Carriers Agree to Make Unlocking Phones Easier, Eventually
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler today announced that the agency has reached an accord with wireless network operators that will make it easier for consumers to unlock their phones. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless have all agreed to the unlocking policies. First, carriers will post to their web site clear details that define what phones can and cannot be unlocked. Second, carriers will unlock all phones upon request as long as customers have fulfilled their contractual obligations. Third, prepaid devices will be unlocked no later than one year after their initial activation date. Fourth, carriers will unlock devices within two days after customers request that their phones be unlocked, or initiate a request with the OEM to unlock the device, or explain to consumers why their device cannot be unlocked. Fifth, carriers agree that they will notify customers proactively once their devices are eligible to be unlocked. Sixth, carriers will unlock the devices of all deployed military personnel who are in good standing. Each of the carriers above must adopt at least three of these above policies within three months and all of them within 12 months.
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