White House Files Petition Asking FCC to Require Carriers to Unlock All Mobile Devices

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2011
    This won't get us to forget about the NSA, Obama.
  3. macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2011
    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.
  4. macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2009
    Vancouver, Canada
  5. macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2008
    Unlocking won't get rid of roaming fees. International SIM swaps will be great though
  6. rosujin, Sep 17, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2010
    Didn't see that one coming! Great news.
    Though, I already eBay-unlocked my iPhone 5 a long time ago :D

    Now let's have another look at that Death Star;)
  7. macrumors 65816

    Nov 15, 2010
    Glad that the petition is actually getting some government action in progress.
  8. macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    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.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2007
    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?
  10. macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2012
  11. macrumors 68000

    Four oF NINE

    Sep 28, 2011
    This is a VERY positive development for US phone users.
  12. macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2012
    Yes, blame it all on Obama, just like rush and hannity want you to
  13. macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    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).
  14. macrumors 6502


    Aug 9, 2012
    Ask the NSA
  15. macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT

    ^^^ What he said....
  16. macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2012
    Glad to see the whitehouse has its priorities straight

  17. macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2008
    Anyone can have it done via Ebay for $5 so I doubt it.
  18. macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    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.
  19. macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2012
    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.
  20. macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2012
    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.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    Wrong, service contracts make subsidized phones possible.
  22. macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2010
    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.
  23. macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2012
    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.
  24. macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2004
    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...
  25. macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2011
    Miami, FL
    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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