Today The White House announced that Obama will sign the “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act” into law, which gives the right to unlock your phone after your contract is up and take it to another carrier.
Today the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that lets customers legally unlock their cell phones and switch carriers. The same bill was passed in the Senate last week, and now President Obama is expected to sign it into law.
The process of unlocking a phone to take it to another carrier in the U.S. has been a convoluted and questionably illegal one. The “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act” is designed to make the process easier for those looking to take phones to a different service provider. But there’s an important caveat.
It was only six months ago that the White House officially went on record saying that they thought cell phone unlocking should be legalized. The statement was issued in response to a 114,000+ signature petition, which rightfully argued that if you have paid off a device on-contract, it should belong to you, full-stop.
The Obama Administration said flat-out they agreed… which is why it’s distressing to find out that they may have been misleading us. In fact, while telling the American public that it supported laws to make cell phone unlocking legal, it appears that the Obama Administration has secretly been working against it.
Hate the fact that your wireless carrier keeps your smartphone locked? President Obama does too. The White House has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking that wireless carriers be required to unlock all mobile devices.
A group of U.S. Senators have introduced a new bill that will allow cellphone owners to legally unlock their devices again after their contract has expired.
Called the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, and backed by Al Franken and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill would reverse a Library of Congress ruling from October 2012 that deemed cellphone unlocking illegal unless the process was performed by a carrier.
There’s been a lot of noise lately surrounding smartphone unlocking. On October 28, 2012, the Library of Congress said it was going to be illegal to unlock your smartphone starting on January 26, 2013.
Since then, Obama has stepped in and said that’s totally not fair. And then a few legislators have brought up bills to make sure people can unlock their smartphones without facing criminal charges. Now AT&T says it wants to be perfectly clear that they don’t really want you to go to jail for unlocking your smartphone.
A petition against a phone unlocking ban that was introduced last month has now received more than 100,000 online signatures, the threshold petitions must reach to get an official response from the Obama Administration. The petition calls for the White House to make cellphone unlocking legal again, without having to go through a carrier.
From Saturday, January 26, you’ll have to ask your carrier to unlock your smartphone if you wish to use it on another network. It will become illegal to do so yourself using unauthorized unlocking methods — even if your contract has run its course and you no longer have a commitment with the original provider.