AT&T to Start Unlocking iPhones
Today AT&T announced starting Sunday, April 8th, they will begin unlocking iPhones for qualifying customer’s. AT&T defines a qualifying customer as a customer who’s account is in good standing, who’s device is not associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T account, has fulfilled their contract, has upgraded under an upgrade policy, or has paid an early termination fee. While on the surface this may sound like great news, in the end it really won’t matter much, and has the potential to cause confusion for some.
If a qualifying customer does opt to have their iPhone unlocked, there is only one major carrier they could take it to, T-Mobile. The problem with taking their iPhone to T-Mobile, is it will lack HSPA or 3g connectivity due to radio incompatibility issues. In other words, their data speeds will be moving at a snail’s pace.
Also, AT&T’s new policy will bring with it, the potential for confusion when it comes to people who purchase their devices used. For example, a person who purchases an iPhone from Ebay or Craigslist may expect to have their iPhone unlocked by AT&T since they would not be under contract (since they purchased their own device). However, due to the part of the policy that states the phone can’t be associated with an active term commitment on an AT&T account, this could become an issue. If the person selling the iPhone has an account with AT&T that is still under contract, then the person purchasing their phone would not be able to have it unlocked. Hopefully AT&T will provide people with a way to verify a phone’s status before purchasing it, so as to eliminate this potential for confusion.