i remember reading that it's a hit or miss type thing, but on some occasions, AT&T would unlock your iPhone even if your contract still had some time remaining on it. since i'm traveling to Italy, i decided that i might as well ask, but rather than call, since i had a free moment, i decided to just submit my request online. i submitted it last friday, and low and behold, yesterday, i received an email saying that the request was approved and that i should try, after 24 hours, to backup and restore my iPhone to complete the process. yet, being the impatient guy that i am, i waited about 14 hours and decided to give it a whirl, thinking that worse case scenario, i only lost about 30 minutes of time and i could try again later in the week. (the only thing i would forgo qa restoring my music library onto the iPhone since that is a time intensive process (converting lossless to 256mbit files)). anyway, as the subject line suggests, i didn't have to wait any longer. my AT&T iPhone 5*, which is still under contract until September, is now unlocked. my next step is to hopefully find a reasonably priced prepaid nanosim while i'm in Italy for work. (see my other thread) i don't know if my long customer standing (6+ years) with AT&T helps, but i'm glad that my phone is now unlocked. it has never made sense to me that they wouldn't unlock the phone for a phone on contract since the owner would still need to pay an ETF or complete the terms of the contract. anyway, i'd suggest others to give it a shot if you are willing to invest a little time. * although i don't imagine it makes a difference, this phone is my second unit that replaced my original iPhone 5 which i had some battery issues.