iPhone

iPhone unlocking software to be sold exclusively through resellers


Just two weeks ago, we reported about iPhoneSIMfree's first verified software unlocking of the iPhone. If you recall, we subsequently raised concern about the legality of the entire affair. Well, it appears that iPhoneSIMfree must have shared some of this concern as well.

In a reversal from its original stance, iPhoneSIMfree has now announced that it will not unlock phones for end users directly, but it will work through "resellers" instead. As reported by Ars Technica, iPhoneSIMfree is now telling interested parties that it is a whole sale-only company.

Excerpt from Ars Technica:

The company now requires a minimum purchase of 50 licenses, with bulk pricing ranging from $36 (in lots of 50) to $25 per phone (in lots of 5000). Translation: you, too, can become a "reseller" for the true "entry-level" cost of $1,800.

The problem with this approach is that it's potentially asking users to become business partners with them in a potentially illegal business operation. As it is, cell phone unlocking remains a gray area in the United States, courtesy of the DMCA.

It is noted that the U.S. Register of Copyrights gave a DMCA exemption last year to cell phone owners who wanted to unlock a phone to work on another network. Unfortunately, those distributing the unlocking tools are not afforded such protection.

As the definition of a "reseller" does not necessitate making profits, even users banding together to acquire the licenses could potentially find themselves at the end of a legal investigation.

It is clear that iPhoneSIMfree wants to maximize its revenues quickly. Of additional caution here is that iPhoneSIMfree is careful to stress that its unlocking solution might not continue to work past future updates of the iPhone. According to an e-mail sent out by the company, "We CANNOT guarantee that this software will work after any future updates for the iPhone."

Are any TR folks from outside the United States going for the unlocking software already?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

3 comments
Accolade
Accolade

Reverse Engineeering is not a new concept. That the ipod makers extablished a means of preventing easy reverse engineering shows plainly their understanding that it would be attmpted. That a group of brilliant and talented people were able to pool their skills and break thru that barrier is as impressive as those that learn to pick locks so they can enter the front door of their neighbors and steal the cookies from the cookie jar and then sell them at a prohibitive price. Why don't those brilliant and talented people make their own cookies? That the Chinese can be despised for software piracy whereas these appear coated in teflon, guiltless for breaking a marketing plan speaks plainly of Ameican greed, American covetousness, and the breakdown of American Work Ethic. Without ethics we become a nation of predators and victims, selling out the wall of defence to buy security.

fmharr
fmharr

I am the proud owner of 2 8 gig iPhones through AT&T and have no need to switch to another company. However, I think this kind of software is a good idea for those who are not already with AT&T. Mike

paulmah
paulmah

Any folks from outside the US going for the unlocking software already?

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