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  • AT&T Silently Unlocking In-Contract iPhones for Deployed Service Members


    As AT&T so generously offered to begin unlocking customers’ iPhones after their two-year contract is expired this Easter weekend and beyond, it turns out that they are also silently unlocking in-contract iPhones for deployed United States servicemen – the best part is AT&T is doing it out of the kindness of their hearts as they aren’t required to do so by any laws.

    Citing MacRumors, the eligible servicemen for the free AT&T unlock include deployed airmen, Marines, sailors, and soldiers. We aren't sure how likely people are to choose to attempt joining the armed forces and getting deployed just for a chance at a free iPhone unlock, however this nice gesture by AT&T illustrates that they are willing to meet people halfway for a bit of brave work.

    The unlock by AT&T is, of course, for AT&T GSM iPhones only. Even though the iPhone 4S is a world phone capable of both CDMA and GSM networks, AT&T probably will not unlock it for you if you are using another carrier such as Sprint or Verizon for cellular service for obvious reasons.

    If you know a deployed serviceman or servicewoman with an AT&T iPhone, make sure to give them a shout out so they can take care of their business!

    Sources: MacRumors
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T Silently Unlocking In-Contract iPhones for Deployed Service Members started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoV View Post
      T-Mobile always unlocked my phones for me from the jump,
      And I have never had an issue unlocking my phones from ATT over the years except for the iPhone.
    1. Dirty Dobb's Avatar
      Dirty Dobb -
      Quote Originally Posted by TristianLyons1022 View Post
      So I just called AT&T about this. I'm active duty Air Force, and can confirm this is 100% accurate. I did have to wait almost 2 hours to complete my unlock because so many military members are currently doing this, but it's totally worth it since I'll be headed to hot sandy places in the future....

      Confirmed with a T-Mo simcard, not just AT&T telling me "yep, its unlocked"
      What phone do you have? I'm running 4s on 5.0.1 JB...I just don't want to unlock and update to 5.1 because there is no JB for the 5.1. Hopefully soon there will be a release. But I also wonder how long AT&T is going to be doing this? Anyways are the unlocking them for all Military member's or just ones being deployed soon?
    1. cubanojones's Avatar
      cubanojones -
      Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoV View Post
      T-Mobile always unlocked my phones for me from the jump, just by virtue of being in the military. I'm curious as to how AT&T's policy is worded specifically. Wonder if it takes into account PCSing and extended TDYs. Still, glad to see them offering something for service members.

      Compare that with SoftBank out here, who not only won't unlock any phones, but also only offer 24-mo contracts - even though we're all here for 36 mos. And yes, they charge an ETF, even if you have official orders. smh

      I Just PSCed to Japan in Jan and had to terminate my att contract early. Called them today and was able to unlock my stateside iphone. And yeah SoftBank does suck.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dirty Dobb View Post
      What phone do you have? I'm running 4s on 5.0.1 JB...I just don't want to unlock and update to 5.1 because there is no JB for the 5.1. Hopefully soon there will be a release. But I also wonder how long AT&T is going to be doing this? Anyways are the unlocking them for all Military member's or just ones being deployed soon?
      Why would you update?

      If AT&T unlock it, just use RedSn0w to deactivate it and stay on 5.01
    1. ChicagoV's Avatar
      ChicagoV -
      Quote Originally Posted by cubanojones View Post
      I Just PSCed to Japan in Jan and had to terminate my att contract early. Called them today and was able to unlock my stateside iphone. And yeah SoftBank does suck.
      If you just HAVE to have an iPhone, AU is the now way to go. Wish they carried them when I got out here. (unless you find a way to get NTT Docomo - inarguably the best carrier in Japan and Okinawa)
    1. TylerC161's Avatar
      TylerC161 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TristianLyons1022 View Post
      So I just called AT&T about this. I'm active duty Air Force, and can confirm this is 100% accurate. I did have to wait almost 2 hours to complete my unlock because so many military members are currently doing this, but it's totally worth it since I'll be headed to hot sandy places in the future....

      Confirmed with a T-Mo simcard, not just AT&T telling me "yep, its unlocked"
      I'm not an active duty member, and I just called them for the sake of social engineering and anyone else wondering how it works..

      AT&T will require you fax your deployment papers to the office of the representative you're speaking with. They require this proof before they can initiate the unlock. The unlock process starts with an email from AT&T. This email has a link that opens in iTunes, and with your phone connected will walk you through the rest of the unlock process.

      With that said, this MAY require an update to the current-most firmware version 5.1 in order to use - although that was not asked to the representative I spoke with.
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      AT&T are doing something that is good (I am English and no on AT&T and have no ax to grind) and people are moaning about it?

      Do they think it will help their image? Probably. does that make it bad? No.

      Grow up.
      Confucious - be grateful you live in a country with a wide selection of GSM carriers. In the US, there is only really one to choose from (T-Mobile has poor coverage and doesn't support iPhone 3G frequencies). Unless you've experienced AT&T as a service provider, you won't understand why so many people in the US don't trust them and are naturally suspicious of their motives.

      It may sound like AT&T's sudden benevolence stems from the purest of motives to do a good deed for others, but the reality is they are simply moving towards a policy that has been standard for the other US iPhone carriers since the 4S launch. Sprint and Verizon will unlock ANY iPhone 4S, whether it's on contract or not; and you don't need to work for the US military for them to do this.

      AT&T needs to repair its poor image if it's going to survive in an LTE landscape. They screwed up a merger with T-Mobile which blew a large chunk of their finances and spectrum; they are hopelessly second to Verizon in terms of LTE coverage; Verizon's LTE iPad 3 can also take a GSM SIM and work elsewhere in the world on a 2G/3G GSM radio where LTE isn't available (and the next Verizon iPhone will almost certainly do the same). The advantage that AT&T once had as the sole US GSM provider is coming to an end. That is why AT&T is making this move. It isn't out of the goodness of its heart. AT&T doesn't have one.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      AT&T didn't need to do this and advertising it - If they didn't care they wouldn't do it. Simple.

      But even AT&T appreciate what your armed forces do so are trying to help them.

      But still you complain.
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      AT&T didn't need to do this and advertising it - If they didn't care they wouldn't do it. Simple.

      But even AT&T appreciate what your armed forces do so are trying to help them.

      But still you complain.
      No I don't. I simply point out why many people in the US doubt the motives of a company that consistently ranks as the worst cellular carrier in terms of customer satisfaction.