Technical question on official carrier unlocks

Discussion in 'Jailbreaks and iOS Hacks' started by jent, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. jent macrumors 6502a

    jent

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    #1
    For iPhones that start off locked and are officially unlocked by the carrier, is it simply a policy that those carriers only unlock their own phones, or is there a technical reason this is so? If I'm able to go abroad on vacation and "mistakenly" insist that my locked GSM iPhone bought in the U.S. (on AT&T obviously) was bought on their country on their network, can they simply plug my IMEI into their database and give me an official carrier unlock?

    I'm guessing that every carrier in every country checks the IMEI and serial number against a database on phones from their network, but is it simply policy to not unlock other carrier's phones or technically impossible?

    Please do not post comments about unlocks via other means, as there are countless threads on that and that information is easily accessible. This topic of official carrier unlocks on originally-locked phones is uncharted, and I'm be curious if it's possible to get around the policy by insisting that my American iPhone is actually with [insert name of local carrier that does official unlocks in the country of your choosing]. Thanks!
     
  2. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #2
    If you bought your iPhone on their network, then it shouldn't need to be unlocked again. I don't know if they have access to iPhone IEMIs that are only on their network or all iPhones, so you will have to find out yourself. I would assume they would know that your iPhone wasn't from their carrier since there would be no need to unlock it again.

    If you want to try that game, I would tell them you were vacationing in the US and your iPhone broke. You went to the Apple Store, got it switched with an AT&T locked one unknowingly, and now it won't work in Europe.

    Thing is, they might ask you for account information and all that other stuff, so that's another problem.
     
  3. flyingninjas macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    #3
    all im going to add is that not all carriers sell locked iphones, some in places like Australia and some countries in Europe sell factory unlocked iphones.
     
  4. jent thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jent

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    #4
    Very true. In this case, I'm looking to have a carrier officially unlock my locked iPhone, since AT&T won't.
     
  5. SideStepSociety macrumors 6502

    SideStepSociety

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #5
    Kind of a slight hijack here, if one were to get an official carrier unlock, would that also remove some of the "branding" thrown on by the carrier?

    I've got a Rogers phone in Canada, and noticed after every restore there's always a bookmark in Safari for the Rogers homepage. Is this some data that's included from the carrier as it's a locked phone? Where exactly is this coming from? Not that it bothers me at all, I can simply delete it, I'm just curious to know how it actually works. Surely it's not something written in the phone itself.

    Is it maybe on the SIM card or "installed" once the phone is activated after a restore?
     
  6. eastercat, May 1, 2011
    Last edited: May 1, 2011

    eastercat macrumors 68040

    eastercat

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    PDX
    #6
    Not going to happen. Carriers unlock their own phones; they won't unlock another carrier's phones. They have no reason to send in an unlock to apple for a phone that's not theirs. They can check your phone against the apple database for country of origin and/or carrier, so you can't argue that your phone belongs to their network.
    Do you really think you're the first to have thought of this?:rolleyes:
    Sell your phone and buy a factory unlocked if it's that important to you.
     
  7. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #7
    Its not gonna happen.
    They cannot unlock a phone that wasnt locked/sold for their network.
    Its been like this for years now.
     
  8. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #8
    You can try vodafone, there is this thread where someone claimed it works. however it doesn't seem to work all the time it depends on how lazy the person who gets your request is.

    They aren't officially supposed to unlock phones from other carriers but it appears they can.
     
  9. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #9
    Supposedly a similar situation with O2 as well - they officially only unlock their own phones, but if the CSR doesn't bother verifying the IMEI, it goes through.
     
  10. eastercat macrumors 68040

    eastercat

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    PDX
    #10
    That may be the case, but I imagine they'd check the imei of someone who doesn't have an English accent. :rolleyes:
     
  11. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #11
    Should've been more clear - some (very few... for all I know they may be lying) had luck w/ the online chat representatives. Obviously YMMV.

    Besides, is it that implausible that someone would be studying abroad or something like that in the UK?
     
  12. bbmiLo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    #12
    Won't work because it's easy to tell the origin of an iPhone.

    When I was in Apple store in Shanghai, China, they did not even need my IMEI or any info, they simply looked at the back of the phone, and knew it was a USA version. So you can not fool them.

    Further more, in China, Apple has a new rule recently, that they won't even repair/service an iPhone if it's out of region, because in some repair/service cases, they would need to replace the internal board which gives you an unlocked China version phone.
     
  13. eastercat macrumors 68040

    eastercat

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    PDX
    #13
    A student doing a temporary study abroad will bring a phone from home. Why would they go to the unnecessary expense of buying a phone that can only be used in that country? Most people don't understand concepts like unlocking, especially in the US.
     
  14. SirithX macrumors 6502

    SirithX

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #14
    There's never any guarantees, but there have been a few people that have been able to do it in the past as people have said. Social engineering can go a LONG way (probably why in the IT world social engineering is one of the biggest security concerns for companies) - that plus a particularly lazy CSR and maybe some luck can get what you need.
     
  15. yamabushi macrumors 65816

    yamabushi

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    #15
    official unlock

    If you told your current carrier that you are moving out of the country to an area where they do not offer service they may provide an unlock code. You would have to agree to close that account and settle up any money owed including early cancellation fees. Also, sometimes carriers will waive or reduce cancellation fees if you are moving out of the country. Generally AT&T has not been generous in either matter.
     

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