Following in the footsteps of the iPhone, Nokia’s Lumia 900 on AT&T also has the unenviable distinction of being unable to be unlocked via conventional third-party methods, meaning that the typical online unlocking services are unable to provide unlock codes for the phones because the codes are held directly by Nokia and will only be relinquished after a formal request made by AT&T representatives.
Now, AT&T has begun to release the first wave of Lumia 900 device serial numbers for unlocking and is now accepting unlock requests from customers, provided the customers that ask for the codes are a. out of contract, or b. willing to pay the ETF for one.
As the program formally began internally on Monday, AT&T customer service across the country has yet to be completely trained on the process of fulfilling unlock requests for the phone, and one that wants to make the request must do so with the idea that it will currently take multiple tries to successfully obtain an unlock code, with the best way to obtain one thru AT&T customer service by calling directly and making a formal request for a lock code.
However, do keep in mind that even if a request is made and all of the steps are followed properly by the customer service representative, system-level mistakes have been known to occur resulting in lost unlock codes, which will force AT&T to file trouble tickets in order to recover a new code from Nokia. This is apparently common enough that those that are having trouble obtaining one are being told to wait at least one week before being issued a new code.
With the trend of carrier exclusives having their own block of unlock codes separate from international databases, this trend will only grow in frequency as more carriers release more device exclusives going forward. While the availability of direct carrier unlocks means that people could now take the Lumia 900 to less expensive carriers, this also means that the phone’s utility is reduced as the phone’s biggest selling point in the LTE radio can only be used on AT&T postpaid, while the phone is limited to HSPA+ on other networks and services.