Small U.S. Carriers Are Backing Cell Phone Unlocking Bills in Congress

Posted March 13, 2013 at 6:01pm by iClarified | Please help us and submit a translation by clicking here | 6627 views

Small wireless carriers are backing several bills in Congress that would make cell phone unlocking legal in hopes of attracting more customers, reports Bloomberg.

Regional and rural wireless providers are backing several bills in Congress that would let consumers unlock mobile phones and tablet computers without carriers’ permission. Big phone companies often land exclusive rights to offer the hottest devices, and U.S. rules currently prohibit altering software to let new phones from one carrier to work on other networks.

“Smaller carriers have a very difficult time getting access to smartphones and handsets,” said Steven Berry, president of the Competitive Carriers Association, which represents such companies as U.S. Cellular Corp. (USM) and Bluegrass Cellular. “The unlocking is one way the consumer can make the decision that I can try someone else who has better coverage in the area where I live or play.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, and Charles Grassley of Iowa, introduced a bill March 11 to overturn the Library of Congress’s decision and add tablets as unlockable devices.

Senator Ron Wyden has introduced the 'Wireless Device Independence Act' a bill that if passed will make cell phone unlocking legal, as well.

These bills were put forward after the White House and the FCC came out in support of making cell phone unlocking legal in response to a petition that garnered 114,000 signatures. Since 2006, The Library of Congress had issued an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allowed for cell phone unlocking; however, it decided not to extend that exemption past January, 2013.

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farmlad - May 29, 2014 at 2:11pm
While unlocking seems to be illegal, I haven't heard about anybody doing time. However people are reluctant to break the law. Its time there was some clarity on this issue: Read more here: unlock.my
farmlad - May 29, 2014 at 2:10pm
While unlocking seems to be illegal, I haven't heard about anybody doing time. However people are reluctant to break the law. Its time there was some clarity on this issue: Read more here: http://www.unlock.my
digitalunlocking - December 4, 2013 at 12:36pm
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Daniel - March 17, 2013 at 2:59am
I hope that cell phone unlocking will begun legal in the US. Daniel Dorilas Manager @ http://wejustunlock.com Cellphone Unlocking Service
Stewey - March 13, 2013 at 9:48pm
As long as they require the phones to be unlocked from the beginning EVEN ON CONTRACT, this would be cool. Otherwise, it is meaningless. And tablets already are unlocked form day one.
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