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att requiring imei number on factory unlocked 4s! international user; need help :(


New Member
Oct 14, 2013
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I have a few concerns. I bought a brand new factory unlocked iphone 4s (GSM) here in the U.S. and wanted a basic/cheap prepaid plan to use while I'm in the States and then be able to switch SIM cards whenever I'm in Europe. I went to at&t and got a SIM card but when I try to activate it, it's asking me to provide IMEI number of my phone. I'm a little bit concerned, because I can't find out (nobody at the att seems of any help) what does att need it for. Nowhere in the world does a telephone company require you to provide IMEI number for a prepaid plan SIM card. What does att do with it? What can they do with it? Are they going to somehow disable my phone when I no longer want their services? I don't want to somehow "lock" my phone to their company - whatever that means. If for any reason someone steals my phone, I can just lock it out with my ipad, so why do they need it for? It almost seems more reasonable for me to use a roaming european plan - not only they come out to about the same price, but also don't ask you to provide any information. Any help would be greatly appreciated! :(
Carriers cannot remotely control your device unless the device is jailbroken and/or a really potent spyware/virus is developed for your device specifically, which requires physical access to do. The 4S is a world phone and is not classified by GSM or CDMA, only the carrier is specified as GSM or CDMA.

Bring the device to a local AT&T retail and have them set it up for you. Provided that it's a brand new device, nothing is wrong with it, and providing it with an IMEI number would do no harm as it may be a method of authenticating your prepaid services with AT&T. IMEIs cannot allow for remote access as IMEIs are used on the carrier end for device recognition. If a device is factory unlocked, it already exists on the national and global whitelist of devices, and as far as I know, they do not take devices off the list regardless of reason.