We’ve reported a number of times on T-Mobile’s phone unlocking app. Its purpose, seemingly, is to allow customers to unlock their devices for use on other carriers without needing to contact a customer care rep. It first showed up on a test unit of the Samsung Galaxy Avant, and we can confirm that it is pre-loaded on the publicly available model.
One of our readers bought the device using the special discount we discovered earlier this week, and was kind enough to show us the step-by-step walkthrough of the app. With all the images, you can click to see them full-size.
As you’d expect, the app icon is in bright magenta and rather unoriginally is designed to look like a keyhole. Saying that, it’s difficult to imagine what other icon they’d use.
As we’ve already stated, there are two options: Permanent unlock, or temporary. The idea with having both is that you can unlock a device for 30 days if – for instance – you’re going on vacation abroad and want to be able to use a local GSM carrier’s SIM. Once you select an option, it checks a remote system for eligibility and then unlocks your device.
With the recently passed law, customers can now legally unlock their phones, as long as they’ve paid what they owe. And that restriction appears to be built-in to the Device Unlock system. Our customer had only just bought the device, and wasn’t able to unlock the device permanently right away. We suspect that you need to pay off your EIP in order to unlock it permanently, but temporary unlock to be less restricted. We’ve reached out to T-Mobile to see what the terms are on this, but are yet to receive a response. It’s very likely that the device needs to meet existing criteria, as set out in T-Mobile’s terms:
- The device must have been active on the T-Mobile network for at least 40 days on the requesting line.
- If the device is financed using T-Mobile’s Equipment Installment Plan (EIP), all payments must be satisfied and the device must be paid in full.
- If the device is on an account that is under a service contract term, at least 18 consecutive monthly payments must have been made or the account has migrated to Simple Choice no contract rate plan.
- If the device is associated with a canceled account, the account balance must be zero, including all pending charges
- T-Mobile may request proof of purchase or additional information in its discretion and certain other exceptions may apply.
If indeed the terms are the same as they are now, then the app is essentially just a method of cutting out the middle man, and avoiding customer services. The fact it’s only available on the Avant now suggests the company is testing it on a low scale before making it more wide scale. Although it shows up in the Play Store, it’s only downloadable from a Galaxy Avant.