AT&T Allowing Subscribers to Unlock Phones Except iPhone

With the class action lawsuit against AT&T, the carrier company was forced to settle by offering consumers the choice of unlocking their phones. An unlocked phone allows subscribers to switch to other available carriers. There are certain limitations with this settlement. In addition to meeting AT&T’s requirements for the unlocking option, the company is leaving out one important smartphone in the deal: the iPhone.

Under the settlement, AT&T Mobility is required to produce the necessary codes for unlocking subscriber phones. Subscribers only need to meet certain requirements which include:

For postpaid subscribers, completing a minimum of 90 days worth of active service with the carrier and having paid all payments up to that point.

Prepaid subscribers need to produce the receipt or evidence of purchase of their handset.

AT&T Mobility has to own the exclusive sales rights of the handset for at least 10 months before the unlocking option can be offered.

Unfortunately, the option of unlocking is offered to almost all subscribers with the exception of the iPhone. This may irritate current Apple smartphone owners who have been waiting for the opportunity to jump ship. Making the iPhone one of the exceptions is not of any surprise as owners of the device make up a large percentage of the carrier’s current subscribers. According to a spokesperson for the carrier, in addition to the exclusivity contract, Apple Inc. does not offer unlocking for its devices. Being the only carrier which offers the Apple smartphone is a reason why a number of subscribers are putting up with the lousy service from AT&T.

For now, owners of an Apple smartphone can also watch and wait for Apple Inc.’s next move. It will be exciting to see which carrier does eventually the iPhone line. Current AT&T Mobility subscribers who do decide to switch to other carriers before the contract expires will need to pay for an early termination fee, which will cost $325 starting June 1.

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