Sunday, November 17, 2013

FCC Chairman Calls on Industry to Act on Mobile Phone Unlocking

Mobile network operator must act now on setting voluntary policies to allow consumers to unlock their mobile wireless devices once their contracts are fulfilled, according to a open letter from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to CTIA president Steve Largent.

Wheeler notes that the FCC has been working with CTIA for eight months with results on an amendment to the CTIA Consumer Code in which the industry would address consumers' rights to unlock their mobile wireless devices once their contracts are fulfilled.

The Commission indicated that any such policy must contain five parts: (a) provide a clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on unlocking; (b) unlock mobile wireless devices for customers, former customers, and legitimate owners when the applicable service contract, installment plan, or ETF has been fulfilled; (c) affirmatively notify customers when their devices are eligible for unlocking and/or automatically unlock devices when eligible, without an additional fee; (d) process unlocking requests or provide an explanation of denial within two business days; and (e) unlock devices for military personnel upon deployment.

Wheeler said the industry should resolve this matter expeditiously or the FCC will take regulatory action.


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