Unlocking the iPhone has always been a tedious task compared to other phones. While you can easily obtain BlackBerry unlock codes for less than a dollar to enter into your phone for carrier-free calling in a matter of minutes, the iPhone requires a considerably more in-depth procedure to accomplish the same thing.

It starts with a jailbreak, needed in order to obtain access to the internals of the iPhone operating system. Once there, hackers need to find bugs to exploit in the iPhone’s cellular firmware in order to free your phone from its carrier. Why isn’t this easier? Because Apple’s agreement with the carriers mean they can keep your phone locked until the carrier allows you to unlock it. And although they do allow you unlock it, their unlocking services come with extremely ridiculous and complicated requirements.

Note: If you’re looking for specific information on the policy and do not wish to read my story, feel free to skip to the summary at the very bottom of the article.

Background

My Mother obtained an iPhone 3GS that is locked to Rogers Wireless from a friend in Canada. Her friend has since upgraded to the iPhone 4 by buying out the 3GS contract and signing a new one for the iPhone 4. This means the 3GS is no longer under contract – it is free and clear. My Mother lives in Mexico, so having a phone locked to a Canadian carrier is next to useless unless she only intended to use it as an iPod – she did not.

While visiting my Mother in Mexico, I figured I would take it upon myself to get her new phone unlocked, after all, why not use it to its full potential? I had recently heard about Rogers unlocking iPhones for a fee [Electronista] once the contract on the phone is completed. Although I could (somewhat) easily soft-unlock the phone using the complex method I described above, this isn’t optimal, since then I have to warn my Mother to avoid software updates and it would also create other minor annoyances, such as possibly broken GPS (at the time of writing this article). Therefore, a carrier-level unlock would be much simpler for her. This makes paying the $50 that Rogers is asking for the unlock a reasonable investment. So I called Rogers.

The Ridiculousness of the Rogers Unlock Program

The conversation starts off pretty well, with the first contact representative having heard of the unlock program and transferring me to the correct department. From here things go downhill. I described the situation, how I obtained a phone off-contract and that I’d like to pay the fee to get it unlocked. Unlocking the phone is something you would think Rogers would be happy to do since the phone is no longer on contract, they are receiving $0 from the device at this time (phones on contract pay them a certain amount every month as part of the plan). Handing over $50 for something that costs them nothing, aside from negligible phone operator costs, is a nice small profit for them. Sure I’m just one guy for now, but many people are likely to want to unlock their off-contract phones in the coming years as iPhone 3G and 3GS device contracts come to a close. Their unlocking service should add up to a good little profit over time.

I clearly described to the operator that the phone is not tied to a contract and asked her to look up the serial number so she could verify this. She refused. I asked her what is required, if not the serial number of the phone, in order to unlock the iPhone. Her response? She wants my account information. I told her that the phone I’m looking to unlock has nothing to do with my own Rogers account, but when she wouldn’t continue the conversation until I gave her the info, I relented. Her having that info shouldn’t do any harm anyway. She looked on my account and found my own 3GS (with a different serial number) and the contract on it that has about another two years left. Paraphrasing her response: “I can only unlock phones for people that have no contract on their account.” This apparently is true even if it can be proven that the phone being unlocked has absolutely nothing to do with the account in question. In other words, if you once had an iPhone 3GS and have since completed a hardware upgrade with Rogers to a BlackBerry, Android phone or a new iphone 4, you still cannot unlock your old iPhone. Even though it has been paid off entirely.

What does this mean?

For me and my Mother, this meant I simply had to soft-unlock the phone after all. It also meant Rogers didn’t obtain another penny for the iPhone 3GS in question, which is a puzzling business decision.

For others with iPhones, it means that if you do a hardware upgrade you will never be able to legitimately unlock the older hardware until three years after your ‘last’ device purchase; if you want to unlock, you cannot get a new phone. Even though you have paid for the older phone in its entirety, you are unable to unlock it. How absurd is that? I can walk into an Apple store and buy an iPhone 4 for about $750 factory unlocked. But after I’ve paid $1,440-2,160 (~$60 [conservative estimate] per month for 2 or 3 years) I’m forced to keep the phone locked to Rogers? Even when they have the ability to unlock it AND I’m willing to pay additional fees to do so?

Now that is ridiculous.

Why would they do this? There is only one reason that makes any sense. If the hoops you have to jump through to get your phone unlocked means that more phones remained locked to Rogers, then whomever you sell or give your iPhone to will have to sign up for a new plan with Rogers. It’s the opposite of loyalty, they are actually forcing people to use their service when they should be using their marketing and customer service to attract customers and create real loyalty instead.

[UPDATE] Elise from Rogers was kind enough to clarify on this point in the comments below. Apparently the rep I spoke to was misinformed on this particular topic. Although it is true that I could not unlock that iPhone because it was never under my account (an aggravating policy), the original owner in Toronto supposedly could call up and have it unlocked even though he has a new iPhone 4. In other words, hardware upgrades supposedly do not negate the ability to unlock the original handset.

Conclusion

You can bet that the next iPhone I buy will be factory unlocked and that, because of this experience, Rogers may very well lose me as a customer. This negative attitude I have towards Rogers is in stark contrast to my former attitude; up until this point, I have enjoyed their service and promoted Rogers everywhere I could. The new attitude boils down to a simple economic decision that is so poorly thought out that it makes almost no sense: Because Rogers refused to accept my $50, over a policy that sounds as ridiculous as what is coming out of the CRTC these days [Financial Post], I am no longer comfortable entrusting my account with the company.

[UPDATE] Elise – a Rogers representative – has responded in the comments below. Keep reading for further details and hopefully further clarifications regarding the policies in place for unlocking your iPhone with Rogers.

======== Appended Aug 16, 2011 ========

[UPDATE] Since this article is #1 on Google.ca for ‘Rogers iPhone unlock’, I think it’s in everyone’s best interests to have a simple summary with a clear description of how their program works based on the information provided by the Rogers rep I talked to on the phone and by @RogersElise in the comments below.

Summary of The Unlock Policy

  1. To unlock your iPhone you MUST have an active Rogers account in good standing. Despite what the Rogers rep on the telephone told me, @RogersElise clarified that you can have an iPhone or other device on contract as long as the iPhone you are unlocking is currently not under contractual obligations.
  2. If you have purchased the phone from someone else who did not unlock it, you will be unable to unlock the phone through Rogers
  3. You are required to pay $50 CAD to unlock the phone. I assume that is before tax.
  4. While I appreciate @RogersElise’s personal response on the matter, and believe that it is great that they’re reaching out to people to help clarify their policies, I believe this particular policy is not well thought out.

It is my belief that verifying (via Serial Number or IMEI – both unique identifiers for the phone) that the iPhone is not under contractual obligations or reported stolen by the original owner should be enough verification for the phone to be unlocked. In other words, account information should not be required. Why do I believe this? Because there are multiple cases where someone without a Rogers account would be willing to Pay Rogers to unlock their phone and should be granted that right as the full-owner of the phone. One example is my Mother, discussed above, who lives in Mexico and was given the phone as a gift. Another example is someone who sells their phone on eBay, Craig’s List, Kijiji or elsewhere without realizing they need to unlock it. The buyer, as the current owner of the phone, should be able to unlock it to work on their carrier of choice.

A counter-argument to this is suggested in the comments below by someone named Matt. He believes they require a valid account for security reasons. My response to that can also be found below, but the general idea is that by the time the phone is off-contract Rogers shouldn’t be imposing any further security upon your phone at all – that should be considered an invasion of privacy, even if it is supposedly to protect you. In other words, although I am open to good arguments in favour of the current Rogers policy, I do not accept Matt’s argument as anything but a weak rationalization.

64 Comments

  1. RogersElise on February 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Jordan

    I am Elise with Rogers. I would like to give you more details about our unlocking policy:
    – the device must be out of its contractual obligation, you had that right

    – your account must be in good standing, this is why the employee was asking for your account information. I understand that the unlock was for your Mother’s account though so I understand that you were puzzled the employee was asking about your details. That may have been because you are not authorized on your Mother’s account.

    – finally, the device has to be in the equipment history of the account holder. In your case, the friend who gave the iPhone 3GS to your Mother could be the one to unlock it, once the contractual obligations are over. This is where I think the process blocked for you.

    However, I am very sorry that you feel disappointed in Rogers, so please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you and change your feeling. You can contact me on Twitter as well – @RogersElise

    Elise

    • Jordan on February 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      Elise,

      Thanks for the comment, I certainly was not expecting a response and appreciate the time you have taken to do so.

      It makes perfect sense for the device to be required to be out of its contractual obligations, I’m not averse to a company obtaining payment over time in exchange for hardware that is initially sold at a discount.

      It is, however, unclear to me why the person calling would need to have a Rogers account at all. My Mother does not have a Rogers account and she, apparently because of this, would be unable to unlock the phone even though she is the current owner of the hardware. If she does not live full-time in Canada and would like to use her new phone in a location aside from Canada, then unlocking the phone only makes sense – especially when she’s still willing to pay Rogers to have this done. (And when this is the only case where Rogers will make any further money off that phone). Regardless of whether the phone is unlocked or not, this phone will likely never be used on a Rogers contract again – why make this more difficult for the consumer than it needs to be? I get that this is the Rogers policy, but at some point someone needs to review these policies and make changes where appropriate. I believe this is one case where a change in policy is needed.

      I propose that verifying that the phone is not under contract and not currently in use by the original owner by looking up its serial number or other hardware identifier should be enough to prove a phone is eligible for unlock.

      The only reason to enforce such a policy is to ensure that future users of the phone are required to use Rogers, assuming the phone stays in Canada. I understand the business decision behind that and although I don’t agree with it, I’m willing to forgive.

      The real kicker, which was explained to me succinctly on the phone, is that the original owner of the phone could not call Rogers and have the phone unlocked as long as he has any contract on his account. Even if the current contract is only valid on a completely different handset. Since the original owner now has an iPhone 4 under contract, his former handset – which no longer has an associated contract – cannot be unlocked. It’s possible the representative on the phone was wrong. Is this an accurate description of how this works? You mentioned:

      “In your case, the friend who gave the iPhone 3GS to your Mother could be the one to unlock it, once the contractual obligations are over.”

      Does this refer to the contractual obligations on his entire account, or does it refer to the contractual obligations of the original iPhone 3GS? I was originally told it means contractual obligations on the entire account, and this is what frustrated me the most about the situation – it meant I no longer had an option to have the phone factory unlocked simply because the original owner got a new phone. This also means that if I were to choose to do a hardware upgrade for an iPhone 5 (whenever it comes out), I would not be able to have my own iPhone 3GS factory unlocked, despite having completed its associated contract period.

      Thanks again for your clarifications.

    • sk hd on September 1, 2012 at 12:54 am

      hi sister !
      i have an iphone 4 locke to Rogers canada, now i live in cambodia, my sister from Canada gave me,how can i unlock my iphone to factory unlock?

      do they charge for unlocking? if so how much?

      thanks for help

    • Randy on November 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      I also wnated to comment on your unlock policy as it is criminal to say the least if you ask me. I have been a Rogers customer for about 30 years and have had a cell phone with Rogers for about the past 5 years. My wife recently dropped her Blackberry in a toilet while she was cleaning at work and the phone has not worked properly since. She is not able to hear anyone on the other end anymore so for talking her phone is useless. My wife is from Cuba and we travel there frequently because our family is there. When we are there we require a phone to keep in contact with each other and with family so both of our Blackberry’s have been unlocked so this is possible. Since she dropped her BB in the toilet we decided it was time for anew phone so I bought an Iphone 4 off of Kijiji but it was locked to Rogers. Thinking since I have been a loyal customer of Rogers for 30 years the least they could do is allow me to pay the $50 to have this phone unlocked instead of paying the $100 they are asking on most websites. After speaking with a Rogers Rep for about 15 minutes I gave up trying ot explain our situation. I told her that my wifes current BB was no longer usable so we needed to have the Iphone4 we just purchased unlocked so we could use it when we go to Cuba for Christmas but she refused and gave me to entire story about needing the phone active on my account for 90 days. I tried to explain that since it is already November it is not possible to have it active 90 days before we leave but she ignored my please. I still cannot understand the reasoning behind this policy since a previous owner can have the same phone unlocked even though they are no longer using it on their Rogers account so Rogers is no longer receiveing revenue for this phone. What is troubling is that I cannot have it unlocked even though I would still be using it on Rogers account. Very puzzling to say the least and I do not think a whole lot of thinking goes into some of Rogers policy. Since Rogers would not unlock this Iphone for us we have decided that upon our return from Cuba we will both be moving to another provider and cancelling all current services with Rogers. This way we can open new accounts with plans and have brand new unlocked Iphone’s for both of us so we are able to use them on our travels to Cuba. Thanks for listening Elise.

      • Jordan on November 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm

        Thanks for the story Randy! It’s astounding to me that a company would treat a customer of 30 years with such disrespect over a horribly devised policy. Even aside from the policy, Rogers should really begin training their support reps to make some judgments on their own.

        In terms of your transition to another provider, I recommend Telus. At the very least I know from personal experience that their support staff have the power to make judgment calls like this or at least contact someone who does rather than stonewalling you.



  2. RogersElise on March 1, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Hey there.

    Thank you for your feedback and your understanding. I’ll pass on your comment re: our policy of asking that the person needs to be a Rogers customer.
    But, the person who previously owned the iPhone 3GS in question could unlock herself the phone as long as the device is out of contractual obligations, ie once the agreement signed-up for this specific device is up.
    Does that make sense now?
    Finally, to respond to your comment regarding the fact that I responded. Rogers has been gearing up its social media presence for quite a while now, we have numerous Twitter accounts. I am @RogersElise, if you have some questions, you can tweet the @RogersHelps team and for all news Rogers, follow @RogersBuzz. We also have a blog, RedBoard (which is the website I referenced) and tech forums so that customers can help each other. What else? We are also monitoring blogs and forums to engage with customers where they choose to talk with us! Traditional Care channels are always the best first step, but our team tries to help where we can.

    • Michel Savard on March 30, 2011 at 6:17 am

      Elise
      I kind of understand Rogers point of view about having an account to unlock a device only under that account.
      But here is another scenario, I buy aan Iphone 4 from an ebayer reputed like 2ndtrunCanada, I have a device that is locked to Rogers.
      I do not have an account with Rogers, I might not even reside in Canada.
      Why can’t Rogers unlock this device for me. It will not show any contract or money owed to Rogers?

    • Roy on March 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      hi,
      I bought my iphone from a stranger. he said it locked by Rogers, but I still use it with Fido. Can this phone be unlocked with Rogers’ policy?

    • Donna on January 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      I had the exact same situation as Jordan just replace mexico with the Netherlands. I had the person who gifted me the phone contact Rogers for the unlock. And wait for it…doesn’t matter that she’s already paid for the phone…she’s not with rogers anymore (can’t imagine why) so they won’t do it. Therefore my beautiful I phone is a very pricey paper weight.

  3. Philippe Nolet on April 14, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Thanks Jordan for your posting. I have the exact same problem. I paid the fees to break the contract with Rogers because I was leaving the country for years. Even if I paid thousands of dollars over the years they do not want to unlock permanently my Iphone. They say that I am not a client anymore….I am sure that if I ask them to restore my old account to become a client again they would consider me as a customers and move. They are so terrible cell phone services provider.

    • Jordan on April 15, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      Hi Phillippe,

      Although not likely, I’m still hoping they’ll reconsider the requirement to have an account with them.

      Compared to the other cellular providers available in Atlantic Canada, Rogers generally is a better option.

      Hopefully we’ll see Wind and/or Mobilicity head this way sometime soon for more options. With some good competitive offers, it could become worthwhile to switch.

  4. Stuart Rowlands on April 28, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Hi all,

    I’m in the exact same boat – I have a worthless iPhone 4 locked to Rogers which they refused to unlock for me (having bought it out of contract on eBay).

    I’ve since left Canada and use the iPhone as an iPod, as the baseband it’s running (02.10.04) is not unlockable by any means..

  5. Mark on May 2, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I’m in the same boat. Called Rogers to pay any penalties for my two 3GS devices.
    I am 2/3 the way through my contract. I have since I am sure bought my phone three times over. As I have paid more than $6,000.00 in fees. I am a customer in good standing and pay my bills on time.

    Rogers seems to think I am trash for wanting to buy out my contract. As such I was told even though I buy out my contract I have to wait for the term to finish before they will unlock my phones. How rediculous! If I buy out my contract, my contract is over. I am going to test this in court.

    Will this type of treatment bring me back to Rogers…certainly not and when asked about Rogers I will have to say STAY CLEAR. It seems and this is my second time I have ever signed a contract over my 19 years that when you do You get poor service since they have you by the short and curlies. My experience has shown that when you have no contracts they work hard to please and keep you as a customer.

    Another lesson learned.

  6. Yves on May 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Same boat, almost, bought an Iphone 4 from guy on Kijiji, in seal box unactivated, I had the choice of Fido or Rogers, I went with Fido as I already was with them prepaid services. March break, I was going south so wanted it unlock the phone. Rogers refused to unlock because the phone was on contractual obligations in 2008???? iPhone 4?????. Now this phone never had any other telephone number associated to it (first time activation was me). How can it be associated to any other account????

  7. Air on May 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I agree this is totally ridiculous. First of all $50 is unreasonable.. $20 I could have understood. Second, Rogers is creating digital trash — I have an “ancient” 3G that I purchased used and therefore cannot unlock (I don’t even live in Canada). Third, go try a search on any Rogers website, such as RedBoard which Elise quotes, for unlock and see what you get…. zip, nada, nil. It’s like the concept doesn’t exist. I have to find you blog page which, freakishly, I also find some Rogers employee trolling.

    I for one will never again buy a locked cell phone and I certainly will never, ever, use Rogers and I guarantee I’ll pass this info along. Rogers, if your listening… you s#ck!

  8. Air Belgium on June 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Hi, (first : sorry for my bad English, I’ll do my best)

    I have the same problem…
    I passed one year in Montreal for studying. I bought an iPhone 4 from Rogers with a contract (50$/month).
    On the beginning of 2011 May, I asked Rogers to cancel my contract and send me the bill by email. I wanted to pay the all phone because they told me I would have the possibility to unlock my phone and use it in Europe.

    Now, back in Belgium I want to pay my dept and unlock my phone to be able to use it here in Belgium. But they refuse because I’m not Rogers client anymore and even a pay the bill… It makes no sense… They checked my identity and I wanted to give them money (bill + unlock)!!!! (btw 50$ they do not deserve…). But it’s not enough,

    I wanted to be honest with them, I won’t be anymore if they’re not.

    So Elise (or RogersHelps) if you read this and you can help me and Rogers in the same time (I still owe them (you) money). If you can be the ombudsman in this situation, it will be great.

  9. jonas on June 13, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    yup i have the same problem with rogers. i m in ireland for a year. and asked rogers if they would unlock my phone for me and i would keep paying my monthly bill. $130/month. they said no you have to have the phone for three years. even if i cancel and pay out the contract i still had to wait three years for them to unlock it.makes absolutely no sense. so much for being a loyal customer for 6years. they do not give a crap about anyone. it is all about the bottom line for them.

  10. Roger on July 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I called them to unlock ‘Roger’s’ and they wanted 50.00, what a bunch of greedy people, they make huge profits charging the highest rates in the world, and they still try to squeeze another 50.00. Ok I say frustrated, and go through the process, oops I have 10 days left on my 3 year contract, sorry no unlock. I am so angry, After about 3,000 over the last 3 years? Well never, never will I get a locked phone again, and in 10 days they can kiss me where the sun dont shine…

    • Jordan on August 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      I’m not opposed to Rogers obtaining money for the unlock, although European carriers are legally unable to charge for it from what I understand. It probably should be the same here in Canada.

      That said, I can understand why, after paying $3,000 in service fees and contract buy out fees, one would not want to pay more to ‘own’ the device they’ve already paid for.

  11. Francois on July 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Same boat here.

    If I buy out my contract, this means that I have respected all of my obligations with them and the phone becomes my sole property.

    So how can Rogers still limit my use of a product that I own ?
    Is this even legal ? I am no longer under contract with them and I legally own my phone, which laws give them the right to limit my use of my phone ? I don’t understand how this is possible.

    How can we challenge the legality of this policy ?

    As all of you, I will never go back to Rogers and advise everyone I know not to go with them.

    Hoping someone can help.

    • Bunny on August 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      I’m in the same boat to, my contract is over. I was told today I had to sign a contract for 90 days and then pay 50.00 to get my phone unlocked

  12. Mark on August 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I just found this page google searching for rogers unlock. I thought this would be another funny story about rogers poor customer service, so i decided to read it for a laugh.

    Wow. Seems like the only fiasco here is Jordan’s inability to understand a simple concept. Then the sook needs to write a massive story online crying about it.

    Rogers just wants the owner of the phone to call in and unlock it. Even If you are the CURRENT owner, they have no way to verify that you bought the phone from the account holder. For all they know you stole it, and therefore won’t unlock it for you.

    Imagine losing your phone and then calling rogers to report it stolen, then they tell you someone already called in (someone who couldn’t verify the account) and they unlocked it for them. You’d be horribly mad at them. It’s called security.

    Anyways, Rogers did the right thing by not giving you that unlock code when you called in. I don’t like rogers either and I cancelled my TV service with them years ago, but even worse than that is hearing people complain when they actually do something right.

    • Jordan on August 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Mark,

      I understand what you’re saying, but I think you’re placing too much power in the hands of a corporation with those statements.

      You are correct that Rogers has no way of verifying that the phone was previously owned by someone else, but why should they? I don’t want my carrier to know anything about what phones I’ve purchased and sold beyond the original factory fresh purchases from Rogers. That said, they do know if the phone is on a contract or not based on the IMEI number. During the contract they most certainly *should* maintain security for you, partially because the phone still hasn’t been paid off. Beyond the contract they should have absolutely zero control over that phone. At this point the phone is now completely paid off and belongs to the person who bought it and thus Rogers should be able to impose no rules of ownership of any kind upon that device.

      Besides, what difference does it make if the phone is unlocked or not after it has been stolen? It’s still stolen. Rogers didn’t ask me to provide all my contact information so they could report me to the police nor the original owner. The original owner heard nothing about this from Rogers. In your hypothetical situation where the phone is stolen and the thief calls in to unlock the phone, followed by a call from the original owner, what would Rogers be able to do to help? Nothing. The phone is still stolen and the customer is still out of luck. Hell, at least if Rogers had agreed to the unlock, they would have made $50 from the situation AND would have gathered all of the thief’s contact information (including credit card numbers).

      Would you expect Future Shop to keep tabs on all of your purchases you made in their store? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

    • JL on August 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      I bought my Iphone $850 with receipt & everything… still can’t get it unlocked. Dealing with thieves. When i bought that phone “outright” they call it… that’s a misnomer. I actually didn’t buy it, they just letting me use it on their service. Even tho their service is terrible. i guess I am naive… I thought when you buy something, it’s yours. It’s a free market & world, I should be able to take my phone & business elsewhere. Losers

    • Danny on September 29, 2011 at 10:19 am

      Rogers are basically assholes. They are thieves and liars. They had me on the phone for 2 hours making contract changes. Nothing changed. They have NO RECORD of my original purchase deposit of my phone on their system, yet they plucked a figure of $400 out of the air that I owed them for the completion of my phone usage contract. I am going to go to Apple tomorrow and purchase a new phone outright. Unlocked. I will never recommend rogers to anyone, and I understand that this is a security issue, but if I am calling up as the original contract holder of the phone, and can verify my identification, and want to give them one final payment (oddly only $100 less than a new phone outright) and they refuse to play the game then that is their loss, their problem, and nothing to do with Jordan being “unable to understand a simple concept.”

      In summary, Rogers are shifty, lying, cheating thieves.

  13. lee on August 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    got a iphone 3 g from my son who got it from a friend, called rogers to have it unlocked was told the previous owner had paid his contract out but that i could still not unlock till oct 2011, seems to me once you pay your contract out , your contract is done , correct? got the run around like others hear with the account scenario , i was told that after oct all i do is put a pay as you go sim in put 56.50 on it have it in good standing for a month and they would unlock the phone, now what a load of cow poo, , paid out contract with contract date still in effect, not right what so ever, rogers you suck. got your money and still make it hard for the consumer, i live in the states thank god , and wont ever be going to rogers for sure.

  14. JL on August 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I have an Iphone 4 that I bought outright from Rogers. I switched to MTS because i have had a terrible experience with Rogers. I am an Orthopaedic surgeon & wasted a full day dealing with multiple Rogers people, each with a different response regarding unlocking my Iphone.I paid a lot of money for that phone, & would have appreciated an honest response, rather than people wasting my time. I am very disappointed in Rogers, & will never be associated with them ever again. What they are doing is dishonest. That is the bottom line. I will be sure to never recommend them to anyone I know. Some of the stories above are so similar to my negative experience, it makes me sick. It confirms my worst concern, that Rogers is doing this on purpose, to make things difficult. Basically 5 different Rogers people lied to me in 1 day. I guess I will lose my $850 phone, but it makes me happy that I will never have to deal with Rogers ever again:) & toronto will never get an NFL team so give it up you losers

  15. Fred on August 31, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Seems easy enoughj, Get original owner of phone to call Rogers and havde them unlock it (already jailbroken).

  16. NS on September 1, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Same boat bought an iPhone 3GS from a former Rogers customer you bought out his contract and Rogers would not unlock it for him since he dropped his contract or me since I have no Rogers contract and would never consider one.

    This really is bait and switch and the CRTC or BBB should step in. I recently read on the Telus website that they will not unlock any iPhones period.

    RogersElise is no longer responding to this thread so I assume she quit or got promoted to a higher position for poor customer service, as seems to be the case with Rogers.

  17. Nathan on September 18, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    According to a Rogers employee:

    “As previously stated in order to fulfill the commitment you had signed up for you must complete the term. Buying out the contract actually means that you are canceling [sic] the contract therefore breaching the contract and will be billed early cancellation fees.

    For any further questions or concerns that you may have we encourage youto [sic] make use of our online customer service at any time.

    Thank you for contacting Rogers Communications.

    For future email correspondence with respect to this e-mail, please quote reference number xxxxxxxx

    Regards,

    Michelle J
    Rogers Online Customer Service
    http://www.rogers.com

  18. Danny on September 29, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I just tried to pay out my existing contract with rogers and unlock my iPhone seeing as I have just returned to Australia, and having a Canadian phone is completely useless out of Canada.

    Same deal as described, only I am the account holder and they still won’t allow it.

    Those assholes at Rogers can chase me around the world for the money that I owe them for all I care, after the attitude that the FIVE customer service representatives gave me when I asked originally to pay out the existing phone contract and maintain the account.

    Basically, Rogers have made it abundantly clear that they are probably the worst Tel-Co in North America, which would put them high in the running for worst in the world.

  19. Tara on October 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I just went through this s well… I am still under contract for another year, but since I’ll still be paying Rogers I can’t understand why they have this policy. I also was a huge advocate for Rogers, I don’t think they realize how many people I turned onto them and away from Telus. I am incredibly disappointed and they WILL be losing me as a customer. I will tell everyone I know about this. I know that Telus allows this for a $60 charge, regardless of where your contract stands. Absolutely ridiculous, Rogers :(

  20. American idiot on October 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    @JL the fact that your are an orthopedic surgeon has little meaning to the issue at hand. How this develops into the fact the “Toronto will never get an NFL team” and calling Torontonians “losers” becasue of that speaks volumes about you as a person and your character.

    That said Toronto is a great place to live we just have to get around the horrible telephony monoploies. But we do have free health care and and a great economy. I little better than I can say for you my American friend. Regardless of the city you live in. So you keep your “NFL” team I will keep my job, house, and large bank acount. Oh and I probably won’t have to worry about getting mugged walking to church on Sunday.

    I guess I will have to worry about how Roger’s unlocks my iphone though. Guess I am a loser.

  21. matt on October 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Here’s how I succeeded to have my iPhone 4 unlocked by Rogers. First off, this phone was given to me by my girlfriend which she bought on her contract. After my contract ended I cancelled it and called rogers to unlock, but I was told the phone was not mine and could not be unlocked by me (by the way I called a zillion times and always got different answers by rogers reps) until one very helpful guy from the infamous so-called unlock department told me to get a pay-go plan for at least 30 days and call back to get the phone unlocked. However, after 30 days I did have to call 2 times to finally get someone that agreed to unlock the phone. I think the thing is that they can only check if the phone is yours with the IMEI number which takes at least 30 days to get registered to you from start date of your plan. All in all it was a very frustrating and time consuming process, I would suggest to anyone who has the financial means to buy it unlocked from apple store right off the bat.

    In short, get a micro sim for 10$, get a pay-go plan with rogers, put at least 60$ in the account, wait a month and call to make the unlock, remove you sim card, restore your iPhone to factory settings, unplug from iTunes, put the new sim card in and plug it in back to iTunes and it should be unlocked.

    That was my story and may not be the same for you,
    good luck !

  22. Bhupendra on October 17, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Did anyone has had any success with Telus?
    I am in the same boat. Want to give away my old iPhone 3GS but they will not unlock it. In this case, phone is in my account and I am the one calling them.

    • Jordan on October 17, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Bhupendra,

      As long as your contract is also completed on the 3GS, they should do the unlock – did they provide a reason?

  23. Bhupendra on October 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    They said, they are not allowed to unlock it. Even though their press release (back in Feb) said they can unlock all GSM/HSPA devices.

  24. Frank on November 14, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Hey Jordan
    Great blog learned so much about the gotchas with Unlocking Carrier phones.

    • Jordan on November 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Frank,

      Good to hear! Quite a few frustrating snags in play still. I’m hoping they’ll loosen some of the more ridiculous requirements in the future.

  25. Pambos Zeniou on November 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    The same here to me. I bought the iphone from ebay but it was locked with Rogers. The guy that sold me the phone still have the account with rogers but the contract that has with iphone 4 its over. The guy is using iphone 4s unlocked from apple and rogers sim card. when i call the rogers support i told them that I am from Cyprus and i bought the phone from ebay and I will like to have the phone unlocked. She told me that i need an account with them. I said to her what account i am leaving in Cyprus, which basically she doesnt know where the hell is Cyprus. Anyway the guy that sell the phone to me he said that he had contact the rogers and they told him since the phone is under the contract he has for 2 years more he has to wait to pass the 2 years and then to unlock it. But the guy for god’s sake is still under contract and he is using another iphone.
    I am very piss off because those carriers at the end of the day the win more than the phone actually cost and its very ridiculous

    • Jordan on November 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Pambos,

      If the person that you bought the iPhone 4 from performed a hardware upgrade through Rogers to the iPhone 4S, then the Rogers rep he spoke with was wrong. @RogersElise clarified this exact situation above – as long as it’s a hardware upgrade, the contract transfers to the new 4S and is considered redeemed on the original device. Unfortunately half of the Rogers reps are incompetent when it comes to their own policies and they constantly intepret them incorrectly.

      Just a few weeks ago I did the same thing as you – I bought an iPhone 4 from my friend, Gabe, who had done a hardware upgrade to an iPhone 4S. When Gabe called the first time, the rep spouted the same bullshit about the phone being under contract even though it’s the *new* phone (4S) that was under contract, not the old (4) that I had purchased from him. For reasons I can only attribute to laziness, the rep refused to check the IMEI (as I’ve suggested they should be doing in my article) to confirm which phone we were attempting to unlock.

      We called back and the second rep was on the ball. He asked for the IMEI number of the phone (almost as if to make the first rep look like a complete idiot) to confirm that the phone we’re attempting to unlock is not in fact under contract.

      There were some extraneous circumstances that required I wait 31 days to complete the unlock, however this was due to an unrelated situation with the handset. Had that not occurred, the rep who actually knew how the policies work would have completed the unlock for us.

      I suggest having the person you bought the phone from try again until he gets a rep who is not too lazy to do the work properly.

  26. Fred on November 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    seems the guy I bought the phone from never paid his contract cancellation fee. next week we go unlocking.

  27. John on November 30, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I am dealing with rogers for more than 7 years now , very loyal customers and just to let you know I used to work with rogers before and I can tell they are really one of the worst service providers for the amount of problems and over charge for their services , few weeks ago I just bought my iphone 4G S factory unlocked and waiting my contract to expired in year of so for my old iphone 4 and I will never deal with any contract , I even don’t use my phone and thinking to get pay as you go service and that’s it , but to be honest , Rogers like Telus like Bell etc.. all of them squeeze your pocket and this is all about , most of people they they think they can not live without their phone and I can tell try to control your calls and if everyone do that we can give these bastards a lesson

    • Jordan on December 14, 2011 at 10:45 am

      It’s true — just about all cellular providers are the same here in Canada. Same pricing, same (normally crappy) customer support, same concept of (non-existent) loyalty.

      It’s really too bad. I find it sad that a customer of 5+ years should be required to threaten to cancel in order to be offered a good deal. I also find it frustrating that their telephone associates all seem to have received different training every time you call. We’re talking about a multi-million dollar company here – they have the resources to invest in quality customer relationships, they simply opt not to do it.

  28. MD on December 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    My concern is about being able to unlock my iPhone for when I go overseas – I would like to buy a local SIM. I know Rogers would prefer I use their roaming plans, but seriously??? Look up the price per Kbyte (That’s “K”, not M as in Mega!!) and tell me with a straight face I’m going to pay 100 times the going rate.

    I already watch what I use in Canada because the rates for Canadian data plans are so unrealistic. However, why shouldn’t they be? Canada telecom is a closed game, and it’s in nobody’s interest to offer lower prices – that just makes everyone drop their prices, and they all lose. Same with customer service. Rogers, Telus, Bell, MTS – they’re all the same, and the others simply piggy-back on their towers so don’t expect any meaningful discounting from them.

    I had the absolute basic $10 cellplan from MTS once, and it still cost at least $35/month. I looked into pay-as-you-go, but any “pay” would “go” in a month or two. Pay $15, it evaporates after a month. Pay $30, it evaporates after 2 months. That’s not PAYG, that’s a “minimum $15/month cell plan”

    Maybe someday we’ll have the rules like europe, where they were planning no locked phones allowed.

    • Jordan on December 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

      Indeed. One can hope for such a day, but with the CRTC looking out for corporations and not the population, the types of things they should be investigating are being ignored and our hopes are dashed. The CRTC should be monitoring:

      1. Abolishing locked phones and adopting similar unlocking rules that the EU has.
      2. Preventing all this ridiculous price fixing for hardware. As I’ve mentioned before, in the US, pricing is the same but for 2 year contracts, not 3.
      3. ?? I’m sure there’s more I”m forgetting about here… anyone care to fill in the blank?

      • Arcwelds on December 21, 2011 at 12:16 am

        Hi Jordan and everybody else!
        Nice thread and informative. Found this site while looking for jolly? Rogers unlocking dptmnt after getting off the phone with Rogers billing dpmt. I am no longer with them due to a lack of signal in one relatively new university in Oshawa, UOIT that is.
        I started working there in summer.
        So this is about porting # and I quote you here Jordan ” Unfortunately half of the Rogers reps are incompetent when it comes to their own policies and they constantly intepret them incorrectly”.
        That is so true, it is not even funny. And i am not talking about just regular CSR, but their Customer Relations Dpmt, wireless as well as TV ( happened to my family about 5 years ago with Rogers Wind back or Win back Program?).
        One would think going to the higher levels of authority would mean a correct interpretation. Not at all.
        I would like to be fair, but this word seems to exist in dictionary only for Rogers and the likes. Even if they (Customer Relations Dpmt) have recorded conversations with couple CRD reps telling customer one thing, it is not necessarily that same thing gets landed on paper for reports to the higher up. And even they (CRD managers) find customer was told different story by two CRD reps. CRD manager comes back by saying: ” Well, yes you were told different info, but the company policy is such and I can not do anything about it. So you would have to pay one more month and a bit for services i do not use”.
        Based on info I was provided, I ported numbers to Koodo.
        I could’t work without communication. Now, before I cancelled I have been told by CRDs, that if I bring my old Rogers # back within like a few months to a year(they told me a few people do), then I could be still considered as old business customer. Well it is not so. I’ve been with them for over three years.
        In short TV dpmt six out of seven CRDs did not have the right info or they just wanted to get my Bell receiver and sign me up. Would one say they really did not care one way or another.
        As for wireless CRDs two out of three. that is an improvement over 5-6 years. We are heading to a bright future even if it takes us another 10-12 years.
        Since when it is a top secret to let customer know if any towers/repeaters/microcells? could, would or not be installed on site. I waited for three months and quit. I am free now, somewhat. I’m hooked on tab, but hey I don’t have to suffer ECF, just remaining tab.
        Now I have signal at work,but at home it gets emotional very rare though, I mean signal. So I had to unlock my old N95-4 myself, Rogers charging 50$ N95-4 has by far superior reception over anything, bad battery life, but still beats my work connected Telus BB. I have a lot say about all big threes, but Rogers in my case seems to hold the crown in the field of their own policies interpretation.



  29. Delia on January 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Rogers is a joke. I have been a customer for 20 years and they could care less about keeping me as a customer. The saddest part of all of this is that they are better than the other Canadian telcos, so yes you can move from them to Telus or Bell but they are just as bad if not worse. Then of course there are the new entrants who have no network so going with them is not an option. This is why the CRTC is a useless organization that has long since outlived their usefulness.

  30. Brit on March 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Ok.. so I got a good one! About how crappy telus AND rogers is!

    I bought out my contract with Telus to get a 4s, long story short it got stolen from a party bus i was on (with friends?!?) so i had to go back to my blackberry!

    Then, I buy this 32g, 4s from Craigs list. Just so you know guys, if you didn’t know the serial number and IMEI are on the sim tray. didnt know that, and bought this phone, and it turned out to be not only not be a 4s, but not a 32g, but NOT TELUS.

    So i got scammed. I go to Rogers, and nothing. So really what I’m hearing, is you will protect the scam artists, and someone thaat is trying to do the right thing by having rogers unlock it, not some jailbreak guy. Your effed!

    I don’t understand why they wont even call the guy who supposably owns the phone. Like of course I’d love to have his info (the number Id call this guy that scamed me on, it’s no longer valid, and his add has been deleted). Why don’t they call and ask? I don’t need to know the number your calling, or even the name of the mother fucker who picked up?

    At the end of the day, this isn’t really a solution either i guess. People are apperently assholes and will fuck someone over any chance they get, ie. getting a phoen call to unlock for tthe guy they just sold the phone to and saying no to the unlock….

  31. iphoneforsalecheap on March 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Winning customer approval should be key to any corporate success. Rogers doesn’t care anymore about there customers or future customers than that of Shell Oil. So what is the solution?
    1) You can always spit on their windows as you walk past their corporate stores
    2) Type up another luugy and post it here in this forum.
    3) Bend over and say “Please sir may I have another”

  32. Ravani on July 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Rogers’ policies are so convoluted and confusing, that even their own employees cannot be trained to understand them. This is obviously meant to milk customers a few dollars more here and there. This unlock policy is a good example, but there are dozen others. Conclusion: I am adding Rogers to the trash can of companies I will not deal with again once my present contract is over. A little over six months. Yuppie!!

  33. Rick on October 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Rogers is outsourced to IBM. And many of their reps are NOT Rogers employees any longer. THe issues are systamatic with all companies outsourced. Poor customer service and declining customer base. The CRTC will never get involved as their pockets are being greased by the lobbyists.

  34. Anand on November 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I think paying $50 to unlock a phone which is no more under any contract is ridiculous, cheating, reaping off customers, bad customer service, … from Rogers !!! Once an iphone has paid off its term (3 yrs contract or early cancellation fee ) , it should have been automatically unlocked !
    I firmly believed that this has to be brought ahead in front of the Consumers protection council !
    Its not even mentioned anywhere in my contract that i need to pay $50 to unlock !
    Many customers here in Canada after using an old model always wants to make a gift to someone in their mother country but most of the times its too late when they realised that it can’t be unlocked in their mother country !

  35. Kevin on January 16, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Thats y Rogers r billionaires! Milking customers everywhere possible!

  36. mudonja on January 17, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Well I think this whole locking and keep customer thing is a such a huge useless waste of time, because of cellphone companies wanted to keep the customers, they don’t need to lock our devices. just have the cheapeast plans than anyone else and all customer will go to you.
    but of course,
    we live in a world we you get ripped of in every possible way.

    it’s a shame, human mentality, we are the most stupid beings on this planet despiste havign the knowledge we are so stupid.

  37. Sven on January 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Jordan, I know your pain. I had the same problem with a locked 3GS, and ran into all kinds of hilarity.

    I find with Rogers, the best thing to do when you’re not getting satisfaction through a particular rep on the phone, is to simply hang up on them and dial back again. If you have a sensible request, and you do this enough times, and you’re bound to get someone with enough intellect to help you.

    As Elise’s response indicates, the Rogers reps can be misinformed. I used to actually work in one of their call centres, and can attest to the fact any monkey with a pulse can get a job there (so long as they are willing to have their intellect lobotomized through the call training, call scripting and business rules that defy common sense.)

    Don’t believe it when you hear, “This call may be monitored to ensure quality service” mantra while you’re on hold. It’s simply not true. The phone rep’s are free and clear to talk to you in a very un-customer friendly tone, act condescending and even belligerent, and be most impolite and unhelpful. There are no consequences for them. In fact, if you speak up against such mistreatment, they will do one of two things: 1) Add no comments on the account, so they’re harder to trace when you complain. The next rep will have no idea about the prior conversations. Or 2) Add notes that make you sound unreasonable, and coach the next rep on how you should be treated.

    If you ever decide to escalate your issue, and you hear another voice saying, “I’m a supervisor here”, it’s a bald faced lie. A supervisor is not the same as a manager. It’s “Rogers-speak” for “another phone rep sitting next to me”. Always insist upon a real manager.

    These types of games, combined with the outrageous, money-grubbing, contract-extortion behavior of Rogers is exactly why I left the company permanently.

  38. Rosa on April 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I am having the same issue with Rogers now. My 3Gs is free and clear of a contract and I resigned on with Rogers with a new phone in Dec. Not only did they hit me with a hardware upgrade fee (which I was told should not have happened) but my old 3Gs which is free of contract that I consider that I’ve paid for many times over, I need to pay $50 to have unlocked. They quoted “integrity of the network speech to me” I could tell the girl was reading it to me, and called it BS to her face. The phone IS mine, I paid for it, I should not have to PAY to use/sell/give it away.

  39. cheeta on October 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I obtained an iPhone 4 that is locked to Rogers Wireless from a friend in Canada. … I had recently heard about Rogers unlocking iPhones for a fee… need to know how my iPhone 4 become factory unlocked??? cheeta at gmail

  40. Carolyn on January 13, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I would like to know the number I can call to unlock the phone because I can’t find one anywhere. I called one of the representatives for Rogers Wireless and she told me to call 1800 Rogers-1 and I tried that and it was a dating hotline.

    Thank you.

  41. Symphony master on February 15, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Rogers has refused to even speak with me concerning my request to unlock an Iphone that I purchased on Ebay in Canada unless I have a Rogers account. However even when I explained to the Rogers agent that I live in the USA she responded with perfect indifference, and ended the call. Subsequent attempts to speak/chat or e-mail Rogers have been simply ignored. The moment I mention the word unlock the conversation is ended. I have since complained to the CRTC that network carriers should not be allowed to refuse unlock requests from phone owners when the phone is not reported lost stolen or is still under contract (meaning not paid out). In the US I do not have these issues. But when it comes to dirty tricks, Rogers is in a class all of its own.

  42. himanshu batta on February 18, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    hi,
    Good day i am a customer with Rogers since 2000 off and on but since 2007 i am only with rogers. I had my older device which is an Iphone 3GS term is completed and i wanted to get it unlocked so my daughter can you as phone insted of Ipod.
    I had to pay $50 to get it unlocked which seems to be unfair.
    thanks
    Best Regards,
    Himanshu

  43. jeannette on March 31, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Bottom line is, do not get free phones from your wireless provider. Buy your phone outright then choose your provider. You phone will never be locked. These companies are holding us ransom, time to scream and shout at your MP. I am in the same situation, trying to get a phone unlocked that I paid for for 3 years, but now they say the phone cannot be unlocked because it is not active???????????? YOu just have to keep pushing. Perhaps we should all get together and start a class action lawsuit.

  44. Francois on August 22, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Hi Jordan, the only way you can get this phone unlock from Rogers, is to activate it on a prepaid plan.
    After few months (between 3 to 6) you should be able to unlock it for $50.
    This is the way AT&T does it except that the unlock is free.

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