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FCC Will Investigate Unlocked Cell Phone Ban
Though The Problem May Fall Outside FCC Jurisdiction
by Karl Bode 11:44AM Friday Mar 01 2013
With a petition to make cell phone unlocking legal again awaiting White House response, the FCC now says they'll be launching an investigation into the issue. It's not entirely clear what good that will do since this is an issue with the Librarian of Congress and the quite-silly DMCA exception list process. Even if Genachowski can find a way to act he's not exactly known as a guy who makes tough or controversial decisions when necessary.


He is however a guy who likes to get press for saying things he may or may not follow through on. Genachowski told TechCrunch this week the ban "raises competition concerns" and "innovation concerns" the FCC would like to look at in more detail:
quote:
Genachowski isn’t sure what authority he has, but if he finds any, given the tone of the conversation, it’s likely he will exert his influence to reverse the decision. “It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones." If the FCC does discover some latent authority to give users more freedom over their choice in carriers, it will mean another big victory for grassroots Internet activism.
TechCrunch somehow paints this as a huge win for Internet activism despite the fact nothing has changed yet. If you know Genachowski or the FCC, the end result will simply be a study that takes a year to produce and will conclude what everybody already knows: both the phone unlocking ban and the DMCA exemption process are anti-consumer and completely absurd. That's not to say the issue won't get resolved over time, but it probably won't be the FCC that does it.

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nothing00

join:2001-06-10
Centereach, NY

1 recommendation

One way to solve it

The FCC could determine that cell phones must be sold UNLOCKED.

Therefore there's never any circumvention and the DMCA doesn't kick in.

edit: for clarity

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: One way to solve it

Of course and when people screw around with the OS on their unlocked phone and brick it or mess it up some other way they'll blame the carrier and demand anew phone for free.

seamore
Premium
join:2009-11-02

Re: One way to solve it

said by 88615298:

Of course and when people screw around with the OS on their unlocked phone and brick it or mess it up some other way they'll blame the carrier and demand anew phone for free.

I highly doubt that
When people fuck up their computers by "tinkering" or by inadvertent fuckups, they dont go running to the computer manufactures asking for a "free" computer.

complete hogwash.
rfnut
Premium
join:2002-04-27
Fisher, IL
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Mediacom

Re: One way to solve it

You might want to rethink that. Ask any phone support person. Or better yet; someone in the warranty repair department who sees these "bricked" systems come back for exchange with the user saying "I didn't do anything to it.... it just quit." It happens in many different sectors like routers, switches, modems, and even computers. Adding phones to the mix would be nothing new, just a change to the warranty system.
theboz1419

join:2003-02-12
Elgin, IL

Re: One way to solve it

Phones now days can be unbricked, and in fact some phones have to be bricked to be rooted. Granted they are soft bricked, but its almost impossible now days to hard brick a phone.

Selenia
I love Debian
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2

Re: One way to solve it

Had to brick my Burst after ICS upgrade to make it run right. Flash CWM, then the kernel files that the updater fails to overwrite, then run updater again by rebooting to download mode via CWM. Change defective CPU(goes from running on 2 cores to 1 on every one I seen after ICS upgrade) and memory default settings(causing OOM to be an epic fail) and you're in business. This stops all the freezes, lags, crashes, and other bs, as well as enables a recovery mode which was stripped with the ICS upgrade.

But anyways, what does unlocking a phone have to do with bricking? Unlocking is simply unlocking the baseband firmware to allow any carrier's SIM card, usually done via code. It has nothing to do with root and custom ROMs. A phone can be unlocked, but not rooted or vice-versa. I don't care much about unlocking as not many carriers around here meet my needs. Without root, I'd go nuts. I like to have control over my device and some, like this Burst, have to be rooted to run right. So, rooting voids warranties, but unlocking does not.
--
A fool thinks they know everything.

A wise person knows enough to know they couldn't possibly know everything.

There are zealots for every OS, like every religion. They do not represent the majority of users for either.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
said by seamore:

said by 88615298:

Of course and when people screw around with the OS on their unlocked phone and brick it or mess it up some other way they'll blame the carrier and demand anew phone for free.

I highly doubt that
When people fuck up their computers by "tinkering" or by inadvertent fuckups, they dont go running to the computer manufactures asking for a "free" computer.

complete hogwash.

What are you talking about. People do that all the time.

Alex J

@184.105.146.x

Of course and when people screw around with the OS on their unlocked phone and brick it or mess it up some other way they'll blame the carrier and demand anew phone for free.

Only if they're stupid. Flashing something like CM10 is elementary grade difficult if you can read. If you're worried, don't.

It should be a consumer right to tinker with the device they own. Anybody who argues against these kinds of rights astounds me.

Frank
is chilling
Premium
join:2000-11-03
somewhere

Re: One way to solve it

said by Alex J :

Of course and when people screw around with the OS on their unlocked phone and brick it or mess it up some other way they'll blame the carrier and demand anew phone for free.

Only if they're stupid. Flashing something like CM10 is elementary grade difficult if you can read. If you're worried, don't.

Stupidity has nothing to do with it. Everybody has attributes.

Computers are easy to some but difficult to others just like cooking is easy to some but difficult to others.
Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Future Nine Corp..
·T-Mobile US
·Optimum Online
said by 88615298:

Of course and when people screw around with the OS on their unlocked phone and brick it or mess it up some other way they'll blame the carrier and demand anew phone for free.

The stupid people who expect a free subsidized phone aren't the same ones who buy their own to do as they please with it. I would expect that reaction from the subsidy-obsessed crowd.

Rob
In Deo speramus.
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Kendall, FL
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 recommendation

said by 88615298:

Of course and when people screw around with the OS on their unlocked phone and brick it or mess it up some other way they'll blame the carrier and demand anew phone for free.

This has nothing to do with unlocking your phone. Unlocking allows consumers to use their phone on any carrier that supports the phone.
--
CheckSite.us | YourIP.us | Reverseip.us

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: One way to solve it

said by Rob:

This has nothing to do with unlocking your phone. Unlocking allows consumers to use their phone on any carrier that supports the phone.

Even more pointless. You can't bring an unlocked at&t phone to Verizon or a unlocked Verizon phone to at&t even if they supported all bands of LTE. Unless the only thing you wanted to do is use data. Verizon's till uses CDMA for calls and texts and at&t still uses GSM for calls and texts. So you'd need a separate device for those things.

Rob
In Deo speramus.
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Kendall, FL
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: One way to solve it

said by 88615298:

said by Rob:

This has nothing to do with unlocking your phone. Unlocking allows consumers to use their phone on any carrier that supports the phone.

Even more pointless. You can't bring an unlocked at&t phone to Verizon or a unlocked Verizon phone to at&t even if they supported all bands of LTE. Unless the only thing you wanted to do is use data. Verizon's till uses CDMA for calls and texts and at&t still uses GSM for calls and texts. So you'd need a separate device for those things.

Au contraire. The point of unlocking, for the bulk of users, is so that when they travel internationally, they are not forced to use their carriers exorbitant roaming rates. Unlocking phones would allow users to purchase a simcard and use cheaper roaming charges through a local wireless carrier in the country they are in.
--
CheckSite.us | YourIP.us | Reverseip.us

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1
Your thinking of the wrong kind of unlocking, this is about sim unlocking which lets GSM phones work on other carriers, not bootloader unlocking which lets you load custom roms.

nothing00

join:2001-06-10
Centereach, NY
said by 88615298:

Of course and when people screw around with the OS on their unlocked phone and brick it or mess it up some other way they'll blame the carrier and demand anew phone for free.

We're talking about carrier locking here. Not messing with your phone / rooting.

They're completely different.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT
Bullsh*t. I've been running Cyanogenmod for years. It definitely kicks ass!
tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL
The FCC could simply deny an FCC ID/(license to transmit) approval for locked phones.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: One way to solve it

and Others would be smacking the FCC around and could possibly redo the entire "department/agency" for such a thing especially since the Library of Congress says otherwise.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
said by nothing00:

The FCC could determine that cell phones must be sold UNLOCKED.

And then suddenly a new iPhone will be $900.

nothing00

join:2001-06-10
Centereach, NY

Re: One way to solve it

said by fifty nine:

And then suddenly a new iPhone will be $900.

Uh, why?

Last I recall you sign a two year contract with high early termination fees to get the initial low price.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
GOOD!
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Will never happen. The FCC would be smacked so hard they'd redo the agency. Plus the Agency would NOT have the power to do such a thing.
decifal

join:2007-03-10
Bon Aqua, TN
kudos:1

1 recommendation

nope

Won't happen. This is corporate america

exocet_cm
Free at last, free at last
Premium
join:2003-03-23
New Orleans, LA
kudos:3

If the FCC doesn't enforce it

Then who enforces the penalties?
oshkrozz

join:2013-02-12
Baltimore, MD

Not sure about the conclusion

I think the conclusion is a bit off, I am sure the study will take at least a year, the FCC will determine that selling an unlocked phone is the sole discretion of the carriers and that since you can sometimes buy an unlocked phone it is not anti-competitive.

However they will also find that only terrorists want their phones unlocked and therefor to even request it should put you on the do not fly list, and that it is the duty of the providers to make sure your phone is locked anything less is unpatriotic.
MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

Re: Not sure about the conclusion

Think of the children too!!

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Fixed It For You!

...both the phone unlocking ban and the DMCA exemption process are anti-consumer and completely absurd
yet completely legal and no changes will be forthcoming. Now go away and bother somebody else.

At least that is what I expect to hear in a year from the FCC.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
brianiscool

join:2000-08-16
Tampa, FL
kudos:1

Unlocked

I bet the senior's think it means their phones are opened and anyone can come in and take what they want.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

at&t ST customers got screwed over

Yep. Thanks to the ban, I can no longer get a new at&t ST SIM card. I just hope my existing one continues to work.

My wife is rather pissed, too. But, maybe we can get an unlocked Note 2 for her. I know I have to contact my sis about her HTC Aria.

I'd love to b*tch slap several people in congress right now.
sharksfan3
Premium
join:2004-02-16
North Hollywood, CA

Re: at&t ST customers got screwed over

said by Simba7:

Yep. Thanks to the ban, I can no longer get a new at&t ST SIM card. I just hope my existing one continues to work.

Why wont Straight Talk send you a new SIM card? I can go buy one from a ST branded vending machine type of thing in the local mall here...

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: at&t ST customers got screwed over

Not an at&t one.. so I have to beg at&t to unlock my Captivate.
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

1 recommendation

There is no "ban". An exemption to the DMCA that specifically allows unlocking has expired. That's all. People were unlocking cell phones before the exemption was in place, and they'll be unlocking them now and in the future, as well.

You not being able to obtain an AT&T SIM card from America Movil (parent company of Straight Talk) has absolutely NOTHING to do with this expiry of this exemption. Word from those in the know is that AT&T was tired of losing customers to ST's $45 unlimited plan, and that AT&T and AM are re-negotiating the MVNO deal, at which point everyone hopes the AT&T compatible SIM cards will be available again.

Note that you can still get T-Mobile SIM cards from Straight Talk, and that AT&T ST phones are still being sold in areas that have no native T-Mobile coverage. This contradicts it having anything to do with the unlock exemption expiring, and points to having everything to do with a business rift between AT&T and America Movil. The existing SIM cards are also going to continue to work as far as anyone is aware

Additionally, America Movil's Net10 brand is still selling AT&T SIMs in their BYOD kit here: »www.amazon.com/Net10-SIM-Card-Ac···081FVWVC

The cost is $50 per month, not $45, and there is a data cap of 1.5GB, where the ST SIMs were supposedly "unlimited" data, but many people were being throttled or cut off around 2GB. The fact that these kits are still available shows that the exemption is not to blame. Additionally, the fact that the data limit is spelled out in clear terms is a good thing, IMO, as there is no more guesswork regarding how much data you should or shouldn't use on your plan.

If you want to get a prepaid AT&T SIM for your wife, perhaps the Net10 plan would meet your needs.

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

locked phone is dumb

Consumers should be able to puchase a phone and use it wherever they wish. Getting a phone free (or subsidized through higher than normal monthly rates that mean the phone is definitely NOT free) is a completely different animal. But at the end of the initial contract, that phone should be free to use at any provider the consumer wishes, having paid for that right and owning that phone.

Locking the phone is essentially the same as retaining control over a car and preventing the owner from driving wherever they wish to drive, and is certainly anti-competitive and un-American, because it limits your freedom. I'd expect this to occur in China, not the bastion of freedom on Earth, the mighty U.S. of A.

I think someone should launch a suit concerning ownership, because when you purchase anything, it's yours to do with as you wish. Even if that means breaking the law. Sure you may get caught, but that's also the price of freedom too. The freedom to risk your own freedom. If you buy a house and want to bulldoze the thing, no one can really stop you, unless you're trying to defraud an insurance company, and all they'll do is get you arrested and try to prove you guilty in court, but they can't stop your from doing it in the first place.

Corporate American is turning the country into a police state indirectly with their attempts at building 'marketing' walls around everyone.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: locked phone is dumb

said by Probitas :

But at the end of the initial contract, that phone should be free to use at any provider the consumer wishes, having paid for that right and owning that phone.

Please explain how I use my Verizon phone that uses CDMA for calls and texts at at&t that uses GSM for calls and texts. Then I might support this idea.

Ken Cox

@umsl.edu

Unlocking Phone

So I'm kinda new to this whole idea of unlocking/bricking your cell phone and for that reason i have a question which has probably been answered multiple times, but just for clarity I'll ask anyway. Does the possibility of being able to unlock your cell phone mean that it would no longer matter if the phone is by default supported by CDMA and GSM phone companies? If so, its kind of funny because i actually just bought a Galaxy S3 Mini off amazon and couldn't use it with US Cellular because the phone itself was GSM based. So would the alleviation of this ban mean that i could use this phone with US Cellular (Although they're getting ready to cell their market to sprint where I'm at) now?