Unlocking your iPhone will free you from the constraints forced upon you by Apple and AT&T. When you purchase a new iPhone, you're required to sign a 2-year contract with AT&T in order to make full use of the device's functionality. If AT&T is your current wireless provider, then activating your iPhone is a simple matter of purchasing an additional Data Plan for your wireless package. However, if you're using T-Mobile, Verizon, SprintPCS, or any other provider, switching to AT&T can be an expensive nuisance. In this article, you'll learn why others have been unlocking their iPhones and how to avoid AT&T's activation and cancellation fees should you decide to unlock your iPhone and use it on another network.
Reasons For Unlocking Your iPhone
There are several reasons why you may want to unlock your iPhone. For most people, the biggest motivator is being able to use their iPhone's email, audio, web and phone functions with their current wireless provider. For example, if you're currently a SprintPCS customer, it's a hassle to terminate your SprintPCS account (possibly paying a hefty cancellation fee) just to activate your iPhone on AT&T's service. It's much more convenient to unlock your iPhone and use it with SprintPCS.
Other iPhone owners may have a travel itinerary that frequently takes them abroad. It's possible for them to use their iPhone on AT&T's affiliate networks while visiting other countries. But, it may be more convenient to use a prepaid GSM SIM card. The only way this is possible is to unlock the iPhone.
Still others may want to sell their iPhone in the future. Because the PDA market updates and reinvents itself rapidly, many iPhone owners will want to upgrade to new models or to entirely different PDAs. Because the iPhone costs $400 (and more), it can be a valuable source of cash flow when upgrading. Unlocking the iPhone (and thereby, allowing others to use their own wireless provider) makes the device more marketable when the time comes to sell it.
Avoiding Activation And Cancellation Fees
Most wireless carriers want customers to sign contracts that lock them into the provider's service. There are typically heavy cancellation fees for terminating the contract early. In addition, there are usually activation fees for starting a new plan. AT&T is no different. However, their terms of service agreement includes provisions (albeit, in small print) that allow you to recoup and avoid these fees.
If you purchase your iPhone and activate it on AT&T's network, you can terminate the 2-year contract within 30 days and avoid the cancellation fee. When the iPhone was originally launched this fee was $175. Since then, AT&T has changed their policy and charges a cancellation fee based upon how long the customer has used the network. Also, if you cancel your contract within 3 days, you can get a refund for the activation fee that AT&T charged.
Enjoying Your Unlocked iPhone
Unlocking your iPhone provides you with the freedom to use it with any wireless provider you choose (as long as that provider uses the same GSM frequency as AT&T). Many people have complained about AT&T's lackluster customer service, comparatively-high prices and spotty coverage. For them (and perhaps yourself), using their iPhone on a different carrier's network is preferable. Once you've unlocked your iPhone (hopefully, in time to avoid the activation and cancellation fees), you'll be able to enjoy its functionality on a network that's better-suited to your lifestyle and needs.