Cell Phone Carriers Must Unlock Phones
The days of carriers locking down devices to keep customers in place are officially dead.
Starting Wednesday, all US carriers must comply with requests from postpaid and prepaid customers to unlock their devices, as long as certain parameters are met. The rules officially came down in 2013 and the industry group CTIA committed last year to have all wireless carriers adhering to the regulation by February 11, 2015.
The debate over phone unlocking has come a long way in just a few short years. Unlocking a phone allows owners to put the device on whatever carrier network they choose. For years, carriers have locked down devices, allowing them only to connect to their own networks. The move was designed to keep customers close and not see them stray to other carriers.
“We are pleased the FCC acknowledged the participating wireless carriers met the deadlines to unlock their customers’ devices per the Consumer Code for Wireless Service,” said Scott Bergmann, the CTIA’s vice president for regulatory affairs, in a statement. “We also remind consumers than an unlocked device does not necessarily mean an interoperable one since different carriers use different technologies and spectrum bands.”