1. Tpl1947's Avatar
    Hello

    I'm very frustrated with AT&T right now with their iPhone contract. I totally understand the 2-year contract agreement because AT&T subsidizes the iPhone cost. Well, let's supposed the 2 years time has lapsed...Shouldn't the customers be legally entitled to the full ownership of their iPhones, including all the internal features of the phones? Including breaking free from AT&T Sim Card and thus rendering the phone as a legally unlocked phone?

    Let's supposed that you've signed a 2 year contract with AT&T for your iPhone 3G. A year has passed and you breached the contract because you want to get the new phone 3GS. Well, you obviously breached the contract by canceling the 2 year contract prematurely, but then you paid an excessive amount of termination fees to AT&T by paying the new iPhone price higher than everybody else as damages. Then, shouldn't you LEGALLY be released from all AT&T "attachments" with your old phone? AT&T doesn't think so, will not provide the unlock code for the phone and I believe that this is ILLEGAL since AT&T no longer has the right to the service or the phone. Let me know what you think and if I have a reasonable case to open a lawsuit against AT&T!
    06-28-2009 09:52 AM
  2. Watcher's Avatar
    Uh, bro... I don't think you'd have a prayer with a case like this going to court. The best you can do is wait til next year when the AT&T exclusivity contract is up with Apple.
    06-28-2009 10:11 AM
  3. Tpl1947's Avatar
    Problem is...after endless debates with a number of AT&T Reps., even if the full 2 year contract is up, AT&T will NEVER give the unlock code, even after AT&T has recuperated all of their subsidized costs (and then some!). Is this legal?
    06-28-2009 10:36 AM
  4. cjvitek's Avatar
    IMO, yes. You are buying the phone from them, as is. Nothing in the contract stipulates that they can, will, or should unlock it after two years. You are simply buying a phone, which happens to be locked to AT&T.

    Chris
    06-28-2009 11:08 AM
  5. Allyson Kazmucha's Avatar
    IMO, yes. You are buying the phone from them, as is. Nothing in the contract stipulates that they can, will, or should unlock it after two years. You are simply buying a phone, which happens to be locked to AT&T.

    Chris
    Yes, but the only problem with that is, a few years ago, carriers were required to unlock a phone after the contract was fulfilled, so if you had per say a blackberry curve, you fulfill your 2 years, you can call AT&T and ask for an unlock code and they send you an e-mail with it.

    Why should the iPhone be any different? Is there something in the legal part or the contract that says different? Maybe there is, I don't know.

    But to the OP, you are looking at having to file a class action civil suit. Not only would you be putting a LOT of money out, the odds of it going anywhere are slim to none. You'd be better off buying a factory unlocked iPhone from a country like Australia (I believe there's are unlocked), or another country that does that.
    06-28-2009 12:04 PM
  6. Scott R's Avatar
    In one sense, you're buying an AT&T phone, not an Apple phone. One could argue that Apple makes the phone *for* AT&T and AT&T allows Apple to print their name on the phone, but it's really an AT&T product, so it's within their rights to not assist you in using the product on another carrier's network.

    I haven't kept up to date with the jailbreaking/unlocking stuff, so maybe the 3GS hasn't been "cracked" yet, but if it hasn't, aren't most expecting that it will be? And isn't the process of jailbreaking/unlocking an iPhone traditionally been fairly easy to do? If so, why not just go that route?
    06-28-2009 12:16 PM
  7. Allyson Kazmucha's Avatar
    In one sense, you're buying an AT&T phone, not an Apple phone. One could argue that Apple makes the phone *for* AT&T and AT&T allows Apple to print their name on the phone, but it's really an AT&T product, so it's within their rights to not assist you in using the product on another carrier's network.

    I haven't kept up to date with the jailbreaking/unlocking stuff, so maybe the 3GS hasn't been "cracked" yet, but if it hasn't, aren't most expecting that it will be? And isn't the process of jailbreaking/unlocking an iPhone traditionally been fairly easy to do? If so, why not just go that route?
    Well, actually, the phone is NOT an AT&T phone. It is a product BY apple to be used with AT&T service. There's a BIG difference.

    That's like saying Blackberries are AT&T phones, they are not. RIM is responsible for blackberries, not AT&T. AT&T just services them.
    Last edited by Allyson Kazmucha; 06-28-2009 at 12:26 PM.
    06-28-2009 12:19 PM
  8. chobbs1's Avatar
    Imuggle is correct. AT&T will not touch the phone in any way except to activate it. Problem is apple has locked their phone to AT&T. As far as unlocking the phone? Well one could say that you signed a contract stating that the iPhone is to only be used with the AT&T carrier.
    06-28-2009 12:26 PM
  9. Allyson Kazmucha's Avatar
    Imuggle is correct. AT&T will not touch the phone in any way except to activate it. Problem is apple has locked their phone to AT&T. As far as unlocking the phone? Well one could say that you signed a contract stating that the iPhone is to only be used with the AT&T carrier.
    Correct. I'm thinking that there may be something in the contract or legal jargon that states that AT&T is the exclusive carrier that may give AT&T the right to not unlock the phone even after a 2-year. I'm thinking that is where the problem is coming in. I'm assuming if you went through the 80 billion pages of legal jargon on the phone, you'd probably find something saying that AT&T is the exclusive carrier and they do not have to unlock it, in some wording or another. I'm not going to be the one going through it though, haha

    I know a few years ago someone found something in the legal saying you couldn't use the phone to create explosives. WTF?! How the heck would you even do that? So not necessary....haha
    06-28-2009 12:28 PM
  10. traylorc's Avatar
    Hello

    I'm very frustrated with AT&T right now with their iPhone contract. I totally understand the 2-year contract agreement because AT&T subsidizes the iPhone cost. Well, let's supposed the 2 years time has lapsed...Shouldn't the customers be legally entitled to the full ownership of their iPhones, including all the internal features of the phones? Including breaking free from AT&T Sim Card and thus rendering the phone as a legally unlocked phone?

    Let's supposed that you've signed a 2 year contract with AT&T for your iPhone 3G. A year has passed and you breached the contract because you want to get the new phone 3GS. Well, you obviously breached the contract by canceling the 2 year contract prematurely, but then you paid an excessive amount of termination fees to AT&T by paying the new iPhone price higher than everybody else as damages. Then, shouldn't you LEGALLY be released from all AT&T "attachments" with your old phone? AT&T doesn't think so, will not provide the unlock code for the phone and I believe that this is ILLEGAL since AT&T no longer has the right to the service or the phone. Let me know what you think and if I have a reasonable case to open a lawsuit against AT&T!
    Chances are you are the first person to ever think about initiating litigation against ATT or Apple.

    I'm also willing to bet both of those multi-billion companies have spent millions annually paying their respective legal teams to never consider a lawsuit of this nature. Obviously I'm being sarcastic, but I think a dose or reality is in order.

    Bottom line....why in the world would you think that ANYONE on this board would possess the legal expertise necessary to determine if you have an actionable item against ATT?? All of us (myself included) have obtained what little legal knowledge we have by watching multiple episodes of Law & Order. The cumulative legal knowledge of everyone on this board is not going to help you in making an informed decision as to whether or not litigation is feasible. While I'm not an attorney I can imagine that any class action lawsuit would take years before any ruling is made. In other words, ATT and/Apple would bury you and your litigation team under so much paperwork by the time any legal decision is reached you would be too old to even enjoy a legally unlocked iphone.

    Lastly, believe it or not, the solution for every problem we have in this world is not litigation. Perhaps the biggest statement you could make is by switching carriers and taking your business elsewhere.
    Last edited by traylorc; 06-28-2009 at 12:49 PM.
    06-28-2009 12:45 PM
  11. Allyson Kazmucha's Avatar
    Chances are you are the first person to ever think about initiating litigation against ATT or Apple.

    I'm also willing to bet both of those multi-billion companies have spent millions annually paying their respective legal teams to never consider a lawsuit of this nature. Obviously I'm being sarcastic, but I think a dose or reality is in order.

    Bottom line....why in the world would you think that ANYONE on this board would possess the legal expertise necessary to determine if you have an actionable item against ATT?? All of us (myself included) have obtained what little legal knowledge we have by watching multiple episodes of Law & Order. The cumulative legal knowledge of everyone on this board is not going to help you in making an informed decision as to whether or not litigation is feasible. While I'm not an attorney I can imagine that any class action lawsuit would take years before any ruling is made. In other words, ATT and/Apple would bury you and your litigation team under so much paperwork by the time any legal decision is reached you would be too old to even enjoy a legally unlocked iphone.

    Lastly, believe it or not, the solution for every problem we have in this world is not litigation. Perhaps the biggest statement you could make is by switching carriers and taking your business elsewhere.
    Believe it or not, there are lawyers and others with quite a bit of legal knowledge floating around these boards. (I am not a lawyer, but I am in the accounting/finance field which required almost as many law classes as a law major would).

    Either way - you are correct in stating no one here could tell you whether or not you have grounds, but we could give him a pretty good idea, and as I already stated, the odds of anything being done, is slim to none. The only thing you'll achieve is spending a butt ton of money.

    If you really feel the need to do something, write tech blogs, the consumerist, get AT&T's attention.

    Sometimes, civil suits aren't always needed. We saw a perfect example a few weeks ago.

    The outcry of iPhone users who weren't upgrade eligible got AT&T's attention, and instead of taking the bad press, they just conformed their policy to actually act in favor of their customers (for once!).

    My bigger issue is the big carriers business models, as a bunch of us were discussing on HoFo. Data plan prices, minute packages, etc.

    Why not have usage based packages? Why do I pay the same to use 100MB of data a month as someone who uses 4GB? Or why are AT&T's minute plans basically based on the fact that there is not middle ground.

    There's a 450 min plan and a 900 min plan. Well a LOT of people need more than 450 minutes, but less than 900, therefore, they are forced to take the higher plan as to avoid overages. Same with texting. I know a LOT of people who use more than 200 but not 1,500 a month. AT&T realizes this. To me, that's gouging, and I think that's a bigger issue than having a phone unlocked.

    It's not just AT&T, Verizon is guilty of it too. I'd really like to see some litigation on THAT subject, because to me, sure does look like price fixing. Yeah, T-mobile and Sprint are cheaper, but they are the underdogs. The bigger carriers do what they want, and no one stops them.

    Unlocking is just a smaller issue that really represents a part of a much bigger issue with these huge carriers.

    But again, nothing will happen if no one speaks out. Petitions fail, and people just don't have any interest. It's one of those much easier said than done scenarios. Sigh...
    06-28-2009 12:58 PM
  12. cjvitek's Avatar
    Yes, but the only problem with that is, a few years ago, carriers were required to unlock a phone after the contract was fulfilled, so if you had per say a blackberry curve, you fulfill your 2 years, you can call AT&T and ask for an unlock code and they send you an e-mail with it.

    Why should the iPhone be any different? Is there something in the legal part or the contract that says different? Maybe there is, I don't know.
    If they are required by law, then the iPhone should not be different. Is it a law indicating that carriers need to unlock, or were they simply doing it as a good will gesture? Or perhaps the phone manufacturer was requiring it (in which case Apple may not).

    Without more information, there is no way to determine if it is illegal.

    Chris
    06-28-2009 01:11 PM
  13. bergman's Avatar
    On the other hand, fewer regulations on business models (e.g. # of text msgs or minutes of talk time) allows for and fosters creative competition. What if all of us used the TextFree app to replace text messages? If the developer of that product would build apps for conventional phones and other SmartPhones my friends and I who are all casual texters (i.e. we're not addicted like some users) would drop the text plans and use this alternative. Without good competition, the creativity of the iPhone might have never come to market.
    06-28-2009 01:11 PM
  14. Jeremy's Avatar
    Can always unlock it yourself...
    06-28-2009 01:13 PM
  15. Allyson Kazmucha's Avatar
    If they are required by law, then the iPhone should not be different. Is it a law indicating that carriers need to unlock, or were they simply doing it as a good will gesture? Or perhaps the phone manufacturer was requiring it (in which case Apple may not).

    Without more information, there is no way to determine if it is illegal.

    Chris
    I'm really not sure, you would have to do some research on that. I believe after a certain time, carriers had to provide unlock codes. I don't know why the iPhone is different.
    06-28-2009 01:16 PM
  16. Duvi's Avatar
    No chance. The US allows you to unlock your device yourself. It doesn't mandate the carriers to unlock it. Hence why "jailbreaking" is illegal, but "unlocking" isn't. This is evident when AT&T/Apple wanted to file a lawsuit against those companies that were selling unlocked iPhones, but didn't and could not win.

    People get mixed up with the unlocking ruling vs. the line portability ruling that forces carriers to allow you to take your mobile number to another carrier.

    Like Bad Ash stated, you can unlock them yourselves.
    Last edited by Duvi; 06-28-2009 at 01:37 PM.
    06-28-2009 01:31 PM
  17. Allyson Kazmucha's Avatar
    No chance. The US allows you to unlock your device yourself. It doesn't mandate the carriers to unlock it. Hence why "jailbreaking" is illegal, but "unlocking" isn't. This is evident when AT&T/Apple wanted to file a lawsuit against those companies that were selling unlocked iPhones, but did and could not win.

    People get mixed up with the unlocking ruling vs. the line portability ruling that forces carriers to allow you to take your mobile number to another carrier.

    Like Bad Ash stated, you can unlock them yourselves.
    How does this cover calling AT&T and getting an unlock code then?

    I know that after so long, you can call and they give you an unlock code.
    06-28-2009 01:33 PM
  18. Duvi's Avatar
    How does this cover calling AT&T and getting an unlock code then?

    I know that after so long, you can call and they give you an unlock code.
    Not sure if I understand the question. Manufacturers provide carriers with the unlock codes. Apple doesn't and won't supply it. It may seem like you're able to get them for whatever reason, but you are only supposed to get these unlock codes for certain reasons, not to switch to t-mobile usa. I don't think that's a qualifying reason.
    06-28-2009 01:46 PM
  19. Allyson Kazmucha's Avatar
    Not sure if I understand the question. Manufacturers provide carriers with the unlock codes. Apple doesn't and won't supply it. It may seem like you're able to get them for whatever reason, but you are only supposed to get these unlock codes for certain reasons, not to switch to t-mobile usa. I don't think that's a qualifying reason.
    I know a lot of people were having their phones unlocked after so long. I don't know the exact stipulations, but I'm assuming you have to have the phone and pay off the subsidy before they'll allow you.

    I know a lot of blackberry users will call and say they need an unlock code and AT&T sends it in an e-mail.

    I've also seen around HoFo if you tell them you are going overseas and need an unlock code to be able to pop a foreign SIM in your phone for a limited time, they will also give you an unlock code for that.

    I'm assuming it depends on the agreement between AT&T and the manufacturer. So perhaps Apple just does not want to allow that to happen.
    06-28-2009 02:14 PM
  20. traylorc's Avatar

    The outcry of iPhone users who weren't upgrade eligible got AT&T's attention, and instead of taking the bad press, they just conformed their policy to actually act in favor of their customers (for once!).
    You know...I'm not totally convinced that public outcry was the motivating reason behind ATT's "policy change". To be honest, I think it was a well executed marketing plan.

    Think about it....what does ATT have to lose by allowing more customers to be declared eligible? This action increases ATT revenues AND it makes them look as if they are listening to their customers. The fact that this change of heart occurred right before the the launch of the 3GS has marketing ploy written all over it.

    Nonetheless, I understood the point you were trying to make.
    Last edited by traylorc; 06-28-2009 at 06:50 PM.
    06-28-2009 02:50 PM
  21. Duvi's Avatar
    I know a lot of people were having their phones unlocked after so long. I don't know the exact stipulations, but I'm assuming you have to have the phone and pay off the subsidy before they'll allow you.

    I know a lot of blackberry users will call and say they need an unlock code and AT&T sends it in an e-mail.

    I've also seen around HoFo if you tell them you are going overseas and need an unlock code to be able to pop a foreign SIM in your phone for a limited time, they will also give you an unlock code for that.

    I'm assuming it depends on the agreement between AT&T and the manufacturer. So perhaps Apple just does not want to allow that to happen.
    You don't even need to pay the subsidy off to get it.
    Last edited by Duvi; 06-28-2009 at 03:14 PM.
    06-28-2009 03:12 PM
  22. Watcher's Avatar
    You don't even need to pay the subsidy off to get it.
    Okay, we're slowing getting closer and closer to what the OP wants to hear. So who's just going to come out with it and tell him how to unlock it?
    06-28-2009 03:42 PM
  23. Jeremy's Avatar
    Okay, we're slowing getting closer and closer to what the OP wants to hear. So who's just going to come out with it and tell him how to unlock it?
    http://forum.theiphoneblog.com/iphon...e-updated.html
    06-28-2009 06:42 PM
  24. Duvi's Avatar
    Okay, we're slowing getting closer and closer to what the OP wants to hear. So who's just going to come out with it and tell him how to unlock it?
    That answer could have come sooner, but you didn't post any links.
    Last edited by Jeremy Sikora; 06-28-2009 at 06:59 PM.
    06-28-2009 06:45 PM
  25. Jeremy's Avatar
    That answer could have come sooner, but you didn't post any links.
    Or they could use a great little feature called the search button...

    And regarding all of this lawsuit talk, which is just absolutely insane, people know up front they are going with AT&T and in the US the phone technically only works with AT&T (or at least to get the full potential out of it) so what's the problem... seriously. And if that's not good enough, unlock it like I said.
    Last edited by Jeremy Sikora; 06-28-2009 at 07:02 PM.
    06-28-2009 06:59 PM
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