your iPhone. Remember, if you could get that iPhone unlocked and put some foreign carrier sim in it, anyone back in the US wouldn't be able to reach you on your regular number plus they'd have to pay international rates to reach you on your foreign number.

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*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 7 of 48
Teacher

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?

Having it be an apple requirement is the only possible logical explanation anyone offered. 

Message 8 of 48
Expert

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?


@mburshteyn1 wrote:

Having it be an apple requirement is the only possible logical explanation anyone offered. 


then why do they enforce the same exact policy on other phones? The requirement does not specificly state it is for Apple based phones only

Message 9 of 48
Teacher

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?

according to sandblaster who is an employee, they don't. I personally don't know. Either way I'm not happy with the situation.
Message 10 of 48
Expert

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?


@mburshteyn1 wrote:
according to sandblaster who is an employee, they don't. I personally don't know. Either way I'm not happy with the situation.

could not unlock a samsung android that belongs to my daughter becasue it was still under contract and if you read the link here on ATT's site at the device unlock request page there is no mention of the requirement being apple only, in fact it specificly states ATT mobile device, not ATT apple device

 

https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/

 

 

General Eligibility Requirements for Unlocking All AT&T Mobile Devices

AT&T will unlock an AT&T Mobile Device under the following circumstances:

  • The person requesting the unlock must be one of the following:
    • a current AT&T customer
    • a former AT&T customer who can provide the phone number or account number for the account
  • The AT&T Mobile Device was designed for use on AT&T's network.
  • The AT&T Mobile Device has been paid for in full.
  • The AT&T Mobile Device has not been reported lost or stolen

 

 

Message 11 of 48
Teacher

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?


@wingrider01 wrote:

@mburshteyn1 wrote:
according to sandblaster who is an employee, they don't. I personally don't know. Either way I'm not happy with the situation.

could not unlock a samsung android that belongs to my daughter becasue it was still under contract and if you read the link here on ATT's site at the device unlock request page there is no mention of the requirement being apple only, in fact it specificly states ATT mobile device, not ATT apple device

 

https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/

 

 

General Eligibility Requirements for Unlocking All AT&T Mobile Devices

AT&T will unlock an AT&T Mobile Device under the following circumstances:

  • The person requesting the unlock must be one of the following:
    • a current AT&T customer
    • a former AT&T customer who can provide the phone number or account number for the account
  • The AT&T Mobile Device was designed for use on AT&T's network.
  • The AT&T Mobile Device has been paid for in full.
  • The AT&T Mobile Device has not been reported lost or stolen

 

 


 Good call.  This policy needs flexibility.  I understand not unlocking a recently purchased device on a new account, but refusing to do so for a long standing customer at the risk of driving that customer away to a competitor is absurd.  

Message 12 of 48
Expert

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?


@mburshteyn1 wrote:

@wingrider01 wrote:

@mburshteyn1 wrote:
according to sandblaster who is an employee, they don't. I personally don't know. Either way I'm not happy with the situation.

could not unlock a samsung android that belongs to my daughter becasue it was still under contract and if you read the link here on ATT's site at the device unlock request page there is no mention of the requirement being apple only, in fact it specificly states ATT mobile device, not ATT apple device

 

https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/

 

 

General Eligibility Requirements for Unlocking All AT&T Mobile Devices

AT&T will unlock an AT&T Mobile Device under the following circumstances:

  • The person requesting the unlock must be one of the following:
    • a current AT&T customer
    • a former AT&T customer who can provide the phone number or account number for the account
  • The AT&T Mobile Device was designed for use on AT&T's network.
  • The AT&T Mobile Device has been paid for in full.
  • The AT&T Mobile Device has not been reported lost or stolen

 

 


 Good call.  This policy needs flexibility.  I understand not unlocking a recently purchased device on a new account, but refusing to do so for a long standing customer at the risk of driving that customer away to a competitor is absurd.  


been with att in some form or another since the courts broke up Mommy Bell close to 4 decades ago for wireless, special services and dial tone, I personally do not expect and special handling because of it. we are all the same level of customer. The other carriers have similiar rules so going ot another carrier will not resolve the issue. want a world phone, then purchase from the manufacturer and get one that is already unlocked, want to pay a cheaper cost for the phone then get the subsidized one and live with the rules. Apple sells a unlocked GSM based phone, the only drawback is you pay full retail price for it.

Message 13 of 48
ACE - Expert

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?


@wingrider01 wrote:

@mburshteyn1 wrote:
according to sandblaster who is an employee, they don't. I personally don't know. Either way I'm not happy with the situation.

could not unlock a samsung android that belongs to my daughter becasue it was still under contract and if you read the link here on ATT's site at the device unlock request page there is no mention of the requirement being apple only, in fact it specificly states ATT mobile device, not ATT apple device

 

https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/

 

 

General Eligibility Requirements for Unlocking All AT&T Mobile Devices

AT&T will unlock an AT&T Mobile Device under the following circumstances:

  • The person requesting the unlock must be one of the following:
    • a current AT&T customer
    • a former AT&T customer who can provide the phone number or account number for the account
  • The AT&T Mobile Device was designed for use on AT&T's network.
  • The AT&T Mobile Device has been paid for in full.
  • The AT&T Mobile Device has not been reported lost or stolen

 

 


My bad. I know there was a time when it was possible to get a phone (non iPhone) under contract unlocked. Apparently that is no longer the case. In addition to the above requirements, these additional

Customer-Specific Requirements also must be met. Here is where the contract stipulation exists:

 

Postpaid Phones and Tablets with a Service Commitment:Account is in good standing (i.e., it has no past due amount or unpaid balance owed AT&T), and all contract obligations, including any Service Commitment, associated with the device to be unlocked have been fully satisfied. The Service Commitment associated with a given device may be satisfied in one of the following ways:

  • Fulfillment of the Service Commitment by expiration of any contractual term
  • Upgrading to a new device under AT&T standard or early upgrade policies. Note: the customer must wait 14 days after the device upgrade has been completed to request an unlock of the previous device.
  • Payment of any applicable Early Termination Fee
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*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 14 of 48
Teacher

Re: Why wont AT&T unlock my phone when I travel?


been with att in some form or another since the courts broke up Mommy Bell close to 4 decades ago for wireless, special services and dial tone, I personally do not expect and special handling because of it. we are all the same level of customer. The other carriers have similiar rules so going ot another carrier will not resolve the issue. want a world phone, then purchase from the manufacturer and get one that is already unlocked, want to pay a cheaper cost for the phone then get the subsidized one and live with the rules. Apple sells a unlocked GSM based phone, the only drawback is you pay full retail price for it.


When it comes to policies put in place designed to prevent new customers/account from taking advantage of AT&T I expect special treatment when it's clear that I do not fall into that category.  

 

Other carriers do not have similar rules.  Verizon apparently unlocks after 60 days.  T-Mobile is in a completely different league concerning customer freedom.  I Like AT&T.  I like their service and for the most part I like their customer support.  I enjoyed being with them through out years.  I buy my phones subsidized from them because it doesn't make sense to do it otherwise.  You still pay the same monthly rate.  So, after this term I will be forced to move to a company which allows me freedom with my device.  Whether it's T-Mobile which has a lower monthly rate for full price devices, or Verizon, which allows you to unlock after a reasonable amount of time.  

Message 15 of 48
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