Want an unlocked cell phone? Better hurry!

  • 25 January 2013
  • 3 replies

Userlevel 7
"In October 2012, the Librarian of Congress, who determines exemptions to a strict anti-hacking law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), decided that unlocking mobile phones would no longer be allowed. But the librarian provided a 90-day window during which people could still buy a phone and unlock it. That window closes on January 26."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/01/24/unlocking-cellphones-becomes-illegal-saturday/#ixzz2J0zYyR9l
I had no idea about this law. Good idea or bad?

3 replies

Userlevel 2
*I must turn on my anger filter first before I start typing...*
Very, very bad idea. And only in corporate America.
Europe embraces the idea of unlocking, but here in America, carriers set strict policies and make sure most of their customers don't even know what unlocking is. Now, parts of the goverment are helping the carriers out.
Banning unlocking is just plain rediculous and ignorant in every way possible of looking at the situation. The whole purpose of Global System Mobile (GSM) is freedom from the carrier. And more progressive companies like T-Mobile (I'm a subscriber that has been overall most certainly pleased in my 3-4 years with them) are embracing unlocking in the US too now to bring your own device.
So ultimately, when executed with a bit of common sense in marketing, unlocking doesn't have to make carriers lose customers. It can make them GAIN customers.
I just bought another unlocked phone recently. I currently have two identical BlackBerry Torch 9860s. Execellent devices. This scares me though...in a few months I'm going to want a BlackBerry 10 device, and if I cannot get it unlocked, that's a bit of an irritation.
If T-Mobile has a network problem that is ongoing, there is nothing better than to be able to use your long expired contract as leverage. "Fix it, or I'll put in an AT&T SIM card." (Not that I ever would...I hate AT&T.)
Also, there's something especially technologically delicious about having no carrier branding on your phone's surface, or even worse, when you boot the bloomin' thing up every time. Of course, this only applies to FACTORY UNLOCKED phones. Putting in an unlock code to an already branded phone will not remove the low-level firmware code which tells it to show the original carrier's logo on boot up/shut down.
Very disappointing news. Thanks for sharing.
Userlevel 7
I think there is a bit more to the story,  According to CNN the new enforcement includes those phones that are sold in a locked condition.  It does not, however, mention phones available unlocked on initial sale.  A number of retailers sell brand new phones, unlocked, with no contract, that you can still bring with you to your provider of choice.  It would appear from the wording of the CNN article that this will not change: only the legal ability to take a phone locked by one provider and unlock it for use by another.
Userlevel 7
DavidP, I believe you are correct. You can still but an unlocked phone, but it will be illegal to unlock a phone that was purchased as a regular locked device.