Of late, there has been quite a lot of hubbub -- even in the mainstream media -- regarding the issue of phone unlocking. In particular, a legal quirk involving DMCA regulations that would or would not allow someone to unlock their phone. It actually revolves around unlocking software, but the "in-practice" impact is that it prevents users from popping in SIM cards from rival carriers in order to make life easier when relocating or traveling abroad.
AT&T has come under fire in particular, as the qualifications for unlocking one's AT&T phone are pretty strict. Strangely, the company saw fit to reach out on its own Public Policy Blog to reiterate a lot of what we already knew, but they sure have a sour attitude about it. Quoting John Marsh from AT&T: " I want to be completely clear that AT&T’s policy is to unlock our customers’ devices if they’ve met the terms of their service agreements and we have the unlock code. It’s a straightforward policy, and we aim to make the unlocking process as easy as possible. As we make clear on our website, if we have the unlock code or can reasonably get it from the manufacturer, AT&T currently will unlock a device for any customer whose account has been active for at least sixty days; whose account is in good standing and has no unpaid balance; and who has fulfilled his or her service agreement commitment. If the conditions are met we will unlock up to five devices per account per year. We will not unlock devices that have been reported lost or stolen."
AT&T claims that the latest legal rulings won't impact any of its customers, but the fact remains: AT&T isn't making strides to make it easier for customers to unlock their phones. Waiting two years? Seems like a raw deal to us.