Ever since it launched, the iPhone has been available to AT&T customers. However, though elsewhere in the world the iPhone unlocked can run on multiple carriers, those with iPhones from AT&T don't enjoy the same luxury. As a result of the AT&T lock, their phones can't be used on other networks that use the same bands, even though there is no other fully compatible 3G network in the U.S. However, that may change. According to a 9to5 Mac source, Apple CEO Tim Cook has convinced AT&T to unlock the device for at least one customer.
"Today, a reader and trusted tipster reached out to us and explained that a personal email to Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, who is known to keep up Steve Job’s long-time tradition of answering customer emails, resulted in AT&T making a “special one-time exception” to fulfill a request it previously refused."
The story goes that this customer's job saw him reassigned to Canada. Wanting to use his phone in the Great White North, he called AT&T to unlock his phone. AT&T told him only Apple could do that. A call to Apple directed him back to AT&T, who in turn advised him to 'just jailbreak' his phone. Frustrated with all of the back and forth, he emailed Tim Cook and explained what was going on.
The customer didn't receive any email back from Tim, but he did get a call from AT&T saying they had received his email from Cook and a request to make an exception and unlock the phone. His wife also received a phone call from Tim's personal assistant who wanted to check that AT&T had been in touch and the phone had been unlocked.
Obviously this is an exception, but it shows that ol' Tim isn't beyond simple customer service. We hope he's prepared for more requests, now that this story has gotten out.