The Sharp End


A few companies have announced the handset can be unlocked via software away from Apple’s preferred provider, AT&T. has started fulfilling bulk orders for unlocking, with prices starting at $36 (£18) each if you can send 50 units.

They won’t currently deal with single units directly, but if you can’t find one of their affiliated retailers who are buying credits from them in bulk, it won’t be long before British company UniquePhones releases its promised software to the market.

UniquePhones should have released its version by now, but it is first picking through a legal notice they have received from Apple’s lawyers.

While none of the available options guarantee the iPhone will remain locked should the customer upgrade their iPhone firmware via iTunes, you can rest assured that, even if Apple does manage to re-lock the iPhone, it is only a matter of time before someone somewhere cracks it all over again.

Orange commissions down

September saw Orange re-introduce its ‘unlimited’ plans back through the independent dealer channel after withdrawing them from the indies for just one month.

But this time around, Orange has reduced the commission payable by around £20. Although a drop in commission is hardly welcome, most dealers I’ve spoken to say it is bearable, given the fact we can again offer what were very popular tariffs to our customers. It’s just a shame that Orange had to remove them in August at all.

Some people think Orange must have had quite a dramatic downturn in connections from the non-direct channel for them to reverse the decision so quickly.

And it must be costing the network quite a bit in marketing material too – all official Orange stands need to be updated (again) to re-introduce the Unlimited point-of-sale material, probably by the same marketing teams who removed all references to the offers in readiness for its removal in August. Still, it’s not our money, so who cares.

Orange dealer cull

A further 100 dealers were put on last notice to “clean up their act”.

After the initial impact this news had on the dealer community, the general consensus is that it’s good news; it goes a long way to try and clean up the general image of the industry, along with initiatives such as guidelines on cold calling and cashback offers. Overall, all this “cleaning up” has got to be good news for those still giving the networks genuine quality customers.

Talking of cashback, a couple of high profile mobile phone shop closures have taken place of late due to the dreaded deals. Clickmobile of Hounslow was forced to close its retail stores due to staff being threatened by angry customer who had not received promised cashback.

The company blamed Barclays for unexpectedly freezing its accounts and may be forced to keep their stores closed for weeks on police advice.

Dialamobile of Bordesley Green, Birmingham, shut up shop with hundreds of customers angry they too had not received promised cashback.

BBC local news had a field day, saying many customers had taken up to six connections, each with a free phone, with Dialamobile supposedly refunding the line rental, but failing to do so. Birmingham Trading Standards were reported to have had over 400 written complaints about Dialamobile, with many more complaining in person about the store closing its doors without payment.

Trading Standards has advised customers to download a letter from its website in which a customer can send to the Orange network demanding their contract be cancelled due to the closure of Dialamobile, stating: “I therefore wish to be released from my contract with your company, as the terms of my entering this agreement have been
altered significantly.” What the..?

It amazes me that customers who have taken these “too good to be true” offers can possibly whinge at the networks (Orange mainly) due to the failing of Dialamobile.

What do they expect?

They take a free phone worth possibly £200 and receive many hundreds of inclusive minutes and texts per month from Orange and then expect all of this to be free of charge? Get real!

They knew perfectly well what they were getting into, but they now expect Orange to release them from their contract?

Do they also expect to keep the phone they had too and not to be charged anything at all for the hundreds of calls and texts they have made?

Another annoying thing is, they will probably get their way and be released from their contract.