New FCC Chairman Wants Cell Phone Unlocking Made Legal Before the Holidays

New FCC Chairman Wants Cell Phone Unlocking Made Legal Before the Holidays

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Tom Wheeler, the new FCC Chairman, has penned a letter to the CTIA (The Wireless Association) urging them to make cell phone unlocking legal before the holidays, or have the FCC step in to regulate.

Wheeler says, "Enough time has passed, and it is now time for the industry to act voluntarily or for the FCC to regulate." He wants the CTIA Consumer Code to contain the full unlocking rights policy "before the December holiday season".

The FCC is demanding that customers have the right to unlock their mobile devices once their contracts are fulfilled and that carriers notify them when their devices are eligible for unlocking.

Of course, this is great news for U.S. consumers and we'll keep you up to date with any developments. The full letter is attached below.

You can follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.

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During my first week on the job, I continually emphasized the importance of competition and the FCC's receptiveness to voluntary industry activities to promote competition. For eight months, the FCC staff has been working with CTIA on an amendment to your Consumer Code in which this industry would address consumers' rights to unlock their mobile wireless devices once their contracts are fulfilled.

The Commission has indicated that any such policy must contain five parts: (a) provide a clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on unlocking; (b) unlock mobile wireless devices for customers, former customers, and legitimate owners when the applicable service contract, installment plan, or ETF has been fulfilled; (c) affirmatively notify customers when their devices are eligible for unlocking and/or automatically unlock devices when eligible, without an additional fee; (d) process unlocking requests or provide an explanation of denial within two business days; and (e) unlock devices for military personnel upon deployment. It appears that CTIA and the FCC are in agreement on all but the third item regarding consumer notification. Absent the consumer's right to be informed about unlocking eligibility, any voluntary program would be a hollow shell.

We are anxious to work with you and your members to resolve this matter expeditiously. Enough time has passed, and it is now time for the industry to act voluntarily or for the FCC to regulate. Let's set a goal of including the full unlocking rights policy in the CTIA Consumer Code before the December holiday season.

We look forward to working with you on this policy as well as continuing to work
together after its adoption to monitor its implementation.
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[Gizmodo]


New FCC Chairman Wants Cell Phone Unlocking Made Legal Before the Holidays
saun - November 21, 2013 at 1:39pm
yes, i agree for unlocking made legal becoze its not crime , its just provide policy to customer use his service and company earn from customer , thats it gsmunlockmaster(dot) in
Branoski - November 16, 2013 at 12:03pm
What of those who bought another phone with the same contract example: Have Note2 Bought Note3 should the old phone be out of the contract? AT&T says no. F*** as**le!!!!!
WAMBO - November 16, 2013 at 4:18pm
You are spot on. If you replace your old device, and thereby enter a new contract, then technically, you have fulfilled your old contract. The proof as that you are not charged for both devices, but you are charged for only the newest device. therefore, you have fulfilled your contract obligation [by upgrading or replacing the contract legally] and should be entitled to have the old device unlocked. In the real world, when a contract is replaced, the old one is void.
Ron dean - November 16, 2013 at 8:11am
I like this guy
C-dawg - November 16, 2013 at 4:54am
Devices should be unlocked from day one, get the carriers death grip off the consumers.
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