April 8, 2012
Some AT&T iPhone Owners Can Have Devices Unlocked Sunday
AT&T has announced that, beginning today, they will unlock the iPhones of customers whose two-year contracts with the company have expired, making it possible to use the devices with other service providers.
The multinational telecom company's statement, which was issued to MacRumors and also printed by MSNBC.com, 9to5Mac, and others, announced that "qualifying customers" would be given the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones starting on April 8."The only requirements," they added, "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."
While Jordan Golson of MacRumors reports that there have been multiple hacks available for the AT&T iPhones, the revised policy will make it "extremely easy" for those who no longer receive service from the Dallas-headquartered firm to "legitimately and permanently unlock their iPhones for use on any network" -- so long as the provider uses micro-SIM cards that are compatible with the Apple-developed device.
According to MSNBC's Suzanne Choney and Jenna Wortham of the New York Times, compatible networks in the US include T-Mobile. However, Wortham and VentureBeat reporter Meghan Kelly note that former AT&T customers will not be able to switch their coverage to Verizon Wireless, as the two telecom companies use "incompatible technology."
On March 20, Jordan Kahn of 9to5Mac reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook had successfully convinced AT&T to make a special "one-time exception" and unlock a customer's iPhone. On Friday, Kahn's colleague Seth Weintraub revealed that, following that report, the website had received "upwards of a hundred reports" that Cook's office had been able to get their AT&T iPhones unlocked -- which may well have played a role in the AT&T's blanket policy change.
"The ability to unlock an iPhone has been possible for several years, but was until now unofficial and unsupported by Apple and major carriers," Jim Tanous of the Mac Observer wrote on Friday. "Today´s announcement means that millions of AT&T iPhone customers who have fulfilled their contract agreements are now free to switch carriers based on price, convenience, and travel, all by simply swapping a SIM card."
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