iPhone purchased from AT&T comes with locked SIM cards, which make your iPhone incompatible with network from non-AT&T providers such as T-Mobile in USA. To use an AT&T iPhone on another GSM network, you were forced to use hardware unlock like Gevey SIM, or install free unlock via Ultrasn0w (jailbreak required) or get it unlocked by providing IMEI number to backdoor services.
But starting this Sunday, your SIM card can be unlocked directly by calling AT&T customer service, as long as you meet the service requirements.
AT&T has announced that beginning April 8; the company will officially unlock iPhones once their customer’s 2-year contracts have expired. The company’s dramatic policy shift will allow users to unlock the currently-locked iPhones for use on any GSM network like T-Mobile in USAshould they so choose. There are a few conditions that you have to fulfill before AT&T will unlock your iPhone. Here’s what AT&T issued in the statement:
Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones. The only requirements are that a customer’s account must be in good standing, their device cannot be associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T customer account, and they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee.
Prior to this policy shift, AT&T had bluntly refused to unlock iPhones even for those who complete their two year ball-and-chain contract. AT&T’s own forums are filled with such requests and commiserations but they never answered to such requests.
If you meet the requirements listed above, call 1-800-331-0500 or 611 from your iPhone for assistance in unlocking your iPhone. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, or Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
If you are unaware, Apple did started selling factory unlocked iPhone starting November last year at select retail stores without locking you in a particular carrier contract for the next two years. These devices are being sold at full retail price – $649, $749 and $849 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB iPhone 4S models respectively.
Such “unlocked” iPhones, untethered to a particular network, will help increase market competition and, at the end, may result in more competitive rates. Isn’t?