AT&T to allow unlocking of off-contract iPhones

Unlock your old iPhone and find a better deal with a different carrier.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Have you got an old SIM-locked AT&T iPhone that's no longer on contract? If you do, I have some good news for you.

Information on how to go about getting your AT&T iPhone unlocked can be found here.

Starting Sunday April 8, AT&T will allow handsets that are no longer part of a contract to be unlocked so they can be used on other networks. No jailbreaking or third-party SIM unlocking required.

The change in policy was revealed in a statement to MacRumors:

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.

Prior to this AT&T has been very resistant to unlocking iPhones. Last month it seems that Apple CEO Tim Cook had to wade in to a disagreement between AT&T and a customer to get an off-contract iPhone 3GS unlocked. Did this intervention encourage a change in policy over at the carrier? We'll never find out, but whatever the reason for the change, it's good new for customers.

Unlocking your handset will allow you to take that old iPhone over to a carrier like T-Mobile which offers cheaper plans and no data overage fees (but sadly no unlimited plan). Alternatively, take a look at Straight Talk which also offers some good deals and, depending on your location, may offer you better signal coverage than T-Mobile.


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