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It's either that, or the FCC will be forced to regulate

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official wrote a letter in an effort to make cell phone unlocking an easier task. 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler sent a letter to Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA Wireless Association, which is a trade group that represents cellular carriers. The letter told wireless carriers to unlock consumer's cell phones once they've fulfilled contract obligations, or the FCC will be forced to regulate. 

Unlocking a cell phone means that it can be used with any carrier, but it became illegal for consumers to do it themselves earlier this year after a ruling by the Librarian of Congress.


This means that consumers have to depend on carriers to unlock their phones, and this isn't always easy. Sometimes carriers refuse to do so, and this is particularly inconvenient for consumers traveling abroad who don't want huge roaming charges. 

But Wheeler made it clear in his letter that the CTIA and associated wireless carriers are to start unlocking cell phones after a consumer's contract has expired. 

Check out the full letter:

Dear Steve,
 
During my first week on the job, I continually emphasized the importance of competition and the FCC's receptiveness to voluntary industry activities to promote competition. For eight months, the FCC staff has been working with CTIA on an amendment to your Consumer Code in which this industry would address consumers' rights to unlock their mobile wireless devices once their contracts are fulfilled.
 
The Commission has 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. It appears that CTIA and the FCC are in agreement on all but the third item regarding consumer notification. Absent the consumer's right to be informed about unlocking eligibility, any voluntary program would be a hollow shell. 

We are anxious to work with you and your members to resolve this matter expeditiously. Enough time has passed, and it is now time for the industry to act voluntarily or for the FCC to regulate. Let's set a goal of including the full unlocking rights policy in the CTIA Consumer Code before the December holiday season. 

We look forward to working with you on this policy as well as continuing to work together after its adoption to monitor its implementation.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tom Wheeler
Chairman 
 
Or if you want to see the actual letter for yourself, check it out here

Source: Federal Communications Commission





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