Regional U.S. Carriers Back Efforts to Ease Mobile Phone Unlocking in Bid to Draw iPhone Users

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Bloomberg reports that regional and rural carriers in the United States are banding together to back legislative efforts to ease the unlocking of mobile phones. Unsurprisingly, the smaller carriers see unlocking as a key way to attract new customers and gain access to the most popular handsets such as the iPhone.
    Unauthorized unlocking of newly purchased mobile phones became illegal in the U.S. as of late January, but the White House has backed an effort to address the issue and Congress has begun putting forward bills that would clear the way for broader unlocking abilities.

    AT&T has made clear that the ruling against unauthorized unlocking has very little impact on its customers, as the carrier's current policy is to unlock any device that is no longer under contract and for which the customer's account has been active for at least 60 days and carries no balance due. Current efforts, however, seek to loosen unlocking restrictions more uniformly across carriers.

    Apple has made significant strides in extending iPhone availability to smaller U.S. carriers over the past several years, with 18 carriers now offering the device. Many more are undoubtedly interested in joining that group, and making it easier for customers to bring their out-of-contract iPhones to new carriers would likely help these carriers bring more of these customers onboard.

    Article Link: Regional U.S. Carriers Back Efforts to Ease Mobile Phone Unlocking in Bid to Draw iPhone Users
  2. macrumors 68000

    Mar 5, 2012
    Central California
    How about leave our iphones unlocked so we can use other country SIMs while visiting?

    being locked into At&t's international plan is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ :(
  3. macrumors 68020


    Nov 17, 2012
  4. macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    San Jose (CA)
    Good. I see a good outcome to this. I look forward to unlocking my out-of-contract phones that the carrier refuses to unlock due to exclusivity agreements.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    The far more interesting question is what Apple thinks about easing the locking restrictions. I suspect they support them but will keep a very low profile on this issue. Has TC ever been asked this question, or have other Apple officials ever spoken publicly on this issue?
  6. macrumors 68000


    May 28, 2008
    Sure, just pay full price for it. Not willing to do that? Too bad. That's on you.
  7. macrumors regular


    Feb 26, 2008
    When I pick up a phone that is locked, it comes at a discounted rate. I am explained that the phone company gives me a two year loan and that over the course of my two year contract, I pay back that loan. After those two years are up, does my bill go down because I am done paying off the loan, which is the phone, and left only paying for service?


    It doesn't matter if you have a subsidized phone or an unlocked phone, you still pay the same bill.

    Telecommunications, including the cable industry, absolutely suck.
  8. kevinpdoyle, Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013

    macrumors member

    May 2, 2012
    Or ignore the law and get your phone unlocked for under $5......
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 20, 2008
    You might want to check on Tmobile's new plans then. They make that loan, but it comes off your bill when paid off.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2008
    This just seems like a no brainer... I understand why a phone is locked if you buy it under contract. When that contract is done or you buy out of it the phone is fully yours, of course it should be unlocked!
  11. macrumors G4


    Jun 12, 2012
    Doesn't att unlock your phone if you paid full retail price?
  12. macrumors 68000

    Oct 21, 2009
    I think it should be illegal for carriers to lock phones at all. Once they have you locked into a contract that should be good enough, I have agreed to pay you your money to pay off the subsidy, why should I have to agree to anything beyond that such as not using it on another carrier if I chose to.
  13. jsw
    Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Similarly, if you bring an unlocked phone, the rates are lower off the bat.
  14. macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2010
    Connecticut, United States
    I hope this law gets changed. Talk about anticonsumerist and backwards :eek:
  15. macrumors 68020


    Sep 24, 2008
    Blazer town!
    Make Unlock mandatory from the get go

    since we are already signed the contract and have to pay ETF of anywhere around $350.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 16, 2012
    Funny thing about that. I asked the salesman at Rogers if I could just by an iPhone from Apple and bring it in. He said yes but for 'technical reasons' they would lock it onto Rogers when I signed up for the service. Not sure if that was true but not a surprise they would say that. Rogers is evil.

    (No I didn't do this.)
  17. macrumors 68000


    May 28, 2008
    Now that's interesting. I had no issues sticking a t-mobile or att nanosim card into my verizon iPhone 5 and get service.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    May 30, 2007
    Who does that?
  19. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2004
    Sorry, but you've been misled. A subsidy is in no way a loan. Also, if you look at your bill and contract, there is no line item for any form of 'subsidy payback', only the rate you pay for service and various taxes.

    That's not to say the telecom and cable industry doesn't suck, but you should at least know what you're getting into.
  20. macrumors 68000

    Mar 5, 2012
    Central California
    Lol - Debbie downer
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    An American story but I hope it carries a precedent across the carrier industry in other parts of the world.

    Otherwise, "The more they tighten their grip, the more systems slip through their fingers" :D
  22. macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013
    does AT&T want to be Globalization friendly?

    Dear AT&T,

    1) Learn from Verizon, I'm legally obligated to pay you for 2 years, good. Who cares if I'm using another carrier's SIM? I'm going to do that when I'm traveling INTERNATIONALLY, not in the USA, where I'm already paying you, and going to use your LTE network. (And if someone did use T-mo for example, wouldn't you have less stress on your network?)

    2) If you're concerned that (subsidized price + ETF) < cost of iPhone, consider raising ETF so that (subsidized + ETF*) = cost of iPhone or heaven forbid = a month more of contract. That's not the biggest problem! My reasoning is back to point number 1.

    3) Good job on keeping a better option on plans than Verizon with the single-line data options.

    Loyal Customer since (AT&T Wirless pre-Cingular acquisition)
  23. macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2009
    Sigh this is all nonsense. The solution is very simple. Make all phones factory unlocked and have a flexible ETF. If you cancel your contract early you pay a higher ETF to cover the costs of the subsidized price of the phone on purchase. If you cancel late in the contract, you pay a minor ETF, if any at all (based on whether or not the subsidized priced has been paid off).
  24. macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2009
    Your wording is a little ambiguous here. If you bought a Roger's locked phone at Apple, the lock might not be implemented until Roger signs it up for service. But if you buy a factory unlocked phone from Apple, then no it's not true that Rogers will lock it. That would be illegal.
  25. macrumors 68030


    Oct 3, 2009
    I dream of a world where the phone you pay hundreds for will be SIM unlocked automatically. This world will come one day, perhaps even as soon as 2100.

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