Apple and AT&T have fought long and hard against iPhone unlockers in the U.S. While some foreign countries have mandated Apple sell unlocked iPhones, in the U.S. such phones are still not available.
According to a Boy Genius Report scoop, that could soon change. The site claims to have obtained slides from an internal AT&T training presentation that indicate that Apple and AT&T will offer unlocked, contract-free iPhone 3Gs to existing AT&T customers starting March 26. The 8 GB model would be priced at $599, while the 16 GB would be priced at $699.
The phones would require no service agreement or activation and could work on other networks. Again, the "No-Commit" pricing option would be limited to only existing AT&T customers, and only one phone would be available per customer. Thus, it seems that AT&T is trying to silence complaints about strong-arm tactics when it comes to unlocking, while keeping the sales of unlocked iPhones very limited.
The loophole, it appears, is that only company-owned retail (COR) stores will show up in OPUS, which the company uses to determine the one-phone-per-subscriber limit. Thus unlocked phones sold at Apple stores or at places like Best Buy could be purchased in large quantities and resold to non-AT&T customers. However, Apple and AT&T may decide to place additional restrictions if such a practice becomes common.
Apple and AT&T have yet to confirm or deny the report.
quote: Now, we are close to the 2 years of the first iphone owner. AT&T would be obligated to unlock those phones, no?
quote: Unlocking is okay, says AT&T, but only if you're an exiting AT&T customer