How can I get iPhone 3G unlocked for Military w/ orders overseas?

Cyclone Chris

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 14, 2008
175
0
Has anyone in the military been able to have ATT get their 3G iPhone unlocked?

I spoke with apple and told them, that I may be moving to Italy due to Military orders next July for 4 years, and wanted to know imy phone can be unlocked. They mentioned to me that ATT will be able to unlock it for me. When I spoke with ATT, the CSR mentioned that they would have to give me a code, and some paperwork would have to be filed I told them I would call back as I still dont have any official paperwork.
 

TEG

macrumors 604
Jan 21, 2002
6,572
49
Langley, Washington
Sounds like at&t has a proviso in their contracts or at the very least a sense of honor to allow this. I know they used to do this with phones before, even suspending the ETF if you came back to them when you returned from deployment.

TEG
 

donlab

macrumors 6502
Jun 3, 2004
295
69
USA
code?

Does this code work more than once? Or is it tied to your IMEI number?
 

protekt0r

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2008
139
0
Albuquerque, NM
Has anyone in the military been able to have ATT get their 3G iPhone unlocked?

I spoke with apple and told them, that I may be moving to Italy due to Military orders next July for 4 years, and wanted to know imy phone can be unlocked. They mentioned to me that ATT will be able to unlock it for me. When I spoke with ATT, the CSR mentioned that they would have to give me a code, and some paperwork would have to be filed I told them I would call back as I still dont have any official paperwork.
Let me clarify what the rep meant. Most GSM cell phones do indeed have unlock codes for specific cases like yours. iPhones do not. There is no simple unlock code for the iPhone; if there were we'd all know it by now and companies wouldn't be making a fortune charging for software to unlock your iPhone. The information she offered to you on unlocking your phone is based on owning a simple phone like the Moto RAZR.

The best option for you is to unlock your phone using the widely available unlocking software on the web.
 

StoneColdSober

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2008
416
0
Let me clarify what the rep meant. Most GSM cell phones do indeed have unlock codes for specific cases like yours. iPhones do not. There is no simple unlock code for the iPhone; if there were we'd all know it by now and companies wouldn't be making a fortune charging for software to unlock your iPhone. The information she offered to you on unlocking your phone is based on owning a simple phone like the Moto RAZR.

The best option for you is to unlock your phone using the widely available unlocking software on the web.
This is not entirely correct. First, there obviously is a method of the carrier unlocking the iPhone as there are many cellular providers who are selling unlocked iPhone 3g's. Some of these actually sell both locked and unlocked versions and I doubt they are carrying two different models in the stores.

Secondly, there is no publicly available software unlock (ie. hacked version) for the iPhone 3g at this point. So referring the OP to the "widely available unlocking software on the web," is a pointless suggestion.

With that said, I do not know if AT&T will actually provide you with a means to unlock your iPhone. I would go and speak with a manager at your local AT&T corporate store face to face and see what they say.
 

protekt0r

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2008
139
0
Albuquerque, NM
This is not entirely correct. First, there obviously is a method of the carrier unlocking the iPhone as there are many cellular providers who are selling unlocked iPhone 3g's. Some of these actually sell both locked and unlocked versions and I doubt they are carrying two different models in the stores.

Secondly, there is no publicly available software unlock (ie. hacked version) for the iPhone 3g at this point. So referring the OP to the "widely available unlocking software on the web," is a pointless suggestion.

With that said, I do not know if AT&T will actually provide you with a means to unlock your iPhone. I would go and speak with a manager at your local AT&T corporate store face to face and see what they say.
I disagree with you on the first paragraph; the iPhone software has some very specific programming, such as the button for "AT&T Services" that makes me think Apple does indeed program the phones for specific networks (and locking laws) whilst at that the factory. Before you suggest that it's a feature activated AFTER purchase and during iTunes registration, you should know that I was one of the few who had AT&T service, was sold the phone on launch day, and used my already activated SIM to use it. Because the iTunes registration servers were down, AT&T did not activate my phone for me (I had to do it at home). That button (and the phone) was active before I had a chance to activate it on iTunes.

Now clearly the phones are capable of being unlocked. However, I seriously doubt it's as simple as plugging in a secret code (which is what the Rep and OP is suggesting). At the very least the phone would need to be taken to an AT&T or Apple store and connected to some proprietary software for unlocking... IF that even exists.

On the second paragraph, I should clarify. I was thinking/suggesting jailbreaking the phone. My bad. ;-)
 

StoneColdSober

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2008
416
0
Does Jailbreaking the phone actually unlock it?
No. Jailbreaking gives access to the OS and system files allowing for modification to those files (I don't do the jailbreak thing so I may have said this wrong, if so please correct me). Unlocking is unlocking the simlock on the phone which requires multiple modifications to the firmware and is much more complicated.

Jailbreaking is required to software unlock the iphone. Unlocking is not required to jailbreak.
 

StoneColdSober

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2008
416
0
I disagree with you on the first paragraph; the iPhone software has some very specific programming, such as the button for "AT&T Services" that makes me think Apple does indeed program the phones for specific networks (and locking laws) whilst at that the factory.
I am not saying they are not specifically programmed at the factory for a specific network. Rather, I am saying that when buying, that network probably has a way to unlock it if they sell both locked and unlocked phones. So we are basically saying the same thing.

Now clearly the phones are capable of being unlocked. However, I seriously doubt it's as simple as plugging in a secret code (which is what the Rep and OP is suggesting). At the very least the phone would need to be taken to an AT&T or Apple store and connected to some proprietary software for unlocking... IF that even exists.
I agree with you. I would guess that they can unlock just as you have suggested (AT&T may not want to and may not be set up to do it, that doesn't mean it can't be done). My guess is that it is a feature in the special version of iTunes they use to activate the phone. It is probably a restricted access feature would be my guess.

But I admit, there is a lot of guessing there (but I think those guesses are pretty well educated).
 

moel

macrumors 6502
Nov 7, 2007
452
0
Protektor..it won't be prop software...and all the localisation is in the software...stop talking crap and actually let the OP go down to a store and find out rather than summising with what was proved in your first post to be vague facts that turned out to be wrong.

Original OP your a nutter....joining the US army!

/Limey Consciencious Objector
//Ok coward and keyboard warrior FTW
 

patrick92260

macrumors member
Jun 12, 2008
52
0
It is already known how a locked iPhone is officially unlocked. If the phone is bought locked but the carrier has an agreement with Apple to sell unlocked iPhones at a higher price (this was the case in Germany with the first iPhone) or after a certain amount of time, the carrier submits the IMEI to Apple who then processes it and the next time the iPhone is connected to iTunes with an internet connection, the iPhone is then unlocked.

The problem here is since there is no agreement between att and Apple to unlock certain iPhones, att probably doesn't have any way to give your IMEI to Apple or even if they could, Apple probably wouldn't accept it.
 

Pressure

macrumors 68040
May 30, 2006
3,925
244
Denmark
I got my iPhone 3G unlocked the same day I bought it.

I called my carrier and they told me to restore it through iTunes and afterwards it were unlocked, ready to be used on any network.

So this is something Apple has very tight control over.
 

Cyclone Chris

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 14, 2008
175
0
Protektor..it won't be prop software...and all the localisation is in the software...stop talking crap and actually let the OP go down to a store and find out rather than summising with what was proved in your first post to be vague facts that turned out to be wrong.

Original OP your a nutter....joining the US army!

/Limey Consciencious Objector
//Ok coward and keyboard warrior FTW
I went down to a corporate ATT store and they said that I had to contact Customer Service (800 number). Nothing they could do for me at the store.

In the Air Force... Been in 11 years already.
 

protekt0r

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2008
139
0
Albuquerque, NM
Protektor..it won't be prop software...and all the localisation is in the software...stop talking crap and actually let the OP go down to a store and find out rather than summising with what was proved in your first post to be vague facts that turned out to be wrong.

Original OP your a nutter....joining the US army!

/Limey Consciencious Objector
//Ok coward and keyboard warrior FTW
Turns out I was right after all. AT&T won't unlock an iPhone. Period. I should know because I worked for AT&T while the first iPhone was out and I never, ever saw or heard of an iPhone being unlocked by 611 or a store while I worked there.

It is possible, however, that all iPhones come with the appropriate star services and network customization. When the authorized carrier's SIM is put in the phone pulls that info from the iPhone software and populates it in the menus. So I do see what you're suggesting and I agree it's possible. But I doubt you know that for sure.
 

protekt0r

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2008
139
0
Albuquerque, NM
I went down to a corporate ATT store and they said that I had to contact Customer Service (800 number). Nothing they could do for me at the store.

In the Air Force... Been in 11 years already.
Ya'll air force get the best duty stations. The best I ever got in the Army (overseas) was Camp Humphries, Korea. Anyways enjoy Italy... went there on vacation and loved it. Venice ain't as dirty as everyone says. Rome is nasty though.
 

protekt0r

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2008
139
0
Albuquerque, NM
It is already known how a locked iPhone is officially unlocked. If the phone is bought locked but the carrier has an agreement with Apple to sell unlocked iPhones at a higher price (this was the case in Germany with the first iPhone) or after a certain amount of time, the carrier submits the IMEI to Apple who then processes it and the next time the iPhone is connected to iTunes with an internet connection, the iPhone is then unlocked.

The problem here is since there is no agreement between att and Apple to unlock certain iPhones, att probably doesn't have any way to give your IMEI to Apple or even if they could, Apple probably wouldn't accept it.
More likely AT&T doesn't want to be the carrier that sells unlocked phones. Their business is contracts, not facilitating the use of unlocked phones to T-Mobile. I think if unlocked iPhones do become available in the US they'll come from Best Buy. AT&T doesn't have as much say-so in that deal.
 

Cyclone Chris

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 14, 2008
175
0
That was a long wait with Business Care ATT just now. I started the motions to get my phone unlocked and the CSR started the process. He asked me for my IMEI number and he put it in the system for the unlock code, but it came as none being available...lol

Then he mentions to me if it's an iphone, and that I need to call apple.

Now I'm on the phone with apple, and they told me that I spoke with a lower tier rep. I'm on hold for a product specialist now.
 

skubish

macrumors 68030
Feb 2, 2005
2,669
0
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Probably easier for you to just ask them to get out of your contract. Sell this iPhone and buy another in Italy. I am pretty sure they are available in Italy.
 

Cyclone Chris

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 14, 2008
175
0
That doesn't help me when I go to Iraq and Afghanistan.

ATT now has a supervisor researching the way to unlock my phone. They promised they would call back within the hour with the info.

This is simply crazy...

I was wondering after being on hold for an hour here and there.

Remember Jul 11th, when ATT sent their customers out of the stores with unbricked phones because iTunes was not working.. does that mean, if I was one of those customers that my phone is unlocked?
 

StoneColdSober

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2008
416
0
Remember Jul 11th, when ATT sent their customers out of the stores with unbricked phones because iTunes was not working.. does that mean, if I was one of those customers that my phone is unlocked?
Unfortunately no. Your iPhone came from Apple locked.

Sorry. And BTW, keep your head down.
 

kittenbutt

macrumors newbie
Actually, the advice to sell your phone and buy another in Italy is good advice. The Italians have unlocked iPhones, I'm told, though I haven't discovered yet how the contract thing works. I'd look into it carefully, if I were you -- I just posted a thread on buying an unlocked Belgian phone and got a good answer, perhaps you can do the same?

Best regards -- keep your head down, and safe home.