Unlocked iPhone works with 3

While 3 Mobile begs for the iPhone 3G, tech-savvy Aussies are unlocking their iPhones and taking them to the iPhone-less telco.

A screenshot of the iPhone working on 3's network(Credit: tryandbyte)

With an audible rumbling of discontent over the official iPhone pricing plans, tech-savvy iPhone owners are having their handsets unlocked and switching to 3 Mobile hoping to get a better deal on calls and data usage.

On the day of the iPhone's Australian launch there had been some concern from customers about whether the process of unlocking the iPhone and switching carriers was technically possible, or if the process was blocked by the iTunes activation system. Even 3 Mobile was unsure of whether the iPhone would allow the switch and so was unable to re-assure "iPhoners" hoping to jump ship to its service.

Luckily, forum members at have apparently completed the leg work and have posted the process, as well as screenshots showing the iPhone with 3 Mobile reception and accessing 3's network Web portal.

Switching services involves flashing the iPhone and re-installing a specific restore file. Obviously this process is only for those confident in completing the restore. Forum member glipschitz describes the process as follows:

1. Plug in iPhone and Restore
NOTE: If you are on a Mac and have previously restored your iPhone, delete the update file from User Name/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates
2. Download the update as part of the restore — this should be a file called "iPhone1,2_2.0_5A347_Restore.ipsw";
3. Let the iPhone do its thing and flash the unit;
4. Do initial sync with iTunes then Power Cycle Unit;
5. Plug back in and Sync;
6. Power down, change SIM and power up and hey presto you should be right to rock and roll.

This procedure needs to follow on once you've had your original network carrier unlock the iPhone. Those who have completed the process have paid AU$80 to get their iPhone unlocked with Optus, which includes a wait of up to 10 days for the unlocking to occur.