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The FCC and U.S. wireless carriers are still working on a few details

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is working with U.S. carriers to complete new rules for unlocking cell phones, and it looks like an agreement is on the horizon.

According to Reuters, the new agreement is expected make sure that carriers notify customers about their cell phone unlocking eligibility (via text or otherwise) and also require them to process or deny unlocking requests within two business days.

Some prepaid phones could also be included in these new rules.  

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 because they want to lock customers into their service contracts in exchange for heavy subsidized prices on new devices. This is particularly inconvenient for consumers traveling abroad who don't want huge roaming charges, or if they simply want to change carriers. 
 

But now, the rules are expected to allow mobile customers to unlock their phones after their contact expires. It will also bring uniformity to all U.S. carriers, so that different rules across different carriers don't become a headache. 
 
The Reuters report mentioned that the FCC and U.S. carriers are still discussing key points before an agreement is made, such as how fast the new policy would be rolled out; how to keep unlocked phones off of black markets, and how pre-paid phones would be handled.
 
The agreement is expected "soon."
 
Just last month, 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. 
 
You can check the full letter out here

Source: Reuters



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It's pretty ridiculous that it's illegal
By BifurcatedBoat on 12/12/2013 2:22:15 PM , Rating: 3
Is it your phone or the cellphone provider's phone? The answer should be as simple as that.




By cbgoding on 12/13/2013 11:51:09 AM , Rating: 2
If you haven't passed 2 years of paying for the phone on contract, it's their phone.


By philpoe on 12/13/2013 2:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
Whoever's financing it. In the US, that's typically the carrier, which uses that as leverage to lock you into the carrier for the length of the contract and pressure you into re-upping with a new contract and new phone, both of which having healthy profit margins for the carrier, even at 0% financing.

Unfortunately however, ownership of the phone may not necessarily determine applicability of use on the carrier's network. Terms of usage are "warped" in that carriers have all kinds of software on the phones that they may "require" to allow a phone on their network.


"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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