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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > As of today, out-of-contract ATT iPhones can be officially unlocked

As of today, out-of-contract ATT iPhones can be officially unlocked
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Apr 8, 2012, 04:19 PM
 
Just got off the iPhone with ATT customer service and my iPhone 4 won't qualify until Sept 18, 2012.

I myself am not under a 2-year contract: I bought the iPhone from my daughter--who is now using an unlocked iPhone 4S on that ATT tel# that will work both in the US and in Sweden. However, her original iPhone 4 that I have, won't be eligible until her 2 years' contract is up even though that original iPhone 4 (now mine) is on month-to-month.

I have to admit to much glee in needling ATT customer service--in a previous job I had to spend hours on the phone straightening up the messed up ATT customer labyrinth.

Here's the scoop directly from ATT: On Sept 12, all I have to do is call ATT, give them IMEI, it may take 4-6 days for them to get the unlock code from Apple, and at that point just hooking up to iTunes will complete the unlock.

So: has anybody had the iPhone, whether 3GS or $, successfully unlocked by ATT?

Additional note: for years I've had a no-frills Nokia on ATT's cheapest plan, no data. When I originally bought this iPhone 4 from my daughter, I jailbroke it and unlocked it (tethered) and called up TMobile to see how cheap a plan they had.

Turns out TMobile's cheapest plan was no bargain whatsoever, especially considering that the data would be edge. All that talk about a $50 per month, unlimited minutes, unlimited data and texts, is a pure mirage: it only applies if you open a second line on an existing family account.

The good news is that I ended up talking to an ATT "retention specialist" who was able to offer me a cheaper minutes plan that you can't find on the website.

I don't use a lot of minutes--but for years I've been paying for 450 minutes per month, because that was the cheapest plan available. Turns out that there's a 300 minute per month plan for $30/month that I could've been qualified for over years ago--but of course ATT doesn't let anyone know about this plan unless you complain to a retention specialist.

End result: I've got an iPhone 4 with 3 GB data plan for only $10 more per month than my cheapo Nokia. I'll pay 20 cents per text message, no problem, only the occasional text. And it will still be cheaper than any TMobile Edge plan.

And my rollover minutes carry over from my previous 450 minutes plan...for those years that I was paying for minutes that I didn't need, because ATT wasn't advertising their cheaper plan.
     
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Apr 8, 2012, 05:12 PM
 
     
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Apr 8, 2012, 06:47 PM
 
Are the taxes still $15 dollars on the 300 minute plan?
     
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Apr 9, 2012, 10:07 AM
 
I just ported my number to Straight Talk. $45/month prepaid for UL everything (2GB cap of course). Uses AT&T network. I'm loving it having come from T-mobile and only having 2G.
     
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Apr 9, 2012, 02:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Yes, I know, I started that thread.

Thing is, this is a very important development that deserves its own thread.

I've talked to iPhone techie users who didn't know about this.
     
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Apr 9, 2012, 03:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Godfather View Post
Are the taxes still $15 dollars on the 300 minute plan?
Haven't gotten a bill yet. My taxes on the 450 minutes plan were $7.54. Of course, I'll now be taxed on the $30 data plan.

Taxes are taxes. There's no phone bill that avoids them.
     
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Apr 9, 2012, 11:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
I've talked to iPhone techie users who didn't know about this.
Then they're not so techie, are they? I agree this is a very important story that deserves it own thread, but anyone remotely interested about this issue should have heard about it by now.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Apr 10, 2012, 01:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Then they're not so techie, are they? I agree this is a very important story that deserves it own thread, but anyone remotely interested about this issue should have heard about it by now.
OTOH, if they're fully employed techies working too many hours, they don't have time to follow minor news...and this is minor news!

The thread makes it pretty clear: Am I the only MacNNer who's tried to unlock their iPhone? Nobody else has posted?!?

I'm thinking that everyone else is under 2-year contract, and will continue to be under 2-year contract for the rest of their lives. They're going to upgrade to the next subsidized iPhone and the one after that and the one after that.

They could care less about unlocking.
     
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Apr 10, 2012, 01:37 AM
 
"The customer must fax a proof of purchase or transfer of ownership letter clearly indicating it is for the AT&T device to <fax number>"
Is hitting everyone who bought their iPhone used in eBay and is using it in a month to month plan, without going through the 2-year contract nonsense.
     
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Apr 10, 2012, 12:14 PM
 
My iPhone 4 belonged to my daughter. Yes, we have the same last name, but I definitely didn't have to provide proof of ownership.

What's happening is that people from all over the world, who never had a contract with ATT, are calling to have their phone unlocked. ATT is not going to be unlocking those phones.

If you've got an ATT iPhone, you just have to give them your IMEI, which will be in their database, proving that it's an ATT iPhone. That's how they can tell whether it's out-of-contract or not.
     
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Apr 10, 2012, 10:00 PM
 
Got my iPhone 3G unlocked w/o a problem. Took about 10 min (not counting the wait on hold).

-t
     
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Apr 10, 2012, 10:15 PM
 
I'm up in mid summer and plan to get my 4 unlocked. I have a 4S I bought unsubsidized from Apple, so from att's perspective, the 4 is the one on contract. But I'll get it unlocked and ride it out until I can switch to Verizon on the iPhone 5 in the fall. AT&T used to be perfect in my area, but they've gone to crap lately and zero coverage still at another place I frequent. I'm hoping verizon LTE will allow voice and data on iPhone.
     
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Apr 11, 2012, 12:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Got my iPhone 3G unlocked w/o a problem. Took about 10 min (not counting the wait on hold).
Did you get iTunes confirmation of the unlock? Did you have to restore your iPhone as I've often read is required? I really don't feel like restoring to stock 5.1 given that the jailbreakers are still catching up and haven't gone untethered for 5.1 yet.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Apr 11, 2012, 12:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Did you get iTunes confirmation of the unlock? Did you have to restore your iPhone as I've often read is required?
Yes and Yes.

All in all, it took about 10-15 min.

-t
     
amazing  (op)
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Apr 11, 2012, 02:00 PM
 
Over at macrumors.com forum, the page count on this topic is at 30.

The reason ATT needs proof of purchase seems to be to prevent unlocking stolen phones or phones from overseas or phones that were never with ATT (overseas or maybe Canada) to begin with.

Astonishing how many folks from overseas are fishing for someone here to use one of their 5 unlocks...

Lots of folks getting unlocks, lots of folks suggesting nefarious means to get unlocks...
     
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Apr 11, 2012, 02:23 PM
 
AT&T didn't ask me for proof of purchase.

-t
     
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Apr 11, 2012, 03:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
AT&T didn't ask me for proof of purchase.

-t
ATT didn't ask me either. Seems to be the fringe cases where there's some question (which they won't tell you...) Once the iPhone fails some of ATT's questions w/respect to IMEI, they fall back on this.
     
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Apr 11, 2012, 05:09 PM
 
Here's the big question:

Is there a way in Settings to tell if the iPhone has been unlocked?

Suppose you're buying an iPhone off eBay, how can you tell it's been unlocked?
     
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Apr 11, 2012, 05:41 PM
 
I don't think you can, amazing. If it's jailbroken you can run a mobileterminal command, but short of that you have to test another carrier's SIM. But as long as it's out of contract (anyone selling an iPhone legitimately would either not have a contract at all or pay the ETF), you can get it unlocked even if you're not the original owner. If I were buying a used iPhone I'd activate it and have service for a few months just to make sure the phone was in good standing with AT&T before trying the unlock. And I wouldn't buy an eBay phone because I got burned that way. YMMV.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Apr 11, 2012, 07:37 PM
 
Buying off eBay, you'll be able to provide proof of purchase. However, you won't be able to determine whether the seller had proof purchase--when ATT runs the IMEI, the whole thing could be sunk

And I agree about the dodginess of buying something like that off eBay.
     
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Apr 11, 2012, 10:26 PM
 
Can dodginess be generalized to anything you buy in eBay?
     
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Apr 12, 2012, 02:33 AM
 
Yep!
     
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Apr 12, 2012, 05:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Godfather View Post
Can dodginess be generalized to anything you buy in eBay?
Oh, I've gotten good deals on eBay. I'm just a little more leery of iPhones off there. If you buy from a highly rated buyer you're most likely going to be satisfied, but there are exceptions.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Apr 15, 2012, 02:45 AM
 
Congrats Americans. It's good to see our neighbours down south finally have that option as well.

Hopefully some day carriers will offer to unlock phones after 90 days on a contract since you still are stuck the contract but it gives you flexibility when travelling abroad.
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Apr 15, 2012, 09:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by aristotles View Post
Congrats Americans. It's good to see our neighbours down south finally have that option as well.

Hopefully some day carriers will offer to unlock phones after 90 days on a contract since you still are stuck the contract but it gives you flexibility when travelling abroad.
Yeah, we've been second-class citizens for way too long!

And Verizon now does the GSM unlock if your account is in good standing!

Look what a bunch of competition did! The unlock got pried out of ATT cramped fingers!
     
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Apr 15, 2012, 12:56 PM
 
Now I have hope that Tim's negotiating skills are in Steve's's ballpark.
     
   
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