In a mere seven months, some customers will start to be out-of-contract with their first-generationÂ iPhone purchases. In fact, some iPhone owners are already out-of-contract, due to the GoPhone Pick Your Plan offering (which was not continued over to iPhone 3G).
This is going to present a critical point for wireless policy in the United States. Both AT&T and T-Mobile agreed to let customers unlock their phones, once their contract has ended. However, AT&T and Apple are clearly colluding to prevent you from doing that with iPhone… AT&T points users to Apple (claiming they do not have the unlock codes), and Apple points you back to AT&T for the code.Â It’s aÂ clear anti-competitive practice to keep all American iPhones on AT&T’s network.
We ask that you file an FCC complaint. We timed it, andÂ the whole processÂ only took us 10 minutes (including writing the letter, which we’ll give you). If one percent of iPhone owners sent in this complaint… there would be over 100,000 complaints on the FCC’s desk about this. Click read more for the process, and a sample letter which you can copy-and-paste.
If the FCC fails to investigate this issue, it could have dire consequences for open access to wireless networks. Each and every national carrier has agreed to let customers unlock their devices, after they have completed their contract. Without holding them to this commitment, these promises to customers may just as well be lip service.
What you need:
If you already have an iPhone or iPhone 3G, you can follow this process verbatim. If you don’t, you can still file a complaint, but you’ll have to write your own letter.
The first step is to get a copy of your AT&T bill. You can do this online easily. The key thing that you need from it, is your account number. The FCC wants this so that they can show how many customers, versus non-customers are complaining about a particular issue. Of course, the more actual customers that complain, the better… so please give them your account number.
Next, you need to go to the FCC’s web site. Access this online form. You want to chose option B, a “Billing, Privacy, or Service Quality Complaint.”
From there, just fill out the form with all the appropriate fields. Since this is not a billing dispute, you do not need to give the amount of your bill, just your wireless number and account number.
At the bottom of the form, is a field asking you to outline your complaint. We strongly suggest that you put this in your own words (the people at the FCC tend to gloss over complaints that are all saying word-for-word the same thing). But, here’s a basic letter to get you started.
AT&T Mobility has stated that their policy is to allow customers to remove the subsidy lock (aka SIM lock) from their devices after the customer has maintained service for 90 days and/or has fulfilled their contract’s duration. When I attempted to request an unlock code for my device, anÂ AppleÂ iPhone, AT&T informed me that they do not have the unlock code, and that I should contact Apple, Inc.
Apple proceeded to inform me that I must contact AT&T for my unlock code.
This runaround is clear collusion between the two companies to deprive me from the subsidy lock code for my iPhone 3G. I ask that the FCC intervene and require Apple to turn over to AT&T, the subsidy lock codes for iPhone 3G. It is simply unconscionable that AT&T would maintain subsidy unlock codes for all devices… except for the one device that they have a national exclusive on, iPhone 3G. ClearlyÂ AT&T is deceiving consumers on this point, and working with Apple to further that deception.