If you need to use your iPhone with another carrier besides AT&T, now you can. Beginning April 8th, AT&T will unlock off-contract iPhone for customers in good standing with the company. This policy change is most useful for customers who travel outside the country and need to change carriers in order to use their phones.
AT&T released the following statement last Friday:
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.
So in other words, not only must your AT&T account be in good standing, but your contract with the company must be ended in order for your phone to be unlocked. You can’t get it unlocked while under contract in order to switch to say T-Mobile.
This policy change came after Apple’s CEO Tim Cook requested last month that AT&T unlock the iPhone of a customer whose job relocated him to Canada, and he wanted to keep using his iPhone 3GS, which was no longer under contract, with a Canadian pay-as-you-go carrier. AT&T customers have long criticized the policy that kept them from switching their iPhone to another carrier even when it was paid off. The policy appears to only apply to U.S. customers.