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Thread: Unlocking New Cellphones to Become Illegal in the U.S.

  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Akshay Masand's Avatar
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    Default Unlocking New Cellphones to Become Illegal in the U.S.


    According to a new federal policy in the United States that is effective starting Saturday, it will become illegal for certain mobile phone owners to unlock their devices for use on other carriers unless specifically authorized by their carriers. The policy applies to newly purchased devices but not to legacy devices purchased prior to that date. As noted by Tech News Daily:

    In October 2012, the Librarian of Congress, who determines exemptions to a strict anti-hacking law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), decided that unlocking mobile phones would no longer be allowed. But the librarian provided a 90-day window during which people could still buy a phone and unlock it. That window closes on January 26.
    Unlocking devices allows users to take their phones to other carriers such as T-Mobile or two use SIM cards from international carriers while traveling abroad without needing to purchase expensive international roaming packages from their domestic carrier. Users will still be able to purchase unlocked iPhones at unsubsidized prices and last April, AT&T began unlocking iPhones for customers whose contract terms were completed or who had paid early. The SIM card slots on the Verizon iPhone 5 came already unlocked, while Sprint announced that it would unlock the SIM card slot on its iPhones for international usage three months after purchase.

    In the recently outlined decision in the Federal Register, these policies were cited as reasons for not allowing an unlocking exemption to the DMCA for newly purchased devices:

    The Register concluded after a review of the statutory factors that an exemption to the prohibition on circumvention of mobile phone computer programs to permit users to unlock "legacy'' phones is both warranted and unlikely to harm the market for such programs. At the same time, in light of carriers' current unlocking policies and the ready availability of new unlocked phones in the marketplace, the record did not support an exemption for newly purchased phones. Looking to precedents in copyright law, the Register recommended that the class designated by the Librarian include a 90-day transitional period to allow unlocking by those who may acquire phones shortly after the new exemption goes into effect.
    Previously, carriers such as AT&T already forbid unauthorized unlocking in their customer contracts but the clarification of DMCA policy with respect to unlocked will now make the issue a criminal offense. Although iPhone unlocked services have enjoyed a fair amount of popularity in the past, it appears the services will be unable to legally unlock any new devices for their customers, leaving only a pool of eligible legacy devices remaining.

    Source: Federal Register, Tech News Daily via MacRumors

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand

  2. #2
    Livin the iPhone Life Carvensno's Avatar
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    Typical f@#%ing government sticking there nose where it doesn't belong. Why should they give a damn, its our phone and can use it as we please!

  3. #3
    too much control
    Last edited by dsg; 01-24-2013 at 07:41 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Carvensno View Post
    Typical f@#%ing government sticking there nose where it doesn't belong. Why should they give a damn, its our phone and can use it as we please!
    Read the websites of most phone companies, you don't own the phone you just indefinitely lease it.

  5. #5
    What's Jailbreak?
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    The government in this country is a joke. All their main interest is money and not people. I guess I'll just break the law. I don't think many people will obey this law anyways. Unlocking its not something they can control 100%

  6. #6
    Green Apple
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    Another great example of our "democracy" at work. Only people don't get to vote, money does.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by mwhite67 View Post
    Another great example of our "democracy" at work. Only people don't get to vote, money does.
    If you look at how the US system works you will see that people don't have any vote at all, look at how the electoral college works.

  8. #8
    My iPhone is a Part of Me Cmds187's Avatar
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    (Lol) T.mobile Always first

  9. #9
    Those of you who are complaining and moaning about this should probably simmer down and think about it just a little bit. In America, if you buy an iPhone for a specific carrier (AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint), that carrier HEAVILY subsidizes the cost of the phone with the understanding that you will adhere to the 2 year contract.

    The unsubsidized cost of the phone is $649 for the 16 GB model. That means your carrier is paying $449 FOR YOU to get the phone. If you were a business owner and you ate $450 for every iPhone you sell wouldn't you want to be sure that phone stays on your network?

    If you want an unlocked iPhone, then pony up the cash and get one...but don't pay for 1/3 of the cost while your carrier pays for 2/3 and expect them to be okay with you unlocking it, selling it, and pocketing the cash.

    *EDIT: If I'm wrong about the way the subsidizing works then let me know...but you'll have to convince me I'm wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if the carriers got a discounted rate from Apple for the phone, but I'd still be willing to bet they're subsidizing at least $200 of the cost of the phone.
    Last edited by AUZambo; 01-24-2013 at 07:56 PM.

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  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by AUZambo View Post
    Those of you who are ******** and moaning about this should probably simmer down and think about it just a little bit. In America, if you buy an iPhone for a specific carrier (AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint), that carrier HEAVILY subsidizes the cost of the phone with the understanding that you will adhere to the 2 year contract.

    The unsubsidized cost of the phone is $649 for the 16 GB model. That means your carrier is paying $449 FOR YOU to get the phone. If you were a business owner and you ate $450 for every iPhone you sell wouldn't you want to be sure that phone stays on your network?

    If you want an unlocked iPhone, then pony up the cash and get one...but don't pay for 1/3 of the cost while your carrier pays for 2/3 and expect them to be okay with you unlocking it, selling it, and pocketing the cash.
    Hold on, even if you unlock and switch carriers you still have to pay the 2 year contract so they lose nothing.

  12. #11
    My iPhone is a Part of Me iLoveWindows&iPhone's Avatar
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    So all the unlocking services you can find on the Internet, eBay, etc...it will now be illegal for them to unlock your phone correct? So my question is how is this enforced?

    I imagine it will still be super easy to get your phone unlocked using these services, I would think they could avoid this "law" by operating out of another country...So will it be illegal for us to own a phone that we have had unlocked using one of these services (unlocked after the cutoff date)? Or is the actual act of unlocking illegal?

    Can say... tmobile tell if your phone is unlocked from another carrier such as AT&T? If so will they no longer be able to allow these devices on their network? This law sucks and is retarded...and I have no problem breaking laws that suck and/or are retarded, and cannot be enforced completely . I hope this is another law that cannot really be enforced at this point in time... So my last question is...Is it?
    El Zurdo

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by spazturtle View Post
    Hold on, even if you unlock and switch carriers you still have to pay the 2 year contract so they lose nothing.
    True...but the fee for early termination of the contract is nothing compared to the money they lose in monthly service fees. Over two years you pay $720 in data fees alone (for the $30/month data plan), and that doesn't include fees for texts & talk minutes. When you include that you pay well over $1000 over the course of the two years.

    The early termination fee for AT&T is at MOST $325...and that's if you cancel in the first month of your contract. They subtract $10 from the $325 for each month of the contract you fulfill.

    *EDIT: I should probably mention that I too think it's a silly law, but I definitely understand why it was put into place. As has been mentioned in an earlier post I don't see how they can really enforce this.
    Last edited by AUZambo; 01-24-2013 at 08:03 PM.

  14. #13
    I want to go the way of the Walmart plan and pay full price up front rather than get ripped off on monthly bill. Here is where this whole thing is wrong. If I do go opposite the norm and pay in full and then ask AT&T to provide my service they aren't gonna give me a huge discount for NOT having to subsidize my phone. Talk about having my cake and eating it too. I hope the Walmart option gets more popular. I wish Apple would just offer that way directly thru their carriers.

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  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by iLoveWindows&iPhone View Post
    So all the unlocking services you can find on the Internet, eBay, etc...it will now be illegal for them to unlock your phone correct? So my question is how is this enforced?

    I imagine it will still be super easy to get your phone unlocked using these services, I would think they could avoid this "law" by operating out of another country...So will it be illegal for us to own a phone that we have had unlocked using one of these services (unlocked after the cutoff date)? Or is the actual act of unlocking illegal?

    Can say... tmobile tell if your phone is unlocked from another carrier such as AT&T? If so will they no longer be able to allow these devices on their network? This law sucks and is retarded...and I have no problem breaking laws that suck and/or are retarded, and cannot be enforced completely . I hope this is another law that cannot really be enforced at this point in time... So my last question is...Is it?
    No they have no way of telling if your phone is unlocked.

  17. #15
    My iPhone is a Part of Me keenpois0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OceanMindedBoy View Post
    The government in this country is a joke. All their main interest is money and not people. I guess I'll just break the law. I don't think many people will obey this law anyways. Unlocking its not something they can control 100%
    because its now (soon) illegal, musclenerd won't release anymore unlocks..he could be sued and/or prosecuted. so if you want an unlock.. get hacking!

  18. #16
    I can't believe these no good idiots have nothing better to do than make the American public pay more money for PHONE SERVICE. I remember in the mid sixths complaining how I was being force to go half way around the world to fight communism. I did it for 2 years only to have our own Gov hand us our xsses and to run and they can't find any way to make peace. It just is another way for these idiots to keep stripping us of our freedom, I have to stop,,,it just makes me wonder how we hire these people to screws the USA amazing $ it's alway about the money and how they(politicians ) can take it away from us and go on a junket ....

  19. #17
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the US, I believe this only applies to AT&T. Verizon & Sprint have no problem unlocking your phone for you. I think deep down, the librarian of congress just wanted to give us another reason to hate AT&T.

  20. #18
    Default stupid!
    I cant believe this goverment is so dumb as to allow telecomunication companies to abuse of the customer!
    there must be a way to fight this.
    i want to do with the device I purchased as I please.
    though att policy is a good alternative.

  21. #19
    What you guys are all doing is wrong, AND IM TALKING TO U COMMENTERS!

    Ultimately it's a fail safe protection plan for ALL carriers, and a small part of a HUGE bill.... We will hear about diff ways this affects us for a long time to come

    U guys are so quick to bash the gov for passing these laws, but put it in a business owners perspective and u would wish unlocking never happened!!

    The whole purpose of giving the customer a discounted price with two year agreement is that u rope them in to a guaranteed amount of generated income for X amount of time....

    Now a customer, and they can unlock the device, either terminates contract early, pays the fees n goes to another carrier or they ride out the contract and move after it ends

    the carrier then has the threat of this happening in masses if the competition offers anything at all that's better than theirs, and this goes for ALL carriers...

    Cliff notes,

    It protects the industry which is GIANT and is needed to create balance and restore the economy...
    Last edited by McManimal; 01-24-2013 at 08:39 PM.
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  22. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by spazturtle View Post
    If you look at how the US system works you will see that people don't have any vote at all, look at how the electoral college works.
    Which is why we have a clown for a president currently...

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