updated 12:40 am EDT, Mon April 9, 2012
ATT iPhone unlocking detailed
AT&T's iPhone unlocking plans have been detailed in posts on MacNN's forums and on others like at iMore. Owners only have to call or talk to AT&T agents and, if they're out of contract or willing to pay to exit a contract, just need to provide their phone's IMEI. As with unlocks in Canada and elsewhere, Apple handles the actual unlock, which requires that users backup and restore in iTunes.
Most users are quoted a maximum 72 hours' interval before the phone is unlocked, although some have had it happen in minutes while others were quoted four to six days. Unlocks should be valid for devices as far back as the iPhone 3G, and possibly the original.
Customers have a maximum of five unlocks per year to prevent abuse, although the out-of-contract requirement only needs to apply to whatever devices are active. As before, any GSM iPhones bought contract-free from the Apple Store from a certain point onwards are already unlocked.
The procedure follows Apple's CEO pressing AT&T to give certain customers an unlock. Whether or not it was his efforts that were responsible, the unlock will be much more useful as T-Mobile remaps its spectrum in a way that will allow iPhones to run on its 3G network.