iPhone unlocking may soon be no longer. The new second-generation iPhone 3G can only be purchased with a long-term AT&T service contract. This revelation certainly dashed the hopes of the many people who hoped to use the new iPhone with a non-AT&T service provider. From the Baltimore Sun:
From Now Apple has contracts with carriers in over 70 countries, all of which are preparing to sell the new iPhone 3G. A large and active grey market in unlocked iPhones no longer serves Apple’s interests. Apple needed to make it go away, and quickly.
Apple’s bricking strategy apparently has yielded to a method much harder to defeat: the terms of the AT&T service contract.
Simply canceling the contract with AT&T after the iPhone purchase would seem a workable tactic. Adding the lower cost of the new iPhone ($199) to the $175 fee for canceling the contract and the initial $40 activation fee brings you to a total of $415, just $16 more than buying the original iPhone without a contract.
But according to a Computerworld article, AT&T will require the return of the iPhone before it cancels the contract.
So if you really want to own an unlocked iPhone, you’ll face no insurmountable technical barrier. But since you’ll be paying full freight for AT&T’s service, you’ll have gained little.