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Apple and AT&T have been making big news since last Friday, when they announced that off-contract iPhones can finally be unlocked from Ma Bell’s ball and chain. While it appears the carrier is also unlocking these handsets for in-contract military service members, T-Mobile is looking forward to enlisting a few good (new) iPhone users.
MacRumors is reporting that military service members deployed overseas are eligible to have their iPhones unlocked, whether their contract is current or not. On Easter Sunday, AT&T began unlocking iPhones for off-contract users, but it seems the carrier will make an exception for members of the U.S. military.
“AT&T declined to comment, but we have independently confirmed that AT&T is unlocking phones for service members upon request,” the report reveals. “Deployed soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines should contact AT&T customer service to get more information about having their iPhones unlocked.
“Carriers are required by Federal law to suspend service without penalty for deployed military personnel upon presentation of their military orders,” the report also notes, “but AT&T is not required to unlock the phones of deployed service members. Instead, the company is choosing to do that on its own.”
Meanwhile, fourth-place U.S. carrier T-Mobile is looking to enlist a few good iPhone users itself in the wake of AT&T’s new policy. According to 9to5Mac, the magenta carrier plans to entice users with a Value family plan with unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited data (first 2G at high-speed “faux G”) for only $49.99 per line for the first two lines. Considering the cheapest AT&T family plan for two users runs about $130 before taxes, $99.98 for T-Mo is a sweet deal.
Unfortunately, for now most iPhone users will be riding in T-Mobile’s slow lane (i.e., 2G EDGE service) due to the carrier’s incompatible HSPA+ spectrum -- a problem they are gradually addressing as they shift to the 1900MHz PCS spectrum, which is iPhone compatible.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of MacRumors)