So about a month ago, AT&T said that they would start allowing off-contract iPhones to be unlocked. Since I’ve got an off-contract iPhone 4 as a “backup” phone sitting in my desk drawer, I decided to go ahead and take advantage of that. After a 30 minute call to AT&T, my iPhone 4 was successfully unlocked.
About a week ago, though, I decided to try and see if I could get my iPhone 4S unlocked, so I gave the ol’ Death Star another call. Not surprisingly, the supportdroid on the phone denied that request, since my current iPhone 4S is “under contract”. Rather than fight that logic, I went ahead and ended the call with them.
But you know me, and I just can’t let something go easily. I started analyzing the phrase “on contract”. My PHONE isn’t the actual basis for the contract - my service with AT&T is. And if my iPhone is unlocked or unlocked, I’m still legally liable for paying my AT&T bill on time every month. If I want out of that contract I agreed to, I have to actually go and pay an Early Termination Fee. If my iPhone’s unlocked and I want to move my service to T-Mobile, I still have to pay AT&T the Early Termination Fee. Or if I am running an unlocked phone and I fly to London and drop a prepaid SIM in it, AT&T is STILL going to get my money for that month. Unlocked or locked status doesn’t matter at all for contractual purposes. Let’s put that in all caps, in case there’s someone from AT&T reading and they didn’t get that.
AT&T WILL GET MY MONEY REGARDLESS OF WHETHER MY PHONE IS LOCKED OR UNLOCKED. I AM IN A CONTRACT AND I’M LEGALLY LIABLE TO PAY AT&T A BUNCH OF MONEY TO GET OUT OF THE CONTRACT BEFORE THE TERM IS UP.
Just once, I’d like to see big companies like AT&T act like they want to work to get my money. Like most of us, I’m willing to pay (and pay a premium, if necessary) to get quality service and support.