Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Easier to Get Unlocked

AT&T has been recently forced to unlock their GSM phones at the customer's request 90 days after the phone purchase. Exceptions are the iPhone and for phones under an "exclusivity" agreement which would last no longer than 10 months. Prepaid phones can be unlocked after you provide a receipt for the phone's purchase. We're not trying to use our AT&T phones on other US networks, we're trying to use them internationally by inserting a local SIM. Some phones are easy to unlock, but yours seems to always be the one that isn't.

We compared AT&T's "new" unlocking policy with other GSM carriers. T-Mobile will unlock your phone for you after 40 days with postpaid accounts and 6 months for prepaid. The next largest GSM carrier, Cincinnati Bell Wireless, won't unlock phones under any circumstances. Our favorite GSM carrier, Viaero Wireless, doesn't have a lock on their phones, except for certain Blackberries.

The only reason the courts forced AT&T to provide the unlock codes is that they were accused of being 'misleading' in providing locking information to their customers. We found that AT&T would provide the unlock code after a 2-year contract was completed, or if you could convince them you would be roaming outside the country and would need to insert a local SIM.

It's unfortunate that it takes a court order to make the wireless companies be more consumer-friendly. AT&T needs to learn that some of their customers are lawyers and they should be treated nice or they'll do what lawyers do. For once, that's a good thing.


William said...

I may be in the minority, but I have never had trouble unlocking phones for any carrier, including At&t. Last year, I called At&t customer service and got them to unlock a Blackberry, and it was as painless a process as i've even gone through. The rep even walked me through the unlocking process! I guess it just depends on if you get a good rep or not when you call.

Sadly, I didn't use the phone internationally...I used it in the US for T-Mobile service. Eh well...

Unknown said...

It is a good news that network providers have been forced to unlock the phone for their customers. But what about this rule to other GSM network providers. I was not able to get the unlock code from my network period as I was still under contract. Luckily I got the unlock code for my mobile phone from at affordable cost with easy unlocking guide.