OfCom - iPhone Unlock

Pitsy

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 21, 2008
32
0
A little bit of history, I have an iPhoen 3gs from the UK but now live in Abu Dhabi. So I want it unlocked (I have the latest OS 3.1.2 with the locked baseband).

I have been ina n email argument with O2 for about 2 weeks trying to get them to unlock especially now they are not exclusive (or soon will not be).

So in the end I have given and emailed the head of OfCom... with a copy of all o fthe emails to O2, I have been polite all the way through and also emailed the MD of O2.

I am just wondering if anyone else has tried to go down this route?

I have offered to pay for the official unlock and sent them info against the O2 argument that unlocking the iPhone will break it, shooting this down that they are talking rubbish and the phone is identical in all countries (less china) and that officially unlocking it will cause no damage.

I am not holding my breathe, but this is what OfCom are for in the UK and lets see if they have any power to help a consumer!!

I put £30 on the phone and it lasted less than an hour - 1mb = £6 when abroad!!!! which is a total rip off!!! I basically have to carry 2 phones, and my nice shiny iPhone 3gs is a posh Ipod!!!

Sorry for the moan...

Pitsy
 

Steve Jobs=God

macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2007
399
0
Won't make any difference, in the T&C's you accept when the contract is taken, you agree to waive the right to have the handset unlocked, so OFCOM will just say that you agreed to the rules and there's nothing they can do about it. Unless it was on PAYG in which case I'm not 100% sure but it's probably the same thing, mobile networks are very thorough to make sure they don't leave any loopholes.

And although they like to say their here for the customers, their not. There here for the networks.
 

vincebio

macrumors 6502a
Jun 27, 2005
795
42
Glasgow
Won't make any difference, in the T&C's you accept when the contract is taken, you agree to waive the right to have the handset unlocked, so OFCOM will just say that you agreed to the rules and there's nothing they can do about it. Unless it was on PAYG in which case I'm not 100% sure but it's probably the same thing, mobile networks are very thorough to make sure they don't leave any loopholes.

And although they like to say their here for the customers, their not. There here for the networks.

except O2 have put that in there in the hope that they get away with it, to save their ass from loosing out, without actually representing the LAW correctly.

Ofcom will rule in the favour of the consumer here.


sounds familiar?

you only need to look at Apple UK...they have been doing this for years, trying to circumvent the actual Sales of Goods Act in the UK. Most people give up and they know it...which is why they do it....and get away with it...but sometimes, someone strong enough to see it through come along and actually wins.

O2 are doing the same..they cannot refuse the Unlock request, no matter what T&C they made up to avoid it.

The Law is the Law for a reason.
 

instaxgirl

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
1,438
1
Edinburgh, UK
O2 are doing the same..they cannot refuse the Unlock request, no matter what T&C they made up to avoid it.

The Law is the Law for a reason.
I don't think it is actually against the law to refuse an unlock. I started looking at getting an iPhone about this time last year knowing that I was going to be moving out of the UK and I think I found that they were under no obligation to provide an unlock.

Quick google turned this up:

The US and UK do not have any SIM locking laws, but American and British carriers usually offer unlocking codes voluntarily.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIM_lock#Unlocking_technology
 

Moe UK

macrumors regular
Apr 28, 2009
106
0
London
Won't make any difference, in the T&C's you accept when the contract is taken, you agree to waive the right to have the handset unlocked, so OFCOM will just say that you agreed to the rules and there's nothing they can do about it. Unless it was on PAYG in which case I'm not 100% sure but it's probably the same thing, mobile networks are very thorough to make sure they don't leave any loopholes.

And although they like to say their here for the customers, their not. There here for the networks.

Remember that T&Cs are just that, terms and conditions that a company would like to hold a contract to, it is not law. If the regulator decides to act in the consumers interest they can overturn this. In this case as it is unlikely as phones have been locked to network for years and we have no laws to prevent this. But never let the T&C ever scare you as a lot of them if challenged aren't worth the paper that they are written on.
 

C is for COOKIE

macrumors newbie
Jul 20, 2009
22
0
I think some people need to read European Union Council Directive 93/13/EEC

I'd call being bound by contract terms, after you've completed your 18 month contract quite unfair..especially since O2 will unlock every other phone they have.
 

brisweeney

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2008
202
0
Dublin,Ireland
good direction to go, in the UK at least.

ive just sent a letter to O2 detailing the various EU directive and common contract law that they are breaching with the current iPhone contract.

im still waiting on a reply, how ever im not holding my breath. ill be giving them a further 5 business days then ill be instructing a solicitor who specialises in contract law to contact them, with basically the same letter i sent, them, but coming from a solicitor you'd be surprised what can happen! :)

ive already had a solicitor look over my letter to them and she confirmed that the breaches i found in the contract are enough to void it and there for force O2 to unlock the phones of all eligable customers.

hopefuly if enough people complain to OfCom about this the pressure will mount from all sides
 

kAoTiX

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2008
487
0
Midlands, UK
I love things like this. The only problem being that o2 has a legal 'team' not a single lawyer and a whole pot of money to throw at things like this.

I bid you all good luck but feel you are fighting a loosing battle unless you too have an endless pot of money or can fight it yourself.

Please keep us updated I certainly do want to know how this pans out.
 

jmmo20

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2006
1,122
91
Telefonica is also refusing to unlock all iphones in Spain too. They claim the iphone has a special contract (which no one has seen, by the way) whereby unlocks will only be provided after the 24 month contract is over.

For any other mobile phone it is 12 month.

They aren't any laws in Spain regarding SIM unlock, only a general letter/recommendation from the spanish OFCOM (CMT) that says carriers should unlock mobile phone, but provides no time framework for this.

Could you explain what those european directives tell?
Also, if you post the letter maybe that'd be of some help for us in Spain :)

after all, i'm sad you are being ripped off by a Spanish company who got all the money they have now by ripping Spaniards off.(Telefonica prices are much higher in Spain than anywhere else in the world where Telefonica Movistar/O2 operates).
 

efp1

macrumors 6502
Oct 3, 2008
337
22
UK
Telefonica is also refusing to unlock all iphones in Spain too. They claim the iphone has a special contract (which no one has seen, by the way) whereby unlocks will only be provided after the 24 month contract is over.

For any other mobile phone it is 12 month.

They aren't any laws in Spain regarding SIM unlock, only a general letter/recommendation from the spanish OFCOM (CMT) that says carriers should unlock mobile phone, but provides no time framework for this.

Could you explain what those european directives tell?
Also, if you post the letter maybe that'd be of some help for us in Spain :)

after all, i'm sad you are being ripped off by a Spanish company who got all the money they have now by ripping Spaniards off.(Telefonica prices are much higher in Spain than anywhere else in the world where Telefonica Movistar/O2 operates).
You should insist a bit more. If an operator doesn't want to do it, just hang up and call again. I've unlocked 2 iPhones (mine and my girlfriend's) like this.

Once you give them your IMEI, wait a few hours or a day and then insert a SIM card from another company and plug the phone into your computer and open iTunes. Voilà, your iPhone is now unlocked :)
 

instaxgirl

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
1,438
1
Edinburgh, UK
O2 still aren't going to unlock it because in the UK they have no legal obligation to.

Only if Orange and Vodafone start to unlock them will O2 think about it. (Hopefully Orange and Vodafone will have a more reasonable take on it)
 

Pitsy

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 21, 2008
32
0
Well I have had a reply from OfCom, saying they wre now looking into this. Its movement at least.

If enough people start on this route, hopefully it will make a difference.

We can at least hope there is light at the end of the tunnel!!

Otherwise I am going to have to buy a 3gs in the UAE and then I have a UK model sat in the drawer!!! wich is crazy!!

Will keep you updated.

Pitsy
 

jmmo20

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2006
1,122
91
You should insist a bit more. If an operator doesn't want to do it, just hang up and call again. I've unlocked 2 iPhones (mine and my girlfriend's) like this.

Once you give them your IMEI, wait a few hours or a day and then insert a SIM card from another company and plug the phone into your computer and open iTunes. Voilà, your iPhone is now unlocked :)
Believe me it's not like I haven't tried.
I've called more than 20 times and started the unlock process 4 times already. They always call me back saying I need to wait 2 years.
 

efp1

macrumors 6502
Oct 3, 2008
337
22
UK
Believe me it's not like I haven't tried.
I've called more than 20 times and started the unlock process 4 times already. They always call me back saying I need to wait 2 years.
Why don't you try to insert another SIM and plug it into iTunes? Let me know if it works! That's what happened to me the first time. I thought that they hadn't unlocked it because the kept telling me I had to wait 15 days for a text message but that's not true. The process is almost instant and should only take a few hours from calling them to Apple unlocking the phone.

OP: Good luck with unlocking your phone! It's great to have an unlocked phone. I travel throughout Europe a lot and it's great to be able to change SIM cards without worrying about jailbreaking or if it works. I went to London last week and got a free t-mobile SIM card. Paid 2.50 for unlimited internet for 5 days. It's great!
 

jmmo20

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2006
1,122
91
Why don't you try to insert another SIM and plug it into iTunes? Let me know if it works! That's what happened to me the first time. I thought that they hadn't unlocked it because the kept telling me I had to wait 15 days for a text message but that's not true. The process is almost instant and should only take a few hours from calling them to Apple unlocking the phone.

OP: Good luck with unlocking your phone! It's great to have an unlocked phone. I travel throughout Europe a lot and it's great to be able to change SIM cards without worrying about jailbreaking or if it works. I went to London last week and got a free t-mobile SIM card. Paid 2.50 for unlimited internet for 5 days. It's great!
I have lots of sim cards from abroad and none managed to unlock the iphone :(
 

goosnarrggh

macrumors 68000
May 16, 2006
1,570
2
I think some people need to read European Union Council Directive 93/13/EEC

I'd call being bound by contract terms, after you've completed your 18 month contract quite unfair..especially since O2 will unlock every other phone they have.
Ok, let's follow this path of reasoning for a little while.

Let's say you do terminate your contract, and as such, the carrier no longer has the power to enforce any contractual provisions. As such, you are no longer bound by the contractual provision saying you waive your right to attempt to unlock the phone or use it with a different carrier. (I don't even know for sure that any such contractual provision exists, but let's say for the moment that it does.)

That's fine, you now have permission to attempt to unlock the phone, if you can find someone who is willing and able to do it.

But is there any point of law or regulation which actually imposes an obligation (a policy written in restrictive rather than permissive language) on either the manufacturer or the carrier, which makes it mandatory for them to give you the unlocking service you're asking for?

The contract is terminated, and as such, the carrier no longer has any contractual obligations that outlive the life of the contract either! So, the carrier has no contractual obligation to provide you with any sort of service at all, least of all an unlocking service.

So let's take it back to Apple. Did you ever have a contractual agreement with Apple in the first place? Does that agreement outlive your contract with the carrier?

If your agreement with Apple does outlive your contract with the carrier, then doesn't that agreement (the software EULA) also say that you won't attempt to make any modifications to the iPhone's software unless Apple authorises it? And if Apple chooses not to offer a modification that unlocks the phone, then aren't they within their rights to choose not to authorise such a modification?

If your agreement with Apple doesn't outlive your contract with the carrier, then Apple, too, has no obligation to provide you with any further service, much less unlocking the phone.
 

brisweeney

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2008
202
0
Dublin,Ireland
at least telefonica offers to unlock the phone in spain after 2 years, here in ireland, and i believe the uk they will not unlock it even after the 18 month contract. which is the basis for my claim that in places an unlawful restraint of trade on the consumer, as after 18 months you own the phone, as it has been paid for in full after recieving it at a subsidised price.

here is the european council directive relating to unfair contract terms, scroll down to the bottom for the text. if you live in europe and believe your networks contract is unfair, write to them quoting this directive, or write to your local european rep.

its also worth looking into your countries contract laws relating to unfair contracts.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31993L0013:EN:NOT
 

brisweeney

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2008
202
0
Dublin,Ireland
Ok, let's follow this path of reasoning for a little while.

Let's say you do terminate your contract, and as such, the carrier no longer has the power to enforce any contractual provisions. As such, you are no longer bound by the contractual provision saying you waive your right to attempt to unlock the phone or use it with a different carrier. (I don't even know for sure that any such contractual provision exists, but let's say for the moment that it does.)

That's fine, you now have permission to attempt to unlock the phone, if you can find someone who is willing and able to do it

But is there any point of law or regulation which actually imposes an obligation (a policy written in restrictive rather than permissive language) on either the manufacturer or the carrier, which makes it mandatory for them to give you the unlocking service you're asking for?

The contract is terminated, and as such, the carrier no longer has any contractual obligations that outlive the life of the contract either! So, the carrier has no contractual obligation to provide you with any sort of service at all, least of all an unlocking service.

So let's take it back to Apple. Did you ever have a contractual agreement with Apple in the first place? Does that agreement outlive your contract with the carrier?

If your agreement with Apple does outlive your contract with the carrier, then doesn't that agreement (the software EULA) also say that you won't attempt to make any modifications to the iPhone's software unless Apple authorises it? And if Apple chooses not to offer a modification that unlocks the phone, then aren't they within their rights to choose not to authorise such a modification?

If your agreement with Apple doesn't outlive your contract with the carrier, then Apple, too, has no obligation to provide you with any further service, much less unlocking the phone.
what you have said there(underlined) is one of the main points i am making. when you complete your contract with the network they can no longer impose any terms of a contract on you, when you complete your contract the phone is yours to do as you please with, not unlocking a phone(the iPhone being the only phone O2 carry that they wont unlock at the end of a contract) places an unlawful restriction of trade upon the consumer, because the device is your property you are free to do with it as you wish, use it, sell it etc, if it is locked you are restricted to what you can do with the device.
 

Interpolation

macrumors regular
Jan 11, 2008
124
0
How does this effect PAYG iphones. In reality you never sign a contract, you buy the phone, so would not that mean that you own the phone already, and should be able to change provider. Otherwise as stated before O2 are providing an unlawful restriction of trade upon the consumer.
 

goosnarrggh

macrumors 68000
May 16, 2006
1,570
2
what you have said there(underlined) is one of the main points i am making. when you complete your contract with the network they can no longer impose any terms of a contract on you, when you complete your contract the phone is yours to do as you please with, not unlocking a phone(the iPhone being the only phone O2 carry that they wont unlock at the end of a contract) places an unlawful restriction of trade upon the consumer, because the device is your property you are free to do with it as you wish, use it, sell it etc, if it is locked you are restricted to what you can do with the device.
But they are not forcing you to maintain a contract with them. If you find a 3rd party hack to remove the SIM lock, then you are perfectly within your rights to use that hack, and O2 will not attempt to take any action against you.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,218
1,584
I think your all going about this the wrong way. Unlike a normal mobile phone where o2 would send an unlock code to you the iPhone needs to be unlocked through apple. I personally would contact apple with proof of a spent 18 month contract and ask them to unlock it.
 

Interpolation

macrumors regular
Jan 11, 2008
124
0
Someone on the O2 forum wrote to O2, and this is what he got back

"Thank you for your email requesting an unlatching code for your iPhone.

When iPhones are purchased they are tethered to the O2 network and Apple do not supply codes to untether them.

In the contracts it states that iPhones will remain tethered to O2 during and after the contract end date and, if you go to a mobile phone shop and ask them to untether the handset, the warranty will be invalidated and you may have problems with applications.

We may, in future, be able to obtain the codes from Apple when we are no longer the sole supplier, but have not been told that this is the case.

I'm sorry that I can't be of more help. "

So maybe the way to go is to talk to apple and ask them to unlock it.

Also the person had a PAYG phone, so there is no contract with those, which means that they did even bother to read hsi email correctly and just sent out a standard letter.

Also looks like O2 has had 100's of complaints on this topic.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,218
1,584
Why are people under the assumption there is no pay as you go contact?