Thursday, December 12, 2013

U.S. Mobile Operators Agree to Device Unlocking

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless agreed to adopt a voluntary set of six principles for unlocking of consumers’ mobile phones and tablets.

Key principles:

1. Disclosure of unlocking policies to consumers. Carriers agree to make their policies on postpaid and prepaid unlocking of mobile devices easy to understand and accessible.

2. Postpaid Unlocking.  Upon request, carriers will unlock mobile wireless mobile devices or provide information to consumers to unlock their devices.

3. Prepaid unlocking policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.

4. Notice. Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely without additional fee. Carriers reserve the right to charge non-customers or former-customers a reasonable fee for unlocking requests.

5. Response time. Carrier will unlock eligible mobile devices within two business days of receiving a request.

6. Deployed personnel unlocking policy.  Carriers will unlock wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing..

Carriers reserve the right to decline an unlocking request if they believe the request is fraudulent or stolen.


A White House petition to make unlocking cell phones legal again has passed 1 lakh signature . Passing the milestone means the U.S. government has to issue an official response. On January 26th, unlocking a cell phone that is under contract became illegal in the U.S Just before that went into effect , a petition was started at to have the Librarian of Congress revisit that decision. 'It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full. The Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked,this can be done using any third party vendors like .The policy is a big issue for anyone who wants to use their phone abroad, without needing to go through their U.S.' carrier's expensive roaming and international plans. Additionally, anyone who wants to move to a new GSM carrier in the U.S. (such as T-Mobile to AT&T), will have issues.

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