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When I heard that it became legal again to unlock my iPhone from 3rd party services in the USA, I instantly started searching for a reliable online service (since I didn’t want to carry it to any repair shop). Eventually I managed to find a company that I was satisfied with, www.pandaunlocks.com. I wrote this article to describe how I researched the market and successfully unlocked my iPhone and it was a factory unlock.
After a few Google searches, like ‘iPhone 4S IMEI factory unlock’ and ‘factory unlock iPhone 5’, I stumbled upon numerous websites, which offered instant unlocks for $24.95 for any iPhone model (some of them would not even require my IMEI). To give you a few examples, check out these links: http://iphone-unlocker-pro.com/, http://www.unlock4iphone.com/ and others.
After some more research I found out there were websites that offered unlocks for way more than that, like $34.95 for AT&T iPhone Unlock Economy Service, $109.95 for AT&T Unlock iPhone Premium Service and so on. It seemed strange that the prices varied so much, thus I decided to dig deeper into it. After reading a lot of reviews/comments, it became clear that those websites were a total scam. They simply charge you (not via PayPal, since all of their accounts have been banned) and give nothing in return.
Then I went to all the real unlocking websites I could find and eventually chose to work with www.pandaunlocks.com since their user interface looked the most reliable and they had a wonderful customer support. I asked them questions like:
• How can I know your service will unlock my iPhone within the estimated time frame?
• What is the possibility of it being re-locked?
• Can you provide some 3rd party sources that might assure me you are to be trusted?
Their customer support answered all of the questions thoroughly, which made me trust them. What’s more, they told me that in the worst-case scenario I could always do a dispute on PayPal and PayPal would refund me my money (which something I could not have done on the scam websites).
After inquiring what my options were to unlock the my AT&T iPhone 4S, I decided to choose the Express Premium unlock since it’s done in 1-48 hours, can unlock any IMEI iPhone (even if it’s blacklisted/lost/stolen or in-contract) and the price seemed to be the best in the market - $109.95. Most of the other sites I checked were selling these for $115.95-129.95.
To be honest with you, my overall experience was rather satisfying. They unlocked my phone in less than 30 hours and assisted me with all the questions I asked them. Right now I’m thinking of unlocking my parents’ iPhones (since they could not understand less about unlocking). We’ll see whether the guys at www.pandaunlocks.com guys will keep up to their word once again.
My conclusion is that even though online iPhone unlocking is quite a new, unexplored niche where there seems to be a lot of scam websites, it is possible to find a reliable unlocking source after a thorough research. Hope this information helps you to factory unlock your iPhones!