Will AT&T unlock iPhone for you?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ikarus79m, May 18, 2007.

  1. ikarus79m macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2006
    I am planning to use the iPhone overseas while traveling. Will AT&T unlock the phone for you?

    I read an interesting article about it and that got me wondering....

  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Legally, I believe they have to, perhaps someone could confirm it though?
  3. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    I don't think that they have to in the US, in Europe I believe that they have to.
  4. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    I'm not sure, but I've always heard that legally they can't stop you, but don't have to help you. In the case of the iPhone I bet they'd be extremely reluctant at best.
  5. Luis macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    Costa Rica
    So the iPhone would be simlocked (we suppose) but will the software prevent it from recognizing anoter sim card?
  6. kamiboy macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2007
    There are just too many reasons for Apple and Cingular to not allow the phone to be unlocked for me to hope otherwise. Apple is hoping to make money from subscription fees and not from the sale of the Phone, so keeping you forever locked onto Cingular makes financially sense to them.

    Ordinary phones can today be unlocked by giving them to savy individuals that know how to do it without going through the service providers. Perhaps, just perhaps, given time they could do the same for the iPhone. Unless, that is, that Apple has inforced somekind of software/hardware lock that cannot be circumvented through normal means. In that case some form of hax0r hardware/software mod would be required and most likely would introduce too many problems to make it worth while.

    I guess we will all know in about a months time. I sure hope I can hit Ebay for a unlocked ready to go iPhone without any contract soon after its release to take with me to Europe. But I am not keeping my hopes up.
  7. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    AFAIK, Stinkgular won't unlock ANY phones, whether it's an iPhone or a cheapo RAZR. BS if you ask me.

    Gotta love T-Mobile's unlocking policy. I needed my BlackBerry unlocked, so I called them, gave them my IMEI and e-mail addy, and the next day I got an unlock code e-mailed to me. Too bad ATT isn't like that.

    And no, they're not legally required to unlock your phone. I think the law that was passed regarding unlocked phones means that it's legal to unlock a phone (it was illegal? gotta love this country's laws :rolleyes: ) but doesn't require carriers to actually unlock it for you.
  8. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    this would be way number one for AT&T to lose its contract with apple. come on think smarter.
  9. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I guess that's what I was thinking of..
  10. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    Apple is not going to make money off subsciptions directly. The numbers show at least a 50% margin on the iPhone alone. They will be making money on the hardware, and lots of it. Will Apple get some kickback from Cingular? Oh yeah, I am sure.

    I don't think Apple really cares whether it is locked but Cingular does. They know it could be a cash cow. So they want to keep it exclusive and for as long as possible.

    You will be able to pick it up on eBay but you will only be using it on Cingular. Heck even if it was unlocked I wouldn't be surprised if there is something in the iPhone contract that says you can only use it on a Cingular network, so those buying and/or selling it could face some legal action as well as the carriers taking iPhones onto there network.

    Besides, the cool things will be coming from the union of the two, it really doesn't make sense to use it on another network.
  11. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    You don't have to have the iPhone unlocked to use it overseas. It is a GSM phone so it will work in most countries. I have a RAZR thru Cingular now and use it all the time in Europe, Canada, Mexico.
  12. ikarus79m thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2006
    That's not actually true. If your phone has a simlock (as most phone bought through Cingular have) than it only works with a cingular coded sim card! Now, as the article mentioned above states, Cingular does unlock phones for you free of charge if you plan to travel out of state. However, will they follow the same practice with the iPhone?
  13. thejedipunk macrumors regular


    Oct 12, 2005
    Yes, phones have the SIMLock. But who says you need a SIM from whatever country you're going to in order to use the phone? I was in Nicaragua two years ago and my old MOTO phone had reception. The problem is the international roaming rates. It was something like $3 a minute on Cingular. D:

    I think the law has to apply to the iPhone anyway. Like the others have already said, the carriers can't legally stop you from unlocking your phone, but they don't necessarily have to help you unlock it.

    Wouldn't software hacks just to unlock the iPhone void your warranty? Stay tune next month!
  14. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    The law will apply to the iPhone, but it won't change anything. All it says that hacking the phone's firmware or whatever to unlock it isn't illegal and against the DMCA. So someone can hack and reverse engineer it all they want to remove the SIM lock and they're not breaking the law, but as you said, the provider doesn't need to offer assistance.

    Phones are locked, because when you sign a contract, you get a huge discount on the phone and they don't want you going anywhere else, they want you to stay for the length of the contract to help pay for the phone. If the rumors that the iPhone is NOT subsidized by ATT and there are no discounts for signing a contract, then IMO, the iPhone should be sold unlocked
  15. kamiboy macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2007
    What cool things? Visual voice mail is useless for me and as far as I know that is the ONLY thing that comes from marrying iPhone with Cingular.
  16. kamiboy macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2007
    Hold on, I just found this.

    Man, that cingular person sure sounds just like the kind of smug corporate assh*le that makes my blood boil. Now, I really want to buy an iPhone and unlock it just as a in your face to Cingular.

    Seriously, I hope Apple sold out all of their loyal fans for a heck of a lot of money.
  17. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    "Luxury" my arse. Unless dropping calls is a new luxury, if it is, I certainly didn't get the memo.
  18. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I'm not sure what everyone was expecting. Was Apple supposed to create their own cellular network?

    The iPhone was going exclusive (at least for the time being) with one of the networks. If it had been T-Mobile or Verizon or Sprint people would still be complaining (although likely a different set, i guess. Like me :p )
  19. matticus008 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Of course it was illegal. The lock is an access encryption mechanism. The law was passed because the lock served no technical, security-related purpose and therefore interfered with consumers' right to use their phone with any compatible and legal service.

    The two-year contract for the carriers to recoup their subsidy still stands; they're just not allowed to enforce that lock to keep customers stuck to their service.
    Phones don't have contracts. Only service agreements are contracts. If you buy an iPhone on eBay, unlock it (assuming a utility is made available to do so), and pop in a T-Mobile SIM card, it'll work. It will also be legal.

    The Cingular/AT&T service agreement could well stipulate that you may only use the iPhone on their network, but if you don't sign up with Cingular to begin with, they can't enforce anything on you. They can't go after people reselling their iPhones, either.
  20. panamajack macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2006
    Asian/EU versions

    Even if the 1st gen North American is locked, by the time the unlocked Asian/EU version comes out (perhaps a 3rd gen by then?) a device with all the fixings (4G/wimax/802.11n, 32 GB flash HD, iChat AV, robust 3rd party app. support, and MORE!) will be available for a reasonable price !

    A boy can dream can't he ?

    :apple:iPhone: Playing with peoples dreams since 2004.
  21. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    I thought you couldn't remove the SIM in this phone? If that rumor is true, it would be the first GSM phone that I have ever seen without one that is easy to remove by the user. That said, I wouldn't put it past AT&T. Imagine the foreign roaming rates that they are planning to charge.
  22. Eric1285 macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2007
    They won't unlock the phone until the exclusive contract with Apple is up.
  23. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    Aphex is correct, they cannot take any action (like suing you,) to PREVENT you from unlocking it, but they don't have to provide any assistance (either directly in the form of unlocking it for you, or indirectly, in the form of providing information on how to do it.)

    It my guess that it will be some time before an iPhone is unlocked, simply because of the amount of 'lock down' Apple has done. (Combined with the fact that the iPhone uses a different processor architecture than any Mac, so you can't just swap in files the way you can on the AppleTV. Not to mention the lack of removable disk like the AppleTV.)

    I don't doubt that there will be some iPhone hacking done, but it won't be nearly as quick as the AppleTV.
  24. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    My understanding is the phone will not essentially work without a AT&T voice and data plan.

    So you could unlock it to your hearts content, but the phone itself will not even boot up all the way and be fully functional without the right access plan.

    Sounds like they got around the sim unlocking stuff there.

    And by not functional I would suspect you could still use it as a cellphone but nothing else on the phone would actually work. Which would make it the most expensive barebones cell phone you could get.
  25. MarkW19 macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2002
    Surrey, UK
    As long as you've got a way to manuall enter settings (for SMS message centre, voicemail centre, MMS settings, GPRS server settings etc.) then there's no reason why it won't work with any SIM if it's unlocked. I just hope that it's fairly open and Apple haven't just put all the AT&T settings somewhere low-level that you can't get it.

    I think I'll be getting one if there's a pre-paid option, which it now looks like there may well be.

    There seem to be conflicting views about whether AT&T will unlock it for you - do people think it's more LIKELY or UNLIKELY that AT&T will be able to unlock it?

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