United States wireless operator AT&T has started unlocking the iPhones of some customers whose two-year contracts have expired, allowing them to continue to use their hardware under any other GSM carrier. Some customers have been able to unlock their devices in minutes, while others are being told to wait for several days for the unlock process to be completed.
On Friday, AT&T issued a statement confirming that the iPhone carrier will start to offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones starting Sunday, April 8th.
“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,” AT&T said.
The Next Web now details the steps required by AT&T to have a phone unlocked. Customers basically just restore their devices in iTunes after providing the operator with their IMEI code. Interesting to note that the unlock code customers receive via email comes from Apple.
AT&T’s email reads:
“Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your iPhone.
We have reviewed your request and confirmed that you are eligible to have the requested iPhone unlocked.
To complete the unlock, simply:
1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC and verify that you have internet connectivity.
2. Connect your iPhone using the dock connector to USB cable that came with your iPhone.
3. Backup and restore your iPhone using iTunes.
For information on backup and restore, please visit http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1414.
4. After restoring, your iPhone will be unlocked."
A customer writing on the MacRumors forum claims he was able to unlock his device in minutes.
“I called AT&T Tech Support and was able to get my iPhone 3GS unlocked no problem. In fact, the representative waited on the line to ensure I received my unlock confirmation email, at which point he told me to backup and restore my phone to receive my unlock. I did this and was able to receive my unlock IMMEDIATELY.”
Some have been told to wait between 48-72 hours, while others have been promised that their phones will be unlocked as late as April 16th.