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  • Carriers to Follow New Cellphone Unlocking Standards Starting Today


    Back in December of 2013, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon Wireless all agreed to adopt a voluntary set of six principles for the unlocking of consumers mobile phones and tablets thanks to pressure from the FCC. The deadline for the carriers to comply with the CTIA’s consumer code regarding cellphone unlocking has finally arrived. Starting today, carriers must unlock devices for both postpaid and prepaid customers.

    The companies all agreed to unlock postpaid customers devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device finance plan, or payment of applicable early termination fee. Carriers have also agreed to unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation as long as the user is consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements. In addition to this, clear device unlocking instructions are to be posted on each carrier’s website with unlocking that should take place within two days. Furthermore, members of the military qualify for an unlock as long as they provide proof of deployment, regardless of their contract status.

    Those of you interested in reading the full details can do so below:

    MOBILE WIRELESS DEVICE UNLOCKING
    Each wireless provider will abide by the following standards regarding the ability of customers, former customers, and individual owners of eligible devices to unlock phones and tablets, (“mobile wireless devices”) that are locked by or at the direction of the carrier. It should be noted that carriers typically use different frequencies and air interface technologies to provide wireless network access. Accordingly, a device that works on one carrier’s network may not be technologically compatible with another carrier’s network. “Unlocking” a device refers only to disabling software that would prevent a consumer from attempting to activate a device designed for one carrier’s network on another carrier’s network, even if that network is technologically compatible. In other words, “unlocking” a device will not necessarily make a device interoperable with other networks-a device designed for one network is not made technologically compatible with another network merely by “unlocking” it. Additionally, unlocking a device may enable some functionality of the device but not all (e.g., an unlocked device may support voice services but not data services when activated on a different network).

    Each wireless provider agrees to abide by the following six principles:

    (1) Disclosure. Each carrier will post on its website its clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on postpaid and prepaid mobile wireless device unlocking;

    (2) Postpaid Unlocking Policy. Carriers upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices or provide the necessary information to unlock their devices for their customers and former customers in good standing and individual owners of eligible devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device financing plan, or payment of applicable early termination fee.

    (3) Prepaid Unlocking Policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.

    (4) Notice. Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely when devices are eligible for unlocking, without additional fee. Carriers reserve the right to charge non-customers/non-former-customers with a reasonable fee for unlocking requests. Notice to prepaid customers may occur at point of sale, at the time of eligibility, or through a clear and concise statement of policy on the carrier’s website.

    (5) Response Time. Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request to the OEM to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation of why the device does not qualify for unlocking, or why the carrier reasonably needs additional time to process the request.

    (6) Deployed Personnel Unlocking Policy. Carriers will unlock mobile wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing upon provision of deployment papers.

    Carriers reserve the right to decline an unlock request if they have a reasonable basis to believe the request is fraudulent or the device is stolen. Carriers further agree to implement three of the standards articulated above within 3 months from February 11, 2014. Carriers further commit to implement the remainder of the principles within 12 months from February 11, 2014.
    Source: CTIA via iClarified
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Carriers to Follow New Cellphone Unlocking Standards Starting Today started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. R.Mortera's Avatar
      R.Mortera -
      Awesome, just unlocked my iPhone 6 with tmobile
    1. bisayakid07's Avatar
      bisayakid07 -
      I can confirm this. I have 2 iphone6, iphone5c and iphone 3gs. All were unlocked by AT&T at the same time with no questions ask. Just fill up the online form. Done in minutes
    1. arempee's Avatar
      arempee -
      Last year I tried contacting AT&T to unlock my iPhone 6+ because I went overseas but there was no luck. I tried unlocking service from Ebay & craigslist but they couldn't unlock it. (But I got refunded) Yesterday, I filled out the form from AT&T website and in less than 5 minutes, I received an email from AT&T saying that my iPhone 6+ has been unlocked[emoji1]
    1. rolandgabor's Avatar
      rolandgabor -
      Still not up to European standards where carriers are forced to sell unlocked phones from the get go without any additional fees or charges.
      On another note: I have always been able to unlock through AT&T after I fulfilled my terms since the iphone4. Am i missing something here?
    1. King_O_Hill's Avatar
      King_O_Hill -
      Don't European carriers just sell phones outright? I didn't think that they subsidized the phones. If you pay full price, you'd be a fool for it to not be unlocked.
    1. Carvensno's Avatar
      Carvensno -
      Ya I did my iPhone 6+ on ATT 2-3 months ago, filled out online questionnaire and they unlocked no questions asked!
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      I love your 'European' comments.

      The UK is part of Europe. Here most phones are sold heavily subsidised and locked. Most people get their phones cheap (or free) and pay more for their contract if they get a better phone ie they are paying for the phone over the course of their contract. The phone is owned by the buyer straight away so some people get a good phone as an upgrade and sell it straight away as a way of subsidising their contract which is why you can get them cheap off eBay.
    1. Right2YaDome's Avatar
      Right2YaDome -
      Hey I've got sprint iPhone 4S owned for 3 years. Trying to lower the bill maybe even go AT&T now is this possible? Also have an old AT&T SIM card lying here could that still work? Thanks ahead of time.
    1. rolandgabor's Avatar
      rolandgabor -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      I love your 'European' comments.

      The UK is part of Europe. Here most phones are sold heavily subsidised and locked. Most people get their phones cheap (or free) and pay more for their contract if they get a better phone ie they are paying for the phone over the course of their contract. The phone is owned by the buyer straight away so some people get a good phone as an upgrade and sell it straight away as a way of subsidising their contract which is why you can get them cheap off eBay.
      "European" these days refers to the European Union. Just a correction.
      Lot of "Europeans" live in the us that are familiar with the concept. The EU was the first to block apple's efforts to sell carrier locked phones such as the case in the US. This was the point of my comment.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by rolandgabor View Post
      "European" these days refers to the European Union. Just a correction.
      Lot of "Europeans" live in the us that are familiar with the concept. The EU was the first to block apple's efforts to sell carrier locked phones such as the case in the US. This was the point of my comment.
      The UK is part of the EU - I'm not sure where you got the idea it's not or your idea that they can't sell carrier locked phones here in the EU.
    1. StaceyMJ86's Avatar
      StaceyMJ86 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Right2YaDome View Post
      Hey I've got sprint iPhone 4S owned for 3 years. Trying to lower the bill maybe even go AT&T now is this possible? Also have an old AT&T SIM card lying here could that still work? Thanks ahead of time.
      I don't think they have the same LTE bands and Sprint is CDMA while AT&T is GSM.
    1. TechAlex's Avatar
      TechAlex -
      Quote Originally Posted by arempee View Post
      I can confirm this. I have 2 iphone6, iphone5c and iphone 3gs. All were unlocked by AT&T at the same time with no questions ask. Just fill up the online form. Done in minutes]
      Sure! My was denied.
    1. psxcancer's Avatar
      psxcancer -
      I hope to have better luck than I've had in the past with AT&T. Their Unlocking website is a Joke, AT&T.... Truly a love - hate relationship