Senate clears bill that will make it easier to unlock phones

You should be able to easily switch carriers in the U.S. once you fulfill your two-year contract, but most of the time it’s easier said than done. A new bill being reviewed in Washington plans to let you unlock your phone to take it to any carrier after your contact is over.

Yesterday the Senate passed the “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act,” which would make it legal to unlock a phone when its contract expires, reports TheHill.

“This straightforward restoring bill is about promoting consumer rights,” Leahy said when the bill was introduced last year. “When consumers finish the terms of their contract, they should be able to keep their phones and make their own decision about which wireless provider to use.”

Unlocking a phone on your own while still in a contract is still illegal, although there are third-party services that will do it for you without technically breaking the law.

It’s usually not impossible to get a phone unlocked once it’s off-contract, but the process varies from carrier to carrier in the states. And quitting a contract early costs an arm and a leg. The whole experience is anything but streamlined, so it’s nice to see some progress being made.

Now it’s up to the House to pass the bill.

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About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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