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Tim Cook Gets AT&T to Unlock a Customer's iPhone

By - Source: 9to5 Mac | B 39 comments

Now that's customer service.

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.

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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    confish21 , March 21, 2012 9:37 PM
    I think the un-named personal assistant should get the credit...
  • 20 Hide
    dalethepcman , March 21, 2012 9:39 PM
    +1 Apple, -1 AT&T.

    Although I'm surprised they unlocked it Why not just tell the guy to go buy a new 4s, isn't that the Apple way?
  • 18 Hide
    slicedtoad , March 21, 2012 9:55 PM
    apple, trying to undo their evil reputation one customer at a time. (or one customer who will get on the news and then never again)
Other Comments
    Display all 39 comments.
  • 25 Hide
    confish21 , March 21, 2012 9:37 PM
    I think the un-named personal assistant should get the credit...
  • 20 Hide
    dalethepcman , March 21, 2012 9:39 PM
    +1 Apple, -1 AT&T.

    Although I'm surprised they unlocked it Why not just tell the guy to go buy a new 4s, isn't that the Apple way?
  • 16 Hide
    A Bad Day , March 21, 2012 9:48 PM
    dalethepcmanWhy not just tell the guy to go buy a new 4s, isn't that the Apple way?


    Or ignore the whining customer, or send him/her on a wild goose chase, like the rest of the tech industry?
  • 14 Hide
    obsama1 , March 21, 2012 9:51 PM
    Not an Apple fan but awesome!!
  • 18 Hide
    slicedtoad , March 21, 2012 9:55 PM
    apple, trying to undo their evil reputation one customer at a time. (or one customer who will get on the news and then never again)
  • 16 Hide
    otakuwind , March 21, 2012 9:59 PM
    Big deal, Upper management does this shit all the time, they pick one customer to bow low for and tell the story from the hill tops. It makes for nice anecdotes about customer service. 100 emails and escalations get ignored for everyone that is pushed forward by powers on high.
  • 10 Hide
    santiagoanders , March 21, 2012 10:06 PM
    More evidence why subsidized locked phone is a stupid idea.
  • 9 Hide
    xerroz , March 21, 2012 10:16 PM
    Sounds like scripted PR
  • 11 Hide
    errorcode99 , March 21, 2012 10:20 PM
    cool publicity stunt bro
  • 6 Hide
    house70 , March 21, 2012 10:21 PM
    back in the day I had a moto razr that I wanted to take on a trip to Europe. One email to at&t solved the problem, they sent me the subsidy code. What is the deal here?
  • 7 Hide
    nitto555rchallenger , March 21, 2012 10:26 PM
    Dear Tim Cook,

    Can you do me a big favor and stop making all your products so damn expensive. Thanks

    From yours truly,

    Poor Customer
  • 2 Hide
    extremepcs , March 21, 2012 10:28 PM
    Well, they do need all of the positive PR they can get with the whole Foxconn thing. Jobb's would have told him to GTFO.
  • -2 Hide
    rocknrollz , March 21, 2012 10:49 PM
    A Bad DayOr ignore the whining customer, or send him/her on a wild goose chase, like the rest of the tech industry?


    I honestly don't get it. If this story was about how Tim Cook refused, it would be hating all up on him. Now that he actually listened, he still gets some heat. Lay off. ATLEAST he reads those emails. Sheesh. (Not fanboy, just annoyed)
  • -4 Hide
    Stardude82 , March 21, 2012 10:51 PM
    santiagoandersMore evidence why subsidized locked phone is a stupid idea.


    He could have easily sold it and have gotten most of his money back. Early cancellation is like $400 and phones are running about $500.

    house70back in the day I had a moto razr that I wanted to take on a trip to Europe. One email to at&t solved the problem, they sent me the subsidy code. What is the deal here?


    AT&T has decided that the iPhone is special. If you had any other phone with a new contract with AT&T for 6 months or 10 months after a new phone's release, they will give you a carrier unlock code.
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , March 21, 2012 11:05 PM
    RockNRollzI honestly don't get it. If this story was about how Tim Cook refused, it would be hating all up on him. Now that he actually listened, he still gets some heat. Lay off. ATLEAST he reads those emails. Sheesh. (Not fanboy, just annoyed)


    I wasn't insulting Cook, I was insulting the rest of the tech industry's habit of hiding tech support numbers, putting customers on hold for hours (and playing a cheesy music), making them go through as many automated customer service machines as imaginable, then forwarding them to a subpar tech support company that hired people who can barely speak English, and then charging a few hundred dollars for the tech support even if the customer's problem wasn't fixed.

    Assuming if the company even has a tech support...
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , March 21, 2012 11:15 PM
    The problem with the unlock, or even Jail Break yourself is that you can not get the high speed you would get if you used a new phone with a different carrier. I used T-Mobile with my Iphone and it was never fast as any ATT Iphone. You need to use a phone with the same type of frequencies and network type to get high speed.

    It is expensive, but worth it to get a different phone and provider.

    Better yet, get an Android and work anywhere in the world at high speed.

  • 3 Hide
    chumly , March 22, 2012 12:00 AM
    Now do mine. Why is that guy special? What's your email again?
  • 1 Hide
    nebun , March 22, 2012 1:26 AM
    now we need to have all the phones unlocked...we pay an arm and a leg...and for what?....i would also love to remove all the bloatware without having to modify the OS on android devices
  • 0 Hide
    dimar , March 22, 2012 2:13 AM
    I e-mailed Jobs few times asking for native FLAC support, and professional EQ settings, Never got an answer. Maybe his ekxelency Cook could do it?
  • 3 Hide
    tokencode , March 22, 2012 5:28 AM
    The only reason this happened is because AT&T told the customer to jail break. Tim Cook was probably so horrified at AT&Ts suggestion he turned around and made them unlock it.
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