At a time when Verizon is selling the unsubsidized iPhone 5 already unlocked, AT&T is following a different path. However, the process of getting an AT&T iPhone unlocked apparently has become much easier for those customers who are willing to pay the full $649, instead of agreeing to a two-year contract.
The older process of unlocking an AT&T iPhone included filling out an online form, sending a fax to AT&T, waiting for almost a week and then restoring the device. But now you can do that by simply restoring the phone on iTunes and it will be unlocked, Tech Crunch reported.
The report said that the new process had been confirmed with AT&T’s technical support and had been tried successfully with a T-Mobile SIM card, getting the usual unlocking message: “Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked.”
According to Romain Dillet of Tech Crunch, users can confirm the new unlock process by trying another GSM-compatible SIM card on the iPhone 5. He explained:
“After receiving the notification my new iPhone was unlocked, I cut a micro-SIM card into the shape of a nano-SIM by using the AT&T SIM card that was already in the iPhone 5 as a guide. The most difficult part was to make it narrower so that you can close the tiny nano-SIM tray, though some have reported that this step may be optional. In a couple of seconds, the iPhone was able to pick up the T-Mobile network, and calls and EDGE data connectivity worked as expected.”
Dillet, however, mentioned that the iPhone 5 he tested was purchased from an Apple retail store and that he couldn’t confirm this with another pre-ordered iPhone 5. The tested iPhone 5, although bought at full price, was tied to an existing AT&T account during the pre-order process, he added.