6 Months to Unlock AT&T iPhone?

blairh

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Original poster
Dec 11, 2007
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I requested to unlock my iPhone SE (which was paid off at purchase) last week from AT&T online. I was rejected. The email stated because I had not used the SE for 6 months. While this was true, I'm a post-paid customer, and nowhere online does it say that you must have 6 months of service for an unlock. This applies to GoPhone/Pre-paid customers. It does say you need 60 days of active service though, which I'm assuming applies to post-paid customers, which I had with the SE.

So I call AT&T and the representative looks into my request and says yes, it has to be 6 months. I say that this is not stated online anywhere. She then checks with a supervisor who backs her up. What???

She says she will go ahead and submit my request with notes. The next day I get an email saying the unlock has been granted.

Okay, so can we clarify what is going on here? Nowhere online does it state you must have 6 months of AT&T service with a phone as a post-paid customer to unlock a device.

EDIT - To be crystal clear, the phone was purchased from Swappa locked to AT&T and never once activated.
 
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Reno Raines

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2015
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If it's paid off in full and not under contract or tied up to any next payment plan then they have to unlock it right away.
You shouldn't have to wait at all.

This should be the policy for all carriers in my perfect world. The only exception would be for me is if the carrier is somehow subsidizing it and therefore selling it at a loss. I bought a SE and a 7 from t Mobile at full price and still had to have the phone active on their network 40 days before they would unlock it as a post paid customer. So I used the SE FOR 40 days then got it unlocked then swapped the sim into my 7 and repeated the process. 80 days to get something done that in my mind I should have been able to do in 1 day.
 

akash.nu

macrumors G3
May 26, 2016
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A supervisor would add to a lie???
Generally supervisors are bigger liars depending on the industry and the company. Plus a call centre supervisor hardly has the authority to do anything more than a normal rep.

Generally all their promises are fake and the only thing they do is to own a specific case and see it through to resolution. That's it.
 
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Applejuiced

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Apr 16, 2008
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At the iPhone hacks section.
This should be the policy for all carriers in my perfect world. The only exception would be for me is if the carrier is somehow subsidizing it and therefore selling it at a loss. I bought a SE and a 7 from t Mobile at full price and still had to have the phone active on their network 40 days before they would unlock it as a post paid customer. So I used the SE FOR 40 days then got it unlocked then swapped the sim into my 7 and repeated the process. 80 days to get something done that in my mind I should have been able to do in 1 day.
If you are not buying it under contract or by using a payment plan then they are not subsidizing though.
 

blairh

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Dec 11, 2007
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If it's paid off in full and not under contract or tied up to any next payment plan then they have to unlock it right away.
You shouldn't have to wait at all.
This is what it says on the AT&T site....

Account requirements

Business accounts

  • Be sure the person making the request is authorized by a current or former AT&T business customer.
Service commitment or installment plan accounts

  • If you did an early upgrade, you can't request to unlock your previous device before the 14-day buyer's remorse period ends.
  • Your account must be active for at least 60 days with no past due or unpaid balance.
  • When you become eligible for an unlock, you'll see an alert on your myAT&T account overview when you log in.
Prepaid / GoPhone accounts

  • Your device must have been active for at least 6 months of paid service.
When they say your account must be active, that appears to mean you need to be using AT&T's wireless service for 60 days. It never states you need to be using the phone you want to unlock for 60 days.

What makes no sense to me is that the email stated that the issue was I didn't have 6 months of service when I'm not a prepaid customer to begin with.
 
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Newtons Apple

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Mar 12, 2014
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I just requested that ATT unlock my 7+ that I had paid full price for when I purchased from Apple. It only took about 10 minutes and got the ATT email saying my phone was now unlocked. It came with these instructions:

Using a Non-AT&T SIM Card:

1. Remove your SIM card and insert the new SIM card.

2. Complete the setup process.

Using an AT&T SIM Card:

1. Back up your iPhone.

2. When you have a backup, erase your iPhone.

3. Restore your iPhone from the backup you just made.

"
For more information about unlocking a device, check out our device unlock support page.

Thanks for choosing us,
AT&T
 

Reno Raines

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Jul 19, 2015
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If you are not buying it under contract or by using a payment plan then they are not subsidizing though.

Trac phone is a good example. They sold me an iPhone for $150 but on the box it says it must be active on their network for one year to unlock as it was subsidized even though it is a Pre paid service and the carrier in essence is taking a loss. It may just be semantics but it seems kinda like a contract but one is not signing anything. It will be a year in a month and I will see if they really will unlock it as I have heard and or read some posts saying trac fone is does not like to unlock phones. I will see if I can find the box and post the fine print. Was very small and fine print.
 
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Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
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At the iPhone hacks section.
Trac phone is a good example. They sold me an iPhone for $150 but on the box it says it must be active on their network for one year to unlock as it was subsidized even though it is a Pre paid service and the carrier in essence is taking a loss. It may just be semantics but it seems kinda like a contract but one is not signing anything. It will be a year in a month and I will see if they really will unlock it as I have heard and or read some posts saying trac fone is does not like to unlock phones. I will see if I can find the box and post the fine print. Was very small and fine print.
True, in those situations you're getting it cheaper but have to follow stricter unlock requirements.
And in some cases some smaller companies dont unlock at all.
 

kevink2

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2008
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I bought my X on the DPP since that was the only way at the time to buy it via Best Buy (I wanted the qualcomm model). I paid it off in a little over a month, but still had to wait 60 days. But I had switched to ATT as part of the purchase, so I got hit by the 60 day new customer requirement.

Prepaid carriers seem to be getting stricter, probably because of some people abusing things. I bought a subsidized SE last year (could be unlocked right away if on unlimited plan on Cricket). I unlocked it within a couple days and kept my service active for 2 months until I had used up my credits. Now they require 6 months.
 

aneftp

macrumors 601
Jul 28, 2007
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I requested to unlock my iPhone SE (which was paid off at purchase) last week from AT&T online. I was rejected. The email stated because I had not used the SE for 6 months. While this was true, I'm a post-paid customer, and nowhere online does it say that you must have 6 months of service for an unlock. This applies to GoPhone/Pre-paid customers. It does say you need 60 days of active service though, which I'm assuming applies to post-paid customers, which I had with the SE.

So I call AT&T and the representative looks into my request and says yes, it has to be 6 months. I say that this is not stated online anywhere. She then checks with a supervisor who backs her up. What???

She says she will go ahead and submit my request with notes. The next day I get an email saying the unlock has been granted.

Okay, so can we clarify what is going on here? Nowhere online does it state you must have 6 months of AT&T service with a phone as a post-paid customer to unlock a device.
OP isn’t stating the whole story.

They likely purchase an att prepaid go phone iPhone SE for the low price of $150 (full go phone price) and is using it on att post paid network.

Att will not unlock a go phone iPhone SE (purchased at the full $150 price) regardless If they use it post paid or prepaid.

That go phone iPhone SE needs 6 months of att service. Period.
 

pgoelz

macrumors regular
Nov 20, 2017
106
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I concur.... when I bought my SE last October, it was sold as an ATT Go Phone by Best Buy for $149. It was understood (and confirmed by ATT before I decided to buy it) that it was locked to ATT for six months because the $149 price was in effect subsidized by ATT. This was regardless of whether it was ultimately used as a Go Phone as intended or on my existing post paid ATT plan.

Paul
 

blairh

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Original poster
Dec 11, 2007
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OP isn’t stating the whole story.

They likely purchase an att prepaid go phone iPhone SE for the low price of $150 (full go phone price) and is using it on att post paid network.

Att will not unlock a go phone iPhone SE (purchased at the full $150 price) regardless If they use it post paid or prepaid.

That go phone iPhone SE needs 6 months of att service. Period.
Wrong. I purchased the phone from Swappa. It had never been activated and was paid off.
 

Banglazed

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2017
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Cupertino, CA
Requirements for unlocking AT&T phones, tablets, and mobile hotspots.

  • Your device isn't reported lost or stolen, or involved with fraud.
  • You must complete your contract or installment plan (including early termination fees). Or, pay off an installment plan early and then make another unlock request in 24 hours.
  • Your device isn't active on another AT&T account.
  • If you upgraded early, wait 14 days to unlock your old device. Business customers wait 30 days. Your service must be active for at least 60 days with no past due or unpaid balance.
  • AT&T PREPAID℠ (formerly GoPhone®) devices must have at least 6 months of active service.
  • If you're military, we'll ask you to email your TCS or PCS (Temporary / permanent change of station) documents for eligibility. You won't have to complete installment plans or contracts.
  • If you have a business-owned device, your company must authorize you to unlock it.
https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/#/unlockstep1 and tap on eligibility

Link above is AT&T unlock terms and condition. 6 months of paid service is deemed as the device is an AT&T Prepaid device. As such, the original owner who purchased it had paid a subsidized price which after the end of the 6 months paid service may have paid off the cost of the device. Hence, AT&T will not unlock the device regardless where you purchased the device because you’re not the original owner who signed and paid for this subsidized device. This is the risk you take when buying second hand device even if the original owner did AT&T Next payment plan on a brand new device and sold it off as full price to subsequent owner, the device according to AT&T server is that the primary owner still have their financial obligation to complete their EIP/AT&T Next payments till device is completely paid off before it becomes eligible for unlock. If the primary owner decides this device was lost or stolen, they can and AT&T will reserve the rights to comply with original purchaser to place it on Blacklist. You can wait 6 months and try again hopefully the primary owner completes 6 months of paid service or you can pay 3rd party unlock or return it to seller.
 
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rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
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Wrong. I purchased the phone from Swappa. It had never been activated and was paid off.
You may have purchased from Swappa but since AT&T specifically mentioned 6 months (which only applies to prepaid kits, guessing based on IMEI), then the guy you bought it from probably purchased it as prepaid/GoPhone.

Packaging for prepaid iPhone is exactly the same as regular Apple packaging. It doesn't come in those ugly orange blister packs so unless you check the IMEI with AT&T, one wouldn't be able to tell if it's prepaid or postpaid.

Note, in this case, paid off and unlock eligibility are two different things.

I paid $150 for an iPhone SE from Best Buy. It's fully paid off because I have no outstanding balance on the device and AT&T can't black list it for non-payment. AT&T can't send me to collections if I don't pay the $200 subsidy that AT&T shouldered. AT&T took that risk, not me and there's no contract/agreement that I have to pay for that $200. The only catch is the iPhone is locked to AT&T until it has 6 months of paid service. Device is still paid off. It's just locked to AT&T.
 
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blairh

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Dec 11, 2007
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You may have purchased from Swappa but since AT&T specifically mentioned 6 months (which only applies to prepaid kits, guessing based on IMEI), then the guy you bought it from probably purchased it as prepaid/GoPhone.

Packaging for prepaid iPhone is exactly the same as regular Apple packaging. It doesn't come in those ugly orange blister packs so unless you check the IMEI with AT&T, one wouldn't be able to tell if it's prepaid or postpaid.

Note, in this case, paid off and unlock eligibility are two different things.

I paid $150 for an iPhone SE from Best Buy. It's fully paid off because I have no outstanding balance on the device and AT&T can't black list it for non-payment. AT&T can't send me to collections if I don't pay the $200 subsidy that AT&T shouldered. AT&T took that risk, not me and there's no contract/agreement that I have to pay for that $200. The only catch is the iPhone is locked to AT&T until it has 6 months of paid service. Device is still paid off. It's just locked to AT&T.
Honestly I think it’s impossible to say for sure. In the past this has also happened to me with phones I purchased initially from AT&T.
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,340
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Honestly I think it’s impossible to say for sure. In the past this has also happened to me with phones I purchased initially from AT&T.
Personally haven't had issues requesting unlock on postpaid devices purchased as upgrade line. Over the years, I've requested unlock for, hmm, 15 iPhones now. That's across two family accounts (mine and my aunt's since I help her with her tech stuff). Never had an issue.
 

aneftp

macrumors 601
Jul 28, 2007
4,293
487
Wrong. I purchased the phone from Swappa. It had never been activated and was paid off.
And where did the swappa person purchase it from?

Something is not adding up.

But now saying you purchased it off swappa. So what is the real story?

U said the phone was paid off? And if u purchase from swappa. Than how can u prove the original person paid it off? How can you prove iPhone SE wasn’t purchased from prepaid att “go phone” $150?

Cause I got a $150 iPhone SE 32gb from prepaid GO and just put my post paid att sim in and it works. But I cannot unlock it unless it’s been active in my att account (pre or post paid) for 6 months.
[doublepost=1524271381][/doublepost]
Honestly I think it’s impossible to say for sure. In the past this has also happened to me with phones I purchased initially from AT&T.
I unlocked iPhone 8 Plus I got via att next from sams club in November. Paid it off in 3 days and got unlocked code within 24 hours.

I am leaning towards u purchased a locked att PREPAID GO iPhone SE “full price” fullly paid $150 phone off swappa. And att has really locked those phones down unless u have active service for 6 months on that line using that particular phone regardless if u are pre paid or post paid. The prepaid iPhone SE is the best bargain. Since it was only $150 (vs paying $350 “full price” via att next for same exact phone)

So those locked prepaid iPhone SE still will work on cricket/att prepaid or post paid. But they are harder to unlocked.

Just do a google search on att prepaid iPhone se unlock. You will get your answer
 

blairh

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Original poster
Dec 11, 2007
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And where did the swappa person purchase it from?

Something is not adding up.

But now saying you purchased it off swappa. So what is the real story?

U said the phone was paid off? And if u purchase from swappa. Than how can u prove the original person paid it off?
I already told you the real story. I said the phone was paid off (by the seller) and purchased from Swappa. I have no idea where exactly the seller bought the SE from. If the phone wasn't paid off then AT&T would have said the phone still owed payments when I initially attempted to unlock it online. Which they didn't.
 

aneftp

macrumors 601
Jul 28, 2007
4,293
487
I already told you the real story. I said the phone was paid off (by the seller) and purchased from Swappa. I have no idea where exactly the seller bought the SE from. If the phone wasn't paid off then AT&T would have said the phone still owed payments when I initially attempted to unlock it online. Which they didn't.
Like I said. The seller likely sold u a locked prepaid att go phone iPhone SE they purchase for $150 “full price”. So att is telling u the truth when they say it’s “paid” off. The seller is telling u the truth by saying it’s paid off.

What’s missing in the story is did seller buy a att prepaid iPhone se?

And att will not unlocked a prepaid iPhone se even if it’s on post paid unless it’s on the account for 6 months. 6 Months is the key for iPhone se which was purchased as a prepaid device.
 

Banglazed

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2017
3,351
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Cupertino, CA
I already told you the real story. I said the phone was paid off (by the seller) and purchased from Swappa. I have no idea where exactly the seller bought the SE from. If the phone wasn't paid off then AT&T would have said the phone still owed payments when I initially attempted to unlock it online. Which they didn't.
I don’t think you even understand it yet. In short, yes the seller may have paid the subsidized price for the phone. For example, full cost for SE is $350. AT&T may have it for $150 for Prepaid which the seller may have he paid that amount as in he paid it off. However, the reason why AT&T offer $150 is because they can recoop the cost of the device by having you stayed on their network by paying 6 months of service. Thus, this owner owes AT&T 6 months of service because he paid the subsidized price and not the full price. Thus, AT&T don’t care how much you paid the owner/seller even if you paid the owner full price of $350 then the owner/seller made $200 profit from you and paid $150 to AT&T.
 
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