AT&T iPhone unlocks, 3 weeks later

Back on April 8th, AT&T started a new unlock policy that gave iPhone users the ability to have their devices unlocked via the carrier as stated in the following statement.

<

blockquote>Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones. The only requirements are that a customer's account must be in good standing, their device cannot be associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T customer account, and they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee.

Well, it has been almost three weeks now, so we decided to check in with the iMore forums and see how things were going. Was it easy? Was it difficult? Was it simply confusing?

One of the most interesting stories came from forum member xandermac, who said his back and forth with AT&T might just have caused them to change their unlocking policy.

Basically, there's been some confusion around contract buyouts and if you could still keep AT&T service after paying your early termination fee. In some cases, AT&T figured if you wanted out, you wanted all the way out. Xandermac did not, he simply wanted his unlock.

Basically, Xandermac was in need of a easy solution to have his iPhone 4S unlocked for travel, but still on AT&T for home use. After email AT&T's CEO, he was escalated to the Office of the President, and granted the ability to pay his early termination fee, keep his current service, and have his device unlocked to be used out of the country.

For a lot of other interesting stories involving the first few weeks of officially unlocked AT&T iPhones, and to share your stories, jump into our forums!

Jeremy

Community editor. Tech enthusiast. All-around geek.

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Reader comments

AT&T iPhone unlocks, 3 weeks later

11 Comments

this is what the At&t representative told me when i asked him to unlock my iphone 4 a week ago.
Michael DAmico: Account cannot have a flag for excessive off-network roaming.
Michael DAmico: Must be an eligible AT&T iPhone.
Michael DAmico: Completion of two-year service contract (service fulfillment must be met for IMEI associated with the unlock request).
Michael DAmico: Exceptions: Verified military deployment, paid full retail or no-commitment price, early upgrade, or cancelled and paid ETF.
Michael DAmico: iPhone associated to the unlock request must not be reported lost or stolen.

I sold my iPhone 4 to a friend in Brazil, not knowing how difficult it would be to unlock. And I just got an email from him saying it just unlocked itself one day. Good for AT&T.

I chatted with AT&T online a week ago and gave them the IMEI of my old iPhone 3G (I now have the iPhone 4, still with AT&T) so that I can use my 3G when we travel to France. It took them about 4 days and...... I got an e-mail saying the IMEI was invalid. Recontacted their tech support and was told the IMEI was valid and that they would submit it again. We'll see if it goes through this time...

Paying the ETF while still remaining on the service is absolute BS. If you remain a customer with AT&T, you should be able to unlock for free, or a small fee like some of the carriers in the UK, as long as you are still paying the agree upon monthly rate. This is solely an attempt to get people to pay their exorbitant international roaming rates. I am in the exact same boat. I'm not going to pay AT&T EXTRA money to be able to use my phone on a different carrier while I am STILL paying them for service I am not using on their network!

It took me 3 different customer service reps to actually find someone that was willing to sumit a case to get my 4s unlocked. After that it took another 4 days for AT&T to send me an email confirming my unlock has been granted.

Stuff like this is what made me leave after AT$T bought Cingular. Service got worse and they wanted my monthly bill to increase for worse coverage. Thank god I'm grandfathered in on vzw lte. No throttling here. May be more every month but the cell service and customer service is top notch for me.

I called AT&T in the first week of April and asked to have my old 3GS unlocked that I had upgraded from when the 4S came out. The agent had no clue what I was talking about. The next day I went to an AT&T store to speak with someone in person. Again, no clue. He went on to explain that AT&T would never do such a thing as they had nothing to gain by unlocking phones. He gave me a card for a local company who "unlocks iphones." Just after leaving the store I got a text from AT&T which was a survey about my experience with their support person the day before. I gave them bad scores. The next day I got a call from the supervisor of the agent I dealt with on the phone who explained that I could indeed have my phone unlocked and he had informed the agent of the error. The supervisor then took the info from me and submitted a case saying it would be 48-72 hours for the code to be sent to me by email. Ten days later, I called to find out why I hadn't heard anything and spoke with a different support agent who said the case had been completed and the code to unlock the phone had been emailed to me. Nope, never got it. It didn't go to spam folder and I have no trouble getting other email from AT&T at that address. The code was not entered on the case info, so she couldn't provide me with it. She submitted a new case and said it would "resolve by April 30." As of today, April 27, I've still not been contacted. Needless to say, I'm not very happy with AT&T. This is the first real problem I've had with them since my first iphone five years ago.

Now that you mentioned it, i also took a quick survey through text message after speaking to the first customer service rep. I gave them bad scores too because they wouldn't unlock my iphone.

OK, I have two iPhone4's under contract (mine and my daughter) and two iPhone 3Gs's that are not under contract. I gave one to my sister, and the other was in the closet collecting dust. After waiting an hour at my local AT&T store, the guy had no clue what I was talking about, he finally read something and told me to call AT&T (611).
The first lady I spoke with old me that the internet portion of my current contract was in the top 5% of internet data usage(daughters phone), and that they could not unlock the iPhone 3Gs's as per company policy(I'm grandfathered into the unlimited plan). I asked her to explain to me the definition of "UNLIMITED". Furthermore, she explained that they were throttling my bandwidth after two gig's per month. Pissed, I asked what that has to do with both iPhone's 3Gs's that were not under contract, that I pay my bill on time, have a contract in place (UNLIMITED) and that should have nothing to do with the contract that is currently in place with AT&T. Realizing this is going nowhere and ask to speak to her supervisor.
The second lady I spoke with, again, explained to me about being in the top 5% of data usage and that the iPhone 3Gs's could not be unlocked, again, I asked the definition of "UNLIMITED"!Immediately, I told her I needed to speak to her supervisor.
The third lady I spoke with was happy to unlock the iPhone 3Gs's, explained that I can only unlock 5 per year and that I should get a confirmation email within a few hours (which took less than 10 minutes to get the email)and that I'd have to update and restore the iPhone 3Gs's. Upon confirmation, I updated the iPhone's, and they worked on T-Mobile.
An hour of my life was wasted doing something that should have been done with no questions asked and my daughter wants a certificate from AT&T saying she's in the top 5%! LOL! Go figure!

It's easy. You cancel your service. Call back the next day and make a payment for the ETF. You unlock your phone. You call back and reactivate the service on a different phone (IMEI) and you get the ETF refunded to your AT&T account. You then request the monies be refunded back to your credit card. It's there within 72 hours. I did this as an expat living in the Philippines, the only downside is the service being off overnight. (you will also need a new sim card).