Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems | Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy | How to Block Spam Calls | Snapchat Symbol Meaning

We may earn commissions when you buy from links on our site. Why you can trust us.

author photo

FCC and Mobile Carriers Reach Agreement on Phone Unlocking

by Fox Van Allen on December 12, 2013

Major U.S. cell phone carriers and the federal government have reached a voluntary agreement that will guarantee your ability to legally unlock your phone from its current network at the end of your contract, Reuters reports.

Most wireless companies currently lock phones that are under contract to their network. That means, for example, you can’t take a device you bought at Verizon and have it activated at AT&T without Verizon's OK. Now, your carrier must tell you can unlock your phone at the expiration of your contract and must further streamline the unlocking procedure.

Specifically, the key terms of the agreement between carriers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) state:

  • that consumers have access to clear, concise, and readily accessible policies regarding the unlocking of their phones;
  • that carriers will provide customer notification or automatically unlock devices at the time of eligibility;
  • that carriers will unlock devices within 48 hours or provide an explanation of denial; and
  • that carriers will unlock devices for deployed military personnel.

Earlier in the year, carriers aggressively lobbied the Library of Congress, which oversees copyright exemptions, to rule the unlocking process illegal under penalty of law. The wireless industry indeed won that fight in January but suffered a major PR black eye in the process. Phone unlocking has actually increased 71% in the months following it being made illegal, according to a Venture Beat report.

“Wireless carriers should be able to enforce their valid customer contracts,” says FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. “But I also believe that the provisions in those contracts need to be grounded in common sense. Consumers, who satisfy the terms of their contracts, should not be subject to civil and criminal penalties if they want to take their device to a new carrier.”

[Mobile phone security via Shutterstock]


Phones and Mobile, News, Cell Phones, Blog

Discussion loading

Home | About | Meet the Team | Contact Us
Media Kit | Newsletter Sponsorships | Licensing & Permissions
Accessibility Statement
Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookie Policy

Techlicious participates in affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provide a small commission from some, but not all, of the "click-thru to buy" links contained in our articles. These click-thru links are determined after the article has been written, based on price and product availability — the commissions do not impact our choice of recommended product, nor the price you pay. When you use these links, you help support our ongoing editorial mission to provide you with the best product recommendations.

© Techlicious LLC.