AT&T now providing unlock codes - except for iPhone

Due to a settlement of a class action lawsuit, AT&T has a agreed to unlock all of the phones the company has sold since March 12, 1999 with the exception of -- you guessed it -- Apple's iPhone. Unlocking the iPhone would mean you'd be able to take the phone and pop in any other GSM carrier sim card and have a fully functional device to travel with... or just run on T-Mobile EDGE. When push came to shove it appears even the courts can not force the carrier to unlock the jewel of the smartphone world:

"Cingular and AT&T Mobility current and former customers, upon request and where available, codes that unlock AT&T Wireless, Cingular and AT&T Mobility handsets other than (i) the Apple iPhone; or (ii) any handset that AT&T Mobility introduces or has introduced for sale pursuant to a contract with a handset manufacturer that provides for an exclusivity period of ten (10) months or longer (“AT&T Handset”)."

I guess this is one of the reasons we still have the good folks in the Dev-Team. Now did any of you really expect anything more?

[BGR]

Jeremy

Community editor. Tech enthusiast. All-around geek.

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AT&T now providing unlock codes - except for iPhone

26 Comments

So question. Once a phone is out of it's exclusive period. Does AT&T have to provide an unlock code for that phone or am I understanding wrong?

I'm guessing they don't have to since it even states they don't have to provide them in the first place so I'm not sure why they're even doing it. I guess nobody would take the other phones onto another network?

Old news :) posted on bgr yesterday.
@eagle - I don't think there is enough info there to tell. From that, though, I don't believe AT&T will ever be required to unlock the iPhone.

They won't provide the unlock code regardless of how old the phone is. They lose their ass in people scamming with this phone.

Wait did I get this right?? So if you haven been with AT&T for a period of time contract is done they can issue you an unlocked code for that phone !?

This is so common in The Netherlands. When the contract is done, the phone is yours and the provider has to unlock it upon your request. You can then move on to any other provider you like.

Right now not so much of a big deal to us USA people, the T unlocks it and who you gonna run to? T-mob? Nope! The unlocked phone won't work on Verizon or Sprint. I can see people who travel a lot get really excited about this, but to the average Joe this is just another story.
Now when all the networks are on LTE, if the phone is capable of operating on multiple carrier's bands, then this is gonna be a good thing!

You're sorta right. I don't travel a lot n I wouldn't go on t/moblile with my iPhone or any other phone. However it's all about having the choice to jump on another carrier with ur old GSM phone after your contract is up.

That's one thing going for o2 in the UK.
They'll unlock your iPhone even if it's still in contract free of charge. All you have to do is visit a webpage and fill in a small form.

Would be nice to get unlock codes for my out-of-contract older iPhones like the original and 3G. Then I wouldn't need to mess around with the hassle of JB and unlock. The only reason I've ever JB is to unlock retired phones. Oh well. One can dream.

Way to go ATT...keep up the great PR...looking forward to you putting the screws to me with tethering!

In the past I tried to get the unlock for a Centro I had...ATT basically told me to piss off. After reading this I called and within 5 minutes I had the code and unlocked the phone. Cool.

Interesting. The only time I've ever had difficulty getting AT&T to give me an unlock code was when I terminated my contract and didn't pay the balance. That was before the iPhone though.

Thanks for the info on cell phone unlocking. I like cellular phones and work at a little cell phone shop where we unlock phones and mod them for people. Add http://free-cell-phone-unlock.com to your list of free cell phone unlock sites, I use the downloads there a lot to help me unlock phones for customers, don't be mad but hey I have to make a living some kinda way!! lol.
Anyways, I figured you could use that in your bag of tricks too :-)

This post seems to recieve a good ammount of visitors. How do you promote it? It gives a nice unique spin on things. I guess having something real or substantial to talk about is the most important thing.

Ive just bought a second hand iphone 3gs and im confused that should i contact the carrier at&t to get it unlocked OR should i contact apple OR should i go through the unlocking steps you see on the net...
my concern with the last one is that i have a imac and use itunes what would be the issues with using itunes for apps and tunes?

Basically what it means is that you have to know your life beforehand if you're buying the iPhone with your own money. If you ever have to live in another country that AT&T does not roam, you're gonna be sitting with a $600 ipod. How much is the roaming again? I don't understand why Apple or AT&T can't or won't do anything about it. It's not like a $5 phone which I can just trash if I can't use it overseas. Do I have to deal with selling it back the US? I know it can be jailbroken after a while but there are people who prefer's original Apple software that they can upgrade when available. I was a big fan of apple but this iPhone is just nerve wrecking every time I see it. I like Apple products so much that I bought an officially unlocked 3GS and my iPhone 4 that I bought i the US hoping that I would live in the US for a while. Apple! Please wake up! I know Apple's gaining customers minute by minute and their stock is doing great and probably they don't care about situations like mine here and there. However, from a different perspective, they must handle situations like mine if they can brag they're such a great corporation.

Awesome graphic! AT&T still wants to hold onto the best phone they have but its getting more interesting with the iPhone on Verizon (albeit a limited version). With the newer Android phones coming out there and the rise in their market share, the iPhone isn't going to be their cash cow anymore anyways. They just have to offer the right incentives to their current data munching iPhone users to keep them on. The success of their version of 4g will also matter a lot to their future.

what iz thiss??? 4g iz not a cheap phone and then when u get to know its locked... at&t locked... u cant even sell it// i went to shops no1 even buys it n if they do buy they buy it 50% cheaper... plz do sumthng apple!!!

AT&T gave me my 16 Digit Unlock code, actually 2 x 16 digit codes, for my original iPad 3G. Somehow it got locked and I couldn't access 3G. Since I am able to Lock and Unlock my SIM, am I able to change carriers?
Settings/Cellular Data/Sim PIN On-OFF "Change Pin"
ipad 3.2

this is stupid, as in any country you can find someone that unlocks the phone for 80 bucks ! Why doesn't AT&T take this amount or half of it and unlck the iPhone instead of others?!!!

We should form another class action suit against AT&T since the iPhone is no longer exclusive to them. I do understand their holding back if the phone is still under contract, but not if you're out or if you've purchased an iPhone frm an independent source. It is our right to be able to do whatever we like with the phone we purchased! AT&T is just acting like a monopoly, which, last time I checked, is illegal in the US!

iFactoryunlock.com is also offering this service at the same price. According to Twitter and Facebook they were even first to realese it.