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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:53 PM   #1
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White House Files Petition Asking FCC to Require Carriers to Unlock All Mobile Devices




The Obama administration has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking that all wireless carriers be required to unlock all mobile devices, reports The Washington Post. The move comes several months after The White House backed a "We the People"*petition that successfully garnered more than 100,000 signatures calling for cell phone unlocking to be made legal.

The "We the People" petition was started following an October ruling by the Library of Congress' Copyright Office that ended an exemption within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that formerly allowed cell phone unlocking. It became illegal for U.S. mobile phone users to unlock newly purchased cell phones without express permission from their cell phone carriers on January 26, 2013.

According to Tuesday's petition from The White House's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, permitting unlocked devices, including both smartphones and tablets, would increase both competition and consumer choice.
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"Americans should be able to use their mobile devices on whatever networks they choose and have their devices unlocked without hassle," said Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary of the NTIA.
The FCC reportedly began investigating whether or not the cell phone unlocking ban results in harmful effects for consumers in March, though no news has surfaced on the issue since then.

At this time, it remains illegal for individuals to unlock cell phones purchased after January 26, 2013 in the United States. Carriers are still permitted to unlock devices, however, and unlocked devices can also be purchased at unsubsidized prices from a number of carriers.

Article Link: White House Files Petition Asking FCC to Require Carriers to Unlock All Mobile Devices
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:54 PM   #2
Klae17
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This won't get us to forget about the NSA, Obama.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:55 PM   #3
flash84x
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This is great. But I could also see it having the negative side effect of cellular companies building proprietary/incompatible networks so that devices built for their network can only be used on their network.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:56 PM   #4
thermal
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That's a petition I would gladly sign.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:57 PM   #5
GSPice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flash84x View Post
This is great. But I could also see it having the negative side effect of cellular companies building proprietary/incompatible networks so that devices built for their network can only be used on their network.
Unlocking won't get rid of roaming fees. International SIM swaps will be great though
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:58 PM   #6
rosujin
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Didn't see that one coming! Great news.
Though, I already eBay-unlocked my iPhone 5 a long time ago

Now let's have another look at that Death Star

Last edited by rosujin; Sep 17, 2013 at 07:03 PM.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:58 PM   #7
viperGTS
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Glad that the petition is actually getting some government action in progress.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:59 PM   #8
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When all phones are required to be unlocked on demand, you can kiss the $99 or $199 iPhone goodbye. They'll START at $499 or $549, to reflect the true retail value of the phones. It's locking that makes subsidized prices possible.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:59 PM   #9
iansilv
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OK- so are they asking that this be done despite carriers offering incentives to customers by selling discounted phone? Or is this for companies to do on non-discounted phones or phones off of contract?
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 06:59 PM   #10
dbrinn
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Originally Posted by Klae17 View Post
This won't get us to forget about the NSA, Obama.
Indeed!
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:00 PM   #11
Four oF NINE
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This is a VERY positive development for US phone users.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:00 PM   #12
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This won't get us to forget about the NSA, Obama.
Yes, blame it all on Obama, just like rush and hannity want you to
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:00 PM   #13
skorpien
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Great news, and hopefully Canada follows suit. The way I see it, if you're in a contract, you still have to pay to get out of it, so what's the point of locking the devices anyway? If there were no penalties for breaking your contract it would make sense. As it is now though, it's redundant and in my opinion only there to make carriers more money (in Canada, carriers charge to unlock even if you're out of contract).
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:02 PM   #14
chumawumba
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If this happens then goodbye subsidization.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:03 PM   #15
Orlandoech
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Originally Posted by clayj View Post
When all phones are required to be unlocked on demand, you can kiss the $99 or $199 iPhone goodbye. They'll START at $499 or $549, to reflect the true retail value of the phones. It's locking that makes subsidized prices possible.

^^^ What he said....
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:04 PM   #16
cgk.emu
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Glad to see the whitehouse has its priorities straight


/s
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:04 PM   #17
mdorais
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayj View Post
When all phones are required to be unlocked on demand, you can kiss the $99 or $199 iPhone goodbye. They'll START at $499 or $549, to reflect the true retail value of the phones. It's locking that makes subsidized prices possible.
Anyone can have it done via Ebay for $5 so I doubt it.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:05 PM   #18
skorpien
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Originally Posted by chumawumba View Post
If this happens then goodbye subsidization.
That makes no sense. Carriers would still require you to pay to get out of your contract, and that usually more than makes up for the subsidization you get on your device. People are unlocking phones and have been doing so for years in the gray market and that hasn't made carriers abolish subsidization.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:05 PM   #19
cgk.emu
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Originally Posted by Klae17 View Post
This won't get us to forget about the NSA, Obama.
Sure it will! Just keep shoving crap that doesn't matter down the general publics throat, most people love that sort of thing. It brings happiness to their pitiful lives.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:06 PM   #20
Carmenia83
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Originally Posted by clayj View Post
When all phones are required to be unlocked on demand, you can kiss the $99 or $199 iPhone goodbye. They'll START at $499 or $549, to reflect the true retail value of the phones. It's locking that makes subsidized prices possible.
Not necessarily. Just because your phone is unlocked, doesn't relieve you of the contract you signed. If you ditch early, you'll still be paying the subsidized portion of the hardware in your early termination fee.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:07 PM   #21
bluespark
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Originally Posted by clayj View Post
When all phones are required to be unlocked on demand, you can kiss the $99 or $199 iPhone goodbye. They'll START at $499 or $549, to reflect the true retail value of the phones. It's locking that makes subsidized prices possible.
Wrong, service contracts make subsidized phones possible.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:09 PM   #22
rosujin
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Originally Posted by chumawumba View Post
If this happens then goodbye subsidization.
I never believed that carriers actually had to lock phones to a network in order to force customers to honor a contract.

If a customer decides to cancel mid-contract, the carrier can simply enforce the early-termination penalty. Anyone under contract has a social security (or at least a credit card) on file with the carrier. I doubt that many people would risk ruining their credit for a gain of a couple hundred dollars.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:09 PM   #23
wikiverse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayj View Post
When all phones are required to be unlocked on demand, you can kiss the $99 or $199 iPhone goodbye. They'll START at $499 or $549, to reflect the true retail value of the phones. It's locking that makes subsidized prices possible.
That's not true.

Australia has unlocking on-demand after 6 months, and iPhones are usually free on contracts.

Within 6 months, you can pay a fee (Usually around $90) to get the phone unlocked.
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:10 PM   #24
age234
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The FCC is part of the executive branch, of which Obama is the head. Can't he just tell them to change their policy?

He uses executive orders to do everything else...
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 07:11 PM   #25
cuda12
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This is beyond what government should be able to do. If a company is paying >50% of the actual cost of the phone, they're entitled to put whatever restrictions they like. Anyone who thinks government can just force companies to sell us unlocked phones for what locked phones cost now is not being honest with him/herself.
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