This iPhone Lockdown is Ridiculous!

iphone-lockThis has nothing to do with the Applications issue…

The iPhone is a completely locked device. Both the device itself as well as the SIM card from AT&T are locked. Of course, hackers have broken these things, but if you don’t want to have to break it to “fix it” you are pretty much out of luck in enabling features that are quite common for phones today.

Currently the iPhone does not support MMS or DUN and AT&T’s SIM is locked and prevented from offering these services to another device should you switch devices for the day (or longer). You can choose to have AT&T deactivate this SIM and activate a new (and different) SIM card for your other devices but this is both ridiculous and cumbersome since you would have to reverse the process in order to then use the iPhone. There’s nothing you can do except pay more money to use features most any other smart or feature phone offers. If you want the iPhone this is how it is. If you want another device in conjunction, AT&T is more than happy to sell you an additional line … and data plan!

I tend to use a lot of devices. I enjoy being with a GSM carrier so I can move between devices as the mood strikes me and usually choose the device that suits the need for that day or a particular trip. The Nokia N95-3 is an awesome (and open) device and the phone I currently want to be able to take full advantage. While I can use the 3G services AT&T offers on the phone with the iPhone SIM inside, I cannot send (wonder if I can receive) an MMS or use the phone as a bluetooth modem for my laptop or internet tablet. This is something I have long done (and paid for the privilege) with previous devices before the special iPhone plan was created. This special plan by the way includes unlimited data! I know even unlimited is limited (xxGB) in the TOS, but I should still be able to use (or even pay more if I must, to use) the device I want on the network I am paying to access.

I’m very frustrated by this situation and am not about to pay for a second phone plan or cancel the iPhone one and give AT&T and Apple the satisfaction of an ETF (~$170). I just want my 3G service in the N95 shared with my personal network of devices and when I want the iPhone for the day I am more than happy to deal with EDGE and WiFi. Is there an actual logical (not because Steve Jobs said so) explanation behind why this is impossible?

I’ve heard that PAN works with a Blackjack and iPhone SIM, but there’s no support for PAN in the Nokia’s that I’ve found… There’s a very interesting proxy access hack for the iPhone that seems like it would work on the N95, but there’s no proxyserver application that I’ve found. GNUBox looks promising, but is unsigned and rather complex to deal with.

Image found on Google… borrowed from ZDNet.

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18 comments for “This iPhone Lockdown is Ridiculous!

  1. compking
    10/11/2007 at 3:56 am

    The Iphone simply SUXXXXXXXX

  2. live4celltech
    10/11/2007 at 9:19 am

    Jon. Thanks for your update on the iPhone sim. I was concerned about using the sim in the N95 and losing features.

  3. 10/11/2007 at 10:23 am

    @live4celltech – yeah if you can live without MMS everythingworks ON the device otherwise. Though as stated you can’t share the connection to anything else if you had been planning that.

  4. 10/11/2007 at 2:25 pm

    It sounds like AT&T wants to control which and how use their devices. Perhaps this is a future indicator of things to come. While we might have enjoyed swapping SIM cards to our other GSM phones for making phone calls and data access, in the future the cellular system will be able to identify which phone a particular SIM card it’s assigned to and allow functionality accordingly.

  5. 10/11/2007 at 8:23 pm

    I just tried my iPhone SIM in the HTC Advantage and it does allow me to connect to my MBP using Bluetooth PAN. Like you, my Nokia N95 does not work though. If we can’t get the N95 or N95-3 working with this then I may not get the N95-3. I understand you could probably upgrade the data plan to US$40/month or something, but then I would rather just stick with T-Mobile.

  6. 10/11/2007 at 8:32 pm

    I would be happy to pay more, but in speaking with ATT last night they said it’s not possible. Perhaps I spoke to someone who knows little about advanced stuff like using the iPhone SIM in other devices (as if that should qualify as advanced) but it’s not looking good.

    That said – I have actually gotten my Nokia N800 to work today… It’s the standard setting for Cingular … posting in a few. I can’t the MacBookPro to go, but I think I’ve played so much with the settings things are all out of whack. It’s not jumping to disconnect indefinitely when I switch my network settings to bluetooth … 🙁 Will run some system cleanup and try again.

  7. Jeb
    10/12/2007 at 1:22 am

    Jonathan I want to email you but I couldn’t find your email address. You have mine now, if you don’t mind shoot me an email so I have it, so then I can email you.
    By the way I’m not a crazy stalker, we met at the Nokia party in Beverly Hills.

    Thanks,
    Jeb

  8. 10/13/2007 at 7:45 pm

    I really really really wish Apple had gone the other way and released the iPhone unlocked/sim-free.

    It would have sold better because anyone on any network could have bought one, it could have been launched worldwide without any alterations to the hardware, and it would have also genuinely revolutionised the American phone market as millions of Americans would have suddenly realised there’s no need to buy phones from phone networks. This is how the phone market already operates in many countries, and it works very well in those countries.

    Although I’m sceptical about the iPhone’s qualities as a mainstream phone, I would have hailed Steve Jobs and the iPhone as huge forces for good in the phone world if it had been released sim-free. Unfortunately it hasn’t happened (yet).

    At the moment America is being severely held back by the actions of its network operators. The USA ought to be a world leader in phones and phone networks, but instead it’s struggling to keep up because its operators cripple handsets and drag their heels about network upgrades.

    Americans wouldn’t stand for it if ISPs locked and crippled PCs, so why the heck should they stand for network operators locking and crippling mobile computing devices?

    I read an article the other day that some US phone operators in the 1970s/1980s used to ban landline owners from using their own answerphones on the network, you had to rent them from the operator. It seems this anti-competitive culture of milking a captive audience hasn’t gone away in the mobile age.

    “You can choose to have AT&T deactivate this SIM and activate a new (and different) SIM card for your other devices but this is both ridiculous and cumbersome”

    They’re also totally missing the point of the SIM card. It was introduced so that phone users could easily switch between devices without changing their phone number or billing.

    “Is there an actual logical (not because Steve Jobs said so) explanation behind why this is impossible?”

    No, there’s no technical reason for this.

    It would be like claiming you could only use your Apple Mac laptop computer on a certain ISPs, and that you could only access that ISP’s full service through your Mac laptop. It makes no sense because the service isn’t affected by the type of device, just as tap water isn’t affected by the type of glass you run it into.

    Until 2007 any kind of phone locking was actually illegal in Finland, everyone had to sell unlocked phones by law. Did that hold Finnish mobile firms back? No, not at all, in fact the reverse happened. Nokia flourished and become the world’s best-selling phone maker during this period, and the Finnish consumer got the widest choice of handsets, the lowest sim-free prices and the lowest, clearest phone service prices.

    No one can possibly claim SIM and handset restrictions serve the consumer in any way. They’re there purely to reduce competition, and line the pockets of the network operator.

    In the case of the iPhone, because Apple is receiving a share of the users’ phone bills they’re acting as a network operator too. It may be that Apple will get most of its profits from these shares of the bills rather than hardware sales, in which case they’ll be extremely keen on SIM locking and other anti-competitive restrictions.

  9. 10/13/2007 at 11:08 pm

    Re [krisse]: “In the case of the iPhone, because Apple is receiving a share of the users’ phone bills they’re acting as a network operator too. It may be that Apple will get most of its profits from these shares of the bills rather than hardware sales, in which case they’ll be extremely keen on SIM locking and other anti-competitive restrictions.”

    Is that true? If it is, it all starts to make sense.

  10. 10/13/2007 at 11:28 pm

    I’ve heard they are getting the rev share as well – but why not let us just use it as much as we want when we are all signed up for the unlimited data anyway? I’m fine with a cap if they need, but it should be able to anything any of the other phones can do via sim

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