I love it when an empty threat actually works.


I am leaving the country on a longish trip starting in late August, and so I was hoping to get my phone unlocked so that I could use the local SIMs and service in the countries I will be visiting. I had recently heard that ATT (my provider) was finally officially unlocking phones at the end of their subscriber contracts, and I knew that I was very close to being at the end of mine. So I called them and asked them to unlock my phone before I leave for my trip. The woman on the other end did a lookup and told me my contract would not be over until the end of September, so there was no way they could unlock it before then. In a calm and sweet voice, I explained to her that while I would still be paying on my contract of course, it was insane to expect me to pay ATTs exorbitant rates in Europe while travelling, and that I preferred to use a local SIM. She said she understood, but this was the policy and they would not change it for anyone. I asked to speak to a manager, and got exactly the same story. I told them at the end of the call that because of this I would probably switch carriers when my contract expired, and that I felt it was ridiculous that they would not unlock my phone one measly, single month earlier, especially since I had been a customer in good standing for so long. They said they understood my frustration, but there was really nothing they could do.

After hanging up, still full of discontent and bile, I dashed off the following email note to their support:

I am going out of the country on Aug 24, and need my phone unlocked  before then. Your reps on the support line said you wont do this, even though I am a great customer and have only a month left on my contract.  If you refuse to unlock my phone, I WILL move to another carrier as soon as my contract is up. Do you really want to lose a customer over this?  You will.

Not ten minutes later I received an email from ATT informing me that they had unlocked my phone, and that I should do a restore in iTunes to activate the unlock. Sure enough, after doing the restore I was greeted with this glorious message:



  1. Robert Bentley says:

    Was this an Iphone 4 ?

  2. Stephen says:

    Yes, purchased in late Sept, 2010…