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

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Cyclone Chris, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Cyclone Chris macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #1
    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.
     
  2. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #2
    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
     
  3. donlab macrumors 6502

    donlab

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2004
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    code?

    Does this code work more than once? Or is it tied to your IMEI number?
     
  4. protekt0r macrumors regular

    protekt0r

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #4
    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.
     
  5. StoneColdSober macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    #5
    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.
     
  6. protekt0r macrumors regular

    protekt0r

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #6
    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. ;-)
     
  7. Cyclone Chris thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 14, 2008
    #7
    Does Jailbreaking the phone actually unlock it?
     
  8. Ntombi macrumors 68030

    Ntombi

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Bostonian exiled in SoCal
    #8
    No.

    On the original, you can jailbreak and unlock. There is no software unlock for the 3G yet, but you can jailbreak it.
     
  9. StoneColdSober macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    #9
    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.
     
  10. StoneColdSober macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    #10
    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.

    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).
     
  11. moel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    #11
    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
     
  12. patrick92260 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #12
    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.
     
  13. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Denmark
    #13
    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.
     
  14. Cyclone Chris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #14
    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.
     
  15. protekt0r macrumors regular

    protekt0r

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #15
    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.
     
  16. protekt0r macrumors regular

    protekt0r

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #16
    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.
     
  17. protekt0r macrumors regular

    protekt0r

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #17
    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.
     
  18. Cyclone Chris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #18
    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.
     
  19. Cyclone Chris thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 14, 2008
    #19
    Product Specialist going to contact someone from ATT....geez
     
  20. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

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    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #20
    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.
     
  21. Cyclone Chris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #21
    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?
     
  22. StoneColdSober macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    #22
    Unfortunately no. Your iPhone came from Apple locked.

    Sorry. And BTW, keep your head down.
     
  23. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #23
    . . . Afghanistan has a mobile network??
     
  24. Cyclone Chris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #24
    yes
     
  25. kittenbutt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    traveling @ moment, currently in the UK
    #25
    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.
     

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