Friday, August 23, 2013

Acting FCC Chair Calls for Industry Policy on Device Unlocking

Mignon Clyburn, acting Chairwoman of the FCC, is urging mobile operators to adopt consumer-friendly cell phone unlocking policies. In a statement, she writes that months of meetings with carriers and trade association has yet to result in an industry-standard policy for unlocked devices. Her statement says a voluntary approach is still possible but implies new regulations might also be pursued.

Mignon Clyburn, acting Chairwoman of the FCC:

"I support policies that enable consumers to lawfully unlock their mobile telephones, so they can seamlessly move from one carrier to another. While wireless carriers should be able to enforce their valid customer contracts, the unlocking provisions need to be grounded in common sense and practical application. Consumers, who satisfy the reasonable terms of their contracts, should not be subject to civil and criminal penalties if they want to take their device to a new carrier."

"Months ago, the Commission began meeting with carriers and representative trade associations to reach an industry standard policy for unlocking cell phones. As the 114,000 people that signed on to the White House petition earlier this year demonstrate, this issue is too important to consumers for us to not find a solution and I firmly believe a voluntary approach that promotes 
competition and consumer choice is still possible."

"Some providers have already adopted consumer-friendly cellphone unlocking policies, and I applaud them. The FCC, industry, and other stakeholders should continue to work towards an industry-wide cellphone unlocking solution that best serves the public interest. Therefore, I've directed the FCC staff to redouble our efforts with partners across the administration and industry to explore all of our available options for a quick resolution."


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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