1. HeyCori's Avatar
    US carriers agree to unlock customers phones after pressure from FCC | Ars Technica

    AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular have "voluntarily" committed to unlocking customers' cell phones once their contracts have been paid off. The wireless carriers will notify customers when their devices are eligible to be unlocked, "or automatically unlock devices remotely, for free," the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said today.

    While the agreement was described as voluntary, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had told the carriers he would pursue regulation if they didn't comply with his terms. A recent ruling by the Librarian of Congress meant that a consumer unlocking his or her own phone would be violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anti-circumvention provisions. Today's agreement should sidestep that by putting the onus to unlock on the carrier, although it doesn't help consumers who are still under contract.

    Unlocking allows a phone to be used on any compatible network, regardless of carrier. While carriers are often willing to unlock phones and sometimes ship them unlocked even at the beginning of a contract, policies have varied by carrier. Today's news will make the unlocking process similar across all major US carriers.
    12-12-2013 05:11 PM
  2. spectre51's Avatar
    About time. Though they need to allow the ability to unlock bootloaders as well for android devices.
    12-12-2013 05:12 PM
  3. hopmedic's Avatar
    Text from an email I got this morning, I'm thinking from the change.org petition I'd signed:

    Answering the Call on Cell Phone Unlocking

    By Gene
    Sperling, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the
    National Economic Council

    Last March,
    after hearing
    from over 114,000 of you on our
    We the People platform, the Obama Administration called to restore the basic
    consumer freedom of cell phone unlocking -- to allow you to use your mobile
    devices on any compatible network you choose -- and provided a roadmap for the
    Federal Communications Commission, industry, and Congress to solve this for the
    American people. Today, with the
    support of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (.pdf),
    the nation's largest wireless carriers announced they will abide by a new
    series of voluntary "unlocking principles" to help bring some relief
    to consumers in the next few months.

    announcement is an important step forward for consumers. First and foremost,
    the voluntary agreement will help to ensure carriers unlock phones in a manner
    that is reliable, transparent, and timely. We also understand this commitment
    by the wireless carriers will allow our deployed military personnel to have
    their phones unlocked before heading abroad, an admirable service for our

    This issue
    is about the simple freedom to take your business where you please, and to find
    the wireless plan that suits your needs -- provided you have paid for your
    mobile device.

    The FCC and
    carriers are doing their part. Now it is time for Congress to step up and
    finish the job by passing the
    Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act,
    which was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee this summer, and its
    companion in the Senate. We
    know this is an important issue to many of you. The Administration will
    continue to watch it closely in the coming months.

    HeyCori and Hotvak123 like this.
    12-13-2013 07:24 AM
  4. palandri's Avatar
    I don't think it solves the problem of getting a phone unlocked that is bought a phone outright.

    Looking at the Verizon 2520 tablet, unlocking it would do no good since it only has Verizon's LTE frequencies. I suspect the manufacturers will start building phones without other frequencies to prevent their phones from being used on other U.S. carriers.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    12-13-2013 07:58 AM
  5. spectre51's Avatar
    Going between US carriers yeah it isn't that important but being able to take your device out of the country is where the unlocking really helps.

    Sent from my Sony Xperia™ Z Ultra
    12-13-2013 10:27 PM
  6. palandri's Avatar
    Unlocking has taken a dark dark turn in the US.

    You should be wary any time the telcos and the FCC "strike a deal"

    This new unlocking policy is extremely anti-consumer.

    You now cannot purchase a phone outright and get it unlocked without having service with the carrier first.

    Don't believe me, try getting a phone unlocked now on ATT if you are on an MVNO.

    There are NO provisions for unlocking full price purchased phones if you use an MVNO.

    Also go to howardforums and read how 3rd party unlock companies are being put out of business now because ATT will not unlock phones if you don't have an account with them. They have also insidiously limited people from unlocking phones to 5 a year if you DO have an account.
    You're probably spot on here. I think they'll just stop adding extra frequencies, so if you unlock it, it won't do you any good.
    01-14-2014 12:18 PM

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