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iPhone Modified for Any Mobile Service


The very popular iPhone must be used with the not so popular cellular network AT&T. People using other networks must break their contracts to switch to AT&T. That can cost up to $250. But a teenager has modified the computer code in an iPhone, freeing it from its corporate master and letting it work with other carriers. VOA's Todd Grosshans has more.

Apple advertisements read: "There's never been an iPod that can do this.

No there certainly has not. The iPhone, the most hyped mobile phone ever, has been hacked by this guy: 17-year-old-George Hotz, making the phone potentially usable on networks all over the world. "It's very technical, and it requires opening up your phone, soldering a wire, the two points, and then running some software that I wrote, putting your iPhone back together. Inserting any sim card that you want, and then just using it."

It can cost over $200 to get out of a contract with a cell phone company and switch to another. So people pining for an iPhone but stuck with, say, a T-Mobile contract, are out of luck unless they pay the penalty fee. In this case, Hotz placed a T-Mobile SIM card, a small chip that identifies a phone to a network, in an iPhone. Voila...This was a high tech feat using some low-tech tools.

The trick to opening the iPhone case -- there's an official Apple case opener tool -- guitar picks. "Some guy told me," explained Hotz, "that when we first started, when I first got the iPhone, 'Hey dude, to open it up, just slide a guitar pick right in there.' Sure enough, pops right open."

A mobile phone repair company in Kentucky gave Hotz a car, a Nissan 350z, for his hacked phone. CertiCell says they bought the phone as a piece of cell phone history and has no plans to commercially market the phone or its reworked software.