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Thread: White House Petitions FCC to Make Cell Phone Unlocking Legal

  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Akshay Masand's Avatar
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    Default White House Petitions FCC to Make Cell Phone Unlocking Legal


    The Obama administration has recently filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking that all wireless carriers be required to unlock all mobile devices according to 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 after an October ruling by the Library of Congress Copyright Office which ended an exemption within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which formerly allowed cell phone unlocking. As of January 26, 2013 it became illegal for US mobile phone users to unlock newly purchased cell phones without express permission from their cell phone carriers. According to the recent 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 following was mentioned regarding the matter:

    "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 but no news on the topic has surfaced since then. At this time, it remains illegal for individuals to unlock cell phones purchased after January 26, 2013 in the US. Carriers are still permitted to unlock devices, however, and unlocked devices can also be purchased at unsubsidized prices from a number of carriers.

    Source: The Washington Post

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand

  2. #2
    Didn't the White House say unlocking was illegal last year?
    They really need to stop smoking so much dope and remember what they did and said last year.

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  4. #3
    They need to make companies allow you to run whatever firmware or software you choose on your own device. I can run any version of Windows I choose on my PC but am forced to upgrade my phone if it needs restoring? What difference does it make to apple what iOS version I choose to run? Certain apps work better on older firmwares or were never optimized for the newer version.

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  6. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by LUFT5_THOR View Post
    They need to make companies allow you to run whatever firmware or software you choose on your own device. I can run any version of Windows I choose on my PC but am forced to upgrade my phone if it needs restoring? What difference does it make to apple what iOS version I choose to run? Certain apps work better on older firmwares or were never optimized for the newer version.
    +1

  7. #5
    I wish someone would explain this to me. Why does anyone in their right mind think that they have a legal right to unlock a phone while it is under contract. AT&T foots a large portion of the price of your device under the agreement that you will pay your bill with them for the next 2 years. If it was legal to just get the phone for $200 and them immediately stop paying your bill and go to a cheap carrier don't you think that AT&T would be losing loads of money? The way I see it, you do not own that phone entirely until you have completed your contract at which point AT&T will unlock it for you. Until then you are locked in for the carriers protection. I would certainly argue that you shouldn't have request it to be unlock when your contract is over. They should just do it as soon as your contract expires but come on people you have to use common sense here. It would be like you buy a car from Ford with a small down payment and an agreed upon payment plan but then you deciding you would rather pay Chevy the monthly payments.

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  9. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by zerocool5878 View Post
    I wish someone would explain this to me. Why does anyone in their right mind think that they have a legal right to unlock a phone while it is under contract. AT&T foots a large portion of the price of your device under the agreement that you will pay your bill with them for the next 2 years. If it was legal to just get the phone for $200 and them immediately stop paying your bill and go to a cheap carrier don't you think that AT&T would be losing loads of money? The way I see it, you do not own that phone entirely until you have completed your contract at which point AT&T will unlock it for you. Until then you are locked in for the carriers protection. I would certainly argue that you shouldn't have request it to be unlock when your contract is over. They should just do it as soon as your contract expires but come on people you have to use common sense here. It would be like you buy a car from Ford with a small down payment and an agreed upon payment plan but then you deciding you would rather pay Chevy the monthly payments.
    If you look at SIM-free device and contract airtime prices in the UK, you'll see that despite people's claims, devices are not subsidised here.
    And what you say is fair comment, but regardless of whether the carrier unlocked or didn't at the start of the contract, you'd still be liable to pay it in full because your carrier contract is a credit agreement that if you break, you'll get credit blacklisted for.
    And if you're in the UK, you're better off getting a bankloan for the device - leaving you free to select your carrier of choice.

  10. #7
    My iPhone is a Part of Me politicalslug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerocool5878 View Post
    I wish someone would explain this to me. Why does anyone in their right mind think that they have a legal right to unlock a phone while it is under contract. AT&T foots a large portion of the price of your device under the agreement that you will pay your bill with them for the next 2 years. If it was legal to just get the phone for $200 and them immediately stop paying your bill and go to a cheap carrier don't you think that AT&T would be losing loads of money? The way I see it, you do not own that phone entirely until you have completed your contract at which point AT&T will unlock it for you. Until then you are locked in for the carriers protection. I would certainly argue that you shouldn't have request it to be unlock when your contract is over. They should just do it as soon as your contract expires but come on people you have to use common sense here. It would be like you buy a car from Ford with a small down payment and an agreed upon payment plan but then you deciding you would rather pay Chevy the monthly payments.
    Are you for real? I have every right to unlock my iPhone under contract. Unlocking means I can use the phone when I travel abroad on networks where AT&T has no presence. Or should I buy a second phone for that? Unlocked or not, if you cancel a subsidized phone early you are going to be required to pay the difference in the form of an early termination fee. For the rest of us, we will continue to pay the remainder of our contract, regardless of whether the phone is unlocked or not. Unlocking doesn't mean leaving the network. Or do you not know what unlocking means? It's okay to admit your know, since you sure come off sounding ignorant.
    They can have my jailbreak when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.

  11. #8
    What's Jailbreak? Brandonforcey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post
    Are you for real? I have every right to unlock my iPhone under contract. Unlocking means I can use the phone when I travel abroad on networks where AT&T has no presence. Or should I buy a second phone for that? Unlocked or not, if you cancel a subsidized phone early you are going to be required to pay the difference in the form of an early termination fee. For the rest of us, we will continue to pay the remainder of our contract, regardless of whether the phone is unlocked or not. Unlocking doesn't mean leaving the network. Or do you not know what unlocking means? It's okay to admit your know, since you sure come off sounding ignorant.
    Thank you for explaining to this foolish human being.

  12. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post
    Are you for real? I have every right to unlock my iPhone under contract. Unlocking means I can use the phone when I travel abroad on networks where AT&T has no presence. Or should I buy a second phone for that? Unlocked or not, if you cancel a subsidized phone early you are going to be required to pay the difference in the form of an early termination fee. For the rest of us, we will continue to pay the remainder of our contract, regardless of whether the phone is unlocked or not. Unlocking doesn't mean leaving the network. Or do you not know what unlocking means? It's okay to admit your know, since you sure come off sounding ignorant.
    If you travel abroad you buy unlocked phones at full price. AT&T has every right to impose these rules because they own a piece of that phone until you fulfill your obligation to them. I love how people think they can dictate how a company runs their business by pushing legislation. I don't see this ever happening and even if it did, it would likely be shot down as unconstitutional but the courts. You don't like the rules don't do business with them. It really is that simple. PS. Why do I get the feeling you voted for change?

  13. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post
    Are you for real? I have every right to unlock my iPhone under contract. Unlocking means I can use the phone when I travel abroad on networks where AT&T has no presence. Or should I buy a second phone for that? Unlocked or not, if you cancel a subsidized phone early you are going to be required to pay the difference in the form of an early termination fee. For the rest of us, we will continue to pay the remainder of our contract, regardless of whether the phone is unlocked or not. Unlocking doesn't mean leaving the network. Or do you not know what unlocking means? It's okay to admit your know, since you sure come off sounding ignorant.
    This is a sight for Jailbreakers and I phone hackers just what are you doing here Troll.please go to a sight where someone actually cares good day.

  14. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by zerocool5878 View Post
    I wish someone would explain this to me. Why does anyone in their right mind think that they have a legal right to unlock a phone while it is under contract. AT&T foots a large portion of the price of your device under the agreement that you will pay your bill with them for the next 2 years. If it was legal to just get the phone for $200 and them immediately stop paying your bill and go to a cheap carrier don't you think that AT&T would be losing loads of money? The way I see it, you do not own that phone entirely until you have completed your contract at which point AT&T will unlock it for you. Until then you are locked in for the carriers protection. I would certainly argue that you shouldn't have request it to be unlock when your contract is over. They should just do it as soon as your contract expires but come on people you have to use common sense here. It would be like you buy a car from Ford with a small down payment and an agreed upon payment plan but then you deciding you would rather pay Chevy the monthly payments.
    @Zerocool5878

    You are ob Obviously not understanding the issue. Only because you are able to unlock your phone, doesn't mean that you are relieved of your contract. The point of unlocking a phone, is another. Let's say you are abroad, why would you have to use your US provider And pay outrageous roaming fees, rather than using a local provider? Even if all phones came unlocked when you purchase them with a contract, your contract is still legally binding. The provider loses nothing.

  15. #12
    Livin the iPhone Life bigboyz's Avatar
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    Once i Sign the contract I own the phone. If i cancel my contract i don't give the phone back, I pay a cancellation fee. I feel the same about having to update the firmware..should be able to run whatever release you choose.

  16. #13
    This is why I'm on Straight Talk. Even after paying the hefty price for the Straight Talk iPhone 5, I'm still saving almost $1000 a year. ~$37/mo

  17. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by zerocool5878 View Post
    I wish someone would explain this to me. Why does anyone in their right mind think that they have a legal right to unlock a phone while it is under contract. AT&T foots a large portion of the price of your device under the agreement that you will pay your bill with them for the next 2 years. If it was legal to just get the phone for $200 and them immediately stop paying your bill and go to a cheap carrier don't you think that AT&T would be losing loads of money? The way I see it, you do not own that phone entirely until you have completed your contract at which point AT&T will unlock it for you. Until then you are locked in for the carriers protection. I would certainly argue that you shouldn't have request it to be unlock when your contract is over. They should just do it as soon as your contract expires but come on people you have to use common sense here. It would be like you buy a car from Ford with a small down payment and an agreed upon payment plan but then you deciding you would rather pay Chevy the monthly payments.
    AT&T doesn't have to unlock it after the contract is up though, I agree that people shouldn't be allowed to unlock their phone I'd they are under contract though, the cellphone companies are paying for half the phone for you, if you don't want to be under contract, buy an unlocked phone.

  18. #15
    Livin the iPhone Life slim.jim's Avatar
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    I have unlocked several iPhones after the contract is over. I even had someone contact me that I sold my 3Gs to years ago who was trying to unlock it officially (was done with ultrasn0w when I sold it). AT&T asked me for the original sales receipt which I told them I didn't have and they still unlocked it for that person. AT&T makes it very easy to unlock the phone once the contract is over.

    If you travel abroad a lot then you should just buy the unlocked device off contract. AT&T DOES have every right to not allow you to unlock the phone while on contract... it's kind of like a rent to own situation.

  19. #16
    I will give this another few months and unlocking will be legal. As for people who think we have rights or apple has rights or AT&T has rights, go to a forum where people care about that. I think apple has some good ones. This forum is for people with open minds. Mod Mi I. And that's what I want to do.

  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by bigboyz View Post
    Once i Sign the contract I own the phone. If i cancel my contract i don't give the phone back, I pay a cancellation fee. I feel the same about having to update the firmware..should be able to run whatever release you choose.
    The first part I agree with, the second part I think really is more Apple-specific. For example, I used to be an iPhone user, I decided to step into the world of Android. In this world usually phones are bootloader unlocked meaning you can flash anything you want to your device, whether an older firmware or a custom firmware or something to extend your firmware. However, companies like Verizon force the manufacturers of your specific device to be bootloader locked, which is really stupid and really wrong. This can be fixed by running some tool to flash a custom kernel, but it requires an exploit just like iPhone jailbreaks and carrier unlocks. I'm not saying it wouldn't be cool if Apple let you run whatever firmware like in the old days before SHSH blobs and AP Tickets or whatever they are now. But I really don't think it should be illegal for a company to do something like that. I'm not really saying it should be illegal for Verizon to impose what they do on manufacturers, I just wish people would see that this is bad and switch to another phone/carrier. Apple is more hard-headed though. Verizon would cave if people started leaving in big swarms to go to other carriers. Apple would be selling 10 iPhones a month and still not remove SHSH signature verification.

    Also, people go and say "Well, I can run whatever I want on my PC, why can't I on my phone?,"
    Well... is there a law stating that you can run any OS you so choose on your PC? No, it's the choice of the people who manufacture your computers. So, if a company chooses to lock a PC's OS to Windows and you're not allowed to run something like Linux, do you go and buy that computer? I would hope not. You may like everything else about the computer. It's cheap, it's fast, it's got an insane battery life, but that doesn't mean the government should swoop in and change it for you just because you don't like that one bit. It should be the companies you petition and persuade, not the government.

    I know people far and wide will disagree and call me an a**hole and everything else, but meh. What else is new? People disagree and that's okay. I just wish they didn't have to be so violent about it. This is my opinion, I'm not forcing it on anyone. No one should be able to force their opinion on anyone else.
    Last edited by Quade321; 09-18-2013 at 09:30 AM.

  21. #18
    My iPhone is a Part of Me Feanor64's Avatar
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    If you don't like the rules then pay full price! Simple jeez stop whining already. A government shouldn't be able to tell a company how to run their business. They should be worried about other ****.

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  23. #19
    O2 in the UK used to supply all their contract phones unlocked - until they became the sole carrier of the iPhone for two years.

  24. #20

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