updated 10:15 am EDT, Mon August 6, 2007
iPhone unlocked in Europe?
Members of a web forum claim to have finally achieved a "full" unlock for the iPhone, making it usable by European owners. Unlike a recent Australian hack, which only allows voice calls dialed from the iPhone's end, the new hack is said to allow all basic functions, including receiving calls, sending SMS messages and streaming data via EDGE. The notable exception is Visual Voicemail, which requires special support from the phone network.
The unlocking process requires a number of steps as well as specific hardware, including a SIM reader/writer, a SilverCard smartcard, and a V1 SIM; it will not work with V2 or V3 SIMs, which have greater security, and prevent the crack software from retrieving the Ki number. Users must further install software such as Jailbreak, and actually cut the SIM down to the necessary shape. The hack will however work on both Mac and Windows systems.
Unlocking the iPhone for other carriers has been a hacker goal since the product debuted, since it normally requires a two-year AT&T contract, and within the United States AT&T will have exclusivity for the next five years. Unlocking phones is also legal in the US and most of Europe, although the necessary measures may invalidate warranties.