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TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless

[iPhone] iPhone Unlock

My GF has a 2-year old iPhone5 locked to AT&T. She has been getting refusals to unlock the phone from AT&T. I checked to see if her IMEI is blacklisted, and it is not. After the phone is unlocked, she plans to put it on T-Mobile.

She is willing to pay to have the phone unlocked, and has found several online companies who offer IEMI (factory?) unlocks for a wide range of fees ranging from $6.00 to $139.00. Many of the sites show up on scam-reports, and many look shady at best.

Can anyone recommend an effective and legit unlock site? One which does not require the phone to be shipped out to be unlocked, and costs less than $100.00? Once unlocked, can she simply bring it to T-Mobile and have the proper SIM and account installed?

TIA
--
"Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people"



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

Unlocking an iPhone requires Apple's involvement - they maintain the master server of carrier locks. There are services that claim to unlock iPhones; but they are dodgy at best... Generally, the 3rd party unlocks require jailbreaking, and/or firmware mods, from what I've seen.

Other makes of phones are different, as they don't generally need to "call home" to be unlocked, and instead can be done in software, or with a code.

Why is AT&T refusing to unlock her phone? Is there a subsidy balance owing, or other account "issue"?

Process looks pretty simple, from their webpage...

»www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp···w7m_Y1FG



ptrowski
Got Helix?
Premium
join:2005-03-14
Putnam, CT
kudos:4

Once you are done with your contract they will unlock it for you. I have had them unlock 3 different iphones.



Thinkdiff
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-07
Bronx, NY
kudos:11
reply to TamaraB

As LazMan See Profile said, you should go through AT&T. Are they giving you a reason when they reject the unlock request? I unlocked my two iPhone 4Ss without an issue at this site:
»www.att.com/deviceunlock/

For another one, I used an eBay service before the contract was up for a few bucks, but reputable unlockers are harder to find these days and AT&T is more accommodating. As long as your account is paid up and there's no contract, you should be able to unlock it.
--
University of Southern California - Fight On!



TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless
reply to LazMan

said by LazMan:

Why is AT&T refusing to unlock her phone? Is there a subsidy balance owing, or other account "issue"?

She purchased the phone from Apple for cash, AT&T has no claim on the phone, which is the source of her anger. She claims correctly that the phone is hers as is her number, and AT&T has no right to prevent her from using it.

The issue is her fleeing AT&T after some sales droid talked her into changing her plan so save money. They lied to her and she ended up with a more expensive plan. Pissed, she went to Verizon and ported out her number essentially terminating her deal with AT&T -- told AT&T to get bent, and now she wants to use the iPhone on T-Mobile. VZ told her that AT&T couldn't hold her number hostage, which was correct, but they now hold her phone hostage unless she can unlock it and use it elsewhere.

AT&T claim she terminated her contract prematurely and want a substantial fee to release the phone. She will purchase a new one before she pays AT&T a dime. Even if she sells the phone, she will get more if the phone is unlocked. Pissed she is!

So, these sites which claim they can get AT&T to release the lock for a fee are bogus? The ones I saw, all claim you simply send them the IEMI number along with a fee, and within a few days the lock is lifted as long as the phone is not blacklisted, which it is not. They also claim there is no software or jailbreaking required. There are tons of these sites out there, but are any of them legit? They too must deal with AT&T right?

--
"Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people"



buckingham
Buckingham Pa
Premium
join:2005-07-17
Buckingham, PA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Based on your description, she is still in a contract with ATT on that "deceptively expensive plan" (no surprise about that cost!)...when you make changes like that, they typically create a two-year contract. That would account for them refusing to unlock the phone...one cannot just "terminate" a contract by walking away, even if you own the device. Unfortunately, ATT likely has the legal weight here.

And yes, the third party unlocking offers are sometimes bogus...


Daemon
Premium
join:2003-06-29
Berkeley, CA
reply to TamaraB

I had good luck with a third party service- I think I paid $8. But that one has since disappeared.
--
-Ryan
I use Linux, OS X, iOS and Windows. Let the OS wars die.



TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless
reply to buckingham

said by buckingham:

And yes, the third party unlocking offers are sometimes bogus...

Yes, and the search is on for a legit one. Know of any?


HiVolt
Premium
join:2000-12-28
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
reply to TamaraB

If the phone was bought from Apple with no involvement from AT&T, it's not locked. But if it was bought thru AT&T, even for the full price, it is locked.

Have you tried popping in a sim card from another provider?
--



TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless
reply to buckingham

said by buckingham:

Based on your description, she is still in a contract with ATT on that "deceptively expensive plan" (no surprise about that cost!)

Yes, but that should not involve the phone itself. If AT&T has an issue with her, they can sue her for the money, that's their right, and it's her right to contest it on the grounds of deceptive sales representation. If she sells the phone, won't the new owner have the right to use it? Will AT&T still refuse to unlock it? Would that void the sale?

I would agree with AT&T if the phone were subsidized, but it's not, it's her phone. How can AT&T make it disabled when it is not theirs in any way?

--
"Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people"



Thinkdiff
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-07
Bronx, NY
kudos:11

If she has proof she paid for the phone outright, you could try to file a complaint with the FCC. They may put some pressure on AT&T as the "contract" you're in is not actually for the phone, I guess? Not really sure how she ended up in a contract for a phone she owns, but that's besides the point...

Also try HiVolt's advice, if the phone was purchased outright, there's chance its already unlocked.
--
University of Southern California - Fight On!



TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless
reply to HiVolt

said by HiVolt:

If the phone was bought from Apple with no involvement from AT&T, it's not locked.

I'll have to ask, I know she paid almost $700.00 for the phone. AT&T's refusal to unlock should indicate it is locked. Perhaps not.

said by HiVolt:


Have you tried popping in a sim card from another provider?

No access to another SIM. She will take the phone to T-Mobile, and see if they can sell her a plan on the phone. Perhaps T-Mo can get the thing to work with the incentive of a sale.

--
"Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people"



TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless
reply to Thinkdiff

said by Thinkdiff:

As try HiVolt's advice, if the phone was purchased outright, there's chance its already unlocked.

Guess she will find out for sure when she takes it to T-Mo.


HiVolt
Premium
join:2000-12-28
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
reply to TamaraB

AT&T can also be lying, trying to fool her, or the agents dont know and automatically think the phone is locked because she is in a contract. If it was bought from an Apple store or Apple online it should not be locked.
--



HiVolt
Premium
join:2000-12-28
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
reply to TamaraB

Yeah take it to T-Mo and they should have a sim card they can test it with.
--



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to TamaraB

That it was bought outright from Apple, could explain the problem trying to unlock...

The AT&T system could be 'confused' trying to unlock a phone that was never locked in the first place...

Take it to T-Mo, see what happens...



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

Two years ago I called AT&T. The woman did something and told me to log in to Itunes. I remember seeing a banner saying "unlocked" or something like that.
Didn't cost anything.
--
The adventure continues...Sanctuary....


Daemon
Premium
join:2003-06-29
Berkeley, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast
·webpass.net
reply to HiVolt

said by HiVolt:

AT&T can also be lying, trying to fool her, or the agents dont know and automatically think the phone is locked because she is in a contract. If it was bought from an Apple store or Apple online it should not be locked.

IIRC, if you buy a "carrier" version iPhone unsubsidized, it will still be locked to the carrier you choose. You have to choose the "unlocked" version of the phone in order for it to be unlocked in the box. Whether or not Apple would sell you a carrier version phone unsubsidized has changed over time. It looks like they currently won't, but I do remember that unlocked iPhone 5's weren't available for a month or so after release, meaning for at least a month, every phone people bought was locked.

You can tell whether you bought a carrier version phone by whether or not it has a SIM in it when you open the box.
--
-Ryan
I use Linux, OS X, iOS and Windows. Let the OS wars die.


buckingham
Buckingham Pa
Premium
join:2005-07-17
Buckingham, PA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Majestik

said by Majestik:

Two years ago I called AT&T. The woman did something and told me to log in to Itunes. I remember seeing a banner saying "unlocked" or something like that.
Didn't cost anything.

Yes, you were out of contract at that point. iTunes is how Apple transmits the actual unlock of the phone. Unfortunately, it sounds like the OP's friend is not "free and clear" of their contractual obligations with ATT, so the carrier is not playing nice accordingly.

markf

join:2008-01-24
Burlington, ON
kudos:1

They could be refusing to unlock it if they believe there is a contractual obligation.

Just like the OP would probably say "then sue me", so will AT&T.



chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH
reply to Daemon

Nope Verizon sells iPhones that are unlocked even with a contract. »[Equipment] Unlocked?



KevNYC
Premium
join:2002-03-31
Seattle, WA

said by chip89:

Nope Verizon sells iPhones that are unlocked even with a contract. »[Equipment] Unlocked?

Verizon is the exception per FCC Network Access Regulations.


chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

Yeah they are It's surprising that Verizon is following the rules for once.



tommy3rd
I Am Nuckin Futs
Premium
join:2000-03-10
Clifton, NJ
reply to TamaraB

I used unlockfusion.net a couple years ago and it cost me $3 to unlock my phone. I used them again as recently as 6 months ago and they were still cheap and had no issues. I just checked now and they're charging $40? what the hell happened? lol



TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx

Thanks! A known legit unlock site. If T-Mo fails, that's the next option.



banditws6
Shrinking Time and Distance
Premium
join:2001-08-18
Frisco, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

I also unlocked two iPhone 5 units with unlockfusion back when they were charging about $3 for the service, shortly after the 5 was released. No problems. I just restored one of the phones to factory settings a couple weeks ago, and it still came up as unlocked in iTunes.

Not long ago I had checked unlockfusion for a friend who wanted her iPhone 5 unlocked too, but they were not even offering iPhone unlocks anymore. Glad to see they're back, although $40 is a lot more than $3. It is, however, a lot less than the ~$150 I was seeing a few months ago at other unlock "vendors".

I never quite understood how these services worked in the first place, but never really believed any of them to be entirely above board. Something definitely changed a while back which made these kinds of unlocks a lot more expensive and a lot slower than they used to be.
--
"The counsel of fools is all the more dangerous the more of them there are." -?lafr H?skuldsson



Thinkdiff
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-07
Bronx, NY
kudos:11

I am probably wrong, but I think third-party unlocking is now illegal.

Previously, it was just against AT&T's rules, but no laws were actually being broken. Might have something to do with the increased cost.
--
University of Southern California - Fight On!



KevNYC
Premium
join:2002-03-31
Seattle, WA
reply to tommy3rd

It's because people inside the carriers (mostly AT&T I believe) were making a quick buck processing those orders, since then they're cracked down on which employees could process unlocks.


tdumaine
Premium
join:2004-03-14
Seattle, WA
reply to TamaraB

said by TamaraB:

said by HiVolt:

If the phone was bought from Apple with no involvement from AT&T, it's not locked.

I'll have to ask, I know she paid almost $700.00 for the phone. AT&T's refusal to unlock should indicate it is locked. Perhaps not.

said by HiVolt:


Have you tried popping in a sim card from another provider?

No access to another SIM. She will take the phone to T-Mobile, and see if they can sell her a plan on the phone. Perhaps T-Mo can get the thing to work with the incentive of a sale.

Dig up your receipt or have apple pull it up. There was no such thing as unsubsidized (full price) and locked to a carrier.

Apple can correct this, you do not need att at all.


AppleGuy
Premium
join:2013-09-08
Canada
reply to markf

See, that is the confusing part, even if she has a contract of sorts with AT&T, contract is with the phone number, not iPhone. I'd be escalating this through AT&T, right of to the office of the president.