U.S. carriers must unlock cellphones, starting today

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Ericsson wants to stop Apple selling iPhones in the United States. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Some U.S. carriers have historically been more lenient about unlocking phones than others, but starting today they are all mandated to provide unlocking once a customer’s contract is up.

Legislation put in place by the Federal Communications Commission back in 2013 takes full effect today, and carriers must comply with new policies on unlocking.

Uncarrier T-Mobile Says AT&T’s Latest ‘Value’ Plans Are Actually Price Hikes

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Yesterday, AT&T announced new Mobile Share Value plans that were pitched as making subscriber’s monthly rates cheaper if you already own a smartphone.

It seemed like a pretty honest move. Most carriers bill you a set monthly that includes a fee designed to pay off your smartphone’s full prive over a two year period, which is common knowledge. What isn’t common knowledge is that on most carriers, even if you bring your own smartphone to your contract or fully pay off your device, the carrier will continue to bill you for that smartphone subsidy in perpetuity. It’s super sleazy, so AT&T’s move seemed like a refreshing dose of honesty.

That’s not how T-Mobile sees it, though.

Even After The iPhone 5C Debuts, Apple Could Keep The 16GB iPhone 5 Around

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Right now, Apple sells three generations of iPhone. The iPhone 5 is the high-end phone, starting at $199 on contract. The iPhone 4S is the mid-tier device, and costs $99 on contract. Finally, there’s the iPhone 4, which is free on contract.

Come September 10th, though, Apple’s going to change things up with the colorful iPhone 5C, a device that Cupertino has designed from the ground up to be a modern budget iPhone (rather than just a hand-me-down iPhone a couple generations old). So the iPhone 5S will take the high-tier, and the iPhone 5C will take the lower-tier.

What about the mid-tier, though? Evidence suggests it’ll be the iPhone 5.