iPhone Unlocking Legal?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by GhostRaider, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. GhostRaider macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    #1
    So apparently the Cell Phone Unlocking bill will actually be a law now, it's no longer illegal to unlock a phone, but what does this actually mean?

    So can I just go to Verizon and buy and iPhone at full price unlocked? Or how about going to a Virgin Mobile store and buy a discounted iPhone 5s at full price. Are they forced to unlock the GSM portion since its legal?
     
  2. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #2
    If the phone is not subsidized they will unlock your phone. They do not have to unlock the device is subsidized.

    Most of the carriers like AT&T would unlock you phone without this new law.
     
  3. eyoungren, Aug 1, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014

    eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    Aug 31, 2011
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    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #3
    You were aware that as a condition of Verizon's agreement with the FCC for permission to use LTE, Verizon is required to unlock all iPhone 5 series phones and above, right?

    This new law has no application to these phones. Pay full price, don't pay full price for a Verizon iPhone 5, 5c or 5s, it's already unlocked, they were and are all sold unlocked, and have been since September 2012 (iPhone 5).

    As to your other questions, if you meet the terms of your contract you can request an unlock and they will be obligated to give you one.

    Assuming you aren't on Sprint.
     
  4. Woochifer, Aug 1, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014

    Woochifer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2007
    #4
    Sprint will unlock the GSM part only for international SIM cards. They will not do this for domestic use. Virgin Mobile is a Sprint MVNO, and my understanding is that they will not unlock their phones either (not even sure if you can use an international SIM card with Virgin phones).

    The law has not taken effect yet, and I'm not sure if this covers any phones purchased prior to the law taking effect.

    UPDATE: Just saw that it retroactively took effect July 27. Still not sure how the individual carriers will implement unlock requests.
     
  5. 1080p macrumors 68030

    1080p

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
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    Planet Earth
    #5
    You are right and wrong. Your facts are a little screwy. When the FCC had their auction for the 700Mhz spectrum, Verizon was the top bidder... essentially getting a nationwide 700 Mhz license. But during the auction, Google was also bidding and proposing rules to the FCC... Google really didn't have any interested in obtaining the spectrum... they were there really to stir the pot and make the FCC put conditions for using the spectrum. One of those it forcing Verizon to unlock all devices that use the LTE network and for the LTE network to accept any compatible unlocked LTE phone.

    That is why the iPhone 5 and up are unlocked on Verizon. It is not only iPhones... but ALL of their LTE phones.

    But... this restriction only applies to their LTE network, not their CDMA network. That is why... if you were to take an unlocked AT&T or T-Mobile iPhone and put a Verizon SIM into it, it would connect to LTE... but not be able to connect to "3G" CDMA.

    ----------

    The law DOES NOT force carriers to unlock phones. The law makes it legal for you or a 3rd party to unlock your phone. This is fine and dandy for other phones, but iPhone unlocks are stored on Apple's servers and 3rd parties cannot access it. Sure... there are 3rd party iPhone unlock services, but they usually have an inside man who works for the carrier and has access. That is why they charge so much for iPhone unlocks.

    I doubt this law will have any affect on Sprint's iPhone unlocking policy.
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #6
    Thanks for the clarification!
     
  7. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Oct 17, 2011
    #7
    Weren't even iPhone unlocks fairly cheap until unlocking became "illegal" in the last year or two or so?
     
  8. GhostRaider thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 2, 2014
    #8
    Currently Virgin Mobile is selling iPhone 5S 32GB for $487. Basically you pay for the phone and once you receive it, you pick a no contract plan. It uses CDMA so the GSM portion of it is locked. But technically speaking, you bought the phone, that's the price they were selling it for, you should be able to unlock the GSM portion regardless of what they say. That's what this bill is allowing a customer to do or am I wrong on this? So you'd be saving money if you bought phones from Virgin and activating them with ATT or TMobile.
     
  9. CEmajr macrumors 601

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    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #9
    That wasn't why they became expensive. They were still cheap while it was "illegal". They became expensive shortly after the 5S was released because AT&T clamped down on access to their unlocking systems. This law doesn't really affect anything in the grand scheme of things.
     
  10. 1080p macrumors 68030

    1080p

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    #10
    AT&T unlocks were cheap... until AT&T tightened their internal policies about unlocking qualifications.
     
  11. 617aircav Suspended

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    #11
    Up till September 2013 iPhone unlocks were as cheap as $3. Hope it goes back to that.

    ----------

    Yes.
     
  12. 1080p macrumors 68030

    1080p

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    Location:
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    #12
    It won't.... and this law has nothing to do with pricing. The prices went up when AT&T got more strict in enforcing their unlocking policy. It's more risky for the insiders that do it. More risk=more cost.
     
  13. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #13
    So in reality what difference does this new law makes?
    All it does is makes unlocking your phone legal.
    It doesn't force carriers to fully unlock their phones if requested by their customers.
     
  14. CEmajr macrumors 601

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    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #14
    It doesn't really make a difference in anything. It's just a formality.
     
  15. cnotes2019 Suspended

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    Aug 17, 2013
  16. Nein01 macrumors 6502

    Nein01

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2009
    Location:
    Germany
    #17
    So what's the best way to go about unlocking a Sprint iPhone 4s?

    I moved to Germany over a year ago and Sprint refused to unlock me, even though I was in good standing with them and they had told me when I started my contract that if I moved abroad they could activate the GSM antenna. Apparently that was a lie.

    This bit of news caught my eye and I was wondering if it would be easier to get an unlock now. The last time I looked around for info, all I came across were shady websites asking for money and personal data.
     
  17. Trinchero macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    #18
    I just unlocked this week 5 iPhones (4, 4s, two 5, 5s) from AT&T at zero cost.
     
  18. pure-rockstar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    #19
    Carriers really put their foot down and customers get the message. Even if unlocking is legal.

    Carriers will be HARD PRESSED to provide an unlock code.
     
  19. alimoore macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    #20
    Do u think apple will bring out a new rmbp, am looking at buy referb top spec for £1300 but unsure if they will release a new one in oct.

    Thanks

    ----------

    Sorry thought I was writing a new thread
     
  20. Evil Z06 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    #21
    Hey guys kinda of confused....I bought a Iphone 5S in Dec. with Virgin Mobile...When they have the IPhone 6 available I want to sell my 5S so under this new law Virgin will unlock my phone? If not I can always sell it back to them in their buy back program....of course I will get less for it....Thanks
     
  21. 617aircav Suspended

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    #22
    You need to check virgin mobiles unlocking terms. You would be better off selling the phone rather than trading it in.
     
  22. Evil Z06 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    #23
    Thanks for the reply...I am pretty sure they do not unlock the phone but with this new law I was curious.If they don't unlock the phone then I can only sell it to another Virgin Mobile customer or to them
     
  23. leviathany2k macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    #24

    Want to try unlocking mine ? iPhone 5 AT&T
     

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