How Come AT&T is not doing any thing about unlock services on eBay?

ansabakhan

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 3, 2010
1,210
0
AT&T must be losing lot of money by these illegal unlocks offered on eBay for all kinds of iPhones including iPhone 5, why is AT&T not doing any thing about it.. I see sellers who sold 10000+ unlocks , how comes these are not getting noticed .?
 

vistadude

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2010
1,423
1
They don't lose money, anyone who buys an at&t phone under contract is stuck for nearly 2 years paying close to $100 per month to at&t. Also it's completely legal to unlock a phone.
 

i7QuadCoreMania

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2009
282
0
yah no money to be lost cause who even buys it in the first place from ATT needs to pay the ETF and at least 1 month's service, return before 30 days requires you to return the equipment.

who cares of people are unlocking their iphones, ATT shoudn't you are bound to the contract for 24 months or you pay the ETF, non-issue to them.
 

dsquared81

macrumors 6502
Apr 11, 2010
419
11
Orange County
Maybe att themselves are getting kickbacks by the sellers lol. Why not att provides it for free but maybe they can make some change on the side haha
 

QuarterSwede

macrumors G3
Oct 1, 2005
9,237
1,245
Colorado Springs, CO
I never understood why they don't allow you to unlock a device at anytime or just sell them unlocked. If you're contractually obligated to pay for service for 2 years why would they care if you use the device on another carrier? If it's because the ETF is a loophole by being low enough then up it. Done.
 

617aircav

Suspended
Jul 2, 2012
3,976
818
AT&T must be losing lot of money by these illegal unlocks offered on eBay for all kinds of iPhones including iPhone 5, why is AT&T not doing any thing about it.. I see sellers who sold 10000+ unlocks , how comes these are not getting noticed .?
Can you point to what makes them illegal?
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,058
51
Bristol, UK
I never understood why they don't allow you to unlock a device at anytime or just sell them unlocked
It's simply so that they can get more money.

By unlocking the phone immediately, they run the risk of you using another carrier - even if you still continue the AT&T contract. Using another carrier almost certainly results in revenue being diverted from them to somewhere else.

If you want to unlock an iPhone 5, assuming you wait until the 24 month contract ends, the "iPhone 7" should be on the market.

By that point, unlocking the phone isn't going to get you much. The resale value will have dropped massively and you'll probably want a newer phone.

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Can you point to what makes them illegal?
They presumably are illegal, because Apple maintains a database of devices with their lock status and people are putting false information into that database.

Contractually, Apple is supposed to ensure that only the original carrier (i.e. AT&T in this case) is able to unlock a specific device.

The unauthorised unlocks are carried out by people working for carriers, submitting fraudulent unlock requests to Apple. In most places, that's illegal.

It's probably not going to be illegal for someone to pay for an unlock, but you could argue that they're enabling illegal activity elsewhere.

This is more of an issue for Apple, as it's their system that clearly has a security problem. These unlocks predate AT&T offering an official unlock and they work for any carrier that sells the iPhone.
 

ansabakhan

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 3, 2010
1,210
0
regardless of any thing else, that's against companies policy... How can thousands of these phones are getting unlocked against companies policy and no body seems to care...


If I can get iPhone unlocked it gets really attractive for some one to buy it for a friend overseas... Ship It out and transfer the line to dump line not paying AT&T $30 for Internet for 2 years
 

ansabakhan

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 3, 2010
1,210
0
Doubt it but anything is possible.
It was only $6 so why not...
Why you so worked up about it?
I got mine done too Actually lol, and was worried about something going wrong as this might be breaking some kind of aggrement I signed while buying this new phone!
 

JCCL

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
747
686
Good for you! I wonder if a simple computer program will relock these phones again after this all goes down...
I don't think so. Like said before, it seems AT&T employees are the ones submitting these requests to Apple. In addition, there most be several employees doing this, considering the amount of unlocks that appear to be sold, and how low the price has come for an unlock lately. In the process of relocking, they could also end up relocking phones that are officially unlocked by AT&T, and this mean they could get a lot of pissed of users.

I think it must be very difficult to them to track which phones were not legitimate AT&T processed unlocked VS the ones processed by the "rogue" employees working with the ebay unlockers.
 

AFDoc

macrumors 68030
Jun 29, 2012
2,754
500
Colorado Springs USA for now
regardless of any thing else, that's against companies policy... How can thousands of these phones are getting unlocked against companies policy and no body seems to care...


If I can get iPhone unlocked it gets really attractive for some one to buy it for a friend overseas... Ship It out and transfer the line to dump line not paying AT&T $30 for Internet for 2 years
Why does it bother you so much?
 

QuarterSwede

macrumors G3
Oct 1, 2005
9,237
1,245
Colorado Springs, CO
It's simply so that they can get more money.

By unlocking the phone immediately, they run the risk of you using another carrier - even if you still continue the AT&T contract. Using another carrier almost certainly results in revenue being diverted from them to somewhere else.
Why, because a tiny percentage of people might use Verizon while having an at&t account? Almost no one is going to do that; contracts are expensive enough as it is. I don't buy that argument.

Why does it bother you so much?
Off Topic:
AFDoc? as in Air Force Doctor? If so, thank you for serving.
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
They presumably are illegal, because Apple maintains a database of devices with their lock status and people are putting false information into that database.
We simply don't know for sure how these unlocks are happening or who specifically is doing them, so we cannot make any blanket statement as to their being illegal.


The unauthorised unlocks are carried out by people working for carriers, submitting fraudulent unlock requests to Apple. In most places, that's illegal.
No, at worst you could get them for not following company policies, but that alone doesn't land you with a criminal charge. They would probably get fired, but that's probably the worst that could happen. If the carrier had already given them access to the whitelist for (presumably legit) unlocking purposes, then you can't really accuse them of hacking or unauthorized access. It would be difficult to prove it was illegal.

No contracts are being nullified, lines aren't being canceled, and no credits or refunds are being given to customers as a direct result of these unlocks, so theft can't really be alleged, either. If the customer chooses to walk away from their contract, AT&T still collects an ETF, so they get their money. The only difference is that now, the phone which the customer lawfully purchased and made the carrier whole on their subsidy via the ETF, isn't a brick.

If, on the other hand, these unlockers are not using carrier employees to do the unlocks, then that's a whole different story, and AT&T has a serious security hole they need to patch.

This is more of an issue for Apple, as it's their system that clearly has a security problem. These unlocks predate AT&T offering an official unlock and they work for any carrier that sells the iPhone.
Actually, from what I've seen on the eBay listings, they don't work for every carrier. Many specifically make clear that they can only unlock X carrier (usually AT&T), and will not unlock others.

So, let's assume your earlier statement was right and carrier employees, as you say, are doing these unlocks "illegally." If that were true, how is this Apple's problem? Apple is holding up their end of the deal: ensuring that only authorized carrier personnel have access to the whitelist. As even you say, we're assuming someone working for those carriers with authorized access is getting money on the side to unlock phones.

Apple cannot control what employees of the carriers do, nor do they have any way of knowing for sure if that employee is following the carrier's rules to the book or not. It's up to the carrier to ensure that their employees are on the up and up.
 
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scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
Cause I am a AT&T customer under contract, and wants to know what their take on this is ...
I'm no lawyer, but according to interpretations of federal law, you did nothing illegal. You are within your rights to use circumvention technologies to unlock your phone, despite carrier wishes.

The WORST that could happen is this:


1. AT&T could end your contract and disconnect your service, because they aren't happy with what you did. Unlikely considering that means they won't get money from you anymore, which was kinda what they were trying to prevent by locking your iPhone in the first place. But even if they did, you could probably just take your unlocked phone to Straight Talk and have service again, on pretty much the same network.

2. They might relock your phone. Which means that you're out $4 to $6, depending on what you paid for the unlock.

It's hard to say whether AT&T can relock any phones that have been previously whitelisted. Judging from past experience though (like when Sprint messed up and initially sent out 4Ss unlocked), it appears that once an iPhone is unlocked, there's no going back.
 
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Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,058
51
Bristol, UK
Why, because a tiny percentage of people might use Verizon while having an at&t account? Almost no one is going to do that; contracts are expensive enough as it is. I don't buy that argument
Buying a SIM abroad?

AT&T can make hundreds of dollars from an international trip.

Buying a local SIM might cost less than $50.


There's at least one thread a day in these forums asking how to get a local SIM.

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If the carrier had already given them access to the whitelist for (presumably legit) unlocking purposes, then you can't really accuse them of hacking or unauthorized access. It would be difficult to prove it was illegal.
That's simply not true.

Having access to something does not mean that you are able to do whatever you want with it - especially if you're gaining financially from it.

It would certainly be illegal in the UK, and I'd be surprised if it wasn't in the US as well.

We simply don't know for sure how these unlocks are happening or who specifically is doing them, so we cannot make any blanket statement as to their being illegal.
It's the only logical explanation.

Apple has a system that it only lets carriers access.

Unless it's someone inside of Apple that's doing these unlocks, it's someone that works for a carrier.

Apple is holding up their end of the deal: ensuring that only authorized carrier personnel have access to the whitelist
The system itself is badly designed. There HAVE been cases where people with a phone on AT&T were able to submit a request through a different carrier (in another country).

That third party carrier is supposed to check that the phone is on their network before submitting the request, but that Apple's system itself doesn't check suggests a weakness.

There also doesn't seem to be an effective data trail back to whoever submitted the request. It would be trivial to reverse any unauthorised unlocks and to discipline the person(s) carrying them out.
 

neu

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2008
27
0
it appears that once an iPhone is unlocked, there's no going back.
I dont believe that is true. Your phone can be re-locked, but the following 2 things have to happen

1) Your IMEI number is removed from the unlocked phone DB by ATT/Apple
2) You restore your phone using iTunes
 

compwiz1202

macrumors 6502a
May 20, 2010
933
394
I think these easy unlocks could be part of the ridiculous shortage. Unlocking makes the phone worth so much more, so you probably have way more than the usual amount of people buying iPhones and turning a nice profit, keeping the iPhones from the people who will actually legitimately use them.
 
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