With images of unlocked iPhones dancing in my head, today I gave AT&T a call. I confirmed that I now had my iPhone account active & in good standing for 90 days (the normal threshold for permitted unlocking) and requested a subsidy unlock for overseas travel. They transfered me to the technical support department, where I chatted with support rep Michael G.
Michael told me that there were no unlock codes available for the iPhone due to the exclusive agreement between Apple and AT&T. This includes countries like the UK and Germany, where the iPhone would soon be on sale. "We simply do not have unlock codes for them," he confirmed. I would have to use International roaming.
He recommended using a cheap disposable phone instead. With my account over 90 days old and in good standing, I was entitled to unlock a phone -- even if not the iPhone. He provided an unlock code for my little Motorola disposable.
So where does that leave us? Michael suggested that customers send their complaints directly to the FCC (1-888-CALL-FCC). He thinks that after 1 year, the FCC will force AT&T and Apple to provide unlocks for their customers.