This is some really good news for all the people who purchased iPhone in India from Airtel. There were rumors that post 1 year of customer’s contract period, Airtel, which has been empowered by Apple to do so, can unlock the iPhone. We decided to find out how true this is and the hardwork paid. If you have used the Airtel iPhone for more than a year, read on for instructions to get it officially unlocked forever.
I had purchased my first iPhone from Airtel back in August, 2008. That was the first time iPhones officially launched in India. While I enjoyed my stay with Airtel, which I’m going to continue for now, I did want to earn my rightfully deserved Carrier Unlock. Now why do I say rightfully deserved? Unlike AT&T, here in India we paid a much greater price for the handset. The price wasn’t subsidized, not noticeably in my opinion.
However, among the two iPhone providers in India – Airtel and Vodafone only Airtel supposedly has the ability to authorise an unlock procedure. Here’s a news mention from Business Standard. Now let’s take a look at the mention of unlock in Airtel’s Terms and Conditions.
This phone can only be used with an Airtel connection. Customers can enjoy free 500 MB of data download / month for 12 months. The charges beyond this usage will be Re 0.30/50 Kb. After the expiry of 12 months, customer can opt for a plan of his choice from the different plans available on offer. This offer is not valid if used on any other phone. To activate this GPRS offer, please request the Helpdesk at any Airtel outlet. Upon activation of this offer, customer will give up the tariffs and benefits available on the existing plan. After the expiry of the offer period of 12 months, customer may get this phone unlocked free of cost which will allow use of SIM from any other service provider. In case customer unlocks the phone before the expiry of 12 months, all warranties / benefits are null and void. For more details, call 121 from your mobile or log in to www.airtel.in.
Since, all of the above speaks in favor of the rumor, we thus decided to go ahead and talk to Airtel and request an unlock.
Who is Eligible for an Unlock?
Only iPhone 3G or 3GS units purchased within India from Airtel can be unlocked by Airtel offices. You must be able to present the original proof of purchase if asked for. You can apply for unlock any time after one year from the date of first activation.
How to Apply?
You will have to write to the nearest Nodal Officer requesting her to unlock your iPhone. You can find the e-mail address of your state’s Nodal Officer on the Airtel website. Finding it can be tricky, so we enclosed a copy of the list of Airtel nodal officers at the end of this post. Please remember to mention “iPhone unlock” and your mobile number in the subject line of the e-mail to enable a quick response.
Relating my experience
I mailed my Nearest Nodal Officer early morning yesterday and was amazed by the quick response. With two hours I received an acknowledgement of my e-mail via an e-mail reply as well as an SMS. By noon I had received a call back from the Nodal Office and also an e-mail about the same.
Since, I was away and could not take the call I have been advised to visit the Airtel centre in my city to get my phone unlocked. I will do it tomorrow and will update you with the same. Once again, Airtel’s fast and positive response here is truly appreciated.
So for all you Airtel customers, here we have a free and legal carrier unlock solution. Those users who used to jailbreak their iPhone before just for the iPhone carrier Unlock using Ultrasn0w should now be at peace. You will able to upgrade to the latest firmware released by Apple without worrying about losing your unlock.
If you are an Apple iPhone customer you may apply to Airtel in a similar manner for the unlock. Feel free to ask any questions that you have in this regard.
List of Airtel Nodal Officers