- 11-20-2012, 10:12 PM #1
I'm very frustrated and I just need somewhere to vent. I had a few WP7 devices (Focus, Radar, 710), and only used them a couple months at a time. They weren't my primary device, but I was really interested in the OS. I had decided that when WP8 rolled around, I'd seriously consider it as my daily driver. But sadly, that is not to be...
I bought a Lumia 920 on day one, off-contract, unsubsidized, from a Microsoft Store. I then contacted AT&T (I'm very new to using AT&T as a service provider) about getting it unlocked. I explained that I had no intentions of leaving AT&T, I just like to have unlocked phones for when I travel. I also wouldn't have LTE on any other GSM carrier in the US. But, I was informed that the 920 was an "AT&T Exclusive," and as such is not and would never be eligible for unlock (at least not any time soon).
Well this was shocking to me...after all, I bought it with no contract, not even through AT&T at all! I was told that the reason was due to contractual obligations. Another shocker! I asked what they meant by that, since I did not buy with a contract. No, no, I was told, contractual obligations between Microsoft, Nokia, and AT&T. As you can imagine, I almost lost it. The notion that I, having spent $500+ for my phone, did not actually own my phone is infuriating. Not only that, but I was also advised by AT&T that any attempt to find and use unlock codes from eBay or other web services was illegal.
-as a side note, in my opinion, how I had been treated and how I had been advised by AT&T should actually BE criminal behavior-
What really gets me is that I really, really like the 920. But, in the spirit of compromise, I thought I'd give the 8X a shot. I thought, well since it's not an "AT&T exclusive" (btw if anyone says those words to me in person, it will take all that I have not to punch them in the throat), there's no reason why AT&T won't unlock it! Short answer: I was wrong.
You see, AT&T regards unlock requests as a privilege that they have every right to withhold. Even if I buy off-contract, the reps tell me, unlocks may not be available. Why? I ask. Well, they respond, it's up to the manufacturer to provide the code. LIE. HOW DO THEY GET AWAY WITH SUCH BLATANT LIES?!
At this point, I've given up on AT&T ever having my business again. So I think, well what about T-Mobile? They're more consumer friendly, more rational a carrier. Again, short answer, no. I call T-Mobile and they tell me they won't even sell me an 8X without a contract (what?!). I look online, and the no-commitment price is $600 ($150 more than AT&T's off-contract price)...so that's a no.
Now, some might say I can look at importers like Expansys, buy "unlocked" from eBay, or even try the T-Mo 8X off-contract and hope they'll unlock it. I'm sorry, but no. All of these options will cost me over $600 on the low end and upwards of $800 on the high end. When the competition is a Nexus 4 that comes unlocked, off-contract, and pentaband for $299, I cannot in good conscience pursue any of those options. ****, even Apple will sell me an unlocked iPhone 5 soon for $500. This is not even mentioning the fact that it SHOULD NOT be this hard for someone to spend $500 on a phone and expect to actually own it.
The carriers are poisoning the Windows Phone experience for me and it's a shame. Maybe I'll grab one up when (and if) either the 920 or 8X is available unlocked, maybe I won't. Microsoft needs to take a cue from Google and Apple and offer its wares unlocked, direct to consumer via it's own Microsoft stores (brick and mortar as well as online). Until then, I'm gone.
(Oh, and I will not go to a CDMA carrier. I think the reason should be self-evident.)
- 11-20-2012, 10:49 PM #2
- 11-20-2012, 11:05 PM #5
Ok, a few misunderstandings here.
First, it is UK to the manufacturer to unlock most modern smartphones. The kicker is the manufacturer will tell you they need permission from the carrier, and so goes the back and forth.
As far as not owning your phone, you do. If you find a way to unlock it, it is most certainly not illegal. That said, there is no law forcing att to provide you with said unlock. (to be clear, not picking sides, just gelling it like it is)
Lastly, with the Lumia, you can bet att is selling it either at a loss, or at their cost. THAT is what the exclusivity deal is all about. Look st how the off contract price on att compares to that of everywhere else. They made agreements, the specifics of which we don't know, with Nokia to sell the phone kn the cheap. Why? Because the promised to push the device, and this is a better alternative than $700+ for those currently not upgrade eligible. You can certainly buy an already unlocked phone, but you will have to pay the premium, like everyone else.
Again, not saying att is right in the moral sense, but they are within their rights here. Can you imagine if they sold the phone for $450? Nobody in the states would get their hands on one because scalpers would be lining up in droves to export them and make a huge profit. Another reason (likely) why they are unwilling to unlock.
Its too bad you let this sully your opinion of windows phone. Its not perfect, by any means, but your issue doesn't seem to be with MS or Nokia ag all, except for the fact that they came to am agreement with att. What is att giving them? And inexpensive phone and a huge ad campaign. They obviously felt the tradeoff was worth it.
- 11-20-2012, 11:16 PM #6
I've hit a point where I refuse, on principle, to jump through a ridiculous number of hoops to buy a phone and use it the way I want. Apple and Google have figured it out, now Microsoft needs to. For example, I'd be all over a Surface phone.
11-20-2012, 11:34 PM #8
- 519 Posts
Out of curiosity, what's the big deal about unlocked phones? I'm surprised to see the number of people on here who demand that. I got my 822 for free and use Verizon. I get a 2 year contract for it, but where else would I go? I'm going to have a phone. Verizon offers the best coverage in my area. I see a free phone as a great deal. I couldn't imagine spending $500+ on a phone. And what's wrong with cdma? That's what Verizon uses, right?
I'm ignorant on this topic, so that's why I'm asking.
- 11-20-2012, 11:54 PM #9
Lots to say here, but I'll try to keep it concise...
"Unlocking" (in the carrier sense) refers to GSM technologies (think SIM cards). It basically means you can put any carrier's SIM in your phone and it will work. GSM is an open standard; that is, a GSM carrier cannot prevent phones from being used on their networks so long as said phone is compatible. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA, a closed technology, for their 3G networks. They specifically approve the phones that are allowed on their networks and they prevent their phones from being used on other networks. This cannot be (easily/practically) be changed by the user.
Although a carrier like AT&T can artificially lock a phone, say the 920, to their network, if the user can obtain an unlock code, there is nothing to stop the phone from being used with another network's SIM.
This is precisely why I have unlocked phones. I don't stay with one carrier for long. I've used T-Mobile, StraightTalk, SIMPLE Mobile, and AT&T all in the past year. I switch SIMs from device to device and bounce between carriers as I please. A big reason for switching service all the time is to take advantage of good deals like T-Mo's $30 5GB plan or StraightTalk's $45 unlimited everything. Many prepaid services through MVNOs and T-Mo are significantly cheaper and offer more than postpaid contracted plans because you are not paying off your phone's subsidy via higher prices. Another reason is for international travel. Since most worldwide networks use GSM, an unlocked handset can be used anywhere. (CDMA is pretty much useless outside of the US.)
Now, with Verizon, since it doesn't use GSM, "unlocking" doesn't really make a lot of sense unless it's a world phone; that is, also has GSM capabilities & a SIM slot. In your case, if Verizon has the best service where you work/live and you're completely happy, then I'd say keep on keepin on;) To be honest, Verizon seems to be leading the charge in releasing unlocked handsets. Their iPhone 5 and the upcoming Droid DNA all ship with unlocked SIM slots, so in addition to working on Verizon's LTE/CDMA network, they will also work just fine on AT&T/T-Mo/MVNOs. It'll be interesting to see if Verizon's Windows Phones will as well.
- 11-21-2012, 12:20 AM #10
11-21-2012, 01:07 AM #13
- 60 Posts
Seems like a lot of work to save a few bucks. I bought my Verizon Trophy off contract from eBay but that's because it was cheap and I got to keep unlimited data. Now I just want legal tethering so I'm buying 8x with new 2 yr agrmt.
I do however get the traveling thing. I don't really need to use my phone out of the US though so not a big deal for me
- 11-21-2012, 01:28 AM #14
Compare that to the $30-$50/month you spend on prepaid over two years ($720-$1200) plus $500-$700 for a handset: $1220-$1900 over two years.
To me, that's a big savings. Plus the other benefits of being unlocked.
- 11-21-2012, 01:38 AM #15
There is a tradeoff here. It just depends on what is worth it to various people.
Its also worth mentioning that many workplaces offer a FAN discount anywhere from 5-30% off your bill with att and vzw. That can add up to some huge savings. With our att lines we are only paying about $15 a month more for two lines (total) than we would if we went pre paid.
- 11-21-2012, 02:29 AM #16
Had you checked on these forums, or indeed any forum related to AT&T phones (including Android and iOS phones), you would have found literally THOUSANDS of threads over five years noting that AT&T will almost never unlock an exclusive device, especially early in its life.
You'd have found people angry that AT&T wouldn't unlock their Focus S, Focus Flash, Lumia 900 or Titan II... all 7.X devices.
You'd have found 11 threads that I participated in alone noting that it would be extremely risky and ill-advised to purchase a Lumia 920 that is locked from AT&T with the expectation that they'd unlock it, and that the phone was probably sold with little or no markup (or even at a loss) in full-priced form so that AT&T could attract new subscribers.
You would have found (by my count) seven additional threads with participants noting that AT&T had repeatedly told customers that it would NOT unlock the 920.
You'd have found threads pertaining to the original rationales for jailbreaking on iOS (the fact that AT&T wouldn't unlock an iPhone on its network -- of ANY generation).
You'd have found several recent news stories where Apple itself had to intervene and demand that AT&T unlock an iPhone that was out of contract so that its owner could use it overseas when he moved to Europe.
You'd have found angry posts from boot loader-locked AT&T Android users explaining how their phones couldn't be unlocked and that AT&T wouldn't allow it.
Instead of doing even minimal research, you made an assumption that this would be the first exclusive AT&T device in history that AT&T would willingly unlock on launch day, and you got burnt. Sorry that happened to you, but, well, a minimal effort on your part would have helped you avoid the whole mess in the first place.
And if you purchase an AT&T Xperia, iPhone or BlackBerry, you'll be making the same enraged post on AndroidCentral, TiPB, or Crackberry.com, because AT&T won't unlock those either.
Unless you are fortunate, powerful, influential or violent, AT&T will NOT unlock your phone. That's a basic rule.
Last edited by brmiller1976; 11-21-2012 at 02:42 AM.
- 11-21-2012, 10:38 AM #18
- 11-21-2012, 11:33 AM #19
In response to a couple of the posts prior to this one, I realize that this is the way things are and that it was a calculated move to help WP penetrate the market. But, I refuse to roll over and take it. I'm sorry, but I'm not a carrier apologist and change has to start somewhere. If it takes me having to (temporarily) give up on a platform that I am really interested in and excited about to attempt, in my own small way, to send a message to Microsoft/Nokia/AT&T then so be it.
Maybe I'm being naive and idealistic, but Microsoft does not exist in a vacuum. Regardless of how long it took other companies like Apple and Google to figure this out, they're there now. Yes, I knew the 920 was an AT&T exclusive, but I bought it anyway thinking I could live with AT&T. Turns out I hate them as much as I thought I would and want nothing more than to take my business away from them.
According to some of the responses here, apparently I'm just supposed to accept that I can't have a 920 in the US and that's my choice because I choose not to go with AT&T. I'm sorry, but with every fiber of my being that just feels wrong. In no other product category can companies get away with that crap.
- 11-21-2012, 12:30 PM #24
If you want an unlocked phone by a unsubsidized phone. Use your logic why would att sale the phone $250 under the actual price? Buying the phone off contract doesn't mean you are getting the phone unsubsidized. All it means you are not either eligible or choose not to purchase the phone with contract which reduce the price even lower. Att reduces the prices and in return will cover the cost when people purchase their devices. Its highly unlikely someone can unlock an att L920 as this phones are alter to only work with certain network. Its not simply a simcard. Firmware update is also required
- 11-21-2012, 01:11 PM #25
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