Carrier Unlock your AT&T Next Device or Device still in contract for FREE (YMMV)

noobinator

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Original poster
Jun 19, 2009
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This thread was started as one thing but is now all about unlocking AT&T phones that are still on contract or still have next payments left, see bottom of this post for original thread details



Many people are reporting that AT&T is now approving their unlock requests even if the phones are still on contract or if they still owe money on their NEXT device. Some have reported that trying multiple times has lead to success.

Take a few minutes to read this thread and try your luck at this link:

https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/#/






Original thread text: I bought an AT&T iPhone 6 Plus through NEXT and paid it off just now. I have requested an unlock so I can switch to T-Mobile.

Will this phone operate the same on T-Mobile's network as the one sold with a T-Mobile sim from Apple? Meaning is their any benefit to owning the unlocked iPhones sold by Apple (T-mobile and the newly unlocked one) over a device sold as an AT&T iPhone?


Funny side story: I paid off the AT&T NEXT device and was trying to unlock and they were giving me the runaround asking why i wanted to unlock. Asking where I'm travelling to and why i would want an unlocked phone. I just said, because it is paid for and it's mine now and I want it unlocked.
 
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T5BRICK

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Aug 3, 2006
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Will this phone operate the same on T-Mobile's network as the one sold with a T-Mobile sim from Apple? Meaning is their any benefit to owning the unlocked iPhones sold by Apple (T-mobile and the newly unlocked one) over a device sold as an AT&T iPhone?
The AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon devices are all the same.

The new sim free models are actually the same as the Sprint phones aside from being unlocked and have a few additional bands that the AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon devices don't have.

The only real benefit to the new unlocked phone over the other devices is that it is fully unlocked and it works on more networks. If you only plan on using AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon, your unlocked AT&T phone will do that just fine.
 

TheAppleFairy

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Mar 28, 2013
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FYI Request the unlock online. I have two iPhone 6's both on NEXT and both are not paid off yet.

I requested an unlock via their website. with my iPhone 6 and it was unlocked immediately.

I then requested for my wife (who is going to Japan in March and wants to use her phone) and it was denied because it said it was in contract.
I sent in a second request and it said it was denied because of NEXT. I sent in a 3rd request and they said, congratulations your phone is now unlocked.

I tested both phones with my sim out of my work phone (verizon).


Bottom line, request on their website and then request again and again and you will get it unlocked for free.
 

ssl0408

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Sep 22, 2013
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FYI Request the unlock online. I have two iPhone 6's both on NEXT and both are not paid off yet.

I requested an unlock via their website. with my iPhone 6 and it was unlocked immediately.

I then requested for my wife (who is going to Japan in March and wants to use her phone) and it was denied because it said it was in contract.
I sent in a second request and it said it was denied because of NEXT. I sent in a 3rd request and they said, congratulations your phone is now unlocked.

I tested both phones with my sim out of my work phone (verizon).


Bottom line, request on their website and then request again and again and you will get it unlocked for free.
Thanks for the suggestion. I did what you suggested and my unlock request was approved! I have an iPhone 6 on NEXT that is not paid off as well but it is now unlocked. I did the restore through iTunes and got the "congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked" message. Can't believe they approved it!!
 

TheAppleFairy

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Mar 28, 2013
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The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
Thanks for the suggestion. I did what you suggested and my unlock request was approved! I have an iPhone 6 on NEXT that is not paid off as well but it is now unlocked. I did the restore through iTunes and got the "congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked" message. Can't believe they approved it!!
Glad it worked for you. I will still keep my plan and pay my NEXT, but now I can use it when I travel to Japan. My wife and kids go often and I go sometimes too.
 

mattopotamus

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Jun 12, 2012
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The AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon devices are all the same.

The new sim free models are actually the same as the Sprint phones aside from being unlocked and have a few additional bands that the AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon devices don't have.

The only real benefit to the new unlocked phone over the other devices is that it is fully unlocked and it works on more networks. If you only plan on using AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon, your unlocked AT&T phone will do that just fine.
Perfectly explained. I bolded the last part b.c verizon will not activate a phone that is not the verizon model or the unlocked model.
 

noobinator

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Original poster
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Pasadena, CA
Thanks all. My unlock requested was granted about an hour after I submitted it online.

Will be switching to T-Mobile as soon as my number is ported over.
 

noobinator

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Jun 19, 2009
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I'm not sure if the 3 request trick works because I tried numerous times to get mine unlocked and was denied in quick order many times.
 
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TheAppleFairy

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Mar 28, 2013
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The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
I'm not sure if the 3 request trick works because I tried numerous times to get mine unlocked and was denied in quick order many times.
I don't think it is 3 times and you're a go. It is just a matter of who is approving it seems. Two phones on my account and one was approved instantly the other took 3 tries.

Do it enough and I bet it will get approved. Use the online request form.
 

noobinator

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Original poster
Jun 19, 2009
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Pasadena, CA
I don't think it is 3 times and you're a go. It is just a matter of who is approving it seems. Two phones on my account and one was approved instantly the other took 3 tries.

Do it enough and I bet it will get approved. Use the online request form.
Well it's a moot point for me now since I paid it off and had it unlocked today. But I'm hoping someone else tries on a newer NEXT device and posts the results.
 

ssl0408

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Sep 22, 2013
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Well it's a moot point for me now since I paid it off and had it unlocked today. But I'm hoping someone else tries on a newer NEXT device and posts the results.
I've had my iPhone 6 for a month purchased via NEXT, and as I stated the unlock request was approved today on the first try. I used iTunes to restore and unlock. I have no plans to leave AT&T though.
 

romeo.xk

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Mar 26, 2009
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After seen this thread I sent my request to have my iphone 6+ that I got with a 2 year contract, and my request was granted within 5 minutes, did the restore with iTunes, since I do not have a sim card from another carrier, and got the "unlocked message".
 
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ssl0408

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Sep 22, 2013
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After seen this thread I sent my request to have my iphone 6+ that I got with a 2 year contract, and my request was granted within 5 minutes, did the restore with iTunes, since I do not have a sim card from another carrier, and got the "unlocked message".
That's great! I wonder why they're approving the unlock requests now. I am happy I was able to get it.
 

ET iPhone Home

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Oct 5, 2011
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The AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon devices are all the same.

The new sim free models are actually the same as the Sprint phones aside from being unlocked and have a few additional bands that the AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon devices don't have.

The only real benefit to the new unlocked phone over the other devices is that it is fully unlocked and it works on more networks. If you only plan on using AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon, your unlocked AT&T phone will do that just fine.
Can you explain further why the sim-free iPhone is similar to Sprint's? I don't understand this. Have prior factory unlocked iPhones - have they always been similar to Sprint?

I recently left Sprint after 15 years with them. After reading your post, the last thing I wanted was a Sprint iPhone. I am using my sim-free 6+ on ATT now, but what I don't understand is why my sim-free is similar to Sprint's (CDMA) iPhone. Shouldn't it be more like ATT and T-Mobile?
 

T5BRICK

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Can you explain further why the sim-free iPhone is similar to Sprint's? I don't understand this. Have prior factory unlocked iPhones - have they always been similar to Sprint?
Prior sim free iPhones have been the same as the AT&T model.

I recently left Sprint after 15 years with them. After reading your post, the last thing I wanted was a Sprint iPhone. I am using my sim-free 6+ on ATT now, but what I don't understand is why my sim-free is similar to Sprint's (CDMA) iPhone. Shouldn't it be more like ATT and T-Mobile?
The sim free iPhone is the same hardware as the iPhone that Sprint sells. The difference being that the sim free iPhone is fully unlocked, whereas the Sprint iPhone is locked and as far as I know, will never be unlocked.

The Sprint iPhone has all of the same GSM capability of the AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon in addition to the added bands needed for Sprint.
 

scaredpoet

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Apr 6, 2007
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Can you explain further why the sim-free iPhone is similar to Sprint's? I don't understand this. Have prior factory unlocked iPhones - have they always been similar to Sprint?
The unlocked SIM free iPhone 6/Plus have the following four additional LTE bands:

38 (TD 2600)
39 (TD 1900)
40 (TD 2300)
41 (TD 2500)

As does the Sprint version.

Does this matter to you? Only if you plan on ever using your phone on Sprint, or traveling to some Asian countries and expect to roam exclusively on LTE. If not, you have nothing to worry about, either way.

The T-Mobile/Verizon/AT&T version of the phone lacks the additional four bands. Why? Who knows. They will, however, technically work just fine on 3G networks in all countries with 3G network carriers, including the fake "4G" HSPA+ networks. They'll even work fine on old 2G networks internationally as well.

Technically, they would also work in a 3G capacity at least on Sprint, but Sprint, for policy reasons only, will not allow a non-Sprint phone to work on their network. Truth be told, 2014/2015 marks the first time Sprint has allowed any device not specifically locked to Sprint to be activated on its network (those devices being, the iPad Air 2, and the SIM free iPhone 6/Plus).


I recently left Sprint after 15 years with them. After reading your post, the last thing I wanted was a Sprint iPhone. I am using my sim-free 6+ on ATT now, but what I don't understand is why my sim-free is similar to Sprint's (CDMA) iPhone. Shouldn't it be more like ATT and T-Mobile?
It's technically capable of working just fine on T-Mobile and AT&T, and even Verizon, just as good as the phones sold by those carriers for their networks. You have nothing to worry about.
 

ET iPhone Home

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Oct 5, 2011
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Prior sim free iPhones have been the same as the AT&T model.



The sim free iPhone is the same hardware as the iPhone that Sprint sells. The difference being that the sim free iPhone is fully unlocked, whereas the Sprint iPhone is locked and as far as I know, will never be unlocked.

The Sprint iPhone has all of the same GSM capability of the AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon in addition to the added bands needed for Sprint.
Does this mean, the sim-free iPhone, is more CDMA than it is GSM? I thought, international countries were more GSM base than they are CDMA. Anyway… I take it that the sim-free has both CDMA and GSM radios built within it.
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
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Does this mean, the sim-free iPhone, is more CDMA than it is GSM?
No. Both models have CDMA and GSM. There is no difference in that respect.


I thought, international countries were more GSM base than they are CDMA. Anyway… I take it that the sim-free has both CDMA and GSM radios built within it.
Correct. The Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile version does too. Again, the only difference is in LTE bands.
 

HarryWild

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2012
1,637
467
I bought an AT&T iPhone 6 Plus through NEXT and paid it off just now. I have requested an unlock so I can switch to T-Mobile.

Will this phone operate the same on T-Mobile's network as the one sold with a T-Mobile sim from Apple? Meaning is their any benefit to owning the unlocked iPhones sold by Apple (T-mobile and the newly unlocked one) over a device sold as an AT&T iPhone?


Funny side story: I paid off the AT&T NEXT device and was trying to unlock and they were giving me the runaround asking why i wanted to unlock. Asking where I'm travelling to and why i would want an unlocked phone. I just said, because it is paid for and it's mine now and I want it unlocked.
Starting in February; it the law! The carrier has to unlock your phone if it is paid for! If not they get a huffy fine from FCC and bad press to boot!
 

ET iPhone Home

macrumors 68040
Oct 5, 2011
3,766
502
Orange County, California USA
The unlocked SIM free iPhone 6/Plus have the following four additional LTE bands:

38 (TD 2600)
39 (TD 1900)
40 (TD 2300)
41 (TD 2500)

As does the Sprint version.

Does this matter to you? Only if you plan on ever using your phone on Sprint, or traveling to some Asian countries and expect to roam exclusively on LTE. If not, you have nothing to worry about, either way.

The T-Mobile/Verizon/AT&T version of the phone lacks the additional four bands. Why? Who knows. They will, however, technically work just fine on 3G networks in all countries with 3G network carriers, including the fake "4G" HSPA+ networks. They'll even work fine on old 2G networks internationally as well.

Technically, they would also work in a 3G capacity at least on Sprint, but Sprint, for policy reasons only, will not allow a non-Sprint phone to work on their network. Truth be told, 2014/2015 marks the first time Sprint has allowed any device not specifically locked to Sprint to be activated on its network (those devices being, the iPad Air 2, and the SIM free iPhone 6/Plus).




It's technically capable of working just fine on T-Mobile and AT&T, and even Verizon, just as good as the phones sold by those carriers for their networks. You have nothing to worry about.
I appreciate you taking the time to explain all this. It makes more sense. Thanks!
 

Bearxor

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2007
658
146
I paid off the AT&T NEXT device and was trying to unlock and they were giving me the runaround asking why i wanted to unlock. Asking where I'm travelling to and why i would want an unlocked phone. I just said, because it is paid for and it's mine now and I want it unlocked.
I always just tell them "to use on a different carrier." I don't think they care, they probably just have a field to fill out in their system. if you ask them to do the unlock request for you I'm pretty sure they just fill out the online form.

Thinking about it some more, if you lie about it and say something like "to use overseas" when you actually just want to use it on tmobile, that probably hurts us more than anything. If they're collecting the data and they see "Oh, a lot of people want to take their phones to a different carrier" it would probably help in getting better pricing and options. As opposed to "because I want to" which they can't really respond to.
 
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