posted on Jan, 25 2013 @ 03:33 PM
I guess the problem is when you buy a cell phone you are buying two things: the hardware and the service.
In some cases, the contract for the service says that you have the obligation of remaining on their service for some amount of time (usually 3 years,
from what I have seen). If you want to break the contract then you should pay the corresponding penalty.
Here in Portugal (from what I have seen), the cost of unlocking a phone (breaking the contract) is 25% of the price paid when you bought the phone, so
in the above example it would cost 50 dollars to get the phone unlocked by ATT. When there's a contract for a specific service duration, then the
price of the unlocking goes down with the time that has already passed, so after the first six months you have to pay only 80% of the original 25%.
PS: I don't have a cell phone, so I don't really know if things are as described above, I just looked at the sites of two Portuguese operators.