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Cellphone Unlocking Still Illegal in U.S., and FCC Wants This to Change


As you probably know, cellphone unlocking is still illegal in the United States. Of course, the petition asking to lift the ban on unlocking which got over 114,000 signatures did reach the White House and then an official response also came. Then we also heard dialogues from a lot of people regarding the matter, and saw the introduction of bills that would make unlocking legal. But nothing has changed so far, and the FCC doesn’t like it.

Since there haven’t been any big movements with the bills, FCC interim chairwoman Mignon Clyburn believes that the best possible way is working with carriers for reaching an unlocking agreement. As you might know, the bill from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) was approved by the House Judiciary Committee, but all the other ones are still in committee.

According to Clyburn, “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“.

Though there are carriers who have come out with reasonable unlocking rules, the FCC will be working for bringing about policies which apply to all the carriers.

The FCC is talking about a system which will allow a customer to unlock a phone on a network, after contract terms are met. But that’s about it. FCC finding out a solution by working with the carriers doesn’t seem to be a good idea at all. As you might know AT&T and T-Mobile already allow customers to unlock phones after contract expiry, but the same rules may not apply for second hand devices and if there was a service lapse.

So, the best possible way out of the cellphone unlocking issue may be via legislation.

Do you want FCC to work for allowing cellphone unlocking or do you want a bill to move forward? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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