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.