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Phone-Unlocking Bill Clears Congress, Goes to Obama

Article Comments  19  

Jul 25, 2014, 12:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously passed bill S517, which makes it legal once again for consumers to unlock their cell phones. The Senate passed the bill on July 15. With both arms of congress approving the bill, it is up to President Obama to sign it into law. Unlocking phones became illegal in early 2013 when the Library of Congress allowed an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to expire. The bill still falls under the purview of the DMCA and leaves the ultimate decision regarding unlocking up to the Library of Congress. If Obama signs the bill into law immediately, it will be legal to unlock cell phones only for a period of about 14 months before the policy must be reviewed once again by the Library of Congress. The wording of the bill mandates the policy be reviewed once every three years. The NTIA and the FCC have each separately mandated that wireless network operators make it easier for consumers to unlock their devices. Most of the largest carriers have already begun putting policies in place that allow customers to unlock their devices once terms of their agreement are met.

more info at House of Reps. »



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Jul 25, 2014, 5:03 PM

Of course it matters...

There are millions of locked handsets sitting in kitchen drawers right now that Could be used if they were unlockable without going through cellunlocksandbankscams.com.

The "unlocking policies" the carriers, and their shill the CTIA, have come up with are scams for the carriers forcing you one way or the other to take out service with them in order to unlock a handset. Unless of course you are the 5 percent of users who know you need your device unlocked before your contract runs out. Most people don't and haven't, and wont keep service with the old carrier in order to unlock it either so they take the phone home and keep it, prolly unused in a drawer or they agree to the reaming and trade it in for the $16 they are told it is worth.
It doesn't matter because most people use their phones to the point where they no longer work. Most people can't even make a phone last for a full two year contract, let alone keep using after that on another carrier.

I am all for this bill, but...
It only matters if the carrier you will use it on will allow you to use it. So many carriers will unlock your phone so you can possibly use it with another carrier but, they will not allow a phone that is not their brand, i.e. doesn't have their label...

Jul 25, 2014, 2:38 PM

Doesn't matter

as long as the FCC makes carriers use different frequencies, it won't matter.
That statement is dumb in at least 2 ways.
There is a very good reason the FCC has carriers on different frequencies. If you don't know why you shouldn't be commenting..
I agree that this is mostly for show, however the great majority of carriers in the US are MVNO so what I hope this would mean is if I had a Boost Mobile phone I could use it on Sprint or Virgin or Straight Talk or etc.

Since carriers don't make mo...

Jul 28, 2014, 7:42 AM

Global Use

It is likely that the only real benefit to this bill is for global use. As carriers use different frequencies, the advantage to unlock would pertain to those wishing to use their phone outside the US. This has been the fight for quite awhile. Many globe trotters have had trouble with the carriers unlocking for overseas extended stay or business use.

John B.
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