Websites claiming to offer a “permanent solution” to your iPhone unlocking needs are springing up. These solutions do not depend on any jailbreak, but instead accomplish this by accessing Apple’s database of IMEIs (International Mobile Equipment Identifier), and adding your iPhone to the list of unlocked devices.
This unlocking service is advertised to be permanent, though Apple could, theoretically, create a way to track which of the IMEIs were officially classified as unlocked, and which were added there by this third-party, after market solution. This method works for iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4 devices, and will run you at least $169.99 (the price will vary, depending on the site you visit; at this writing, there are four of them).
None of these websites appear to be actually accessing Apple’s database, but they are instead relying on another party for the actual nuts and bolts of the process. This other party has not revealed itself to the public as of this writing.
Planning on using these services? Be careful: providing a relatively large sum of money to these small websites which may or may not end up working out for you is a risky business. There is a chance that you will get scammed.