We had a customer come into us last week and ask if we could unlock her iPhone, we told her that there were two ways to do it, either "jailbreak" (hack) the phone or get her service provider to do it, which, as she was at the end of her contact would take a few days and be a free service.
She said she was asking for her partner and would let us know. She came back in a few days later and said that she'd been told in the market (she did say who but I wont say here) that it couldn't be unlocked that way, and charged her £45 to do it, which took a few days.
I can't believe that someone can charge so much for what is essentially a free service, or 10mins of your time if you're doing it for someone.
So nobody else has to pay this charge I'll try and explain how to unlock your iPhone, properly.
Jailbreak - This essentially hacks away at the phone so you can load apps for free and use any sim card, it's not always successful and many people have "bricked" their phones doing this, there are many programs on the net which show you how to do it, most, if not all, are free, but use them at you own risk.
Orange - You must have been with them for at least 3m and have spent a minimum of £5 per month for those 3 months. There is a charge of £20, for Contract users this will be added to your bill for pay as you go this must be loaded as credit on the phone. You can't do this by email you must call them, Contract on 150, Pay as you Go on 450. They will take your details and process the request.
* The unlocking (for all networks) is done via Apple, the network sends the request to them and a few days (I have known it be the same day) later you get a text through saying that your iphone can now be unlocked. All you do is change the sim for one from another network and then connect the iPhone to iTunes, this then unlocks the phone and you can use any sim that you want to.
Vodafone - This is (usually) free if you are on contract or £15 if on PAYG. You simply fill in a form on the Vodafone website iPhone Unlock Vodafone
and send the request, in a few days time you will recieve a text message and follow the instructions as above.
O2 - This is free if you are on contract (or if you give a contract phone number) and I have also known PAYG to be free but BE AWARE, if you are a PAYG customer and have 12m free Internet access this will cease as soon as you unlock the phone and they will ask you for £15p/m for it. Simply fill in the online form O2 iPhone Unlocking
and you should get the email back in a few days, then simply follow the instructions above.
If anyone is confused, I've missed something out or you need to know more feel free to ask.