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MacRumors
Aug 23, 2007, 01:13 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

A USA Today article (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/wireless/2007-08-22-cellphones-abroad_N.htm?csp=34) discusses the practice of locking cell phones to providers. Apple's iPhone, for example, is "locked" to AT&T and can not easily be used with other cell phone providers.

AT&T's Jim Cicconi offers an interesting comment that AT&T will "gladly unlock" a customer's phone once the contract has been fulfilled. Apple's iPhone requires a 2 year contract with AT&T.



Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2007/08/23/atandt-will-unlock-your-iphone-after-2-years/)



Markleshark
Aug 23, 2007, 01:30 PM
Interesting.

If nothing else, it tells the 'hackers' that there is a way to do it, and will spur them on. :)

daschor
Aug 23, 2007, 01:33 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

AT&T's Jim Cicconi offers an interesting comment that AT&T will "gladly unlock" a customer's phone once the contract has been fulfilled. Apple's iPhone requires a 2 year contract with AT&T.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2007/08/23/atandt-will-unlock-your-iphone-after-2-years/)

Of course, since the iPhone is currently a GSM/EDGE phone, your only other significant choice of domestic U.S. carrier would be T-mobile. Not much of a threat from AT&T's perspective, especially since T-mobile will probably be unable to provide some of the services (e.g. visual voicemail) that AT&T provides for Apple's iPhone.

Wake me when the iPhone goes 3G.

:apple:

Lord Blackadder
Aug 23, 2007, 01:33 PM
Apple has probably planned to offer the iPhone with other providers all along...AT&T was the exclusive launch provider, but the success of the iPhone means (for Apple) that staying with one provider is a sales bottleneck.

PlaceofDis
Aug 23, 2007, 01:39 PM
Apple has probably planned to offer the iPhone with other providers all along...AT&T was the exclusive launch provider, but the success of the iPhone means (for Apple) that staying with one provider is a sales bottleneck.

its been reported that AT&T have a five year exclusive deal on it.

Lord Blackadder
Aug 23, 2007, 01:44 PM
I heard that too, but who knows what kind of fine print Apple put in that agreement? ;)

Snowy_River
Aug 23, 2007, 01:46 PM
Of course, since the iPhone is currently a GSM/EDGE phone, your only other significant choice of domestic U.S. carrier would be T-mobile. Not much of a threat from AT&T's perspective, especially since T-mobile will probably be unable to provide some of the services (e.g. visual voicemail) that AT&T provides for Apple's iPhone.

Wake me when the iPhone goes 3G.

:apple:

There are some of us who are in a slightly different situation. I am currently an AT&T customer, and have been for several years. I signed up with AT&T, which was then bought by Cingular, which then (recently) became AT&T again. (Details of this process are being omitted.) I'm still using the same SIM card that I got several years ago. I'm still on the same plan (it's a better plan than I could get now). I don't want to change anything, except, maybe, my phone. But, unless I get an unlocked phone, I've been told that I have to get a new SIM card and a new plan, because current AT&T phones are not compatible with my old SIM card (being locked), and going to a new SIM card necessitates going to a new plan. I'm not happy about this. I don't want to switch providers. I want to continue to be an AT&T customer. I just want to be able to keep the service they've been giving me plus an iPhone. No deal. Not even making it a 2 year contract with the current service (plus data, of course).

So, the only way that I can keep my current service plan is to use an unlocked phone. (It's what I'm doing now. When the phone that I bought with the plan died, I bought a new, unlocked phone off of eBay.)

Nanaki
Aug 23, 2007, 01:53 PM
There are some of us who are in a slightly different situation. I am currently an AT&T customer, and have been for several years. I signed up with AT&T, which was then bought by Cingular, which then (recently) became AT&T again. (Details of this process are being omitted.) I'm still using the same SIM card that I got several years ago. I'm still on the same plan (it's a better plan than I could get now). I don't want to change anything, except, maybe, my phone. But, unless I get an unlocked phone, I've been told that I have to get a new SIM card and a new plan, because current AT&T phones are not compatible with my old SIM card (being locked), and going to a new SIM card necessitates going to a new plan. I'm not happy about this. I don't want to switch providers. I want to continue to be an AT&T customer. I just want to be able to keep the service they've been giving me plus an iPhone. No deal. Not even making it a 2 year contract with the current service (plus data, of course).

So, the only way that I can keep my current service plan is to use an unlocked phone. (It's what I'm doing now. When the phone that I bought with the plan died, I bought a new, unlocked phone off of eBay.)

If you've been with AT&T for so many years, why are you afraid of signing up for a 2 year contract? I've been with Cingular for four years now, and for as much trouble as they are, I didn't see any point in switching in the next 2 years, so I got an iPhone.

Also, they HAVE to unlock your phone after 2 years. Federal regulation. The cell companies just don't like to advertise it, but legally, once your 2 year contract is over with, they have to tell you (if you ask) either how to unlock your phone yourself or you have to send it in to them and let them unlock it.

M

Mydel
Aug 23, 2007, 01:55 PM
So tin theory after you pay 170$ of early termination fee they should unlock your phone. But when I call AT&T no one was able to give me straight answer. And all I wanted was yes or no

TitoC
Aug 23, 2007, 02:04 PM
Actually, if you guys read the sidebar article, you would realize that this is not true (which I guess makes this MacRumors article moot).

(from OVERSEAS, CELLPHONES MOSTLY 'UNLOCKED' on same USA Today page)
"AT&T will unlock phones for customers once they have fulfilled their contracts, which typically run one to two years. One big exception: Apple's iPhone, distributed exclusively in the USA by AT&T. "That's different," says AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel."

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted . . . . .

Snowy_River
Aug 23, 2007, 02:12 PM
If you've been with AT&T for so many years, why are you afraid of signing up for a 2 year contract? I've been with Cingular for four years now, and for as much trouble as they are, I didn't see any point in switching in the next 2 years, so I got an iPhone.

Also, they HAVE to unlock your phone after 2 years. Federal regulation. The cell companies just don't like to advertise it, but legally, once your 2 year contract is over with, they have to tell you (if you ask) either how to unlock your phone yourself or you have to send it in to them and let them unlock it.

M

If you read what I wrote, you'd have seen that I have no problem agreeing to a 2 year contract with my current service plan. The problem is that they won't do that. If I want a new phone, I have to change plans, whether it's for an iPhone or any other phone that is locked to AT&T. That's what I don't want. I want to keep my plan, adding a data plan if I got an iPhone, of course. The currently available plans are much worse deals than my plan which I've had for several years.

Contract? I've got no problem with that. Change plans to one that costs more and gives me less? Now we've got a problem.

4God
Aug 23, 2007, 02:18 PM
Actually, if you guys read the sidebar article, you would realize that this is not true (which I guess makes this MacRumors article mute).

(from OVERSEAS, CELLPHONES MOSTLY 'UNLOCKED' on same USA Today page)
"AT&T will unlock phones for customers once they have fulfilled their contracts, which typically run one to two years. One big exception: Apple's iPhone, distributed exclusively in the USA by AT&T. "That's different," says AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel."

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted . . . . .

*Homer Sompson style* DOH!

840quadra
Aug 23, 2007, 02:20 PM
This entire AT&T Only thing is really sad in my opinion. I would love an iPhone but I am not leaving my provider and going back to AT&T which treated me like crap when I was a customer.

If an unlocked version becomes available 3rd Party I "may" be interested, however I am sure you will be locked out of getting upgrades and other things easily.

It's too bad, but it is part of life, and I really don't need an exotic phone.

Stampyhead
Aug 23, 2007, 02:42 PM
...(which I guess makes this MacRumors article mute).

Did you mean "moot?"
Anyway, back on topic. That sucks that iPhone is the exception. Sure wish it would work with my Tmobile service.

williedigital
Aug 23, 2007, 02:47 PM
I heard that too, but who knows what kind of fine print Apple put in that agreement? ;)

You think Apple's lawyers were able to pull one over on AT&T's lawyers? I sure as heck don't.

TitoC
Aug 23, 2007, 02:51 PM
Did you mean "moot?"
Anyway, back on topic. That sucks that iPhone is the exception. Sure wish it would work with my Tmobile service.

Oops . . . I guess I was speaking as Joey, from Friends ("I guess that the point is Moo.").

Thanks for the typo info.
Fixing it now.

Rocketman
Aug 23, 2007, 02:51 PM
This entire AT&T Only thing is really sad in my opinion.

I am going to disagree with supporting evidence.

1. ATT agreed to an agressive marketing campaign non-typical of Apple and paid for it (mostly).

2. ATT has the most widely deployed data network in the USA, albiet only 2.5G, but with massively improved bandwidth to the cells in advance of iPhone deployment.

3. ATT and Cingular merged and together they have massive traditional phone market share and retail presence. Both also have excellent consumer mindshare and phone and internet market presence.

4. EDGE is a compromise as compared to 3G or 4G, or as deployed in China, 5G. Yep. But we do in fact, live in the USA with all its limitatons. That said, EDGE is WIDELY deployed mainly in support of DoD operations in the past 10 years, including in Europe :) :)

Rocketman

Lord Blackadder
Aug 23, 2007, 03:06 PM
I have had bad experiences with AT&T, and will not be buying anything from them. Then again, I'm not interested in buying an iPhone - simply too expensive.

I have to think that once the newness factor of the iPhone wears off, it will be a tougher sell, since it's relatively expensive and only available with AT&T. I don't think Apple is planning to leave the iPhone AT&T-only for the long term, but who knows?

Spyky
Aug 23, 2007, 03:27 PM
If you read what I wrote, you'd have seen that I have no problem agreeing to a 2 year contract with my current service plan. The problem is that they won't do that. If I want a new phone, I have to change plans, whether it's for an iPhone or any other phone that is locked to AT&T. That's what I don't want. I want to keep my plan, adding a data plan if I got an iPhone, of course. The currently available plans are much worse deals than my plan which I've had for several years.

Contract? I've got no problem with that. Change plans to one that costs more and gives me less? Now we've got a problem.

You are allowed to add the iPhone data service to an existing plan. It's something like 19.99 or so per month in addition to your existing voice plan. This is an option in the iTunes setup and activation of the iPhone. The plan doesn't have anything to do with the SIM card. You will need to use the SIM card that comes with the iPhone of course. But as long as AT&T is currently billing you based on whatever plan you have, it should be any problem to append the iPhone data plan too it. I kept my existing plan when I activated my iPhone, although in my case it wasn't really any different than existing options.

-Spyky

Klososky
Aug 23, 2007, 03:45 PM
You are allowed to add the iPhone data service to an existing plan. It's something like 19.99 or so per month in addition to your existing voice plan. This is an option in the iTunes setup and activation of the iPhone. The plan doesn't have anything to do with the SIM card. You will need to use the SIM card that comes with the iPhone of course. But as long as AT&T is currently billing you based on whatever plan you have, it should be any problem to append the iPhone data plan too it. I kept my existing plan when I activated my iPhone, although in my case it wasn't really any different than existing options.

-Spyky

I don't think you guys understand, he has a Former AT&T Wireless (aka "Cingular Blue") plan, which means unless he wants to get a new plan he can absolutely not touch his plan. That's just the way it is unfortunately, because the Former had some plans that are much better than current ones.

question fear
Aug 23, 2007, 04:01 PM
There are some of us who are in a slightly different situation. I am currently an AT&T customer, and have been for several years. I signed up with AT&T, which was then bought by Cingular, which then (recently) became AT&T again. (Details of this process are being omitted.) I'm still using the same SIM card that I got several years ago. I'm still on the same plan (it's a better plan than I could get now). I don't want to change anything, except, maybe, my phone. But, unless I get an unlocked phone, I've been told that I have to get a new SIM card and a new plan, because current AT&T phones are not compatible with my old SIM card (being locked), and going to a new SIM card necessitates going to a new plan. I'm not happy about this. I don't want to switch providers. I want to continue to be an AT&T customer. I just want to be able to keep the service they've been giving me plus an iPhone. No deal. Not even making it a 2 year contract with the current service (plus data, of course).

So, the only way that I can keep my current service plan is to use an unlocked phone. (It's what I'm doing now. When the phone that I bought with the plan died, I bought a new, unlocked phone off of eBay.)

Also, be prepared for ATT to eventually just boot you off your plan if they can. They are cracking down HARD on TDMA holdovers and making their lives miserable so they can shut down the TDMA network. Next step is probably legacy plans.

Here's a question though: could your current plan even be duplicated on another carrier, or is it that good? Just curious.

madmaxmedia
Aug 23, 2007, 04:22 PM
Thanks for the info. I currently have a Cingular/ATT family plan (2 lines.) If I buy a refurb iPhone from Apple.com, I can activate it and simply pay an extra $19.95 a month and thus continue my existing plan?

You are allowed to add the iPhone data service to an existing plan. It's something like 19.99 or so per month in addition to your existing voice plan. This is an option in the iTunes setup and activation of the iPhone. The plan doesn't have anything to do with the SIM card. You will need to use the SIM card that comes with the iPhone of course. But as long as AT&T is currently billing you based on whatever plan you have, it should be any problem to append the iPhone data plan too it. I kept my existing plan when I activated my iPhone, although in my case it wasn't really any different than existing options.

-Spyky

mautal
Aug 23, 2007, 04:37 PM
Also, be prepared for ATT to eventually just boot you off your plan if they can. They are cracking down HARD on TDMA holdovers and making their lives miserable so they can shut down the TDMA network. Next step is probably legacy plans.

Here's a question though: could your current plan even be duplicated on another carrier, or is it that good? Just curious.

I too am curious... I had a decent plan with cingular from way back when, and 2 years ago when i needed a new phone... i went into the Cingular store.. told them I need a new phone... and got to keep my plan (same monthly pricing).. I only signed a contract for 2 more years, and only had to pay 50$ for a v3 RAZR... are they not allowing this with the iphone? the same monthly plan (from however long ago) only paying the additional 20$ for data?

Snowy_River
Aug 23, 2007, 06:57 PM
I don't think you guys understand, he has a Former AT&T Wireless (aka "Cingular Blue") plan, which means unless he wants to get a new plan he can absolutely not touch his plan. That's just the way it is unfortunately, because the Former had some plans that are much better than current ones.

Right. Although my plan is from the former AT&T, even before Cingular bought the AT&T wireless division.

As far as whether I could duplicate it with another carrier, I don't think that I can, though I haven't really looked into it very deep. For the most part I'm fairly satisfied with AT&T.

smoovie
Aug 23, 2007, 07:45 PM
Thanks for the info. I currently have a Cingular/ATT family plan (2 lines.) If I buy a refurb iPhone from Apple.com, I can activate it and simply pay an extra $19.95 a month and thus continue my existing plan?

yes, as long as it's not the primary number. I'm on a family plan with four phones, mine being the third line. The only aditional cost was the service plan.

question fear
Aug 23, 2007, 08:05 PM
Right. Although my plan is from the former AT&T, even before Cingular bought the AT&T wireless division.

As far as whether I could duplicate it with another carrier, I don't think that I can, though I haven't really looked into it very deep. For the most part I'm fairly satisfied with AT&T.

The only reason I asked was whether it was one of those plans that was too good, and that's why you are worried ATT will take it away. You could always call customer service and inquire as to whether you would be required to choose a different plan. My guess though is that you are not set up in the same way as someone who has already bought a new phone from AT&Tingular, as those people (even in grandfathered plans) probably already have newer SIMs and such; the system might not let you re-register your old plan on a new SIM.

I know ATT "Blue" had a lot of integration issues and my gut is that you're probably right on about being stuck for an upgrade. If your plan is such a great deal that you can't get it replicated on (imho) ATT's current excellent plans, then they are probably just looking for a reason to trap you.

What are the details of your plan that it's so great? Do you get all the current ATT benefits like mobile to mobile? If minutes are your issue, have you thought about going with a higher plan than you need and banking the rollover? Just curious what keeps you from changing.

Stella
Aug 23, 2007, 08:08 PM
Thats taking the piss. The customer already owns the phone outright, as doing so, you should be able to choose what network you want to use.

Not having the phone unlocked after your contract is up, is just unbelievable.

megfilmworks
Aug 23, 2007, 09:40 PM
its been reported that AT&T have a five year exclusive deal on it.
I find that hard to believe. at&t does not have that kind of clout... That would be an unrealistic period for Apple. A huge hinderance to sales. I say 2 years tops with lots of outs.

840quadra
Aug 23, 2007, 09:53 PM
I am going to disagree with supporting evidence.

1. ATT agreed to an agressive marketing campaign non-typical of Apple and paid for it (mostly).

2. ATT has the most widely deployed data network in the USA, albiet only 2.5G, but with massively improved bandwidth to the cells in advance of iPhone deployment.

3. ATT and Cingular merged and together they have massive traditional phone market share and retail presence. Both also have excellent consumer mindshare and phone and internet market presence.

4. EDGE is a compromise as compared to 3G or 4G, or as deployed in China, 5G. Yep. But we do in fact, live in the USA with all its limitatons. That said, EDGE is WIDELY deployed mainly in support of DoD operations in the past 10 years, including in Europe :) :)

Rocketman

I don't give a rats *** how big and powerful they are.

That company wrongfully put a mark on my credit, and took 3 years with countless letters, phone calls, and even legal aid before they dropped it. My lawyer wanted to go for damages, I now wish I had. They did the same thing to 2 of my friends (something I didn't know at the time).

Xtgirl
Aug 23, 2007, 09:58 PM
Even though he would just be adding the data portion...I don't think they are going to let him keep the old plan and will want to convert to the new more expensive voice plans...you could call and ask...but I would post your specific question again and see if anyone else has successfully done what you hope to do...

Has anyone who has an old Cingular Blue plan...been able to keep it when upgrading to the Iphone. My bet is that no one has but I could be wrong.

lord patton
Aug 23, 2007, 10:05 PM
yes, as long as it's not the primary number. I'm on a family plan with four phones, mine being the third line. The only aditional cost was the service plan.

I don't think that's right. My wife got an iPhone. It cost us the $20 data plan upcharge, and that's it. And hers is the primary number.

lanray
Aug 23, 2007, 10:18 PM
I just got my upgrade phone today (and plan on selling it right quick), and ordered an iPhone. Mine is the primary number on our family plan, so I sure hope that I can register the iPhone to it. Please, please!

Anonymous Freak
Aug 23, 2007, 11:22 PM
Just a recap of U.S. law on unlocking phones:

The telco may not take legal action to prevent someone from unlocking a phone (basically, unlocking a cell phone is *NOT* a violation of the DMCA.)

The telco, however, is under no obligation whatsoever to assist in unlocking the phone. While most providers will do so if you ask, they are under no obligation whatsoever to do it. Hence AT&T is free to not unlock the iPhone if they desire not to.

Apple has the same limitations. They can't sue anyone for 'cracking' the carrier lock, but they don't have to provide any assistance at all. (And they are even free to release an update that re-establishes the lock, if I read the law correctly.)

Of course, I Am Not A Lawyer.

polishmacuser
Aug 24, 2007, 12:02 AM
since were in the topic of unlocking phones i got the iphone but before that me and my mom got 2 motorola slvr would you guys think its possible to call at&t and ask them for the unlock code or w/e? i mean i have these two phones and i go to europe alot and i would like to use them in europe.

NewSc2
Aug 24, 2007, 05:53 AM
Knda retarded. I know I'll probably still keep an iPhone going (v2 probably) 2 years from now, but I'd like to be able to keep my present iPhone without it shutting off due to AT&T's policies.

fixyourthinking
Aug 24, 2007, 06:10 AM
Of course, since the iPhone is currently a GSM/EDGE phone, your only other significant choice of domestic U.S. carrier would be T-mobile. Not much of a threat from AT&T's perspective, especially since T-mobile will probably be unable to provide some of the services (e.g. visual voicemail) that AT&T provides for Apple's iPhone.

Wake me when the iPhone goes 3G.

:apple:

Actually SunCom is pretty big too.

fixyourthinking
Aug 24, 2007, 06:13 AM
I just got my upgrade phone today (and plan on selling it right quick), and ordered an iPhone. Mine is the primary number on our family plan, so I sure hope that I can register the iPhone to it. Please, please!

This has nothing to do with locking and unlocking ... you'll be able to use your phone number

nuhusky001
Aug 24, 2007, 06:34 AM
Hey guys, I'm in the same situation as Snowy. I have a ATT Wireless plan (Before cingular merge) and its so cheap its not funny. I guess i was one of the customers that got those ridiculous deals to increase their customer base so they will get more money when someone bought them.

Anyway, I pay $53 a month for a family plan. This includes two lines, 450 min of shared time, unlimited mobile to mobile mins, nights and weekends start at 7pm for both lines. And that includes taxes. So the equivalent plan in todays choices is probably $60(cheapest plan) + $10(extra line) + $17 (early 7pm family talk for both lines) so.. $87 + taxes. I figure I'm saving $40 a month by keeping my plan.

I called ATT and they said my plan was NOT eligible for the iphone plus i would lose my 8% discount with my wife's work. So, screw that... I wanted to buy a referb iphone for 400 ... now i have to keep buying unlocked phones from amazon or someone... and they cost around $200-300. I want the iphone unlocked! Come on guys.. you can do it!

bondsbw
Aug 24, 2007, 07:24 AM
Hey guys, I'm in the same situation as Snowy. I have a ATT Wireless plan (Before cingular merge) and its so cheap its not funny. I guess i was one of the customers that got those ridiculous deals to increase their customer base so they will get more money when someone bought them.

Anyway, I pay $53 a month for a family plan. This includes two lines, 450 min of shared time, unlimited mobile to mobile mins, nights and weekends start at 7pm for both lines. And that includes taxes. So the equivalent plan in todays choices is probably $60(cheapest plan) + $10(extra line) + $17 (early 7pm family talk for both lines) so.. $87 + taxes. I figure I'm saving $40 a month by keeping my plan.

I called ATT and they said my plan was NOT eligible for the iphone plus i would lose my 8% discount with my wife's work. So, screw that... I wanted to buy a referb iphone for 400 ... now i have to keep buying unlocked phones from amazon or someone... and they cost around $200-300. I want the iphone unlocked! Come on guys.. you can do it!

I have an iPhone as my secondary line on a current AT&T family-talk plan with 550 minutes of shared talk time. The total is $50(family-talk) + $10(extra line) + $20(iPhone data plan) + tax - discount on first line, or around $75. That doesn't include the 7pm nights and weekends deal, but it still includes my work discount on the primary line which carries the $50 of the bill. Without iPhone, it would be around $55 a month.

I say it's worth it for me, since the extra 100 minutes and 200 text messages more than makes up for the 7PM deal.

BUT, they don't offer the 550 minute plan directly with iPhone... they start at 700 minutes. I had to go in the day before and get put on the 550 plan, and then buy the iPhone and add the $20 data plan. The 700 minute plan costs an extra $10.

sanford
Aug 24, 2007, 07:56 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

A USA Today article (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/wireless/2007-08-22-cellphones-abroad_N.htm?csp=34) discusses the practice of locking cell phones to providers. Apple's iPhone, for example, is "locked" to AT&T and can not easily be used with other cell phone providers.

AT&T's Jim Cicconi offers an interesting comment that AT&T will "gladly unlock" a customer's phone once the contract has been fulfilled. Apple's iPhone requires a 2 year contract with AT&T.



Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2007/08/23/atandt-will-unlock-your-iphone-after-2-years/)

Yeah, especially interesting considering paying the $150 cancellation fee legally fulfills your commitment to the contract.

snourse
Aug 24, 2007, 07:58 AM
Have they actually made the agreement public? Does it cover just the first iPhone or all iPhones?

Can apple make iPhone 2.0 work with other providers?

Or, when the iPod gets multitouched- how about an iPod+ with phone/internet capabilities?

Then again- perhaps the agreement covers any Apple products with phone capabilities. The fine print would be interesting...

TJunkers
Aug 24, 2007, 08:11 AM
well that would be great if it where true considering AT&T just sent my friend a $4,000 bill cause he used his iPhone in Russia. Now yes it wasn't smart of him to do that but if it where unlocked hopefully he could get a sim card over there and boom! International iPhone!

yg17
Aug 24, 2007, 08:37 AM
If you've been with AT&T for so many years, why are you afraid of signing up for a 2 year contract? I've been with Cingular for four years now, and for as much trouble as they are, I didn't see any point in switching in the next 2 years, so I got an iPhone.

Also, they HAVE to unlock your phone after 2 years. Federal regulation. The cell companies just don't like to advertise it, but legally, once your 2 year contract is over with, they have to tell you (if you ask) either how to unlock your phone yourself or you have to send it in to them and let them unlock it.

M

The only federal regulations regarding unlocked phones is that your carrier or manufacturer cannot stop you from doing it. Some company whined about phone unlocking and said it was a DMCA violations, and then the fed said no, it isn't, and it's perfectly legal to unlock it. But, there is absolutely no regulation that I'm aware of that requires a carrier to unlock it for you.


I must say, after reading this, I love T-Mobile's unlock policy. After being a customer for 90 days, as long as your bill is paid up, they'll unlock your phone. No questions asked. And then you can get an unlock code from them every 90 days for any T-Mobile locked phone, even if it's not one you purchased through them directly (like if you bought it off eBay or something). AT&T's stupid policy is one of the many reasons I refuse to ever go back to them.

Also, be prepared for ATT to eventually just boot you off your plan if they can. They are cracking down HARD on TDMA holdovers and making their lives miserable so they can shut down the TDMA network. Next step is probably legacy plans.

Here's a question though: could your current plan even be duplicated on another carrier, or is it that good? Just curious.

It's quite possible he's on an old AT&T GSM plan. I was on one for a bit until we converted to Cingular right after the merger (big mistake that was, but I digress)

Littlebit
Aug 24, 2007, 09:07 AM
I must say, after reading this, I love T-Mobile's unlock policy. After being a customer for 90 days, as long as your bill is paid up, they'll unlock your phone. No questions asked. And then you can get an unlock code from them every 90 days for any T-Mobile locked phone, even if it's not one you purchased through them directly (like if you bought it off eBay or something).

<OFF TOPIC> Unless it's a Sidekick.</OFF TOPIC>

Not that I care...my Sidekick 3 and its (then) expired T-Mobile contract will be dead and gone a week from tomorrow. iPhone, here I come! (however what yg17 is true...hubby has a Razr and T-mobile had no issues giving him the unlock key via email a few days ago. The T-Mobile rep said they were sorry to see us go but understood our reasoning :))

chevitron
Aug 24, 2007, 11:00 AM
Maybe is Apple through iTunes who unlocks the phone, instead of AT&T...

(sorry if I repeated any other post, I haven't read all).

munckee
Aug 24, 2007, 11:05 AM
I was in the same boat a year ago. I was an ATT customer for four years and after cingular bought them, they basically said "nope you're starting over". I voiced my distaste by moving myself and another customer to verizon.

There are some of us who are in a slightly different situation. I am currently an AT&T customer, and have been for several years. I signed up with AT&T, which was then bought by Cingular, which then (recently) became AT&T again. (Details of this process are being omitted.) I'm still using the same SIM card that I got several years ago. I'm still on the same plan (it's a better plan than I could get now). I don't want to change anything, except, maybe, my phone. But, unless I get an unlocked phone, I've been told that I have to get a new SIM card and a new plan, because current AT&T phones are not compatible with my old SIM card (being locked), and going to a new SIM card necessitates going to a new plan. I'm not happy about this. I don't want to switch providers. I want to continue to be an AT&T customer. I just want to be able to keep the service they've been giving me plus an iPhone. No deal. Not even making it a 2 year contract with the current service (plus data, of course).

So, the only way that I can keep my current service plan is to use an unlocked phone. (It's what I'm doing now. When the phone that I bought with the plan died, I bought a new, unlocked phone off of eBay.)

Anonymous Freak
Aug 24, 2007, 11:45 AM
Also, they HAVE to unlock your phone after 2 years. Federal regulation. The cell companies just don't like to advertise it, but legally, once your 2 year contract is over with, they have to tell you (if you ask) either how to unlock your phone yourself or you have to send it in to them and let them unlock it.

It's been said twice (once by me,) but I'll provide some links now.

No, they cannot sue you for unlocking a cell phone, but they are under no legal obligation whatsoever to do it for you. In addition, it's only legal for 3 years, after which time, the copyright office reviews all "DMCA exemptions" and has to renew them or not. They might decide *NOT* to renew the cell phone unlocking provision, and unlocking a cell phone would become a violation of the DMCA.

Stanford Law School link (http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/5005)
Ars Technica link (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061124-8280.html)
Law.com link (http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1170410587623)

Nowhere, in any of those articles, does it say anything about the cell phone company being forced to do the unlocking for you. Just that "users can legally unlock their cellular phones." Emphasis on "users".

winterspan
Aug 26, 2007, 02:40 AM
I am going to disagree with supporting evidence.

1. ATT agreed to an agressive marketing campaign non-typical of Apple and paid for it (mostly).

2. ATT has the most widely deployed data network in the USA, albiet only 2.5G, but with massively improved bandwidth to the cells in advance of iPhone deployment.

3. ATT and Cingular merged and together they have massive traditional phone market share and retail presence. Both also have excellent consumer mindshare and phone and internet market presence.

4. EDGE is a compromise as compared to 3G or 4G, or as deployed in China, 5G. Yep. But we do in fact, live in the USA with all its limitatons. That said, EDGE is WIDELY deployed mainly in support of DoD operations in the past 10 years, including in Europe :) :)

Rocketman

"massively improved bandwidth" and "EDGE" don't belong in the same sentence. Face it, EDGE is TERRIBLE. period.. I'm sick of people making excuses for Apple and the Iphone. AT&Ts 3G coverage is absolutely pathetic and Apple not at least including a UMTS/HSDPA radio in the Iphone for future network upgrades is just as bad.

This could have been done MUCH BETTER.

At&T with a year or two lead-time on the Iphone launch undertakes a massive network upgrade and gets their 3G coverage into the top 100 markets. Correspondingly, Apple has to make their Iphone a TINY bit thicker but for the "compromise" it gets a UMTS/HSDPA chip @3.6 mbps down/384 kbps up. In other words, the REAL INTERNET !!!

I'll be here browsing on EVDO rev. A at 1200kbps/700kbps until APPLE and AT&T get their ***** together...

question fear
Aug 26, 2007, 08:06 AM
"massively improved bandwidth" and "EDGE" don't belong in the same sentence. Face it, EDGE is TERRIBLE. period.. I'm sick of people making excuses for Apple and the Iphone. AT&Ts 3G coverage is absolutely pathetic and Apple not at least including a UMTS/HSDPA radio in the Iphone for future network upgrades is just as bad.

This could have been done MUCH BETTER.

At&T with a year or two lead-time on the Iphone launch undertakes a massive network upgrade and gets their 3G coverage into the top 100 markets. Correspondingly, Apple has to make their Iphone a TINY bit thicker but for the "compromise" it gets a UMTS/HSDPA chip @3.6 mbps down/384 kbps up. In other words, the REAL INTERNET !!!

I'll be here browsing on EVDO rev. A at 1200kbps/700kbps until APPLE and AT&T get their ***** together...

Look, I don't have time to do it for real, but just imagine that everywhere you bashed att i wrote (in your opinion) next to it. ATT is great for me, i have had no major issues. Sorry you do, but dont make blanket statements without at least adding "in my opinion" or "in my area". It just makes you sound like a troll and not someone interested in a real discussion.

coffey7
Aug 26, 2007, 06:30 PM
Having your $600 iphone locked is like DRM.

b257177
Aug 26, 2007, 07:30 PM
http://bp0.blogger.com/_EAIuOTKdyPU/RtIbGIrwKAI/AAAAAAAAAFU/c8tD6kuYJz8/s1600-h/attDeathStar.jpg
"...you're not my father!"

scho52386
Aug 26, 2007, 10:02 PM
ive seen unlocked iphones on ebay...think there legit?

psingh01
Aug 26, 2007, 10:18 PM
Look, I don't have time to do it for real, but just imagine that everywhere you bashed att i wrote (in your opinion) next to it. ATT is great for me, i have had no major issues. Sorry you do, but dont make blanket statements without at least adding "in my opinion" or "in my area". It just makes you sound like a troll and not someone interested in a real discussion.

Are you responding to the right post? Has ATT's 3G coverage been great for you? Has your EDGE bandwidth been up to 3G levels? I'm pretty sure this is not a matter of opinion....

MikieMikie
Aug 27, 2007, 07:03 AM
If you read what I wrote, you'd have seen that I have no problem agreeing to a 2 year contract with my current service plan. The problem is that they won't do that. If I want a new phone, I have to change plans, whether it's for an iPhone or any other phone that is locked to AT&T. That's what I don't want. I want to keep my plan, adding a data plan if I got an iPhone, of course. The currently available plans are much worse deals than my plan which I've had for several years.

Contract? I've got no problem with that. Change plans to one that costs more and gives me less? Now we've got a problem.

I'm cornfused. When I was a pre-iPhone Cingular customer, I had (something like) 800 family-talk rollover minutes, an extra cell & cell number for my wife, and a $50 data plan for my TreeStump 650. We shared the pool of rolloverminutes.

When I purchased the iPhone, on activiting it, as a Cingular customer, I was offered the opportunity to replace a phone on the current plan with the iPhone, and transfer the old phone (Treo's) number to the iphone. So I did.

"Did I agree to an additional $20 data charge on the plan?"

Sure. I didn't know what would happen to the $50 I was paying for the Treo, but I figured if they didn't get it right, AT&T would fix it.

So, my bill is now less by $30. And I kept our old rollover minutes. And the Treo is an ugly paperweight.

I did NOT have to change plans, and anyone who tells you different has never activated an iPhone via iTunes.

-- Mikie

CJD2112
Aug 28, 2007, 01:12 PM
I'm cornfused. When I was a pre-iPhone Cingular customer, I had (something like) 800 family-talk rollover minutes, an extra cell & cell number for my wife, and a $50 data plan for my TreeStump 650. We shared the pool of rolloverminutes.

When I purchased the iPhone, on activiting it, as a Cingular customer, I was offered the opportunity to replace a phone on the current plan with the iPhone, and transfer the old phone (Treo's) number to the iphone. So I did.

"Did I agree to an additional $20 data charge on the plan?"

Sure. I didn't know what would happen to the $50 I was paying for the Treo, but I figured if they didn't get it right, AT&T would fix it.

So, my bill is now less by $30. And I kept our old rollover minutes. And the Treo is an ugly paperweight.

I did NOT have to change plans, and anyone who tells you different has never activated an iPhone via iTunes.

-- Mikie

Exactly. What people need to understand is that you are not forced to use the three recommended plans through iTunes. I switched from in October after 10 years of being treated like a criminal (Love Cingular, they came a long way since my college days, let's just hope ATT doesn't screw it up again), and when I activated my iPhone, I chose a plan, then called into Cingular/ATT and simply told them to keep me on the smaller monthly minute plan. As I text more than I talk, my minutes rack up, and I currently have over 3,000 roll over minutes to use before my next billing cycle in June next year. SO my phone bill is less than $100/month, with unlimited data and text messaging. You can use whatever voice plan you want with the $20 unlimited plan that is only available for iPhone customers...

question fear
Aug 28, 2007, 01:33 PM
Are you responding to the right post? Has ATT's 3G coverage been great for you? Has your EDGE bandwidth been up to 3G levels? I'm pretty sure this is not a matter of opinion....

Uh, I was responding to the post that Winterspan made about EDGE being terrible and 3G not being up to par at ATT. I live in the NY/NJ metro area, and I get VERY good coverage, and VERY good EDGE speeds. Except for when I visited a friend in Portland, ME, I have yet to encounter a time when I was disappointed in the speeds EDGE gave me on my iphone. There's more to user experience than just bandwith. And people are real quick to declare "ATT SUX EVERYONE KNOWS IT" and not taking into account that its that it is not the right choice FOR THEIR NEEDS. Wandering around declaring how much better the iphone would be with 3G or CDMA or GPS or your mom or whatever else you want to throw in there is appropriate in certain threads but shouldn't be coming up every. single. time. Would 3G be awesome? Absolutely. Does it ruin my iPhone experience not to have it? No way. Does that really make me someone who is apologizing and justifying my purchase? Nope. It means that 3G is not necessary TO MY USE OF MY MACHINE. For someone else it might suck. Oh well. I can understand their bitterness, but don't tell me I am making excuses or being a brainless fangirl for it. That's what I was referring to.

And if you are curious:

IPhone vs Treo (iPhone on WiFi) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HPZ2YwgDK4)
iPhone EDGE v EVDO 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJTdFTIF2No&mode=related&search=)
iPhone EDGE v EVDO 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoDZKcVQ6Y4&mode=related&search=)

question fear
Aug 28, 2007, 01:37 PM
Exactly. What people need to understand is that you are not forced to use the three recommended plans through iTunes. I switched from in October after 10 years of being treated like a criminal (Love Cingular, they came a long way since my college days, let's just hope ATT doesn't screw it up again), and when I activated my iPhone, I chose a plan, then called into Cingular/ATT and simply told them to keep me on the smaller monthly minute plan. As I text more than I talk, my minutes rack up, and I currently have over 3,000 roll over minutes to use before my next billing cycle in June next year. SO my phone bill is less than $100/month, with unlimited data and text messaging. You can use whatever voice plan you want with the $20 unlimited plan that is only available for iPhone customers...

Snowy_River is on a grandfathered plan. ATT Blue (old ATT Wireless before it got swallowed by Cingular) had some plans that are unmatched in today's market. AT&Tingular wants these plans to go away. Badly. So any upgrade of any sort (including an iphone) will trigger a forced upgrade to a different plan.

(Mods: I meant to reply to this at the same time as my previous post and didn't get a chance...can they be merged? Thanks! You guys are awesome!)

SPQR
Aug 29, 2007, 05:28 PM
On this very page, (I assume its targeted at me in the UK) MacRumors are showing a Google advert that claims Unlock Your Mobile 2.49, Unlock any phone on any network, Use any Sim instantly Pay by Paypal

Sorry guys but this is bull.. Any phone??? they wont unlock the iPhone, which last time I looked, was a phone.