I'm leaving the country in a few days, so I had to end my contract with AT&T early. I tried my best to show proof of home address and documentation of the country I'm going to, just so I could avoid the ETF (Early Termination Fee), but no hope. AT&T basically did everything in their power to stop me from doing that. (I think some folks on MS used to succeed in doing that, but it's not possible anymore.) After ending my contract, I talked to an AT&T rep and discussed about my iPhone. I clearly stated that I didn't want to terminate my service with AT&T unless I could get the phone to work in the country I'm going to. After an hour talking, he asked me to call Apple for further assistance on permission to have my iPhone unlocked. I then called Apple customer service, and they actually said it was the carrier's responsibility to give permission to unlock my iPhone (not from Apple.). I literally wasted hours talking to both parties, and neither of them wanted to take care of the issue (even though I already paid ETF and was no longer a customer of AT&T.) I didn't give up. I called Apple one more time, and fortunately got to talk to a Senior Advisor who was also in charge of the iOS Engineer department. He asked if I already terminated my contract. I said yes. He then replied to my email stating that he sent a request to his team to contact AT&T to get the code to unlock my phone, but he didn't promise it would go through. I waited 48 hours but he didn't reply, so I called in Apple again today, and got to talk to another senior advisor. She explained to me that once my phone is released of service from AT&T, it's already unlocked (as in carrier-free, non-contract, can be used with any service in the world.) I asked her a lot of times to make sure whether the state of my iPhone right now is 100% the same as the $650 iPhone that anybody can buy at the Apple Store, and she said yes. All I have to do is to sign up a new service contract with the carrier in the country I'm going to, then I'm good to go. I don't know if anybody has ever done this before, but if it's true, it's really interesting to me. Aside from my monthly bill (which I assume everybody has to pay the same amount), my presumably unlocked iPhone 4S ends up costing only $199 + $165 ETF = $364. That's about half of how much it costs at the Apple Store. I haven't got a chance to confirm if it really works with another carrier yet, but I will for sure in a few days. Has anybody had the same situation that I have? I hope this is a good tip for those who are on the same boat with me.