Question about carrier contracts

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by tey112, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. tey112 macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2011
    I've been using an unlocked iPhone4 for a while now, but I have confused myself.

    Why is it that our phones are locked for 2 years (assuming two year contract), even though we are fulfilling both parts of our contract (one or the other):
    1) Paying the monthly fee.
    2) Paying an early termination fee if canceling.

    Can some explain why it is that if I am paying the monthly fee, I still can't use [my] phone? Or, if you pay the etf, will they unlock the phone for you immediately?

  2. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario

    if you buy a locked phone your know that from the start and you get a subsidized price, if you buy it unlocked its unlocked
  3. tey112 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2011
    I'm probably just being an idiot, but this is the scenario I am thinking about:

    I buy the phone at a subsidized price and pay the monthly fee. One day, I decide to go to Europe for a week and want to use a local provider's sim. Since I am not canceling my contract (aka still paying the monthly fee), why can't I just use the other sim? (In this case, I can see that att would like to make money off of the insane roaming rates, but if I was doing the same thing in the states, but using T-Mobile for whatever reason, why should they care?)

    I have no idea where the contract is to read it, but it seems like the main point of it is to get the monthly fee. If I am paying it, why should they care what I do with the phone?
  4. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    It's because American carriers are greedy. No other reason for it, really. Especially since they don't unlock even when the contract ends. I think it's a law in Europe that carriers unlock phones when contracts end.
  5. Agent-P macrumors 68030


    Dec 5, 2009
    The Tri-State Area
    Yup. This is also why we have suckish monthly fees. I wish carriers here would unlock our phones for us after our contracts ended like they do in Europe.
  6. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    AT&T will unlock just about any phone except for the iPhone if you request it.
    There are certain criteria you must meet before they will do it, but they will do it if you ask.

    Long time customers in good standing can have their subsidized phone unlocked as early as 6 months into their two year contract.
    AT&T unlocked my Atrix (got it in Feb.) a few days ago. Didn't even have to call them. Did it all through their online chat support.

    New customers must wait 12-18 months. (varies based contract and phone)

    AT&T will also unlock your phone if you cancel the contract and pay the ETF.

    The iPhone is one of the only phones I know of that they will not unlock.
    Don't know why, but I suspect it has to do with some contractual agreement between them and Apple.

    There are other rare cases in which they will unlock early, but I don't have any specifics on them.
  7. ParagJain macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2011

    They got to care mate.. here's the scenario,

    someone with L1 or H1 category visa travels to USA, gets a contract phone, works for 6 months, leaves usa and probably doesn't return...he'll not pay either his credit card bill or the monthly due to service provider right??

    So now, this dude, bought a subsidized phone and then, didn't pay the service provider too...big losses i can imagine...that's why all this lock and unlock is needed.
  8. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    I call false.

    They do a credit report. If you have ****/no credit you'll get charged a security deposit. I've heard of some utilities charging 300. If they charged that or even more they'd 1. secure themselves 2. not have to lock phones based on that reasoning.
  9. ParagJain macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2011
    False - Don't think buddy, i am in India the moment and belive me, seeing quite a few folks having iPhones or other high end phones for that matter with the scenario I just mentioned.

    btw, the credit report that you are talking, having a good repo with credit card companies for a year and a steady good income to your bank, the credit report is all good.

    For folks who want to cheat, they don't buy iphones on day one of them landing to usa, they buy it when they are about to leave the country after spending good 1 year or more ....
  10. AppleFanatic10 macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2010
    Encino, CA
    Wirelessly posted (Verizon iPhone 4: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_8 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8E401 Safari/6533.18.5)

    It's sad how American cellphone companies won't unlock the iPhone. When I lived in Germany they would unlock ANY phone (including the iPhone) when the contract was up. I'm guessing AT&T wants you to sign up for another contract so you can continue using the iPhone on their network and give them more money. Which sucks btw. Especially if you want to go to another company for whatever reason.
  11. ParagJain macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2011
    yes, its better for the laws of the country to ensure that unlocked phones are always available at full price...that gives more flexibility and freedom to the consumers.

    thank god, Oz phones have always been available unlocked.

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