A group from Brazil has managed to unlock Apple's iPhone 3G handset just days after its release. The unlocked iPhone is also displayed and demonstrated in an online video on a Portuguese-language news blog. An unlocked iPhone can be used with any Sim card and almost any GSM carrier.
IPhone user Bruno MacMasi said in an interview with Gizmodo that the unlocking process involved modifying the Sim hardware so that the International Mobile Subscriber Identity can be overwritten and removed from the original network. The procedure allows iPhone 3G users to makes calls with any compatible GSM carrier, not just ones with which Apple has an exclusive agreement. But users of an unlocked phone wouldn't be guaranteed to have 3G-network access, and Apple could potentially wipe out the hack with a software update.
Paulo and Breno of DesbloqueioBr explain that they have been able to achieve this by programming the SIM adapter in such a way that it tricks the iPhone into believing that a test SIM card has been inserted. Since iPhone 3G thinks that it is a test SIM card, it allows service and hands the functionality back to the SIM thus unlocking it.
Folks at Engadget have been able to test this hardware unlocking method with their FIDO locked iPhone 3G with a local TIM SIM card and then in their AT&T iPhone 3G, and have confirmed that it worked perfectly in both.
Time to rev up your engines and push that firmware update out soon Apple!