O2 to start unlocking iPhones

Nick Spence
11 November, 2009
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Apple’s original UK iPhone partner O2 will start to unlock customers’ phones. Rival provider Orange started selling the iPhone Tuesday, while Vodafone is expected to offer the iPhone from the second week in January next year.

O2 notes on the Unlock my iPhone Website: “Your iPhone can be unlocked at anytime free of charge. If you unlock your handset and place a non-O2 sim into it, you will still have to honour the remainder of the minimum term on your contract.”

For iPhone Pay & Go customers, the O2 site says that “unlocking can take place 12 months after you’ve bought your iPhone for a one-off £15 [$A26] fee which will be deducted from your airtime balance.”

O2 customers must complete an unlocking form to begin the process. The company says it will take up to 14 days for the iPhone to be unlocked. Customers will get a text from O2 confirming the unlock request. “Then place a non-O2 SIM into the iPhone and connect to iTunes via a USB cable. iTunes will confirm that the iPhone has been successfully unlocked,” O2 says

O2 also provides an FAQ section for those having trouble unlocking iPhones.

O2 boss Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefónica Europe, recently had to deny reports that the company wouldn’t offer the service. “There is absolutely no truth in that rumour. Once the iPhone becomes available on other UK networks, we will allow O2 customers to unlock their iPhones, although of course they will still need to honour any outstanding contract period they have,” Key told The Times.

“At the end of their contract period, they are entirely free to move to another operator—though naturally we hope they won’t want to.”

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