Build an Unlocking Mobile Website: The First Time I Unlocked an iPhone

I had been carrying around an iPhone 3GS for almost a year while on extended stay outside of the United States when I finally saw it: “Officially Unlock your AT&T iPhone via iTunes!”, or something similar to that, appear on my Google news home page.

Jailbreaking, although an option, was too much of a hassle for me back in 2011, considering the reliability of the internet in that part of the world.

As my previous post about how this unlock website was inspired mentioned, I tried and tried and tried with AT&T to have my iPhone 3GS unlocked. I even sent them copies of my US passport, validated traveler’s visa, etc. No go, they weren’t doing it.

I had set up filters on my news page for terms like “AT&T iPhone unlock” and as I would check out the news, I’d see all of the negative reports regarding how that kind of unlock wasn’t going to happen – until I saw what I hoped to be the real deal.

I clicked and read the details. The offer was from a reputable online unlocking website which already provided remote iPhone unlocks with many other carriers.

Yep, I paid close to $170USD to unlock an iPhone 3GS back in April, 2011 and I wasn’t alone. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but back then there was NO WAY to officially unlock ANY AT&T iPhone.

In fact, it was so popular that the site was overloaded with orders and they had to cancel most of them and shut the offer down after 2 days.

Seriously, a tear formed in the corner of my eye when I saw the “Congratulations” screen appear while I restored my iPhone 3GS. It’s kind of difficult to describe, considering all that I went through leading up to that point.

Grandpa Henry's Screen_shot_2011-04-15_at_4.40.00_PM

Here is how it worked out for me:

On eBay, the factory unlocked iPhone 3GS was going for @$540-600USD. I bought mine SIM locked and used for $400USD off of eBay. It turned out that mine was still under warranty and was replaced a week later when I took it to the Apple Store due to a battery charging issue.

$400 (used iPhone 3GS) + $170 (unlocking service) = $570

After math like that, I was justified and finally, officially SIM unlocked!

Fast forward to today: where you see $2 AT&T iPhone unlocks on Hopefully, supply and demand can drive down the prices for other carriers as well. What do you think?

Next: Now it’s my turn to unlock iPhones …


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