AT&T Begins Unlocking Out Of Contract iPhone’s Today, Good News For T-Mobile Refarming

Note: Not really sure why this is confusing people, but you have to be an AT&T customer for this to work. They won’t unlock it for just anyone.

AT&T has made it official beginning today, Sunday, April 8th that the company will allow customers who have fulfilled their two-year contracts to unlock their iPhone for use on any GSM network. AT&T gave the following statement to 9to5Mac: 

“Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones. The only requirements 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.”

If you paid the no commitment price for the iPhone on AT&T’s network, they will unlock your iPhone as well.

So why is this important for T-Mobile users, current and future? With T-Mobile’s “challenger strategy” focused heavily on refarming their network to “harmonize” T-Mobile’s spectrum bands bringing them in line with international frequencies, part of that focus is eye’ing unlocked iPhone owners. AT&T’s announcement remains mildly shocking given their unwillingness to unlock the iPhone on their network for years, a stark contrast from T-Mobile’s open-unlocking policy. Still, this is good news for customers who wish to keep using their iPhone but want to do so on a network that doesn’t have AT&T’s…troubles. I hope that T-Mobile takes note of AT&T’s new unlocking stance and markets toward these customers working to bring them into the Magenta fold.

Editors Note: If you don’t care about the iPhone on T-Mobile, don’t comment…do not make this an Android vs iOS war. Comments will be deleted!

9to5Mac, Macworld

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  • http://www.ps3repairlosangeles.net/ PS3 Repair Los Angeles

    Even when tmobile does their refarming, I may still be on the sidelines until I see an Iphone that is faster then the galaxy s 2.

  • Jay88

    The “note:” section at the top of the article is incorrect. You DO NOT need to be an att customer for them to unlock the phone for you. If you had att and left and paid your etf or contract was up they will unlock it. Also if you paid full price for the phone they will also unlock it but they may ask for a proof of purchase. I’ve never had att service and bought the iPhone 4 at full retail in jan 2011 before apple was selling unlocked ones in the us. I’ve been using gevey sim for my unlock. I went into an att store this morning showed them my reciept and they submitted the unlock request. Got the email response from them about 4 hrs later telling me my unlock was successful. Connected to iTunes and I am now permanently unlocked.

  • Spiv

    Ok, I’ve read a hole bunch of these post and didn’t find my answer, so heres my qurstion.
    Can I now upgrade my cydia broke iphone 3gs to the latest software and get it unlocked by
     ATT, or visa-versa, or will this just trash my phone.

    • Suicidestarr

       It all depends on if the phone was ever in contract and if it was when the contract was fufilled.  If it was bought outright or no longer in a service contract they should give you an unlock code via email.  Once you have that you can factory unlock without fear of bricking it.

  • Soun Maokhamphiou

    iPhone 4 unlocked through AT&T and now being used on T-Mobile!!!

    I just got my brother to unlock my iPhone 4 for me (previously my brother’s). My phone was on iOS 4.3.1 Baseband 4.10.01 and was jailbroken and unlocked with a Gevey SIM. I hated having to reprogram my phone every now and then. Even though they claim no dialing 112 I still had to do that when I moved in and out of coverage.

    My brother who is a current AT&T customer in good standing calls up customer service, tells them he wants his iPhone 4 unlocked and they tell him he cannot unlock it because it has to be a phone that he has owned for 2 years. My brother tells AT&T that he has been a customer for so long and has renewed his contract with them more than once and feels he deserves to have it unlocked because he upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S2 (not an official upgrade but a phone bought outright)

    They ask him for his customer information and put him on hold for an hour (not kidding). While he is on hold he texts me that he needs my IMEI and I give it to him so he could give it to the AT&T rep. The AT&T rep then says he should be receiving an email soon and that I should sync it and restore in iTunes. My brother receives an email with 10 minutes and he fowards it to me. I follow the instructions which is basically use the “Restore” function in iTunes. It prompts me to restore and upgrade my software… now I’m tense because if it doesn’t work, I’ll be stuck on the new iOS with 4.12.01 and no unlock in the horizon.

    I restore and update via iTunes and I am presented with a Congratulation on my unlocked iPhone 4 and I pop in my T-Mobile sim and Life is Good! I didn’t need the AT&T sim to asctivate, just a T-Mobile SIM was fine during activation!!! No more “hactivation” !!! I’m so glad… I have no intention to Jailbreak again and will appreciate my iPhone that much more.

    • Asdf

      I recently called and the rep asked for my imee number and they told me to wait for the call or email as well.  Hopefully, everything will turn out the way your iphone did.

      Thanks for this post and it did help a lot.

  • Soun Maokhamphiou

    My brother bought his iPhone off of Craigslist by the way so it was not purchased through AT&T if that matters! I don’t know if this will work on iPhone 3Gs with 6.15.00 baseband though as I have read stories that iTunes will brick your phone if you try to do a restore from that…

    • Suicidestarr

      When you call they will ask for your IMEI number.  That is what will be the determining factor if it is eligible for the unlock.  They run it through a system and if it is eligible then you will get an email including the unlock code.  You should know the outcome before taking any steps that could possibly brick it.

  • Soun Maokhamphiou

    Yes. My brother did it for me. Your friend has to be patient and be aggressive with the AT&T rep!

  • Khalints

    What ridiculous terms, it’s things like this that keep me away from apple. I would love to try an iPhone but only when the refarming is done, but seriously….crazy terms…

  • Poop

    One time I crapped my pants and it was smelly

  • Suicidestarr

    I just got off the phone with an AT&T rep.  At first she stood by that they were only unlocking 3G and 3GS phones.  After me being polite, but persistent, she found that she was incorrect and the IP4 are also included.  I have never been and AT&T customer.  If the phone was bought outright or the previous customer can not be found in a contract it should be eligible.   She told me if any other rep had incorrect information to tell them to look at their “urgent alerts” regarding iPhones. 
    Sidenote – you might just get lucky.  I bought mine used on Craigslist and damaged it.  I went to my local Apple store and they gave me a new one as a “one time courtesy replacement”.  Because it was never activated on a contract it appears I bought it outright.

    • Witor

      nice same thing happen to me, bought the phone on craigslist. now im just waiting for the code to show up in email… wonder if we spoke to the same person…. BTW this will take 7 days.. is this normal?

      • Pcs9518

        Nope your going to get screwed like I am right now. Here is the boat I am in- This statement is sort of correct “If you paid the no commitment price for the iPhone on AT&T’s network, they will unlock your iPhone as well.”  In my case AT&T did not record my purchase information when I purchased it and now they want me to fax them my original receipt and do you think I can find it now that I need it nope so I am SOL on my $700 iPhone.  

        • Guest

          If you purchased it with a credit card then your credit card statement (which you can access online) should have your purchase listed. Maybe that would assist?
          THIS POST (BELOW) SEEMS QUITE RELEVANT:”When you call they will ask for your IMEI number.  That is what will be the determining factor if it is eligible for the unlock.  They run it through a system and if it is eligible then you will get an email including the unlock code.  You should know the outcome before taking any steps that could possibly brick it.”

    • Gil Abraham

      did u have to pay for the replacement?

  • insink71

    Very Nice… Before I get too excited, unlocking the sim right?  If they just start unlocking bootloaders and the sim is still locked… well, that would be another verizon stunt now wouldn’t it ;)  I’m sure most users, with a quick trip to xda and an hr or two to kill can unlock their bootloader (phone) but the simlock can be a bit dodgy unless you have some mysterious code.

    Rob

  • Eddie

    I unlocked my phone via Chat Support, I find it much easier to do it that way (WAY faster then doing it on the phone) It was easy and took about 5 minutes. They asked me for my IMEI number and they said I was eligible for an unlock they filed my case and gave me a case number and said that I will be receiving an email around 72hrs for instructions. Currently I am still waiting for the email and I did this yesterday afternoon. I am really happy for ATT for them to loosen up a bit. (:

  • Zevyn Prather

    Does anyone know what 1900Mhz 3G/4G markets already exist. EDGE speeds are fine but 3G would be even better

  • Guest

    I got my sisters iPhone 4 that was locked to AT&T to work. Called up AT&T customer care as she was a former customer, and they just told me to backup and update the phone via iTunes and it works! 

    • Julatej

      can give me the number of AT & T to request the unlock

      • Ruf2173

        1800-331-0550

        • Aerial98

          Don’t call the number about, it is off by one digit.  The correct number is 800-331-0500.

  • toonchew

    I’m a tmobile customer that has an iPhone4 stuck on the 4.11.08 baseband. Anyone familiar with this BB knows that’s it’s been more than 6 months and still no unlocking solution. The previous owner, I know for sure is under a new contract with AT&T cause he upgraded to the 4s. Will I have any success calling/going up to AT&T and having them unlock this iPhone4 (which I’m currently using as an iPod) ? Please, any help is appreciated.

    • Esrfreedom13

      Just give AT&T a call and find out after a week or so from your call they are the “only ones” who can let you know by email or call if your iPhone qualifies to be factory unlocked.you have nothing to lose but 10 min or less that last the call . Good luck.
      I am in the same situation with my wifes iPhone. Was reported as “lost” but I’m just waiting to see what they say.

  • Pcs9518

    This statement is sort of correct “If you paid the no commitment price for the iPhone on AT&T’s network, they will unlock your iPhone as well.”  In my case AT&T did not record my purchase information when I purchased it and now they want me to fax them my original receipt and do you think I can find it now that I need it nope so I am SOL on my $700 iPhone.  

  • Dean_0@live.com

    I will be more than happy to switch Tmobile

  • lea

    Just called for an iphone 3g… should have an unlock code by the 20th? 8 days is crazy!

  • Tmoemployee00

    Somewhere at the top of the magenta food chain, someone decided that churn is the primary reason t-mobile can’t claw its way to the top of the wireless race. they feel t-mobile isn’t as profitable as its counterparts because of customers leaving the company due to not being “right-fitted” properly by the front line employees. and while that may be partly true, they turn a blind eye to the misinformation mostly dished out by customer care representives. hilariously, they refuse to acknowledge their lackluster coverage, bad business decisions, and drab device lineup. this what they propose will fix their problem, and how it affects you:

    PHP
    PHP or premium handset protection (a combo of insurance & extended warranty), is offered as an optional add-on to a consumers wireless plan. like every other metric, there is a goal set that associates have to hit every month. no big deal right? wrong. t-mobile thinks that if a customer didn’t leave because of ill right-fitting, then they left because they were victims of a lost/stolen handset and didn’t have insurance on their account to replace said device. and if the customer is dumb enough to decline php in the first place (their words) AND is a long way from their upgrade, that is somehow the associates fault. to punish the associates, meetings are held weekly at 7:am so we can stare at each other. the funny part is the meetings are based on what we are TRENDING so actually, we may end up attaining or even surpassing the goal at the end of the month. to avoid the meeting, even the most trustworthy rep will add php to your account, without your permission. this practice is okay because management (who also gets punished if a certain amount of their associates don’t hit the php goal) will readily credit the account of a customer who had the feature added after they declined it. often times, customers don’t catch it anyway, so both management and associate win. although t-mobile hasn’t bothered to work the kinks out of their reports, associates are still expected to show up to the meetings. asurion themselves have said that customers using unlocked iphones cannot have php, and in fact they will remove php and send the customer a letter in the mail, if it is added to an account using an iphone. so you would think those activations wouldn’t count right? wrong. even customers who activate and just want a sim card because they have an unlocked phone cost us our precious time week after week. it doesnt matter that we didn’t even see the phone (which may be damaged to begin with and if so is technically insurance fraud) if we don’t add php, we’re held accountable. recently, t-mobile has picked up on the fact that just throwing php onto new activations isn’t enough to keep people out of the meetings, so now they’ve started keeping tabs on php added during upgrades. t-mobile doesn’t give a rat’s ass that you have been a customer since we were voicestream and still managed to keep track of your cell phone (thus declining php), they still want that extra $95.88/year/per line from you. and though there are other options (php by itself is just $4.79 monthly), if you don’t add a feature that contains warranty (the part t-mobile gets paid on), it doesn’t count. so in all honesty, they don’t care if you do have insurance, it’s the warranty they’re worried about, which ironically, wouldn’t come in handy if your phone was lost and therefore not helpful in making you keep your account and stay with t-mobile, which was their goal in the first place.

    GOLD BUTTON
    recent system enhancements have brought about something in most accounts called a gold button. we click on the gold button to see what offers you are eligible for. don’t get happy, usually it’s just a signal booster (only for certain customers). sometimes though, if you spend $65+ on data on your account, you get $20 off for 3 months. or they might offer php open enrollment (cuz we’d hate for you to lose that lg gs170 and go get an iphone). whatever it is, we have to discuss it with you. and you have to accept. something, anything, or we’re on the chopping block. AGAIN. although they claim there is a way to track who is actually clicking on the gold button, they don’t take into consideration that sometimes, management will be on the floor (LOL) and looking at a customer’s account while youre logged in and NEVER HIT THE DAMN BUTTON! i guess they (managers) will be more conscious of it once they have to start going to meetings for that too.

    E3
    easypay, ebill, email. along with a mandatory photocopy of your government issued id to go with our paperwork (it’s a “fraud deterrent” they tell us), t-mobile is requiring that an e-mail address be provided with every new account. for what? marketing, bill notifications, etc. no big deal but, the same rules apply for e3 as they do for php, only we can’t unknowingly sign you up for automatic bill pay. too bad for us. to kick it up a notch, t-mobile decided “hey, let’s get people to do easypay because easypay customers are 30% less likely to churn”. not many people object to giving their e-mails, or signing up for ebills (save the planet & t-mobiles cash), but very few customers want easypay. why? not sure. and quite frankly, i don’t care. that is entirely up to the customer but at the end of the day, if you don’t sign up for it, we get punished. and you know what that means? no more kickbacks. no more free sim cards, no more free accessories, no more going above and beyond for you because as long as t-mobile is punishing us for what are rightfully your decisions, we will take it out on you. nothing personal, but that’s how it has to be and i apologize for it.

    i’m going to wrap this up for now, but there will be more later. stay tuned

  • drumlord29

    i too was stuck with IOS 5.0.1 with baseband 4.11.08. i check everyday for some miracle, hoping that the dev team can finally unlock this dreadful baseband. for months, they couldn’t do it. then i heard about this great news. so i tried calling at&t. thinking that i’ve got nothing to lose, i gave them my IMEI number last april 9 and they gave me april 17 (as a deadline) with a case number. and since i waited this long for an unlock, i figured that it won’t matter waiting a few more days. then yesterday, april 12, i received an email stating that my iphone 4 can be unlocked! so i followed the instructions on the email from at&t and went in i-tunes, updated to IOS 5.1 with baseband 4.12.01 then clicked “Restore”. waited for a few minutes then i inserted my t-mobile sim and finally, IT WORKS!!! 
    if your 2 year contract has ended, or bought a no-contract iphone, you are eligible for a factory unlock!
    THIS IS TRUE! i am now currently using my iphone 4 after a long wait! i encourage everyone to call at&t and factory unlock your iphone for FREE! THE WAIT IS OVER! 

    • Immiindia

       Hi, can you please tell me on which number, I should call for all this?

      Please send me detail at “immiindia@yahoo.com”

      • Tomdt24

        1 800 331-050
        If you are in India, use Skype to call this number for free.

  • geek1593

    i called at&t and gave them imei no. and they asked for my email. Then they gave me a case no. and said they ll email by April 23. SO AM I ELIGIBLE FOR UNLOCK? They didnt ask proof of purchase or telephone no.

    • bc

      call last week, they said I would get the email by April 23.  No email so far….should I call bacK?  I’m using iphone 4 with Gevey Sim.  Afraid if I do the restore and it’s not unlocked yet, my gevey sim won’t work.

      • Papilindo407

        im also using the Gevey sim and im also worried because i dont want my phone to be updated and not be able to use it

        • Ruf2174

          I get my iphone unlocked and I’m using thr iphone with tmobile with version 5.1 your iphone must be out of contract and with no balance.

        • Tomdt24

          In case you are still not done with the unlock …

          Yes, iPhone 4 with Gevey sim scenario will work. Beauty of Gevey sim is that the phone itself doesn’t have any changes done. Simply remove Gevey sim and follow instructions (basically backup and restore) and you will have an unlocked iPhone 4.

          I did this, no hassles.

  • Sam64

    Beware and do this at your own risk. Unlock of my 3GS has completely bricked my phone after using the instructions supplied by AT&T and Apple. The lady at the AT&T store today told me that you are doing this at your own risk which is never mentioned once in all the communications. Now AT&T and Apple want $149 to fix my my phone that I was using as a glorified iPod with a bad update that they pushed.
    Someone needs to take AT&T and Apple to task on this.

  • http://twitter.com/ShaizanM Shaizan Malik

    Has anyone had problems with their unlock after receiving  the atnt email?
    I got a unlock email and went ahead and followed the instructions
    I tried three times
    1- with no sim2- tmobile sim3-atnt sim
    all three times it did not work and I did not get any message saying “congrats your iphone is unlocked”
    anyone else have this problem?
    I  tried with an Iphone 4, I plan to go to the Atnt store tomorrow and see if they can do it.

  • Jason

    i just called at&t today and got the email with in 30 minutes saying my iphone 3gs was unlocked, i followed the directions and i got the msg saying congrats my iphone is now unlocked!!! Not sure why the rest are having to wait days…

    • Anonymous

      liar! dont try to fool people..at&t needs a minimum of 3 days to review and process it! I work in AT&T.

      • Abhishek

        Yes You are right there.It is not possible to get it unlocked in 30 mins.I myself raised my request for unlock on Apr 9 and got a case Id for the same.Was told it will be unlocked till Apr 16.But no luck till now, the latest I heard from them is that they will be sending me the unlock code and steps to unlock by May 3.It seems once someone places an unlock request with AT&T (giving the IMEI nbr), AT&T is going to do a background check on the same and after multiple level of approvals is going to send you the mail/text with unlock code and texts.It will not happen overnight, will take 3-15 days in most cases.

      • Ruf2173

        I called att on monday and I gave them the IME number, two days later the called me to gave the correct IME number and to provide the a e-mail and with in 15 minutes I received a email and they told me that my iphone was ready to be unlock. I’m not a ATT customer and I bougth the iphone on ebay, mow I’m using the iphone with Tmobile.

        • Gil Abraham

          what did u tell them ?? bc i need to get my iphone unlock

      • Nikhileshmehta88

        Hello to the person working at AT&T.
        You must be knowing that AT&T has stopped unlocking iphones for those who dont have the phone number or the account number to which the phone was originally purchased with.
        Well that includes me. I bought mine from ebay. and I dont have the phone number nor the account number. So is there any way to get my phone unlocked now ?
        I have heard some people who are working at AT&T are charging $100 for doing the unlock with only the IMEI number(without the phone number)
        Well as I am in India, you are the only person I know who works with AT&T. 
        Can you help me out at this. Please. Its a request from a small boy who spent his year’s saving on buying iphone and now is not able to use it.
        my email is nikhileshmehta88@gmail:disqus .com
        You may contact me there if you can provide any kind of help or information.

        Thank you.

      • Tomdt24

        Actually, it might be true. My colleague did this in front of me, and got the mail within 30 minutes! He did the unlock at home though :-)

        I had to wait for 1 day for my email :-(

      • kjxn

         I can confirm that this is not a lie.   I had my brother call at&t and unlock my iPhone from his account (since I’m t-mobile).  They told him it would take up to 72 hours, however, I had a confirmation email within 15 minutes that I was approved, plugged it in to iTunes and got the confirmation unlock.   From start to finish, my iPhone was unlocked within 30 minutes.  Maybe they aren’t so overwhelmed with calls right now?   I had him unlock two iPhones for me and the same… 15 minutes tops I had an approved email. 

      • Prznamir

        my friend called the factory on his out of contract iphone 4 to get it unlocked…..she sent the email within 30 min….we did everything the email instructed and it still did not work….called att back and they said it it will take up to 72 hours? SO i mean ur wrong about the email shit…..BUT since u work at att can you look up wtf is going on with my phone plz?

  • longhorn11

    I really hope T-Mobile gets on board with this. I really love T-Mobile, and I really love my iPhone. I never want to switch, but sometimes having an unlocked iPhone can be a hassle, especially for receiving MMS pictures.

  • stanotmano14

    AT&T  will NOT help you unless you have, or had an AT&T account that the phone was on.  This excludes people buying them from ebay, craigslist etc. If the original owner of the phone did not unlock the phone, you are out of luck.

    • Nikhileshmehta88

      So what are we supposed to do now ?
      No other way to get the original phone number with the IMEI number ?

    • Dafoofoo

      “If the original owner of the phone did not unlock the phone, you are out of luck.”

      Is not true!

      iPhone 4  (8Gb) :(
      Version: 5.1.1(9B206)
      Modem Firmware: 04.12.01

      I purchased my phone on CL and gave it to a friend with AT&T.
      He Called said he wanted to unlock his phone since “his other one just broke!” and his friend lent him this one for the mean time.
      He “plans to travel to Mexico” and would like it unlocked.
      Operator: “Let me check… Sorry but I cannot unlock the phone for you since it is not the original phone you had signed up with…. But I can transfer you to techinical support and if the phone meets certain requirements, they can unlock it for you.”
      Technical Support: “Please read me the IMEI number on the phone you want unlocked… OK, I will e-mail you instructions on what to do to get it unlocked… do you have any questions?”
      End of Conversation!

      Restored the iphone with his backup on my computer with my itunes account (not his), then made a phone call with his sim card installed.  Then swapped out with my T-Mobile account and WhaLaAA! The phone was unlocked!

      At this moment I need to read on (in this forum) and see if restoring it with my 3Gs image backup will the iphone4 remain unlocked.  I heard it will but I’m not 100% sure yet.

      Good luck everyone! Hope your unlocking journey is as smooth as mine!