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  • O2 to Unlock iPhones After Contracts Expire


    O2 will allow its customers to unlock their iPhones after their current contracts expire, according to Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of O2's parent company, Telefónica.

    In an interview held as part of Times Online's "Ask the Boss" feature, Key left open the question of whether O2 would unlock the phones for their customers, or merely not object if they chose to do so:
    Once the iPhone becomes available on other UK networks, we will allow O2 customers to unlock their iPhones, although of course they will still need to honor any outstanding contract period they have. At the end of their contract period, they are entirely free to move to another operator
    .
    A reader had asked Key to comment on a rumor that O2 would "not allow people to unlock their iPhone, even if they are out of their contract period." Unlocking phones after contracts expire is much more common in the UK than it is in the US and other markets, so any move by O2 to restrict that ability would be poorly received.

    O2 also offers the so-called "Pay & Go" option for users without a contract, that offers 12 months of unlimited (using the UK definition of that term) web and WiFi, though without Visual Voicemail, call merging or Internet tethering. These users will also be able to unlock after paying a fee of £15.

    As exclusive-carrier arrangements in many countries are increasingly coming to an end, it will be interesting to see which service providers go O2's direction and which don't. O2 clearly thinks that they can hold on to customers by offering low prices, so this move should spur healthy competition in the UK market.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: O2 to Unlock iPhones After Contracts Expire started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 107 Comments
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by hollow0 View Post
      Good unlocking solution? While i entirely appreciate what Geohot has done the unlock is not perfect. I still can't use wifi and sometimes 3G sporadically stops. So i uninstalled it and will unlock when i travel. But legally AT&T cannot keep you from unlocking your phone once you're contract is up. You paid your term. I'd call Apple and let them know you're off contract and hopefully they'd be able to see if you're eligible.
      They can't legally keep you from unlocking anytime I don't believe. The kicker is they also can;t be legally forced to supply you with the unlock method.
    1. sriks's Avatar
      sriks -
      I had my iPhone replaced due to crack in my iPhone on 3rd Aug,

      and now o2 are rejecting saying that i need to wait until 3rd August 2010 , which really sucks i have emailed them again saying about the replacement which mentioned earlier also, guess they are blind or somethin have to see what happens now.

      Thanks for emailing us about unlocking your iPhone.

      If you want to use a SIM card from another network in your iPhone, you need an unlocking code, which costs £14.69 that will be deducted from your airtime balance.

      The iPhone must have been active on the O2 network for at least 12 months and bought in the UK to be eligible.

      Sriks, I've checked our records for the IMEI number ************and can see that you've first used your iPhone on 03rd August 2009. The unlocking of your iPhone will only take place after 03rd August 2010, as you haven't used your iPhone for 12 months.

      For more information on unlocking your iPhone, please click on the link below:

      Unlock my iPhone - iPhone

      I hope I've explained this clearly to you.

      Thanks again for taking the time to send us your email and have a nice day.

      If you need further information about this matter, please reply to this email. For further details about O2, please visit our online Help Centre at:

      Help - O2

      Kind regards

      Pinki
      O2 Customer Service

      Telefonica O2 UK Limited, Registered in England No 1743099. Registered Office: 260 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 4DX.
    1. RossMc's Avatar
      RossMc -
      I have just tried to fill out the form to get mine unlocked but I got to the part were it asks the date you last topped up and how you did it and the frequent numbers you called. I couldnt do this as I have never topped up the phone or made a call with it as I unlocked it and use my Orange sim. I rang O2 and asked if there was any way I could do the phone without this information and told him that I don't use the phone as I have another Orange phone that I am using with a Orange contract and when that runs out I will be switching back to O2 ( Which I will ) but he told me that they have the same form and there is no way to skip that part.

      I then asked him if there was anyway to get round the 12 months on the network bit but he had a look and there is no way to do it.
    1. iGuy's Avatar
      iGuy -
      I'm in the same boat Ross although I've been using T-Mobile.

      I wonder if it's worth talking to our respective carriers once the iPhone goes on sale with them?
    1. neenyrules's Avatar
      neenyrules -
      Quote Originally Posted by iGuy View Post
      I'm in the same boat Ross although I've been using T-Mobile.

      I wonder if it's worth talking to our respective carriers once the iPhone goes on sale with them?
      Im the same as well, bought a 3GS on PAYG in August but immediately jailbroke it and unlocked it for use on my Vodafone contract.

      However i did activate the o2 SIM with a £10 topup. I tried the unlock from o2 and got the "Sorry we cant unlock your iPhone" text earlier tonight....
    1. RossMc's Avatar
      RossMc -
      Quote Originally Posted by iGuy View Post
      I'm in the same boat Ross although I've been using T-Mobile.

      I wonder if it's worth talking to our respective carriers once the iPhone goes on sale with them?
      Nope I rang Orange after I got off the phone to O2 and they said there is no way for them to unlock it for me the only people who can unlock it are O2 or she said I could try Apple but I dowbt Apple would unlock it. I may give it a try ringing them and asking if they can but I don't know if it is just a waste of time.
    1. Backslash786's Avatar
      Backslash786 -
      Quote Originally Posted by neenyrules View Post
      Im the same as well, bought a 3GS on PAYG in August but immediately jailbroke it and unlocked it for use on my Vodafone contract.

      However i did activate the o2 SIM with a £10 topup. I tried the unlock from o2 and got the "Sorry we cant unlock your iPhone" text earlier tonight....
      Exactly why can't they unlock it? Because I ain't got a reply from them yet and the o2 sim I got with iPhone I don't have it so I gave a number of a different iPhone



      As fir date when you topped it just make it up I did i put my d.o.b there
    1. neenyrules's Avatar
      neenyrules -
      Quote Originally Posted by Backslash786 View Post
      Exactly why can't they unlock it? Because I ain't got a reply from them yet and the o2 sim I got with iPhone I don't have it so I gave a number of a different iPhone



      As fir date when you topped it just make it up I did i put my d.o.b there
      The text just said "Sorry we cant unlock your iPhone - please go to o2.co.uk for a list of possible reasons" or something along those lines. I went to the FAQ section for unlocking the iPhone and found the list of reasons to be

      "We may not be able to unlock your iPhone for a variety of reasons. Here's a few common ones:

      * You may have not typed in the correct IMEI number (found by keying *#06# on your iPhone) and the correct mobile phone number. If these don't match the numbers we have on our system, then the iPhone can't be unlocked.

      * Your iPhone must have been purchased from an O2, Carphone Warehouse or Apple UK store for it to be unlocked. If this isn't the case, then you need to go back to the place you purchased your iPhone from to get it unlocked.

      * Your mobile number may have been barred on all networks if you've reported it lost or stolen. If your iPhone is no longer lost, please contact our customer service team.

      * We can't locate your iPhone on the O2 network. This may happen if you haven't 'synced' your iPhone with iTunes.

      * If you're a Pay & Go customer, the iPhone must have been active on our network for a minimum of 12 months.

      * If you're a Pay & Go customer, you may not have had enough airtime credit on your account to pay the £14.69 fee required to have your iPhone unlocked.

      Note: if we're not able to unlock your iPhone, then the £14.69 fee will be automatically refunded for our Pay & Go customers."
      I topped up (and thus activated) my o2 PAYG SIM on 27th October once i heard about o2 offering unlocking soon (so i thought i would need a genuine o2 number to do this)

      Apparently a few people on the o2 forums are starting to receive their unlock confirmation texts

      Looks like i will have to wait another 9 months to unlock my 3GS legally
    1. iGuy's Avatar
      iGuy -
      Quote Originally Posted by neenyrules View Post
      TLooks like i will have to wait another 9 months to unlock my 3GS legally
      I reckon you'll have to wait until 27th October 2010 reading the above.
    1. neenyrules's Avatar
      neenyrules -
      Quote Originally Posted by iGuy View Post
      I reckon you'll have to wait until 27th October 2010 reading the above.
      I REALLY hope not, as the o2 unlock page (Unlock my iPhone - iPhone) says that

      iPhone Pay & Go customers

      For iPhone on Pay & Go, unlocking can take place 12 months after you've BOUGHT your iPhone for a one-off £14.69 fee which will be deducted from your airtime balance.
      No where does it say it must be 12 months from first activation

      But to be honest, i can just keep unlocking it through other means, just would be nice to not have to worry about waiting for an unlock every time a new software version comes out
    1. Backslash786's Avatar
      Backslash786 -
      How do they know if phone is a year old? I don't have an o2 number so i just gave my cousins it sucks having to wait a year had a right argument with o2 guys on the phone but they won't do it


      There's always a catch
    1. neenyrules's Avatar
      neenyrules -
      Quote Originally Posted by Backslash786 View Post
      How do they know if phone is a year old? I don't have an o2 number so i just gave my cousins it sucks having to wait a year had a right argument with o2 guys on the phone but they won't do it


      There's always a catch
      I would imagine it would be the date the IMEI is first registered on their network, so in this case it would be date of first activation (with the 02 sim in, which i did)

      Do you think its worth contacting Apple to unlock it? i bought it off the UK Apple Store direct, which was obviously only available on o2
    1. Backslash786's Avatar
      Backslash786 -
      Quote Originally Posted by neenyrules View Post
      I would imagine it would be the date the IMEI is first registered on their network, so in this case it would be date of first activation (with the 02 sim in, which i did)

      Do you think its worth contacting Apple to unlock it? i bought it off the UK Apple Store direct, which was obviously only available on o2
      When you say with o2 sim can it be any random o2 sim. I used a random o2 sim to activate that I don't have anymore
    1. neenyrules's Avatar
      neenyrules -
      Quote Originally Posted by Backslash786 View Post
      When you say with o2 sim can it be any random o2 sim. I used a random o2 sim to activate that I don't have anymore
      well i used the o2 PAYG sim as provided with my 3GS at the time i bought it from the Apple Store online, but im sure any random O2 sim will do. i honestly believe it will be based on the length the IMEI has been active, not the length the o2 sim has been active
    1. Backslash786's Avatar
      Backslash786 -
      My phone is only 2 months old got a long wait
    1. neenyrules's Avatar
      neenyrules -
      Mines three months, just hope that o2 have a change of heart due to complaints etc that they may just unlock all iPhones......i can dream!!
    1. Backslash786's Avatar
      Backslash786 -
      Quote Originally Posted by neenyrules View Post
      Mines three months, just hope that o2 have a change of heart due to complaints etc that they may just unlock all iPhones......i can dream!!
      Make sure you complain then
    1. neenyrules's Avatar
      neenyrules -
      Well I complained and finally received a response phone call from o2 earlier on today, and they said there is no reason why we have to wait 12 months, just that it is o2's policy!! They would not budge at all on it.

      However I have seen people on the official o2 forums saying they have had their payg iPhones unlocked that are less than 12 months old, some only a few weeks old!! I give up!! I think I'm just gonna submit an unlock request every day until they get fed up and unlock it haha
    1. skiptowncat's Avatar
      skiptowncat -
      I think if your on a contract, then you got a subsidised phone. hence, you have to honour your contract. If your payg, then you've already bought the phone so it's yours to unlock.
    1. g0sbv's Avatar
      g0sbv -
      Its not a problem getting it unlocked when you are on contract only two months into mine and I asked for it to be unlocked online five days later recieved a text saying that it is now unlocked so I tried it sure enough its unlocked but of course you still have to honour the rest of your contract which is twelve months so it does seem a little unfair if pay as you go people have to wait twelve months when they have actually purchased there phone outright..