AT&T Will Now Unlock iPhones After Contract Expires!

Discussion in 'AT&T' started by Varjak, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Varjak

    Varjak Newbie

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  2. Adama D. Brown

    Adama D. Brown Brighthand Reviewer

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    Technically, it HAD been mandated. But they had a very, very strong profit motive in drawing it out and making it as difficult as humanly possible for a long time.
  3. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    It's not mandated by any law or regulation that I'm aware of. Not in the United States.
  4. Adama D. Brown

    Adama D. Brown Brighthand Reviewer

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    The FCC came out with a regulatory decision a couple years ago which established that carriers could not legally block the unlocking of phones for other networks, but most of the major carriers have been fighting this to a greater or lesser extent, at least where it comes to their bread and butter. The iPhone is a good example, where AT&T will unlock anything else you have, but they've gone out of their way to oppose iPhone unlocking.
  5. hal

    hal itchy and cold feet hal

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    I wonder if AT&T is not pairing this new policy with the absolute lack of support for these then-recently unlocked devices. Or even rejection. Anyway, the core business of a carrier is connection, not devices. There will be tons of devices that they can remove from their tech support system, and such lack of support will pose a strong encouragement to upgrade devices among their customer base.
  6. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Unlocking phones is legal, but carriers are under no legal our regulatory obligation to unlock them for you.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S2, Epic 4G Touch using Tapatalk
  7. Varjak

    Varjak Newbie

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    I think Adama's take is correct. Once the contract was satisfied, the phone was supposed to be yours.

    And I'm 99 percent sure that ATT wouldn't be doing it now unless they got some pressure.
  8. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    What Adama said is correct and it doesn't contradict anything I've stated.
  9. Adama D. Brown

    Adama D. Brown Brighthand Reviewer

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    This is basically part of an ongoing regulatory tug-of-war.

    The FCC is pushing for a more open telecom system where any device can be used on any network. That's why LTE devices are being required to be cross-compatible, actually; requiring interoperability and an open network was a precondition to the making available the 700 MHz band for telecom providers. (Another condition which the carriers are still trying to fight tooth and nail.) The FCC wants to see devices automatically compatible with other networks, unlocked at the end of contracts, and able to be used on them with relative ease.

    The carriers on the other hand are trying to rely on technical compatibility, which is basically the claim that they're fulfilling their obligations to have an open network by not suing you to prevent you from doing anything they don't like. They'd like to point to a veneer of compatibility, while basically making it impossible to exercise that compatibility without jumping through hoops.

    This decision is also really not any significant skin off of AT&T's nose--rather, it's mostly a PR move. They get to appear to be open and compliant, but the reality is that very few people are probably going to take advantage of this. The only other major provider in the US they could unlock their iPhones for would be T-Mobile, and they would be unable to take advantage of T-Mobile's 3G or 4G network, since it's on completely different frequencies. Hence, the only things you could really do with one of these newly unlocked iPhones is move to a regional carrier, of which there's precious few left that are worth anything, or take it outside the US. It's sort of like the kidnapper telling you that you can leave any time, except that you're 50 miles out in the mountains and you'd have to walk back.
  10. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    It does sound like it's a PR move, based on a post here.
    If you unlock it for one person, better unlock it for all.

    The reason I'm sticking to my position here is because questions and assertions about unlocking phones being some kind of law have come up here previously. While the FCC and even Congress has made waves -- there are no laws or regulations requiring carriers to unlock their phones for use on other networks. If anyone finds something to the contrary, please post your source.
  11. Varjak

    Varjak Newbie

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    Adama wrote that there was an FCC regulation, which is what I believed too. You stated that there was no such law or regulation or rule. Those two stances seem contradictory to me; but that wasn't my main point. My main point is that ATT didn't just start doing this out of the goodness of their heart.

    Edit: I do think that most news reports cited unlocking the iPhone; but I'm sure all phones are subject to the new policy.
  12. Varjak

    Varjak Newbie

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    ADAMA: Technically, it HAD been mandated. But they had a very, very strong profit motive in drawing it out and making it as difficult as humanly possible for a long time.

    JIGWASHERE: It's not mandated by any law or regulation that I'm aware of. Not in the United States.

    ADAMA: The FCC came out with a regulatory decision a couple years ago which established that carriers could not legally block the unlocking of phones for other networks, but most of the major carriers have been fighting this to a greater or lesser extent, at least where it comes to their bread and butter. The iPhone is a good example, where AT&T will unlock anything else you have, but they've gone out of their way to oppose iPhone unlocking.

    JIGWASHERE: Unlocking phones is legal, but carriers are under no legal our regulatory obligation to unlock them for you.

    VARJAK: I think Adama's take is correct. Once the contract was satisfied, the phone was supposed to be yours.

    And I'm 99 percent sure that ATT wouldn't be doing it now unless they got some pressure.

    JIGWASHERE: What Adama said is correct and it doesn't contradict anything I've stated.

    [All quotes, with nothing added.]
  13. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Nothing added, but you did leave out context as well as my last comment. I had already responded to Adama's first post that incorrectly said, "Technically, it HAD been mandated." Adama and I have not contracted each other since that time. The fact is, there is no law, regulation, or official mandate to unlock phones in the United States. My last comment, which you left off, was asking you or anyone else to provide some evidence or citation if you believe otherwise. I have posted many times about this along with links to articles from Wikipedia, PCWorld, Consumerist, etc., that agree with me. Yet no one here has ever shown any shred of evidence that carriers are required to unlock phones based on some law.
  14. Varjak

    Varjak Newbie

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    No context was left out. Your response contradicted his as plain as day. As for a published regulation, I didn't have time to search for one; but I did find a 2007 and 2011 mention of a regulation.

    I 'left off' your last comment' because it didn't have to do with the assertion you made that you didn't say anything differently from Adama, when you did and you do so again above. Adama said there was a regulation, you said there wasn't. How much more clear does the difference have to be. (BTW, you also say he was correct, and now you're saying he's not.)

    I wasn't debating the existence or lack thereof of a regulation. That is something we should resolve. I'm debating your assertion that you weren't saying anything different, which you undoubtedly were.

    It's one thing to have a difference of opinion over something subjective; but these continual arguments over things that are black and white usually end up with me in trouble, for no reason I can think of.

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