Proposal designed to protect consumers
The US Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration has formally petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to implement rules forcing carriers to unlock cellphones and other mobile devices. The proposal argues that subscribers should be able to simply ask for a device to be unlocked for use on another compatible network.
Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 to allow DRM circumvention
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has come under attack by a newly-proposed legislation. The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 seeks to legalize the unlocking of cellphones, as well as clarifying that the DMCA should only apply in cases where circumventing digital rights management or other copyright systems will aid in copyright infringement itself.
Current US ban on self-unlocking likely to be reversed
Following a decision by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress that ruled that unlocking an iPhone without carrier permission is now illegal -- and pressure from both President Obama and the FCC to reverse the ban -- AT&T has clarified its policy and will unlock customer smartphones that have completed their contract. The move requires a customer's account to be in good standing with no unpaid balance, but the company has not mentioned an extra fee for the service.
Chairman unsure of what power the FCC holds over the matter
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has weighed in on the Internet response to the expiration of the exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which now bans the unauthorized consumer unlock of cell phones. Speaking to TechCrunch, Julian Genachowski said that he believes that the ban "raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns" and the agency would look into what they could do about the matter.
White House to respond to petition in near future
A petition demanding the legalization of phone unlocking has reached its threshold for a response from the White House. The 100,000-signature goal on We The People has been met with two days left to run, forcing the Obama administration to address the issue of unlocking being removed from the exceptions to the DMCA.
Practice punishable by fines, imprisonment, for unlocking
Phone unlocking without carrier permission is now illegal in the United States. A 90-day transition period, permitting the practice after an exemption added to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was reversed in October, has now run out, something that now forces customers to either ask and potentially pay carriers for unlocking services, or to buy phones that have been unlocked beforehand.
Bell, Virgin Mobile join Fido, Rogers, Telus in for-fee unlocking
Two more of Canada's larger mobile-phone carriers will now offer unlocking of the iPhone -- for a substantive fee -- joining with the largest three carriers in the country. The iPhones in question will still need to be off-contract, but can be carrier-unlocked for use in other GSM countries -- particularly the US, China, Mexico and other countries frequently visited by Canadians. This leaves only Koodoo, Sasktel and MTS (mostly regional carriers) as still not offering unlocking.
Starts at $649, won't be available for US pre-order
Apple's website has now listed the pricing for an unlocked iPhone 5, but has not yet announced a date for US availability. All three sizes of iPhone 5 will be available to be purchased outright, which gives users the freedom to use them internationally as well as sign up for prepaid service rather than obligating them to contracts. Canadian buyers will be able to pre-order the full-price model, but will pay $50 more for the device -- despite the fact that the Canadian dollar is roughly at par with US currency.
Hardware hack has drawbacks, but works
A wafer-thin SIM interposer card from a company called Gevey is available which purports to unlock the (AT&T model) iPhone 4 running the latest iOS 4.3 software and baseband, Gadgets DNA is reporting. The SIM, which fits alongside an actual carrier SIM card together in the tray, uses a hardware hack to make the iPhone 4 available to non-AT&T GSM carriers, and supports iOS 4.0 and up along with baseband versions 1.59 and higher.
yellowsn0w beta unlock out
As promised in December, the unofficial iPhone Dev Team has released an initial beta version of yellowsn0w, its new iPhone hack. The code represents the first serious software effort to unlock the iPhone 3G, which has otherwise resisted any hacking beyond basic jailbreaking. Applying the unlock currently requires the use of Cydia or Installer.
yellowsn0w unlock video
The unofficial iPhone Dev Team has released a video demonstrating its upcoming software unlock for the iPhone 3G. Dubbed "yellowsn0w," the hack is said to be relatively simple and quick to run; after substituting an iPhone-specific SIM card for one from an unofficial carrier, users launch the appropriate app or root code, which checks for baseband vulnerability before making necessary changes. When a phone is ready, the carrier identifier in the upper-left corner should switch over.
iPhone 3G unlock by Jan.
The iPhone Dev Team has announced that its long-awaited software unlock for the iPhone 3G should be released on New Year's Eve. The unlock has been completed, and is currently being packaged into a user-friendly application, expected to be no more complicated than other iPhone hacking applications such as QuickPwn and BootNeuter.
SIM Unlock Card for iPhone
USBfever has released a new SIM Unlock Card, which it says is compatible with the v2.2 iPhone firmware. The card should theoretically allow the use of different networks' SIM cards in an iPhone 3G, without having to resort to the risks posed by jailbreaking. The 10mm-thick Unlock Card is positioned parallel to a user's own SIM card, and can also be used in any other locked mobile phone.
Unlocked Russian iPhones
Although pricing information was not mentioned, Russia-based Vimpelcom on Monday announced it would offer the iPhone with no subsidy, since Russian law dictates that locked phone are illegal. Reuters reveals that Vimpelcom CEO Alexander Izosimov confirmed the move at the Reuters Russia Investment Summit, continuing upon an official launch confirmation in late August. An estimated half-million unlocked iPhone handsets already see use by Russians.
iPhone Dev Team on SIMable
People looking to unlock their iPhone 3Gs should avoid the hardware-based SIMable option, according to a member of the unofficial iPhone Dev Team, producers of PwnageTool. The coder notes that the modern 3G baseband chip has been designed around SIM-based hardware hacks, and so any attempt at them must use fake identifiers. This information is said to "leak" into cellular networks, generating errors.
SIMable app for iPhone 3G
After a recent patch ruined unlocking efforts on the v2.0 iPhone operating system, a new card is allegedly allowing users to use alternate carriers on the iPhone 3G, called SIMable. Blogger Pat Phelan on Monday posted a clip of an unlocked iPhone 3G running on the Vodafone network in Ireland, after supposedly running SIMable on the otherwise-unmodified device. Phelan is running small giveaway of the application, but notes that the developer does not guarantee its performance.
Site claims iPhone unlock
(Updated with developer admissions) iPhoneinfused.com claims they have created a one-click solution to unlocking the iPhone 3G. Videos on the site show the software unlocking the iPhone 3G, allowing it to work with other SIM cards (T-Mobile, AT&T prepaid, and more). iPhoneinfused.com says the software works with Mac and Windows, and completes in three minutes. The company offers a 100-percent money-back guarantee and lifetime membership for $40.
iPhone 2.0 unlocked
Just hours after the iPhone 2.0 operating system went live on Apple's servers, it was revealed to have been jailbroken for quite some time, with the iPhone Dev Team set to release its Pwnage tool in the coming weeks. Gizmodo reveals it has been using the jailbroken iPhone 2.0 for its Push email test coverage, with the unreleased Pwnage tool having been available privately for the last couple of weeks, since build version 5A345.
Ziphone unlock for 2.0
The Ziphone iPhone unlocking and jailbreaking application was revealed on Friday to support the new v2.0 iPhone OS, the final version of will ship next month. A post in the developer's blog reveals that the application enables support for the device on many international networks, including AT&T, Rogers and Fido in Canada, T-Mobile, Vodaphone, TIM, Claro, and many others. Ziphone is available for iPhone owners on either Mac OS or Windows.
Orange iPhone sales
Orange France, the official wireless carrier for Apple iPhone in France, has broken its silence regarding iPhone sales figures, revealing that it has sold 90,000 iPhones in total since the device went on sale in late November last year through January 31st, 2008 according to Pocket-Lint. 86 percent of those phones were sold with one of Orange's tariff packages, while 14 percent were sold as legally unlocked. O2 UK recently revealed that the iPhone is its fasting selling device for the UK, noting that the device has helped it achieve 9.5-percent revenue growth during the final quarter for 2007. While O2 did not provide specific sales numbers for the device alone, it said that the iPhone led its strongest quarter on record, adding 483,000 customers and 276,000 contracts to its roster.
iPhone 1.1.4 unlock guide
A Mac-only guide describing how to jailbreak Apple's iPhone 1.1.4 and SIM unlock the device has surfaced alongside a graphical user interface port of the Debian APT package management system for iPhone. The new guide, posted on IntoMobile, takes users step by step through the process of jailbreaking -- or gaining filesystem read/write access -- the iPhone and unlocking it for use with wireless carriers other than Apple's exclusive partners.
iPhone unlocks harm AAPL
Despite Apple's optimistic target of 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008, some analysts are skeptical, and others say the device may not be as profitable for the company as originally thought. According to MarketWatch, Apple faces an additional challenge in that as many as one million iPhones are unaccounted for on partner networks, and are assumed to be unlocked. These "missing" iPhones could ultimately contribute to almost $1.3 billion in lost subscription revenue over two years, should Apple meet the goal of 10 million sold.
iPhone gray market swells
Comprising an estimated 1 million total units, the iPhone gray market has become a major force in the worldwide mobile phone sales community, stretching from China to Prague to South America. Claiming confirmation of the fact that 800,000 to 1 million iPhones, or about one-fourth of the total sold, have been sold as "unlocked" devices in countries outside Apple's official carrier domain, BusinessWeek profiles some of the more aggressive gray market peddlers who have made a killing on selling the device for unauthorized wireless service providers.
New iPhone 1.1.2 unlock
An iPhone hacker has discovered a new way to unlock Apple's iPhone firmware version 1.1.2 without the need to downgrade to a prior firmware revision and then re-upgrade after unlocking the device. The unlock technique relies on a bug that allows hackers to erase the contents of memory within a range of specific addresses, coupled with a second bug that allows users to copy data before validation occurs.
1/4 of iPhones unlocked
Over 25 percent of those who have bought US iPhones to date are using them on networks other than the intended one, says Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research. Reuters quotes the analyst as basing numbers on discrepancies between Apple and AT&T, the latter of which is the only authorized iPhone carrier in the States. By the end of 2007, some 1.45 million iPhones were "missing in action," built but not subscribed to AT&T. The carrier is believed to have held 480,000 of these back as inventory, but that leaves nearly 1 million -- 27 percent -- unaccounted for.
'Turbosim' unlocks iPhone
Taiwan Star Telecom has launched its new turbosim unlock for Apple's iPhone, a tiny thin film circuit that rests between the real SIM card and an iPhone SIM socket to unlock the iPhone for use with any compatible SIM card. The unlock works on iPhones that ship with firmware version 1.1.2, fooling the iPhone into thinking it is using an actual AT&T SIM card (shipment and pricing information was unavailable).
Two new iPhone unlocks?
Two new apparent unlocking solutions for Apple's iPhone firmware v1.1.2 have surfaced, allowing owners of the cellular handset to sign up for wireless service with carriers other than Apple's exclusive partners. The new techniques, dubbed SonicSIM and StealthSIM, both claim to unlock iPhone v1.1.2 for use with all wireless carriers that use the same technology as Apple's cellphone. SonicSIM is a special card rumored to partially unlock the iPhone by tricking the device and dual booting operating systems, while StealthSIM is a similar card produced by a company hoping to sell the solution for $90 on eBay.
'Unlocked' Orange iPhones
Foreign shoppers hoping to buy an unlocked iPhone from France will be disappointed, accounts suggest. Other than Germany's T-Mobile, France's Orange is the only carrier to sell unlocked iPhones; and at €749 apiece, they are a full €250 cheaper than the next legal option. Despite being marketed as carrier-free, however, the phones in fact turn out to be country-locked, meaning they can only be used with SIM cards for French carriers. Should an owner want to call outside of France, they will still need a plan with a French carrier and the money to pay roaming fees.
Unlocked Treo 750
Palm recently announced the availability of unlocked Treo 750 smartphones, shipping with Windows Mobile 6. Previously available only through AT&T, the unlocked smartphone can be used through any GSM service provider. The Treo 750 features a Palm handheld PDA in the same package as a five-band world phone. With Windows Mobile 6 built-in, the device can sync with Exchange Server 2007. Palm is selling the unlocked unit through its retail and online stores for $550.
German iPhone ruling Tues.
A ruling on German sales of the iPhone has been delayed by one day, the Hamburg District Court has announced. A judge had been set rule Monday on T-Mobile's appeal of an injunction granted to Vodafone, but an unspecified issue has pushed the decision to Tuesday afternoon. The preliminary injunction was issued in late November, when Vodafone charged that the exclusive availability of the iPhone through T-Mobile was unfair; in filing its appeal, T-Mobile stated that it would consider seeking damages for lost sales.
Telekaeden selling iPhones
Apple is threatening Danish wireless distributor Telekæden with legal action, after the chain has been selling unlocked iPhones without the company's permission. Politeken.dk reports that Telekæden is selling the units for almost 6,000 kr (~$1200 US) through its website, unlocked so that they may be used with any GSM-based carrier, which counters Apple's current business model for the device. Apple intends to release the iPhone in Denmark under the same business model – providing a locked version to a preferred GSM carrier – despite running into numerous legal hitches in both France and Germany.
Dutch royalty buys iPhone
Members of the Dutch royal family are among the latest to own iPhones, German and Dutch sites are reporting. Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange and heir to the Dutch throne, was yesterday spotted buying two iPhones with his wife, the Argentinian-born Máxima. The purchase was unusual in that it was not made at a European store, but rather at Apple's Fifth Avenue outlet in New York City, where the iPhones are by default locked to AT&T; to use an iPhone in the Netherlands, owners must either buy an unlocked device from France or Germany, or else install hacks.
Orange iPhone, Canada
French iPhone users will have to wait for visual voicemail, and a website is offering Canadians the chance to purchase an unlocked iPhone just in time for Christmas. With the iPhone launch in France just around the corner, Orange has officially noted that visual voicemail services will not be immediately available, that users will have to wait until the end of January to use the function. In addition to this setback, SetteB.IT reports that Orange will also apply a 500MB limit to EDGE data connections, and will limit access to any of the 30,000 Orange hotspots to 10 hours per month, or 100 hours for customers with the upper level plan. SetteB.IT also discovered that Orange plans to sell the unlocked version of the iPhone for 750 euros, 250 euros less than its German counterpart, T-Mobile.
iPhone premieres in France
The iPhone is now on sale in France, according to reports. Agence France-Presse writes that the device's primary carrier, Orange, is selling it in three different price tiers: a base €399 level that requires an Orange plan, a €549 plan-free version, and finally a €749 phone (incorporating a €100 access fee) that can be used on competing phone networks. The phone is only available from 12 outlets until Thursday however, and Orange says that over 50,000 orders have already been placed. Some third-party French websites are said to be selling the iPhone, but Orange is threatening legal action.
Cheaper unlocked iPhones
German-based wireless carrier Debitel is launching a service plan for Apple's iPhone to capitalize on a recent court ruling that forced Deutsche Telekom and the Cupertino-based company to offer the handset as an unlocked device, capable of working with other cellular providers. Debitel is offering customers a €600 sign-up bonus to make up for the additional cost of purchasing an unlocked iPhone in Germany, according to AFX News, which makes unlocked iPhones cost the same amount as those sold with a 2-year Deutsche Telekom cellular contract.
Free Apple shipping
In brief: Apple is offering free shipping on all orders from its online store as part of "Cyber Monday," German iPhones customers who pay the additional premium are already reaping the benefits of their Apple-unlocked handsets, and Eternal Storms Software today released EPSQuickLookPlugin. An avid Mac developer is offering a sneak peek at WideMail 0.1.2 with customizable preferences, and Iconfactory along with ARTIS Software has released Frenzic Web demo for iPhone and iPod touch.
German iPhone unlock
The ability to officially unlock German iPhones is already in effect, accounts say. The option reportedly first became available on November 21st, the same day T-Mobile announced that unlocked iPhones would be coming. Instead of buying a pre-unlocked device however, shoppers simply pick up a regular one for €399, and then pay T-Mobile the extra €600 premium. A phone's particular IMEI number is then forwarded to Apple, which updates its database such that the next time the device is synched, iTunes will unlock it automatically within a matter of seconds. A SIM card from any carrier can then be inserted.