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Comments on news posted 2013-03-11 10:24:23: Last week the White House responded to complaints that cell phone unlocking is now illegal by effectively punting the issue to Congress, with various politicians now scurrying to get their names in lights with new laws making cell unlocking legal aga.. ..

page: 1 · 2 · next

me1212

join:2008-11-20
Pleasant Hill, MO

Doesn't seem too bad.

Just pay your bills, and fulfill your contract. The 5 per year limit is BS though.

Like I said, seem, it could still be crap.


Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

1 recommendation

how is the White House "punting"?

My understanding is it's the Librarian of Congress that determines the exemptions. He holds the job until he decides he no longer wants it. President Obama took an oath to uphold Federal Law and has no authority to change the DCMA unless Congress passes new legislation that he can sign.

What can the White House do about this issue, within the boundaries of Executive Authority and the United States Constitution?

Expand your moderator at work

ptbarnett

join:2002-09-30
Lewisville, TX

Won't unlock for international travel

As the article points out, the subsidy lock prevents you from using a pre-paid SIM when traveling internationally. As a result, you have to pay exorbitant roaming rates for SMS, voice calls, and data.

The one time that I tried to get AT&T to unlock my phone for this reason, they refused. I had been a customer for about 15 years. However, It ended well: I bought a gray market phone on eBay for about $100. I used it during my extended trip, and it later became a working spare when my original phone died.

Given the ETF, I think the subsidy lock is pointless. You have committed to paying off the subsidy if you leave before the contract ends. Maybe AT&T thinks that will keep people from bailing out early, but since there are many ways to unlock a phone (despite any legislation), I really doubt it is effective.

I'd like to get away from the subsidy model altogether, and replace it with something like WalMart's model: you buy the phone on credit, and $25/month is added to your bill every month. When it is paid off, your bill goes down. I believe a lot of people are continuing to pay the inflated price for monthly service after their contract is up, not realizing it was built into their fees.



Mike
Premium,Mod
join:2000-09-17
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 recommendation

reply to Crookshanks

Re: how is the White House "punting"?

The White House can make a statement and ask someone in Congress to sponsor the bill.

The president can then lobby for changes.

Or he can sack the Librarian of Congress and find someone that is more open to the idea.
--
"If something about the human body disgusts you, complain to the manufacturer" - Lenny Bruce
What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.



King P
Don't blame me. I voted for Ron Paul
Premium
join:2004-11-17
Murfreesboro, TN

AT&T is full of crap

Unless you have active service with AT&T, they won't unlock your phone at all. How do I know? I've bought two devices, off-contract, directly from AT&T to use on pre-paid carriers (that use the AT&T network) but since I am not (and never have been) an AT&T subscriber, they can't help me.

This exact situation is why we need to force these jackasses to unlock devices, if they have been paid for in full. Jerks.
--
My Music blog:
»www.zunetracks.net


Angrychair

join:2000-09-20
Jacksonville, FL
Reviews:
·Comcast

The problem

The issue here is that the unlock is still at the carrier's discretion.

This simply should not be the case. It should be legal, easy, and simple for any cell phone owner to unlock (or, preferably, not allow carrier locks on any phone sold in the country) their own device whenever they like at their own discretion with easy to use and readily available tools.

When someone chooses to unlock their device is their business, not the business of the corporation that sold them the device.


rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

They Unlocked My Phone

I was able to unlock an iPhone 4 with a completed 2-year contract. No problems other than the procedure which was to completely reload iOS (what a PITA that is...). After which the device told me I had unlocked the phone (I forget the exact message but...)

I was able to replace the SIM card in the device with a Straight Talk kit I purchased from Wal-Mart. Other than frustration when you try to configure the APN (menu is still locked unless I use a T-Mobile SIM), it works great.



anonphoneuse

@comcast.net

unlockers are rarely customers of original carrier

i have worked at a few different shops that unlock phones and also helped many individuals with unlocking. the reality is that people wanting to unlock phones they own are only very rarely customers of the carrier that sold the phone and able to get unlock assistance from them.

most phones people seek to unlock are purchased second hand for use on prepaid or purchased for export, the second largest group would be people who have already left their original carrier and no longer have access to there customer service but now want to use a different carrier.

at&t does not help these people, they will help the customers that want to temporarily use a local sim while traveling overseas but i would guess this is only a tiny number of people compared to those who want used phones unlocked.

at&t should at least offer a public website where anyone can input an IMEI number and if the phone is eligible(past the contract term or was purchased outright to begin with) get an unlock code. this service should be available equally to customers and non-customers alike.



King P
Don't blame me. I voted for Ron Paul
Premium
join:2004-11-17
Murfreesboro, TN
reply to rradina

Re: They Unlocked My Phone

Straight Talk will work on any SIM-locked AT&T phone, so long as you get the "AT&T compatible" SIM, or the "Unlocked GSM" SIM card. I ran several AT&T SIM-locked phones on ST.

Sounds like they gave you the run-around, if you had to re-install iOS.
--
My Music blog:
»www.zunetracks.net



djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO
reply to Angrychair

Re: The problem

said by Angrychair:

This simply should not be the case. It should be legal, easy, and simple for any cell phone owner to unlock (or, preferably, not allow carrier locks on any phone sold in the country)

There should be no reason for carrier locks. The ETF guarantees that the carrier will recoup their subsidy.

I'm all for giving people the power to hack hardware they own and weakening the DMCA, but a "cell phone unlock" exclusion just seems bizarre to me. Why not just prohibit cell phone locks in the first place?
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.


King P
Don't blame me. I voted for Ron Paul
Premium
join:2004-11-17
Murfreesboro, TN
reply to Angrychair

Agreed. The carrier should have no say in how or when I unlock my device. I bought my Lumia 920 at full price, directly from AT&T yet, they won't unlock it unless I have active service.
--
My Music blog:
»www.zunetracks.net



MertJen

@ut.us

Certain Conditions

"In a blog post, AT&T says they'll unlock any device provided certain conditions are met:"

I tried to unlock an old Iphone 3Gs over the weekend.... submitted the info on the website. Got a response...

"Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your iPhone. Please retain your Request Number for reference. In order to process your unlock request, we must receive a faxed copy of your original receipt"

Origianl receipt? I didn't hang on to that. I figured they would find a way to deny it.


NOVA_UAV_Guy
Premium
join:2012-12-14
Purcellville, VA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to me1212

Re: Doesn't seem too bad.

I don't understand why should anyone have to beg to their provider to have a phone unlocked in the first place.

If providers are so worried about losing money "invested" in the "relationship" via subsidies, there is already a legal mechanism in place to ensure they don't lose money: it's called the contract. And since subscribers no longer have the right to go to court in many of these cases (the contracts list arbitration as the sole remedy, unless the provider chooses to do otherwise), there is very little cost involved for providers.
--
The only difference between Bush and Obama is the group they're wasting our taxpayer money on. It's time to elect responsible legislators.


NOVA_UAV_Guy
Premium
join:2012-12-14
Purcellville, VA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Crookshanks

Re: how is the White House "punting"?

said by Crookshanks:

What can the White House do about this issue, within the boundaries of Executive Authority and the United States Constitution?

For starters, the President as Chief of the Executive Branch could instruct all executive agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA, etc.) to not prosecute any cases against cell phone unlockers for DMCA violations for the present time. He would be well within his rights to do so, and would not be breaking his oath or any laws.

His oath was to uphold the Constitution and our laws; instructing agencies under his control to hold off on prosecuting cases until a later date doesn't mean that the law isn't being enforced; it just means that determination of guilt or innocence for charges related to cell phone unlocking is postponed to a later time.

Secondly, the President does have the authority to grant pardons at his sole discretion. Technically there would be nothing stopping him from announcing that any criminal convictions for DMCA violations will be automatically pardoned as long as he's in office. That, of course, wouldn't stop civil proceedings from being filed - but would keep people out of jail.

Thirdly, the President could use back channel communications to put a stop to this. I'm sure that a number of companies who would file civil suits and push for convictions of cell phone unlockers depend upon relationships with government agencies and "access" for favorable legislation and findings. As Chief of the Executive Branch, the President could issue policy for all agencies that they are to immediately cut all ties with any company that pushes for any prosecution of cell phone unlockers. The loss of "access" and influence would far outweigh the loss that any unlocker could create, thus creating a significant disincentive for companies to push for prosecution.

Were I the President, I'd probably opt for some combination of all 3 of the above.
--
The only difference between Bush and Obama is the group they're wasting our taxpayer money on. It's time to elect responsible legislators.

NOVA_UAV_Guy
Premium
join:2012-12-14
Purcellville, VA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to ptbarnett

Re: Won't unlock for international travel

said by ptbarnett:

I believe a lot of people are continuing to pay the inflated price for monthly service after their contract is up, not realizing it was built into their fees.

Or, like I soon will be, they continue to pay the bloated price without buying a new phone because Verizon is evil and will forcibly push you to a metered data plan with a new subsidized phone. I refuse to be the victim of a VerizoRapist.
--
The only difference between Bush and Obama is the group they're wasting our taxpayer money on. It's time to elect responsible legislators.

NOVA_UAV_Guy
Premium
join:2012-12-14
Purcellville, VA
reply to MertJen

Re: Certain Conditions

Can you just make something up and fax it over to them? Photoshop is your friend...


watts3000

join:2002-01-21
reply to MertJen

You do not need active service with ATT to get a phone unlocked I know users that have had there phones unlocked and they did not have active service. Also most tech savvy users know how to unlock a phone without having to go back to the provider.


rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
reply to King P

Re: They Unlocked My Phone

Below is the procedure they sent me. (This was all automated -- filled out a form on the web and they sent me this e-mail). I did have to do it twice but on the second time when it rebooted it said the device was unlocked. The second time all my stuff was gone and I had to resync apps, music and pictures. I have a 32GB model nearly full and that took forever.


Request number: XXXXXXX
Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your iPhone.

We have reviewed your request and confirmed that you are eligible to have the requested iPhone unlocked.

Please allow 24 hours upon receipt of this notification to complete the unlock.

To complete the unlock, simply:

1.Open iTunes on your Mac or PC and verify that you have Internet connectivity.
2.Ensure a SIM card is inserted into your iPhone.
3.Connect your iPhone using the dock connector to USB cable that came with your iPhone.
4.Backup and restore your iPhone using iTunes. For information on backup and restore, please visit »support.apple.com/kb/HT1414.
5.After restoring, your iPhone will be unlocked.

Additional information on unlocking can be found at »support.apple.com/kb/TS3198

You may also check the status of your unlock request by clicking the link for AT&T's Device Unlock Status Portal.

For questions regarding AT&T's wireless service and iPhone, please visit the Phone/Device Learning Center.

We thank you for your continued business.

Sincerely,
AT&T Customer Care Team

DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE
All replies are automatically deleted.

rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
reply to King P

duplicate post removed



ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Brighton, MA
reply to NOVA_UAV_Guy

Re: how is the White House "punting"?

awesome civics lesson


ak3883

join:2005-08-20
Portsmouth, RI

Seemed easy enough

Unlocked a 3GS last fall when I upgraded to an iPhone 5. No issues since I had completed my contract, but it was a PITA to do, I had to completely restore the phone from within iTunes, something with Apple actually keeps the master list of unlocked phones and once you submit your info to AT&T and they verify that your contract is met and your account is in good standing, they send your IEMI number over to Apple and they put it on a "whitelist" and when you restore your phone, it goes to Apple's servers to 'activate' if you will, and gets a siganl to now unlock the phone. At least I think that's how it works.



ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Brighton, MA
reply to King P

Re: They Unlocked My Phone

you cannot get AT&T sim cards for straight talk anymore

»www.talkandroid.com/149593-strai···le-sims/


Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to ptbarnett

Re: Won't unlock for international travel

Technically you could get the unlock program and wait until you are at your destination and then unlock the phone.

I state this because unlocking violates the DMCA, However if you are sitting in a hotel in London the DMCA no longer applies.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports



n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

So What?

So AT&T doesn't mind. They were the most recalcitrant carrier about unlocking until Apple had a talk with them last year. It is the other carriers, such as Sprint that need to be worked on. Still waiting for Sprint to change its policy on full unlocking. At last check, they still refuse to fully unlock a fully paid off iPhone (not talking about the "4" as it only supports CDMA).
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.


roboiii

join:2013-02-20
Cypress, CA
reply to Crookshanks

Re: how is the White House "punting"?

He actually took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
That being said I do agree that the president has no authority to legislate or change law. He shouldn't even be suggesting things to congress. His job is to execute the laws that congress passes and act as commander in chief after war has been declared.


wingrider01

join:2006-07-25
Saint Louis, MO
reply to MertJen

Re: Certain Conditions

said by MertJen :

"In a blog post, AT&T says they'll unlock any device provided certain conditions are met:"

I tried to unlock an old Iphone 3Gs over the weekend.... submitted the info on the website. Got a response...

"Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your iPhone. Please retain your Request Number for reference. In order to process your unlock request, we must receive a faxed copy of your original receipt"

Origianl receipt? I didn't hang on to that. I figured they would find a way to deny it.

If you where a customer with the phone you don't need to supply any receipt. Just the number that it had when you had on the Iphone on att contract and the imei number. If you where never a customer, will then you need to supply the receipt


Steve B
Premium
join:2004-08-02
Seattle, WA

My Experience

AT&T unlocked my iPhone 4S without any issues. They did ask that certain contractual obligations were met and that my account was paid and in good standing. Honestly, I don't think the contractual obligations request is out of line but, the others I feel are pushing it.



Majestik
World Traveler
Premium
join:2001-05-11
Tulsa, OK

2 edits
reply to MertJen

Re: Certain Conditions

said by MertJen :

"In a blog post, AT&T says they'll unlock any device provided certain conditions are met:"

I tried to unlock an old Iphone 3Gs over the weekend.... submitted the info on the website. Got a response...

"Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your iPhone. Please retain your Request Number for reference. In order to process your unlock request, we must receive a faxed copy of your original receipt"

Origianl receipt? I didn't hang on to that. I figured they would find a way to deny it.

This happened to me last year. I didn't know what the "original receipt" was.
I called about it and the AT&T lady said don't worry and unlocked my phone herself. She asked for that IMEI number. After a minute she said wait five minutes and restore it on Itunes and the phone was unlocked.
--
The adventure continues...Sanctuary....

NOVA_UAV_Guy
Premium
join:2012-12-14
Purcellville, VA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Steve B

Re: My Experience

Why is the contractual obligation not out of line, when you're going to be forced to pay an ETF if you leave them early anyway? Just curious to understand your point of view. My belief is that the phone is either yours or it isn't - there's no shady gray middle ground in between.
--
The only difference between Bush and Obama is the group they're wasting our taxpayer money on. It's time to elect responsible legislators.