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  • Carriers Agree on Policies for 'Unlocking' Mobile Devices


    On Thursday, the nation's largest wireless providers purportedly reached an agreement with regard to six standard principles that govern the unlocking of mobile phones and tablet computers.

    Essentially, the carriers will make it easier for consumers to unlock devices for use on a competitor's network. That's according to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who confirmed the agreement earlier today.

    Industry sources have said the agreement would ensure that providers notify customers about the eligibility of their phones for unlocking - by text message, for example - and could also cover some pre-paid phones.
    AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint have also agreed to explain their respective unlocking policies on their websites, another positive step in the right direction for reducing customer confusion and boosting transparency in the mobile arena.

    In the end, advocates for the agreement assert, consumers will now have a better idea of where they stand with the carriers. And they'll also know that it's no problem to have their phones "unlocked" at the expiration of their contract.

    Source: Reuters
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Carriers Agree on Policies for 'Unlocking' Mobile Devices started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. politicalslug's Avatar
      politicalslug -
      12 years on AT&T and they refuse to unlock a couple months early so I can travel overseas with my phone. These policies are a joke.
    1. daytonaviolet's Avatar
      daytonaviolet -
      The thing i don't get is, why lock my subsidized phone when you i'm on a 2yr data contract? I'm not going anywhere because of the two yr data contract. But i would still like to use my GSM phone around the world when I travel. When I return, i'll continue to stay on my 2yr contract. Locked or unlocked, im committed to the two yr data contract. If i leave before then, then the carrier will send me an early termination fee (ETF).
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      I agree 100% with both the above comments. The petition submitted to the White House wasn't about unlocking off-contract phones - that's obvious, common-sense, and should be a given. The freedom we wanted was the freedom to use another carrier when travelling abroad at any time, even within a contract period. The telcos will get their 2-years worth of contract fees regardless (as they should, if they subsidized the phone). So why cripple their customers' phones this way? It's just bad for customer relations.
    1. blkcadi's Avatar
      blkcadi -
      Totally agree with above 3 posters. Myself, I bite the bullet, pay full price and bought the factory unlocked iPhone's for travel. Is it because they are naive and don't really understand our motivation to have such a device? Or just in it for the bottom line?
      We all know the reality I guess.
    1. cpotoso's Avatar
      cpotoso -
      Just buy a nexus "n" and be done...
    1. Beeb's Avatar
      Beeb -
      Quote Originally Posted by daytonaviolet View Post
      The thing i don't get is, why lock my subsidized phone when you i'm on a 2yr data contract? I'm not going anywhere because of the two yr data contract. But i would still like to use my GSM phone around the world when I travel. When I return, i'll continue to stay on my 2yr contract. Locked or unlocked, im committed to the two yr data contract. If i leave before then, then the carrier will send me an early termination fee (ETF).
      Because anyone can sign the 2 year contract, get the latest iphone, unlock it, then end contract by paying early termination fees. You will end up with a major profit which can easily pay off the termination fee. Now guess who loses because I didn't continue the two year contract will pays for the phone at the end of the two years with the high phone bills.
    1. kosher1's Avatar
      kosher1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post
      12 years on AT&T and they refuse to unlock a couple months early so I can travel overseas with my phone. These policies are a joke.
      No att at just a ssholes

      Quote Originally Posted by daytonaviolet View Post
      The thing i don't get is, why lock my subsidized phone when you i'm on a 2yr data contract? I'm not going anywhere because of the two yr data contract. But i would still like to use my GSM phone around the world when I travel. When I return, i'll continue to stay on my 2yr contract. Locked or unlocked, im committed to the two yr data contract. If i leave before then, then the carrier will send me an early termination fee (ETF).
      They enjoy the power and love holding us by the balls!!
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Quote Originally Posted by Beeb View Post
      Because anyone can sign the 2 year contract, get the latest iphone, unlock it, then end contract by paying early termination fees. You will end up with a major profit which can easily pay off the termination fee. Now guess who loses because I didn't continue the two year contract will pays for the phone at the end of the two years with the high phone bills.
      The telcos simply need to adjust the ETF to cover the loss. Problem solved.
    1. Scotty Manley Silberhorn's Avatar
      Scotty Manley Silberhorn -
      Quote Originally Posted by csglinux View Post
      The telcos simply need to adjust the ETF to cover the loss. Problem solved.
      Also, the carriers don't want people switching to their competition.
    1. Perceptum's Avatar
      Perceptum -
      And you guys need to stop ********. If you don't want to be under a contract, buy the phone off contract.
    1. Albort's Avatar
      Albort -
      Quote Originally Posted by Beeb View Post
      Because anyone can sign the 2 year contract, get the latest iphone, unlock it, then end contract by paying early termination fees. You will end up with a major profit which can easily pay off the termination fee. Now guess who loses because I didn't continue the two year contract will pays for the phone at the end of the two years with the high phone bills.
      but wouldnt they unlock your phone if you paid the ETF? Since technically, ur out of contract...

      so that still doesnt make sense why to keep it locked.
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      Quote Originally Posted by Beeb View Post
      Because anyone can sign the 2 year contract, get the latest iphone, unlock it, then end contract by paying early termination fees. You will end up with a major profit which can easily pay off the termination fee. Now guess who loses because I didn't continue the two year contract will pays for the phone at the end of the two years with the high phone bills.
      Major profit?! LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Do you even own a cell phone?!

      ETF these days is almost the entire balance of the two year contract. In some cases (specifically with AT&T) - it's MORE than the balance of the two year agreement. ETF is, strangely enough, at its highest (compared to balance due) just before the one year mark.
    1. AbelRay503's Avatar
      AbelRay503 -
      First off let's assume most of you really do travel quite often. If that's the case I would assume you have money to buy a phone at full of contract price knowing that phone will be locked. It seems like you want the bend the rules knowing the rules before accepting the contract.
    1. BlnkCruiser's Avatar
      BlnkCruiser -
      Quote Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post
      12 years on AT&T and they refuse to unlock a couple months early so I can travel overseas with my phone. These policies are a joke.
      Same thing happened to me. 13 years on ATT and I was 2 weeks away from the contract date (exactly 14 days). Called ATT and asked if they can unlock it for me. Need to travel oversea and will be there for 30 days. Was told be ATT rep the computer system won't allow them to unlock untill the contract date reach. He told me I can go to an Apple store in the country and have them unlock when contract date expires. I just laughed at the rep's respond and told him that I need to fly from my destination point to the country's capital and look for an Apple store, have it unlock and use it for only 15 days. I hanged up before he can say anything.
    1. camxposure's Avatar
      camxposure -
      Quote Originally Posted by daytonaviolet View Post
      The thing i don't get is, why lock my subsidized phone when you i'm on a 2yr data contract? I'm not going anywhere because of the two yr data contract. But i would still like to use my GSM phone around the world when I travel. When I return, i'll continue to stay on my 2yr contract. Locked or unlocked, im committed to the two yr data contract. If i leave before then, then the carrier will send me an early termination fee (ETF).

      would pertain to someone wanting to get out a contract after their time is up- and they can unlock their phone to be used elsewhere- such as a verizon transferred to page plus - or a sprint over to verizon - sprint to boost - AT&T to TMobile....
      most people leave because they can't afford the service
      other leave because of terrible service #SprintLOL (#getyourantennaforSprint)
      it will open the market for poor people to afford phones - because the trend set by those that can afford it- is to have one
      I also make money buying and selling used phone to those who need them- flashing them to a lower cost service...
      This will HELP ME OUT - XOXOO
    1. buggsy2's Avatar
      buggsy2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by BlnkCruiser View Post
      Was told be ATT rep the computer system won't allow them to unlock untill the contract date reach.
      Which is complete bull because you can easily buy an unofficial unlock on eBay that is just a bent cell phone employee making a bit of side money.
    1. skepticatbest's Avatar
      skepticatbest -
      Quote Originally Posted by daytonaviolet View Post
      The thing i don't get is, why lock my subsidized phone when you i'm on a 2yr data contract? I'm not going anywhere because of the two yr data contract. But i would still like to use my GSM phone around the world when I travel. When I return, i'll continue to stay on my 2yr contract. Locked or unlocked, im committed to the two yr data contract. If i leave before then, then the carrier will send me an early termination fee (ETF).


      Agree. Completely.
    1. Donnutt's Avatar
      Donnutt -
      Quote Originally Posted by ohthatguyagain View Post
      Major profit?! LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Do you even own a cell phone?!

      ETF these days is almost the entire balance of the two year contract. In some cases (specifically with AT&T) - it's MORE than the balance of the two year agreement. ETF is, strangely enough, at its highest (compared to balance due) just before the one year mark.
      AT&Ts ETF is just the remaining balance of your phone. With my iPhone, $15 gets knocked off the fee every month I pay my bill. But you are right, there is NO WAY to make a profit. Btw, AT&T charges $930 for an unlocked iPhone 5 64gb. $80 more than a apple charges. Greedy bastards....
    1. itzbilly's Avatar
      itzbilly -
      Quote Originally Posted by buggsy2 View Post
      Which is complete bull because you can easily buy an unofficial unlock on eBay that is just a bent cell phone employee making a bit of side money.
      Those unlocks are closed and the cheapest is now $80 if you can find it at all.
    1. daytonaviolet's Avatar
      daytonaviolet -
      Quote Originally Posted by Beeb View Post
      Because anyone can sign the 2 year contract, get the latest iphone, unlock it, then end contract by paying early termination fees. You will end up with a major profit which can easily pay off the termination fee. Now guess who loses because I didn't continue the two year contract will pays for the phone at the end of the two years with the high phone bills.
      i understand some people would try to profit from this and just pay the etf and sell the phone unlocked. att should just increase the etf from $325 to $450 to offset there loss. problem solved hopefully att would satisfy loyal subscribers with subsidized phones who would want to travel and still cover there losses if the customer opt's for the etf.

      example:
      16g 5s = $649 (no contract, unlocked)

      16 6s = $199 + new etf ($450) = $649