T-Mobile Customers Upset About New Unlocking Policy Start Petition To “Enact Common Sense Unlock Policy”


T-Mobile’s new SIM unlock policy is only a few weeks old and has already earned the ire of a small but now vocal minority of Classic Plan customers who want T-Mobile to “enact a common-sense SIM unlock policy.” At issue is the idea that T-Mobile’s unlock process went from very relaxed and one of the most agreeable in the wireless industry to one that is now “arbitrary and punitive” according to the new petition by one T-Mobile customer upset about the new unlock rules.

At issue here is T-Mobile’s unlock policy which went from what is a rather lenient policy of having an active account for 40 days, the phone must be used on the account the bill must be current. T-Mobile’s new unlock policy which kicked into action as of April 12th of last month says that Classic/Subsidy customers must have a tenure of 18 months, the device must be paid in full and other “general eligibility criteria.” In other words, the policy went from 40 days to 18 months overnight and some T-Mobile customers have a problem with this.

Simple Choice and Value EIP customers must also post 40 days of active service and the device must be paid in full which can sometimes can leave customers without unlocked devices for 2 years. That wouldn’t be a problem for many, but for those of you who live in a world where international travel exists, it’s frustrating.

The current policy in full:

Devices with Postpaid Plans
If you have a Postpaid Plan on an eligible device, T-Mobile will provide the SIM unlock code upon request as long as:

  • Your T-Mobile account is in good standing;

  • You have a minimum of 40 consecutive days of active service with T-Mobile;

  • You did not request an unlock code in the last 90 days (except in connection with a device exchange or upgrade);

  • The device has not been reported as lost or stolen;

  • T-Mobile has verified usage of the IMEI applicable to the device; and

  • The device has been completely paid for.

  • Exception: Classic plan devices must exceed 18 months since activation.

It’s that last line that is causing Classic plan subscribers to take up arms in the form of a petition on Change.org asking T-Mobile to reconsider this rule.

A quick glance at T-Mobile’s own support forums shows plenty of customer angst over these rules. I can understand why T-Mobile is looking to reign in their formerly lax unlock policy, but to turn a blind eye to the idea that some customers have completely legitimate reasons for an unlock prior to 18 months is ridiculous. I’ve pinged T-Mobile for a statement and await their reply.

What do you think? Should T-Mobile relax its policy for existing Classic Plan customers?

Change.org Petition

More reading:

T-Mobile 1, T-Mobile 2



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  • George Millhouse

    more whining from spoiled people

    • I disagree, I travel to the Caribbean quite a bit and have often used an unlocked device when staying for a lengthy period of time. I find this change in policy unsettling. What’s whiny about being upset about a policy that basically tells people sorry, we won’t do a thing to help you until you’ve proven you’re a good little boy.

      • Evan

        I’m of two minds. There are definitely legitimate use cases, but on the other hand there is a ton of room for possible fraud abuse if unlocking phones is possible with just a downpayment and there is no contract termination fee. The two things that I think work in T-Mobile’s favor here are that A) if you buy an unlocked device elsewhere to begin with then you can just have a cheaper monthly cost, and B) wifi calling is still free overseas (if you just need to make a few calls back home this may be all you really need).

        • philyew

          The biggest complaint for me at least is the change for Classic Plan customers (40 to 547 days wait period) who still have to pay a higher monthly service charge to offset the subsidy and are still subject to an ETF.

          This isn’t about protecting the company, it’s about beating the CP customers into moving to the new plan structure at the first opportunity.

          For those who think this is a whining complaint, I saw this coming weeks ago and got all the phones on my plan that travel overseas unlocked under the old policy. You don’t have to have anything personal at stake to see that what TM are doing is wrong.

          A few months ago the TM policy was used in support of a successful argument to get the DMCA re-applied to mobile phones. There is no way it would assist that argument now.

        • 21stNow

          How is this trying to force Classic plan customers over to Simple Choice plans? The vast majority of people on Simple Choice plans use the EIP, and they won’t be eligible until they finish paying it off or 24 months. True, Simple Choice customers have the option of paying the phone off early, but it doesn’t seem like many do. If they are willing to pay it off early just to get an unlock code, they are probably willing to just buy an unlock code from somewhere else. Even though it’s illegal, I’m sure that it’s still possible.

        • philyew

          Chipping away at the things that make it desirable to stick with a Classic Plan.

          If you migrate from Classic to Simple Choice, you don’t need to get a new phone. Unless I’ve misunderstood the process, paying the migration fee clears the subsidy, which makes the phone eligible for unlocking.

          Sure there will be people who are still willing to buy their unlock code from elsewhere, but the fact that it is now illegal will be a disincentive to many. I shouldn’t have to encourage someone to participate in something illegal in order for them to resolve a dilemma.

        • Craig

          How is the EIP Balloon Payment any different than the ETF of a Classic Plan? T-Mobile is protected by that as well as the initial credit check, and blacklisting.

      • bob90210

        If you think that T-Mobile’s unlock policy is bad and you want an unlocked phone, then buy an unlocked phone from somewhere else. The best way to be free from T-Mobile’s policy is to simply not play their game.

        • Craig

          Sure thats always an option. I think there is a sweet spot of compromise that would allow people to use TMo branded phones and have the convenience of unlocking if certain reasonable requirements are met.

      • Sean

        The problem is too many people have taken advantage of T-Mobile’s kindness over the years. What’s sucks is people are now being penalized for the people who took advantage of the liberal policies and burned T-Mobile. For everyone who bought phones on the gray market, you’ve only helped the bad guys. Congrats!

        • Craig

          Buying or Selling a phone on CL or eBay helps the bad guys?!? That’s silly. There’s nothing wrong with people buying and selling devices on the secondary market. You do know T-Mobile can blacklist stolen devices, right? T-Mobile’s unlocking policies haven’t liberal for years now.

        • Craig

          haven’t been* liberal

      • lifeisgr84all

        It looks like T-mobile wants customers to stay away from classic plans and have classic plans disappear altogether. I bought my unlocked nexus 4 form google play and now just upgraded to gs4 not knowing that i won’t be able to unlock it untill i meet the criteria. John Legere is very smart man ….i don’t believe that he did this while promising uncannier crap. Even on choice plans we are stuck for 24 months unless we paid for the device.
        T-mobile should reconsider the unlocking policy and make it more easy for customers who are traveling abroad often just like our own David.

      • philly8

        If their was a low rate plan for international travel as an add on feature then customers could take advantage of that instead of unlocking their phone. More people would be happy and they could also take advantage of wifi calling overseas to avoid charges. It would be good for Tmo to have a travel feature add on along with all they offer.

      • I understand this policy is not going to be liked by customers that travel overseas. But you are in the minority. A very small minority compared to the customer base @ large .. T-Mobile is trying to protect itself from ppl just leaving because of the no contract plans.

        Its not fair to you. But I doubt this will change.

  • Craig

    It’s clear the pendulum has swung much too far on TMo’s Unlock Policy away from customer service and into corporate protectionism. I hope TMo is listening, as this is certainly a black eye on their Un-Carrier-ness.

  • tmobile customer service is soooo bad…they are bamboozle-ing me…i ordered online on the 24th for the htc one + car dock and they canceled it and i had to call in and order by phone the next morning. they promised me the car dock but it never came and i kept calling for about a week about it and every rep said something different about crediting me or putting me on hold or what not…now i’m about to cancel and just use it on my walmart plan…

    • mizvonn

      The issue is there is so many people that does not care about Early Termination Fees and what’s on their credit. A person activates service with a free phone on the Classic plan.. wait 40 days of active service to request to unlock the phone and then they jumps ship. Don’t pay the bill, etf and just walked away with a $500 or $600 phone and it’s too bad too sad T-Mobile. I do believe it should be a happy medium and customers that has been customers for at least 2 yrs has the option to unlock the device if they meet all the other qualifications.

  • rfgenerator

    It appears to me that this is just another portion of a policy to try to pry people loose from their Classic Plans. It should also be noted that T-Mobiles international roaming rates are much higher than Verizon or ATT with regards to data. In recent years both ATT and Verizon have introduced packages of somewhat affordable international roaming while T-Mobile continues to charge $15 per MB of data while roaming in Europe. Previously one could easily get their phone unlocked and use another carrier overseas with your T-Mobile phone. With the more stringent unlock policy it could bankrupt one (literally) to data roam for a few days outside of the US.

    • kalel33

      You’re incorrect on Verizon being cheaper. Verizon’s internationals data roaming rates are $20 per mb, except in Mexico and Canada to which those are $5 per mb. You can buy 100mb of data for $25 per month but that doesn’t give you much to work with. Most customers with Verizon just turn off data and use WIFI.

      • rfgenerator

        $25 for 100 MB is still cheaper than $15 perMB. I could make 100MB work for a 2 or 3 week trip to Europe. Yes I would offload on wifi a lot, but at least wouldn’t cost me the $375 that that same 100MB would cost me with TMobile

    • Craig

      Your prospects for an Unlock Code on a Value Plan with EIP are just as grim.

  • kolijboy

    So much for “uncarrier.” This policy is absolutely ridiculous and a real disincentive for those of us who travel. It makes all their other posturing about being an uncarrier appear more like the gimmick it is.

    Now, will Tmo try to redeem itself and. listen to its customers?

  • kev2684

    “The device has been completely paid for.”

    what if you have overseas matters to attend for like a week or two, how are you going to use it there? i’d rather go prepaid in that country than pay for roaming.

  • TBN27

    I am totally indifferent to this. When i go overseas, I use wi-fi. Now I have an unlocked phone and I can swap out the sum cards. However I don’t do that. I just budget my sparing phone usage for calls and i use wi-fi for browsing.

  • bob90210

    The solution is simple. Don’t buy your phone from T-Mobile. Buy an unlocked phone somewhere else.

    • James

      Then no 4G for you…..

      • Five words: unlocked Rogers Nokia Lumia 920. I just ordered one myself and it’s got that AWS 1700 band T-Mobile uses for its 4G. That is all.

    • Craig

      We want to take advantage of T-Mobile’s exciting new EIP offerings and have the luxury of unlocking. TMo can and does blacklist the device if I do wrong by them and bail without paying the EIP off.

      • superg05

        and its still a loss

  • Your master

    Umm how about you get it unlocked online for a few bux and just stop whining.

    • Shawndh

      Because it is now “illegal” to unlock a phone purchased after 1/05/13

      • Whiskers

        Yea , like the unlocking cops are going to come to your house and arrest you for a simple unlock code . That law is a joke along with the jailbreaking law that was enforced.

        • Giovanni

          I bet their scared to tare tag off of their matress too haha

  • Nijakyng88

    …its a courtesy of the company not a divine mandate. If you STILL OWE A COMPANY ANY MONEY FOR ANYTHING THEY HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO GIVE YOU ANYTHING. Getting upset about something that isn’t a right is just ridiculous. AT&T wont do it without at least 60 days of being with company and being out of contract! “AT&T currently will unlock a device for any customer whose account
    has been active for at least sixty days; whose account is in good
    standing and has no unpaid balance; and who has fulfilled his or her
    service agreement commitment.” So I’m not sure what this T-Mobile customer is complaining about when they are STILL more lenient than other carriers!

    • philyew

      People signed up for Classic Plan contracts when the policy was that customers in good standing had to wait 40 days before unlocking was possible. The period has been arbitrarily increased to over 500 days.

      The company protect themselves with higher monthly plan charges and Early Termination Fees. Now, with Classic Plans a thing of the past, they decide they are under sufficient threat from this diminishing class of customers to increase the waiting period exponentially.

      The reality is that TM are using this policy to bludgeon Classic Plan customers into migrating over to the new plan structures at the first opportunity. Considering the new image that they trying to protect, this is unreasonable and unacceptable.

      It was also the case that the CTIA directly quoted the TM unlocking policy as part of their successful argument to prevent a further three years of mobile phone exemption from the DMCA. Within weeks of the change in law, the policy changed to something that couldn’t possibly have sustained the Librarian of Congress’ decision. Shameful.

      • Nijakyng88

        …That’s nonsense, if you want to have your phone unlocked by all means buy it FULL PRICE out of your own pocket and don’t expect your carrier to subsidize nor finance your phone and allow you to unlock it to use on any service you wish.

        • philyew

          You do realize that this debate is ten months old, and that TM changed the policy again shortly after this discussion to reflect the changes that I was looking for?

          The issue for me was always about allowing long term customers the ability to travel overseas without having to pay $15/mb roaming charges…or buying another phone for their trip. TM also acknowledged how bad this was when they introduced free overseas data roaming six months later.

    • Craig

      We are just looking for a policy that makes sense for both sides bud. Nobody owes anybody anything.

  • A Current Tmo Customer

    Why is it that when people/customers voice their concerns, they are referred to as crybabies or whiners? They are the customers, and should be listened to. I don’t travel internationally at all, but I can understand the concerns of those that do. Allow people to voice their concerns without calling them names.

    • LOVE

      T Mobile is the worst carrier in the game and probably always will be because of the gaps in TMobiles CELL TOWER DEPLOYMENT. bottom Line
      By By.

      • bleeew

        I thought New York was more important than LA. LA is only more important when counted as a county. The reason why coverage sucks is because T-Mobile doesn’t have that super low frequency AT&T has(850 band). If they had 600Mhz freq. then they could have better indoor coverage, and it would reach more people. If your aren’t happy with coverage, why bother with T-Mo?

      • Will

        I hate to correct you, but the world revolves around Washington, D.C., not Los Angeles.

  • CPPCrispy

    I wonder if they could do a unlock for a specific country or country’s. So, for instance, if you know you will be going to the UK, T-Mobile could unlock the phone for the UK. They would not unlock the phone for US, except for T-Mobile, unless you pay for the phone in full.

    What this would do is allow people that travel overseas to be able to use a local SIM but still allow T-Mobile to protect it self.

    • superg05

      and if they travel over seas and never come back T-mobiles in the same boat aren’t they

  • steveb944

    Maybe they should all get a Nexus or the unlocked version of the device they want. Problem solved.

  • If by “Common Sense Unlock Policy” you mean that only people with common sense may have their phones unlocked, T-Mobile would instantly have the most difficult unlock policy in America. From my experience very few people would qualify.

  • OZ

    This is stupid. I am bound to the contract and I travel overseas. I prefer using a local SIM instead. I asked for a code in Jan. and was denied due to system glitch (they did not have my IMEI current). I requested it again in April and got denied due to the new policy. After going back and forth with them, I finally got the Subsidi code. But now I need to exchange my phone as the current HTC One S I have sucks crazy battery with Jelly Bean.

    • Corey

      why do you think an exchange would solve a known issue like the update wont be sitting there waiting for you on the replacement device. smh

      • OZ

        Valid question. When I first experienced the battery issue, I was reading mixed reports of people having better battery life, and people like me with a terrible one. So to play it safe, I decided to get a replacement.

        Got two options. First, if the replacement arrives with ICS, do not upgrade. Second, if it has jelly bean, continue playing with the settings (e.g.background data) to see what uses less battery.

        • tomarone

          Use Juice Defender, get an external battery. Condition the battery. There are plenty of external battery packs under $30 there is even a solar one from amazon called ‘ReVive’ that seems good.

        • OZ

          Sure there are several options. I have conditioned the battery.

          The point here, why does JellyBean consume double or more battery than ICS. Fair question.

        • tomarone

          Mine seems about the same. Of course fair question. could be an email client working too much, or facebook, or some other constantly communicating client app. reboot and uninstall apps until you see an improvement might help. Maybe try to get HTC to fix it, send it back to them and tell them the battery is worn out as soon as you upgraded. Sorry for the trouble!

        • OZ

          This is why I have requested a phone. I has arrived BTW.

        • Giovanni

          Stop buying HTC phones. I dont let people get them. They are known for having issues shortly thereafter then get denied warranty exchange if so much as a fingerprint on device.

        • OZ

          I have exchanged several HTC phones with T-Mobile in the past. Is this happening as of late?

        • Chris

          Not on mine. I actually get more with JB (not much – just an hour or so more) than what I had with ICS. I have an S3 by the way.

  • rob

    Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4 Nexus 4

    • Hogpistol

      Your battery must have died before you could type that any more.

      • thepanttherlady

        LOL I know that’s the truth! :)

      • rob

        Lol on the Nexus? HSPA+ and the lack of LTE helps me make it til 9pm on moderate to heavy use. Anyone who complains about battery must always leave all services running, apps, antennas, etc.

  • Don Kim

    Two words.. B.S.

  • rob

    T-Mobile is usually quick to respond to angry customers, we’ll prob see a new better* unlock policy soon. Keep calm and hit that refresh button

  • Hector Ray Calles

    Just buy the NEXUS 4 from Google or from T-mobile and use it ,,
    It comes unlocked and has a wide range of frequecies.
    Best phone I ever owned.

    • Craig

      … missing the point. T-Mobile sells 99% of their phones locked. We simply want an Unlock Policy that is fair to T-Mobile and makes customers happy.

    • philyew

      You’re right that this is a future option…but what about those people who signed up for a two-year Classic Plan contract when the policy was a 40 day wait, and now find it arbitrarily increased to over 500 days.

      These people already pay higher service charges to offset the subsidy, and will be billed a $200 ETF if they leave. Having to spend $350 on another phone isn’t the solution for them, if all they need to do is reduce communications costs when traveling overseas for a period.

  • James

    T-Mobile is making sure you don’t try to run off with a phone you haven’t paid in full you be surprised how many fraud goes on T-Mobile is just trying to make sure they don’t get burned . Just go buy the phone factory unlocked and shut up .

    • Craig

      I imagine very little fraud goes on with established accounts. I’m sure there’s quite a bit of fraud on brand new accounts. We want Unlocks for the good guys who meet reasonable requirements. T-Mobile has many tools at their disposal to weed out the bad guys without punishing the good guys.

      • Dion Mac

        As a former employee… NOT TRUE. There are so many 4, 5, and 6 year accounts with customers who would continually stick T-Mobile. This may sound racist, but my experience was Asians out of New York had a lil operation going on. They knew how the system worked and how to manipulate it, and it seemed they would tell all of their friends. They were nice as sh*t tho. But that affected my retention numbers so I would investigate and report tf out of them. So again, its not just new customer committing fraud against T-Mobile.

        • Giovanni


        • philyew

          So block the IMEI.

          People who dodge the ETF won’t think twice about getting an unlock code from an illegal source.

          The policy does nothing to stop that kind of abuse, but it does screw people who want to stay on their legacy plans AND also travel

        • Dion Mac

          Understandable. But why y’all overseas so much? Keep that money in America lol.

        • philyew

          LOL! How about making money for America by selling American products and services in foreign markets? ;-)

        • Dion Mac

          You’re the best! And I mean that!

  • James Brost

    I have no issue with the Classic Plan rule. I do think once the “device has been completely paid for”, you should be able to get the code regardless of “40 consecutive days of active service” or if I “did not request an unlock code in the last 90 days”. Since I paid for it in full, I own it, they made a profit selling it to me, whats the problem here!

    • Cash

      Problem is you can’t use EIP as proscribed and get an Unlock when you need it.

    • superg05

      actually they didn’t make a profit selling it as there was no markup or interest added

      • Dion Mac

        They also spent millions of dollars to get their pretty little logo on the phone, specified for their network. So if Tmo buys a Sammy S4 for 599.99 and sales it for 599.99, they’ve lost millions, but its ok as long as you stay a customer for a while.

        • philyew

          The MSRP factors in carrier costs.

          There is absolute proof of that from the sales figures released by Samsung in their legal battle with Apple.

        • James Brost

          Seriously? They sell the Nexus 4 for $448, while Google sells the exact same phone for $350. I am sure Google is making a profit! I seriously do not believe they pay anywhere near $599.99 for for a S4. Just look at how Carphone Warehouse in the UK sells phones and carrier plans. It’s one reason I only have Nexus phones now.

        • Dion Mac

          The nexus 4 is the exception. Google purposely did that a lil above tmobile. They only profit $12 per phone.Now, how would tmobile sell any of their other phones, if the top of the line phone was $150 less than the rest of their phones?

          . You were saying? stly, tmobile is selling the iPhone $70 chapter than Apple… you were saying?

        • James Brost

          So if I buy a 100,000 GS4 phones wholesale from Samsung, they would charge me the full MSRP? It’s just not how retail works. What does Apple’s inflated markup have to do with T-Mobile making a profit as well? I never said T-Mobile was overcharging for their phones, just that they “DO MAKE A PROFIT” on phone sales.

        • Dion Mac

          When I worked at tmobile, there was a Samsung rep that came to the centre one day. He stayed that Samsung charges tmobile at cost and not bulk discounted prices. Now certainly he could have lied or it could have changed as this was 5 years ago, but that’s what he said.

        • philyew

          You can work out the unit prices that TM paid Samsung for a number of devices. It was around $70 less than the MSRP, if I recall correctly, but certainly more than cost. The difference is the margin for the carrier to cover distribution, sales, marketing, support, licensing and profit.

        • James Brost

          “At cost” means Wholesale, not MSRP.

    • Dion Mac

      First… no profit.
      Second… revenue lost. How? They paid x amount of MILLIONS of dollars to Sanyo for them to agree to make them a phone specifically for their network i.e. HSPA+42, HD Voice, Wifi Calling etc. Then they turn around and sell it at cost or maybe a lil more, but in many cases less. WHY? Because they will make back the lost in monthly service. However if you buy a shiny new Sanyo phone, then cancel service immediately and go to at&t… there’s no way to recoup that lost now.

      The kicker… Say there is a world were locked phone dont exist. Great!!!

      The Customer: I saw an T-Mobile commercial with that new Sanyo phone. I want that phone. Do yall have that as well?

      AT&T: NO! We actually don’t have any phones, so what you can do is simply get a phone from T-Mobile and bring it over here and use it.

      The Customer: Wait, will they charge me a fee to do that?

      AT&T: Perhaps… But if you really want that Sanyo DeathStar phone, this is what you do… Go buy the phone either on value plan for 99.99 down or classic plan for 129.99 with a 2 yr. Then cancel it, and bring it own over. They will charge you a 200 ETF or remaining installments on the phone but that can just go on your credit and will come off in 7 years, no biggy. That way we don’t have to spend millions of dollars getting exclusive rights to phones and you benefit with a lower monthly rate.

      The Customer: But your bill is much higher than T-Mobile’s.

      AT&T: *angry cat face*

      The Customer: Hello?


  • Nearmsp

    Before we talk down T-mobile we need to understand 2 key reasons why T-mobile is doing it. 1. No more contracts so they need to make sure people on Simple choice cancel and walk off. 2. Even if it is “fully” paid off, they insist on 40 day wait period. Why? Because T-mobile is selling their iPhones at a discount of $70. Hence the 40 day ensures they get their discount back. I agree T-mobile was very liberal even on classic plans earlier. I guess with an iPhone things have changed. But they must try to see if they can make some modifications to ensure genuine long term customers with at least 5 years of continuous service are given some leeway. I personally have several unlocked phones so when I travel overseas, I still carry my BB for local sim usage.

    • Cash

      You can’t cancel and walk off. There is a balloon payment, or the phone gets blacklisted. The petition advocating only established accounts get to unlock while on EIP.

      • Dion Mac

        That like getting the title to a car before its paid off

        • Zac

          No. It’s like being able to take your car across sate lines before it’s paid off. Your analogy is not working. You only need your car’s title if you are trying to sell it.

        • Dion Mac

          B¡tch a title shows ownership of a car. Unlocking a phone died ownership of that phone. Y’all just trying to manipulate my analogy to fit your feeling. Don’t make it right, now vamoose!

        • Zac

          Unlocking ≠ Ownership. Unlocking = Unlocking.

          Your analogy machine is broken bud.

        • Dion Mac

          And how does that make you feel?

        • Spanky

          You get the title to a car whether it’s paid off or not. Once you pay off the loan, you get a lien release notice from the lienholder. Get a clue.

        • Dion Mac

          On planet earth, lien holders keep the title until the vehicle is paid off. And yes your correct, I’m a former business office associate at carmax so this is something I know very well! Your welcome to leave now!

        • Will

          You can obtain the title (or a copy if you no longer have the original) from the records office of the state you live in. The title will contain a lien (or several liens) on it.

        • Dion Mac

          Edit: clean title… That better?

        • Will

          Yes. I don’t know why everyone (including me) is being so picky today? It started with lock image above I guess.

        • philyew

          Even accepting your flawed analogy, TM did precisely that for several years.

          A standard Classic Plan customer pays a higher monthly service charge because of the subsidy and faces a $200 ETF. If the leave and are delinquent on that, their IMEI can be blocked.

          TM doesn’t need this policy to prevent losses, but it certainly will help to drive legacy Classic Plan customers over to the new plans as soon as possible.

        • Dion Mac

          My analogy was that bad huh?

    • philyew

      That doesn’t explain why Classic Plan customers who pay a higher service charge because of the subsidy and face a $200 ETF suddenly have to go from a 40 day wait to over 500 days.

      If I run and don’t pay my ETF then they can blacklist the IMEI. There is no reason to have this policy other than to try and squeeze me out of the Classic Plan and into their new plans as soon as possible.

  • kalel33

    This is sad in one regard, Verizon phones come unlocked for global carriers. They are locked for domestic but foreign countries are completely fine to use a local sim with and not have any problems.

    • E Tutto Bene

      Yep! I agree. I paid $870.00 for my I Phone and I travel to Europe all the time. What is going on with these people. Where is the petition?

      • Dion Mac

        Im assuming………. you paid full price…. for your phone. Thus(the kicker) it will be unlocked.

        • Spanky

          Actually, Verizon utilizes 700mHz spectrum for their LTE. Federal law prohibits locking phones that run on that frequency. As such, all Verizon LTE phones come unlocked.

        • Dion Mac

          I’m aware, but the person I replied to didn’t say what carrier they got their iPhone with, the person above them did.

      • Hogpistol

        870.00 is full retail price and according to the policy above you would be able to request your unlock since the phone was paid off.

  • superg05

    everything T-mobile is doing is for a reason after restructuring and analysis don’t you think if people where not getting over on them a lot that they would not have changed there policies to plug that leaking hole in there ship if there wasn’t all these predatory people trying to get over by getting a phone cheap and jumping back to there primary Carrier without paying for it fully or at all and choosing not to pay the etf i wouldn’t unlock it till there contract is up tmobile is to nice

  • Irfan

    All t mobile phones r customize with t mobile service …I expand 4 months in a year out of country and durring this I do pay my monthly bills with out using service , they must have to go back towards old policy ..new policy offcrouse does not for honest customers ..they must have to unloack it .

  • Not_Sure

    On a classic plan, I agree the phone should be fully paid for before they unlock it. But why the 180 days? If you break the contract, you still have to pay an etf! They aren’t losing money on the phone subsidy at that point, just a customer. I guess they figure you’re less likely to break your contract if you can’t unlock your phone. Just protecting themselves because a lot of people must have abused the old policy.

    • philyew

      It is more likely that they are trying to drive people with cheaper legacy plans off the Classic Plan as soon as possible. They already protect themselves with higher service plans to recoup the subsidy and the ETF.

      If people are going to run and not pay the ETF, what makes TM think that they would balk at getting a now illegal unlock code from an online vendor?

      IMEI blacklisting is a much more effective option at any time than a policy that prevents loyal customers from using a local SIM when traveling overseas.

    • Spanky

      On a Classic Plan, the phone is subsidized. The customer is not “paying it off” the same way as it’s done on the Value Plan. There is no reason for the carrier not to unlock the phone as long as the customer is under contract. Plain and simple, this is abuse of the ridiculous new law.

  • LOVE

    What about the new UnCarrier image. This is completely Un UnCarrier.
    Bullshit. No reason. You can not completely trust T Mobile because of exactly like the above. distrusting.
    Bottom Line: Don’t Trust T Mobile, TMUS whatever you refer it as

    • bob90210

      Do trust any company. Companies exists to make money for their shareholders and not for any other reasons. If T-Mobile thinks it will make more money by not unlocking the phones until the phones are paid off, then they will do it. If they think they will lose sales because of the policy, then they will change it. That gives you, as the consumer, the power to influence the policy. If you don’t like it, then don’t buy it. T-Mobile, like every other company, cares only about money. You are already vote with your dollars; you just need to decide what you’re voting for.

    • Chris

      I take it you didn’t read the article. This is about phone unlock policy and not about contracts… Phones can be unlocked even if you are still in contract with them, which was the case before – I didn’t have to wait 18 months before to unlock my phone when I was still on classic plan 2 years ago. Since the Simple choice plan didn’t come into full swing til earlier this year. Some people “STILL” have contracts, hence the complaints on the “current” phone unlock policy.

      You should probably read more and post less. Maybe then you’ll have better understanding.

  • Dion Mac

    Yall trip me out trying to get the title to the car before its paid off! SMH

    • Whiskers

      You be tripping me out about a title., lol.
      It’s not just about a title but the registration as well.

      It’s like not getting a registration to use the phone elsewhere even though you are in good faith with T-Mobile and make all your payments on time during your obligation.

      Who would buy a car on a 4 year payment plan and not be able to get the registration to go with it so you can choose which insurance you want to cover it.
      The way T-Mobile has it set up is you can only use the $600.00 smartphone that your paying for the way they see fit , BS.
      They could always block the IMEI instead and make the phone useless instead of locking the phone that way the ones that abuse the system gets the hammer , not making everyone else pay for their actions.

      • Sean Ringrose

        Or you could, you know, save some money and just switch to the new plans which are actually cheaper…for 40 whole days…

        It ain’t rocket science.

        • Whiskers

          It is “rocket science” to T-Mobile , it’s all about how they can make the most money and keep customers from leaving . It’s all about money and that’s why their in business , to make the most profits they can.
          Why should everyone be hammered when they could easily block the IMEI on the bad people and deadbeats.
          Some people do like to travel and use different sims without having to buy multiple phones to do so .
          And even if you switch to the cheaper plans you should’nt have to wait just to be able to unlock your smartphone so you can use other sims if your paying your bill on time and have a good standing with T-Mobile .

        • Spanky

          I frequently travel internationally and use local SIM cards. This is anticompetitive behavior on the part of the carrier, as they are effectively forcing the customer to use their more expensive plans. FTC should investigate this.

        • Hogpistol

          Really? And what about the other carriers that don’t unlock the phone until your contract is completely up? The best way of course was to just go to a cell phone repair shop and get it unlocked for a nominal fee but the DMCA screwed that up.

        • philyew

          And the previous TM unlocking policy was quoted directly by the CTIA in their argument in favor of re-asserting DMCA controls: Look at this liberal unlocking policy, they said, you don’t need exemptions when the carrier is this reasonable. Ha!

        • Hogpistol

          Not gonna argue, I like the old policy too. But I understand T-Mobile’s apprehension of keeping that policy in the wake of no contracts. If a customer were to purchase a iPhone on Value at the down payment cost of 99.99, then go sell it to someone overseas after unlocking for a profit there is no way for T-Mobile to do anything about it. Blacklisting doesn’t help unless the international provider supports our blacklist (not aware of any that currently do).

        • philyew

          I agree that without an ETF, TM probably do need some protection for EIP arrangements, but I’m specifically concerned about the change for Classic Plan customers who pay more, generally, because of the subsidy and have a $200 ETF throughout the extended period.

          That’s not to say that the policy couldn’t be improved all round, but it’s clearly unfair to CP customers.

        • 3560freak

          I don’t know why everyone thinks that blocking the IMEI is a win for the carrier. They are still out the exact same amount that they were before the block was in place. Ex. Someone steals your car and you have to pay your insurance deductible, then the VIN is blocked and no one can register the car in their name. You are still out your insurance deductible, the block did nothing for you. And with phones the only people that seem to get burned are the ones buy phones from eBay or craigslist, because the new buyer sometimes doesn’t know a phone is blacklisted until it is too late. You can still get burned if T-Mobile says the IMEI is clear, my co-worker was told a phone IMEI was clear by a store rep and then 3 days later his phone quit working. Called T-Mobile and they said that the IMEI was now blocked due to an insurance claim. He got hosed.

        • philyew

          Yes, of course, but if it was clear to everyone that this would be the certain consequence, along with ruined credit, the number of people going this route would not warrant the changed policy and the impact that this is having on honest customers who simply want to use another SIM when roaming overseas.

          The people making up the Classic Plan constituency is an already shrinking group, so the threat from them is getting smaller all the time.

        • Whiskers

          That sounds like an pro scam job.
          Sell your phone , then wait a few days and say it was stolen .
          You get a replacement phone at the cost of the deductible and also get the profit from the original sale as well .
          Happens all the time on Craigslist and Ebay , that’s why I only buy my phones new or if used from someone I actually know and trust.


        • Zac

          We’re arguing for Unlocking EVEN while on EIP if you have an established account, and are paying your bill on time. Why not? The balloon payment serves the same purpose as the ETF on classic plans did.

        • philyew

          It isn’t cheaper for a lot of people on legacy Classic Plans and you have to pay a transfer fee.

          Regular CP customers already pay higher monthly fees to cover the subsidy and are subject to a $200 ETF…but now have to wait not 40 days, but over 500.

          The recent change in policy has a material effect on overseas travelers but doesn’t qualify as the kind of change that justifies a penalty free early termination.

          All round there isn’t a cost-free option for people to get back to the policy that was in place when they signed their contract.

        • terry

          stop crying you be surprised how many people would sign up for t-mobile and get a subsidized phone and leave in 40 days with a free phone or a retailed vaule phone of $600+ for $199.99 . AT&T and Verizon policy is worse try to leave them before your 2 year agreement is up and you will be subject to a etf of $200-$350 each line and you must pay for the phone if it’s a iphone you subsidized expect to pay between $500 or more on each line

        • philyew

          I’m not crying. I saw this coming in February after the change in the DMCA exemption, and made sure all my phones that will be taken overseas this year are unlocked.

          The fact that I have nothing material to gain or lose doesn’t alter the fact that TM are wrong to make this change. The change for the Classic Plan customers has more to do with driving people over to the new plans than any argument about fraud.

          It is also wrong that the previous TM policy was quoted directly by the CTIA in their vigorous and ultimately successful argument in favor of re-establishing DMCA control over mobile devices, but within weeks of that change taking place, TM revise their policy to something that would probably have resulted in the opposite outcome.

    • Zac

      Your car title analogy doesn’t work on any level. If you buy a car you can do anything you want with it an to it as long as you are making the payments on time. You can even leave the country with it! You only need your title if you are selling the car.

      • Zac


        • Dion Mac

          I have me votes than you, HA!

        • mike

          I agree the car is not your realistic until it’s paid off the finance company is the lien holder. People need to stop trying to get over on t-mobile and stop trying to get $600-$800 phones for for free or subsidized and expected just to leave t-mobile and cost them to lost money either pay your phone off or buy it outright factory unlocked.

        • philyew

          None of the arguments I’ve read here seem to be motivated by trying to “get over on t-mobile.”

          TM certainly do need to protect themselves, but surely the IMEI blocking capability would be more effective, in the sense that it doesn’t alienate long-standing customers who previously had no intention of leaving?

          As it stands, a standard Classic Plan customer can’t get their phone unlocked to help offset overseas roaming costs until they have paid around $360 in higher monthly service charges because of the subsidy they received.

          All that time they are also still subject to a $200 ETF, so the period during which TM is exposed to losses on the transaction is much shorter than the 18 months wait period that has been set.

          Of course, people can run and dodge the ETF, but do you really think that anyone prepared to do that will balk at getting an unlock code from another, illegal source?

          TM’s logic just doesn’t hold up. Making it crystal clear that a phone will be blacklisted if the customer defaults is the best approach to prevent fraud…Of course, that doesn’t help TM drive customers off the Classic Plan and onto the new plan structure, which is the real reason behind the change.

        • james

          T-Mobile still loses money even if they blacklist a phone a high end phone cost $600+ and the customer only pays $199 down and the customer decides not to pay for it and it get’s blacklisted t-mobile loses $400 still off the lost of the phone you dumb piece of s**t … Just go buy a cheap older used phone off craiglist and use it on t-mobile since ppl like you can’t really afford iphones and the galaxy s4 and just wanna get over on t-mobile there new rules are fair

        • philyew

          I’m afraid your response is wrong on several levels.

          1) I’ve been a TM customer for over 10 years and have every intention of remaining so.

          2) All my phones that could have been affected by this change are already unlocked by TM. I’m discussing a point of principle, not one of personal gain.

          3) TM do not pay $600+ for the device. The wholesale price and MSRP are totally different.

          4) The people I am speaking out for are those who simply want to unlock the device so they can use a local SIM when overseas and thus avoid the $15/mb data roaming charges which are up to 1,500 times more expensive than domestic data charges. The 2GB allowance that costs $20 here would cost $30,000+, if used in full with a TM SIM roaming in Europe!

          5) The group for whom I have the biggest concern are Classic Plan customers who customarily pay around $20/month more for their service plan in order to offset the subsidy. They are also subject to an ETF of $200 for the whole of the period that they are now denied an unlock. Bottom line: TM have the opportunity to cover their risk on the subsidy many months before the end of the new 18-month period.

          6) If someone is going to cut and run without paying the ETF, do you really believe that they would give a moment’s thought to the unlock policy? They will get an illegal unlock code from a third party, so the vast majority of Classic Plan customers affected by this change will be those who respect their obligations and wish to remain TM customers.

          Instead of turning to abuse, why not give this issue a moment of objective thought?

      • hahah

        @Zac you my friend are a moron. No where in the UNITED STATES any BANK which has given you a loan for your vehicle will let you take the car out of the country. Unless its Canada/Mexico which is for a certain period of time usually 30 days. You obviously are talking about a small third party dealership in which the dealership themselves give you the loan while charging you 14% interest or more. Which in the end of the term of the X amount of months you chose to purchase your vehicle it will not be worth even 5K let alone maybe 2K on top of paying an extra 7-10K on interest plus Finance fees and their “car warranty” they convince you novice to the car world on purchasing.

        • Whiskers

          Don’t forget about the Military.
          you are constantly being stationed outside the United States and you take your cars and family with you as well.

        • Zac

          What? I’m just simply pointing out the Auto Title analogy is a horrible one in this case. I have no idea about the travel restrictions you’re mentioning, but I’ve taken my car into Mexico, and military folks shuttle vehicles across the ocean regularly.

        • Will

          Unless you are renting or leasing your vehicle (which is a long-term rental with predefined rates, depreciation, and mileage), you can legally take a vehicle with a loan on it out of the county. The enforceability of the loan does not disappear because you leave the country. Just like taxes, it never goes away until you pay the man.

    • dpro

      Obviously you don’t travel and are stuck in the deep south. Pity for you. Some of us do travel and not being able to unlock our phones to use in other countries sucks. Fact is if you are making payments or if your phone is subsidized then you are still tied to it financially. This is where your title statement fails. The bank will not give you the title till the car is paid off. Unlocking a phone is not equivalent to handing you the title because the phone is not paid off. Unlocking a phone is more like giving you the registration so you can go like others have said go choose your car insurance. You cannot get car insurance without a registration. Much like you cannot get GSM cell service without a sim. In Europe everyone uses unlocked phones and your service roams from one to the other depending on your location. Yes they all have some kind of roaming agreement.

      Ya you can go leave a company with a unlocked phone and still owing for it. Great go ruin your credit for the sake of getting an unlocked cell phone. Anybody that does that is an idiot. T Mobile is actually very aggressive towards customers with unpaid bills. They do report that stuff. Same goes for owing on a phone and leaving.

      In the end your thinking is typical of the American consumer that has been fed a line by all the Providers in the U.S. So they can make excess profits off us. Like they tell FCC all the time. We need contracts because we can’t be competitive the market is not mature. Its all bull. So basically what we have here is kinda of a con job by T Mobile. By doing the whole non contract thing they make themselves look consumer friendly . Yet by changing the unlock terms they unfairly tie people back in.

      Remember they do not just sell you an unlocked phone to start. You did have to call and ask after a period of time and truthfully that was a discretionary choice on their part as well.

      “Yall trip me out” that you can’t see this. LOL

      • Dion Mac

        How bout you take a nice soothing bath and a fire ant pile! Nothing deep south over here and I resent your racism. You’re being so technical about my analogy saying it should be like registration. Well registration can’t make a phone call so now your argument stands no ground. Now do you see how that makes no sense? I recon you do!

        Bottom line, you don’t own that phone until it is paid off. Pay it off, then do as you please with it.

        • Whiskers

          You don’t own a lease on a car either but you can still choose how many miles you want to drive it , what type of gas you put in it , what insurance company you want to insure it with , and what style of upkeep you want to keep it in until the agreement is done.
          The same should be with the phone , if you are in good faith and paying your bill with T-Mobile on time regularly then they should’nt be able to lock your phone so you can’t use other sims in it . Your not stealing it , you just need to use the phone with a different sim.

          I can see them blocking the IMEI if your a deadbeat , but preventing you from using a different sim in your phone that you are buying is just not acceptable in my opinion.

        • Herb

          Actually, most lease agreements have mileage restrictions that cost a ton if you go over, so your analogy is really supporting the point. You don’t own the car, you can’t do whatever you want with it. You don’t own the phone, you can’t do whatever you want with it. Same deal.

        • Whiskers

          Some do and some don’t.
          I had a 3 year lease with a Chevy Tahoe and I could whatever I wanted with the truck while I had it so long as I didn’t modify the truck with offroad aftermarket parts , and I had the option to buy it at the end of the lease as well.
          When you buy a phone you do own it , regardless if it’s completely paid off or not . If you back out of a T-Mobile contract for any reason T-Mobile don’t come repossess the phone , they just want their money.
          You do own the phone when you buy it , it’s the financial backing you owe after you walk out of the store . Much different type of agreement than with autos where they want the car back and their financial loss when you back out of those loans .

        • dpro

          If you think that was a racist comment your are to hung up on yourself or have a persecution complex and that’s on you for you interpreting it that way.

          Everyone from the deep south says ya all. I have cousins in Florida that say Ya All and they are English and Scottish decent . Saying ya all has nothing to do with the color of your skin and you are damn ignorant if you think it does.

          P.S. I know you down voted me out of your own ignorance congratulations it just shows you are damn clueless.

        • Dion Mac

          Yep, I voted you down. Now what? What happens now?

    • Will

      Not to be too picky or start an argument, but you do get the title whenever you purchase the car The bank does not hold the title, they have lien on the title which prevents it from being sold. You own the car, but are using it for collateral to guarantee payment of a loan. The bank can only own the car if you default on the loan and only after they have filed a claim with the state’s record office for a new title in their name. The same is true for other personal property such as boats, rvs, farm equipment, etc.

      This would not be an issue if you could title a phone. Then T-Mobile could put a lien on the title of the phone.

      • Dion Mac

        I think you just proved my phone. T-Mobile does put a lien on the title of your phone. And until that lien is satsified, you will not be able to sell it… Let me take that back. You’ll be able to sell it, but the new owner will not be able to “register” it on their network.

  • qpinto

    ive always had to pay off a phone completely before unlocking it. this goes way back even with the G1. Its nothing special to me. However this doesn’t apply to me anymore as my account has been with t-mobile for quite a long time.

    • philyew

      The wait period relates to the amount of time you own the phone, not the length of time you have been with TM. Classic Plan customers of many years standing are being refused unlocking because they upgraded in recent months under the old 40 day policy, but now have to wait over 500 days – despite paying higher service charges to offset the subsidy, and still being subject to a $200 ETF.

  • petitions are dumb. spoiled little children is all this basically is.

    • philyew

      Actually, it’s grown up people, doing grown up jobs who have found that the cost of doing business has just increased substantially because of a policy that really doesn’t make as much sense as its supporters suggest.

      Blocking the IMEI and ruining someone’s credit will be sufficient disincentive for most people. For the rest, do you really think that withholding the unlock code is going to stop someone? They would be willing to defraud TM, but not get an unlock code from an illegal source? Really?

      This is about finding every means possible to shut down the Classic Plan program as quickly as possible.

      • oh well i suppose .. i just don’t see the importance especially since you realize people will get the phone unlocked anyway.

  • terry

    stop crying you be surprised how many people would sign up for t-mobile
    and get a subsidized phone and leave in 40 days with a free phone or a
    retailed vaule phone of $600+ for $199.99 . AT&T and Verizon policy
    is worse try to leave them before your 2 year agreement is up and you
    will be subject to a etf of $200-$350 each line and you must pay for the
    phone if it’s a iphone or higher end phone you subsidized expect to pay between $500 or
    more on each line

    • Squirrel

      Unlocking is good for say…travelling in Europe or Mexico without paying the huge roaming fees.

      If someone thinks they can finance a phone and then just stop paying…they’re crazy. It’s going to ruin their credit forever. It doesn’t matter if the phone is or isn’t unlocked, if someone wants to stop paying they’re free too…but they’re screwing themselves over.

    • Zac

      Our point is T-Mobile has credit checks, ETFs and balloon payments, can blacklist phones, and ding your credit. With all of these tools at their disposal they can certainly allow unlocking for established accounts in good standing.

    • josephsinger

      If you make off with a phone you haven’t paid for T-Mobile won’t just shrug their shoulders. They will bill you for the phone and if you don’t pay it will go to the credit bureaus.

  • Dakota

    They can have whatever policy they want as long as it’s clear to customers. But once someone had signed a2 year contract, a company shouldn’t change a policy like that mid stream

  • Sam Huffman

    The padlock in the photo should start at zero, not 1. If you count from that mark truly being 1, then there are too many hash marks between 1 and 5.

    • iMissTheSpot

      Congratulations! I’ve been using the Internet since Netscape 1.1 on Windows 3.1*, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen ANYONE nitpick clipart! You have achieved new heights of pedantry!

      * And while you’re at it, you kids get off my lawn!

      • Will

        If you lived in the District of Columbia, you would not own your front lawn. It would be owned by the government. So those kids will never leave.

    • Will

      Maybe David is using Babylonian mathematics where the zero placeholder does not exist. For example, you have 1-10 fingers, but not zero fingers.

      Or maybe 2+2=5 because 1=0? Insert Orwellian jokes here….

    • The whole article pertains to something else and that’s what you take away? :-)

      • Will

        Shouldn’t the lock color be magenta?

        • I just found a random Google Image and used it.

        • Hogpistol

          We’re gonna need a little more effort David. :D

        • Will

          For a minute there, I thought you were promoting AT&T blue.

        • OnlineRefugee

          I’m shocked! You mean TMoNews does not have a graphics department?

          That’s it. I want a full refund, immediately, if not sooner, instantly, as if by magic.

      • bob90210

        To be fair to Sam, the lock image is rather large. And if there are nits to pick, someone will nitpick. It’s a good thing; it keeps everyone else alert. And it’s just one comment out of over a hundred.

    • OnlineRefugee

      And people who post comments about a padlock graphic should be banned from the Internet.

      I kid, I kid, not really.

    • OnlineRefugee

      By the way Sam… great avatar. Bet you are the life of the party, talking about padlock graphics and all.

  • thepanttherlady

    Couple of things:

    #1 I read, although admittedly not researched thoroughly, that if a phone is unlocked the IMEI # can’t be blacklisted. Is this true?

    #2 I don’t agree with Classic plan customers having to wait 18 months to unlock their device. If this policy change is because T-Mobile fears loss in revenue (customer’s canceling and leaving), then why not charge a more appropriate ETF? Let it start out much larger and decrease each month by say, $20 with the minimum being $200 (or other predetermined amount). This would allow them to recoup some of the device cost while allowing the customer to fully utilize their devices.

    • #1 is patently false. IMEI blacklisting can be done for any and all devices at an operator’s whim. For example, if AT&T decided to blacklist the entire IMEI range for the Nexus 4 tomorrow, it could.

      #2 The ETF is already present, and it’s actually fairly annoying in how it depreciates compared to other operators because the total ETF value is lower.

      • thepanttherlady

        Thank you, Conan. I really wish there was a set parameter for blacklisting from T-Mobile. At least one that was available to the public.

        I know Classic customers already have an ETF. I was just wondering out loud about the reasons for the change regarding these customers. Loss in projected revenue was the only thing I could think of. There has to be a happy medium for both T-Mobile and customers. My solution was unlock their phones same as before but charge the higher ETF that depreciates. I don’t know if that would work though to be honest.

  • I-Troll-U

    I’m just glad to be off contract…

  • boom

    Its no big deal. Majority of Tmobile subscribers can’t afford decent cell phone service, much less afford to travel internationally. If they could they wouldn’t be on Tmobile…

    • Whiskers

      You just stated you are a financial loser , lol.
      Since you are here on TMONews website and it’s about T-Mobile phones and plans we can assume you have T-Mobile service or you are a troll.

      • Kevin Gensel

        Having worked at t-mobile I can verify “booms” nonsense is just that…nonsense. There were days when one carrier in one country would go down for a few hours and we would get tech support calls non-stop. Again, that was just calls from our subscribers visiting in that one country. Not a day went by that we didn’t take 10-15 calls as a team from international roamers, we were one of dozens of teams working. While doing that math may show a small amount of customers, fact is the service just usually worked…hence, less calls.

    • Will

      T-Mobile users do travel internationally. However, maybe we look for the best deal and don’t fly first class. I am so cheap, I probably would ride in the cargo hold if they would let me. :)

      • Asael Delgado

        Omg this was hilarious!! Lol

    • josephsinger

      And you know this how? Some customers like myself find that T-Mobile’s service is superior to that provided by other carriers like AT&T who came into the GSM game five years after VoiceStream (T-Mobile’s predecessor) and AT&T still hasn’t quite gotten how to run a GSM network. Don’t make generalizations especially if you can’t back it up with facts and not just your sole opinion.

    • Asael Delgado

      I totally take offense to that! I was first with Verizon, and their prices were crock of shit, and thier mobile share everything plans were absurd and than AT&T, they were good but their LTE ate my data like no tomorrow and I use to have Sprint and they just SUCKED! I switch to T-Mobile for the sole reason of unlimited data and their coverage here in San Diego has been fantastic! I would rather save money for travelling internationally than spending outrages amounts for Cell phone service like i have for the past few years. Over it! So stick your opinion somewhere!

  • Zac

    Can I just say this isn’t about who owns the phone? It’s about T-Mobile protecting itself and yet still having a consumer friendly unlock policy. If T-Mobile had been getting scammed to death by unlocking they would have changed their policy a long time ago. They changed it to coincide with the changes to EIP and Value plans in what to me was way to far an overreach. We want some balance restored that addresses the needs of travelling customers yet still protects T-Mobile from fraud and abuse. The recent chances are far far to one-sided in this regard.

    • bob90210

      I’m not sure how a $5 unlock code is going to protect a $600 phone.

      • Zac

        I’m not sure either. I don’t think you understood my post.

  • just pay 5 bux and have your device unlocked via the IMEI code over the internet. Been doing it for almost a decade now as I never buy my T-Mo phones from T-Mo

    • philyew

      Unfortunately, that is now an illegal process and some people do pay attention to that kind of thing…

      • OnlineRefugee

        Actually, the ONLY process that is illegal is for one to unlock a carrier-locked phone, and that would only be if a customer unlocked the phone while still on contract with the carrier.

        The LOC (Library of Congress) mandated in its 2013 interpretation of the DMCA that it is legal to unlock “legacy phones,” which the LOC defined as used phones, or otherwise acquired (meaning phones that are NOT purchased through a carrier). So a big shout out to Amazon, eBay, and Google!

        For those who still don’t get it (but it appears that the ranters in here do), the “unlocking law” applies ONLY to people who buy a phone from a carrier (can you spell T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon) and that in return for a piddly discount (aka partial payment of the phone by the carrier), the customer agrees to the contract term that says they swear on a stack of bibles NOT to unlock the phone, for whatever term agreed to (usually a two year contract).

        Yeah, as I said in here, this makes it all the more stupid to buy a phone from the carrier, just to get a $300 discount.

        Bonus Tip: If you are agreeing to these draconian deals because you can’t afford to spring $400 to $500 for the newest super phone, IMO you need to rethink your priorities (aka maybe go without until you can afford to pay $500 for a like new, used SGS IV).

        I used to want the latest and greatest. But now at weekly meetings in my mind I stand up and proudly proclaim: “Hello, my name is Michael, I am a cell phone addict.”

        Yes, I have beat my cell phone addiction. I am satisfied with my “like new” $275 Samsung Note, unwilling to fork out $450 cash for the Note 2.

        Warning: Does this mean BEFORE buying a used phone off eBay or Craig’s List you need to confirm that the phone has NOT been rendered inoperable by the carrier who got stiffed by the user, who for whatever reason booked early and is now attempting to unload a locked, or illegally unlocked, handset? Probably.

        Hmm… that reminds me of the old days, where whenever thinking of buying a used phone on eBay you had to call the carrier to make sure the phone was “free and clear” of any bills, otherwise known as a “bad ESN.”

        Seems like the new unlock law is making us go back to the old days. (Where eBay will require on any phone listing to post a pic of the phone ESN/IMEI so that prospective buyers can contact the carrier beforehand.)

        There’s a money making opportunity. Carriers will charge you to log online and perform a “records check” on a phone. $5 to $10 a pop = $10 million annually in pure profit.

        • philyew

          So what you are saying it’s that the only process which is illegal is the one we are discussing here.

          Your critique of people motivated to buy subsidized phones is a little over simplified. I did so because I wanted four smartphones under warranty and, with a legacy Classic Plan in place, the subsidized route remained the cheapest option, based on comparative total cost of ownership calculations.

  • Paul Lange

    I paid $580 for my iPhone and my account is current but yet I’ve been denied about 4-5 times and had about 3 or 4 different reasons on why they didn’t grant the request. So long T-Mobile

    • Whiskers

      Did you pay cash for the phone or use the EIP service ?

  • OnlineRefugee

    Actually folks this is yet another reason to use Straight Talk prepaid. With that carrier I can opt to use an AT&T, T-Mobile, or unlocked phone.

    Since it is month to month there’s no data overage charges, unlimited everything, and you have your choice of using AT&T or T-Mobile service.

    Yeah, my unlimited 4G service is NOT AT&T’s LTE connection, and 4G is AT&T’s lower grade connection (more like 3G) but I don’t care because 1) I use WiFi most of the time; 2) the 4G is fast enough when I’m away from my WiFi connections; 3) I don’t use a stop watch when downloading pages, or browsing; and 4) Video plays fine.

    As an article said in here, it is financial stupidity to agree to a two year contract simply to get a $300 discount on a phone. The $300 discount is akin to a loan. For that $300 loan you will pay $2,000 interest (the difference in price from what you would pay at Straight Talk compared to post-paid plans – $45, taxes and fees included v. $80 to 120++ for post-paid service, and at AT&T or Verizon the risk of talk and data overage charges).

    And at Straight Talk they don’t nickel and dime you to death with fees for tethering, data and talk overage charges, penalties, fines, transferring fees, 4G data fees (does Sprint still do that?).

    In any event, Straight Talk invites you to bring an unlocked phone (that one can buy on eBay). That pretty much eliminates having to deal with T-Mobile’s new unlock policies.

    It also prevents your becoming a victim to the carriers’ various schemes to handcuff customers to their respective services. (E.g., carriers don’t want customers to figure out that it is more financially sound to pay an ETF, switch to prepaid, and then pay $45 monthly at Straight Talk, for example.)

    Bottom Line: This is not 2007, where you had to sign AT&T’s moving dotted line, so to speak, if you wanted the iPhone. In 2013 with so many choices it is really time for you to quit jumping when the post-paid carriers tell you to jump.

    • bob90210

      So, it’s the same as T-Mobile. Buy an unlocked phone on eBay and use it on T-Mobile. Thanks.

      • Whiskers

        Until your phone is blacklisted days later and it don’t work anymore then what are you going to do , hunt down that Ebayer and demand your money back ….
        Good luck !
        Straight Talk and other MNVO services don’t care about blocking IMEI’s because it’s prepaid have to provide in services which saves them money for more profits.

        • Whiskers

          “Prepaid don’t have to provide”

        • james

          that’s why you use a credit card or debit card and if it get’s blacklisted call your bank and/or paypal and get your moneyback

        • thepanttherlady

          Not sure about your bank but you only have a certain amount of time to dispute with Paypal. If the seller reports the phone lost or stolen outside of that time frame, you’re SOL.

    • Dion Mac

      You are so off. This post is not a matter of not being able to use unlocked phones on tmobile, but purchasing a tmobile phone and using it elsewhere. You can opt to use an at&t, tmobile, or unlocked phone, In fact tmobile encourages byod. Also keep in mind that with straight talk, you would have already paid for your phone, no eip no contract… you’re just totally off

      • OnlineRefugee

        Whatever, either I was unclear or you don’t understand the issues, which I understood to be a discussion about T-Mobile’s new unlocking rules.

        I mentioned that this new policy is yet another reason to consider prepaid, using Straight Talk as an example.

        But yeah, if you never set foot outside the U.S., or never move to an area in the U.S. where AT&T might work, but T-Mobile no longer does, hey, more power to you never having to deal with your $500 phone being rendered useless.

        Feel free to retort, on why it makes financial sense to sign a two year contract, that now includes these unlocking proscriptions, where you have to beg (as some people in here have posted) for T-Mobile to let you out of a contract because you moved to where they can’t get a signal.

        And hooray if you never have to negotiate down a $10,000 data bill because AT&T would not unlock your phone while you traveled abroad.


  • adam

    Free Unlock Procedure for Samsung:

    Step 1: On your Galaxy S 3 launch the phone app and press these keys *#197328640#

    Step 2: From the Main Menu navigate to [1] UMTS > [1] Debug Screen > [8] Phone Control > [6] Network Lock.

    Step 3: In this Options screen choose [3] Perso SHA256 OFF. Wait for 30 seconds after making this selection.

    Step 4: Go back one step by pressing the menu key (one on left side of home button) and then select “Back”.

    You should now again be in [6] Network Lock

    Step 5: Here choose [4] NW Lock NV Data INITIALLIZ. Wait for one minute after making this choice.

    Step 6: After a minute has passed, reboot your Galaxy S 3.

    Your phone should now be unlocked and ready for use with any carrier.

    Please note that you will NOT receive any sort of confirmation on the screen.

    Just put in a different carrier’s SIM and try it out.

    • truckeemike

      I don’t suppose this would work on the S II, With 4.1.2 ?

  • Happy iphone 5 user / T-Mobile

    YES .. With a fully paid phone and up to date account. No restrictions from there ! Simple …

    • Paul Lange

      Wrong, I fully paid mine and my account has always been up to date and they have denied me 4-5 times with various excuses.

      • Quan Bui

        hmmm… something seems fishy with your story….

        • Zac

          Have you tried to submit a SIM Unlock Request recently? They basically deny no matter what. Even when all requirements are met. Give it a try.

  • Joe

    That kind of makes the while uncarrier thing meaningless for some.

  • Dave

    I think a fully paid for phone regardless of contract should be released. IMHO

  • El Boricua

    Wow what happened to so called unrestricted carrier? I paid for my htc one full price out the door and they have denied me 4 times it’s been almost 2 half weeks.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say this is pretty stupid to keep you on a service you don’t want for the damn 40 days even after you paid off the the ridiculous phone… So considering going back to my previous carrier… There’s no profit lost of I paid the EIP in full plus 2 bills. -.-

  • sams

    I upgraded in April first week. I wish I was aware of the policy. I would not have extended my contract. I am getting lot of rubbish from t-mobile when I ask for unlock code. I have two year contract. I have problem unlocking another Samsung device (vibrant) and they are unable to help and pushing the ball around. They can’t replace handset because it is out of warranty. I am worried if same this happens after 18 months, I am stuck with expensive phone which is restricted to t-mobile network.

  • America love1

    We’ve been with T Mobile for years and have been getting progressively tired of their very poor customer service. Our phones are paid off, there is no contract, and I’m current on the acct. Yet, when I called, I got a complete runaround! I was told it would take up to 14 days just to get an email with the unlock codes! By then, I’ll be in another billing cycle!
    I saved the article in which their company president promised we could get the unlock codes without any problems. In other words, IMO, their president apparently was not being truthful!

  • Kathy Wright Stugelmeyer

    I am currently being held hostage by Tmobile, I just switched to consumer cellular and they will not unlock my phone until I pay the balance owed on the account, that is two weeks away. Geez after all the years at this company and being treated like crap this is so annoying! No regrets dropping this company on their worthless butts:(