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Here's the Voluntary Unlocking Policies Carriers Agreed To
by Karl Bode 08:26AM Friday Dec 13 2013 Tipped by JimThePCGuy See Profile
As noted yesterday, the FCC has agreed with carriers to impose unlocking policies requiring they make their unlocking policies clear, among other things. JimThePCGuy See Profile writes in to note that users who signed the White House petition to support cell phone unlocking have received this letter, which applauds the FCC move but urges users concerned about this issue to support the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act.

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Meanwhile, the FCC has posted the exact voluntary guidelines carriers have agreed to (pdf), listed below:

1: Disclosure: Each carrier will post on its website its clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on postpaid and prepaid mobile wireless device unlocking.

2: Postpaid unlocking policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices or provide the necessary information to unlock their devices for their customers and former customers in good standing and individual owners of eligible devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device financing plan or payment of an applicable early termination fee.

3: Prepaid unlocking policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment, or usage requirements.

4: Notice. Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely when devices are eligible for unlocking, without additional fee. Carriers reserve the right to charge non-customers/non-former customers a reasonable fee for unlocking requests. Notice to prepaid customers may occur at point of sale, at the time of eligibility, or through a clear and concise statement of the policy on the carrier’s website.

5: Response time. Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request of the OEM to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation of why the device does not qualify for unlocking, or why the carrier reasonably needs additional time to process the request.

6: Deployed personnel unlocking policy. Carriers will unlock mobile wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing upon provision of deployment papers. Consumers will have access to clear, concise, and readily available policies about unlocking their devices.

As noted previously, the industry initially balked only at number 4, apparently believing that automatically alerting users as to when their cell was unlocked would act as unlocking advertising to users formerly unaware of the process. Again, these guidelines are all voluntary with no substantive penalty for not fully adhering to them.

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SunnyD

join:2009-03-20
Madison, AL

Loophole:

quote:
5: Response time. Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request of the OEM to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation of why the device does not qualify for unlocking, or why the carrier reasonably needs additional time to process the request.
Two business days later: "We're sorry, that device cannot be unlocked. The OEM does not maintain a database of unlock codes for this device anymore. Have a nice day!"

nothing00

join:2001-06-10
Centereach, NY

Paticularly like #3

Isn't the whole idea behind prepaid that you've paid for the phone/service and aren't under any obligation/contract? This "up to one year" to satisfy some arbitrary unwritten service agreement (again, there shouldn't be one!) just baffles me.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Big 4

4: Notice. Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely when devices are eligible for unlocking, without additional fee. Carriers reserve the right to charge non-customers/non-former customers a reasonable fee for unlocking requests. Notice to prepaid customers may occur at point of sale, at the time of eligibility, or through a clear and concise statement of the policy on the carrier’s website.
Of course they don't want this. Many people are clueless that their expensive device has restrictions on it that the carrier would prefer left in place even if they have no fiduciary ties to the device. This has been the problem all along, especially Sprint of late. Sprint will gladly buy back my domestic locked iPhone 4S for a pittance and part of that is due to it being useless on any other US network. If they removed all the locks, its value would improve.

Bottom line, I wish these agreements had the force of law as I am pretty sure a year from now we will all be complaining how the carriers have completely ignored this agreement and suffered no penalties for it.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL

Nothing has changed here.

With the exception of Sprint the carriers already do these things except the auto notification. And with no penalty that isn't gonna happen either.

Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1

Re: Nothing has changed here.

They do? If they did, why the need for this? Maybe because they don't?

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·T-Mobile US

Re: Nothing has changed here.

Yeah. They do. AT&T and T-Mobile have at least. There never has been an unlocking process for CDMA since you have to flash them to a different network. How about enlightenment as to what this law does other than make sure that the carriers start selling phones that can only use their bands on LTE

Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1

Re: Nothing has changed here.

So let's make them do something they already do according to you, sounds legit
Chubbysumo

join:2009-12-01
Superior, WI
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: Nothing has changed here.

have you actually read that unlock request from AT&T?

quote:
T will unlock an AT&T Mobile Device under the following circumstances:
The person requesting the unlock must be one of the following:
a current AT&T customer
a former AT&T customer who can provide the phone number or account number for the account

Did you notice that? what if I bought a phone used, and im not a former customer(and never have been)? What if I bought a device from AT&T directly and paid in full, yet am not a customer with a phone number there? I had a hell of a time getting my first SGS3 unlock code because I paid in full for it at an AT&T store, and was not an AT&T customer. The second one went much smoother because I knew what to say.

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·T-Mobile US

Re: Nothing has changed here.

You are correct in saying it is difficult to unlock a phone if you don't meet the requirements. I had to pay a third party for my unlock code for my 1020. But the point of my post is that this set of laws written by the FCC doesn't change anything or make the carriers do anything they don't already do.

Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1

4-sure

Yeah, its fairly obvious that curriers would not want to bring attention to the fact that a device is eligible for unlocking let alone automatically unlock said device. Making it possible or easier for customers to take their device to a competing carrier could result in competing prices / rates.

In any case the FCC’s efforts here seem wasted as the agreement has little to no bite.

It all seems like filibustering BS IMO since nothing of any real substance has been accomplished. Make things simple, just make locking a phone illegal and give carriers a deadline to unlock all phones on and locked to their network.

Anon E Muss

@myvzw.com

pointless

guess what my Verizon device won't work on At&t, T-Mobile or Sprint and vice versa. I'm not sure why people don't get this. None of these companies use the same spectrum for LTE or voice. Heck Verizon and Sprint use CDMA and At&t and T-Mobile use GSM so how is that going to work?

simlesa
Premium
join:2006-04-14
Astoria, NY

Re: pointless

With LTE, most devices CAN work on any carrier. Apple doesn't install different antennas in the iPhone for each cell phone company, they just program it to listen to a particular set of frequencies. But it should be possible to modify with just a simple software update.
engage16

join:2013-08-26

buy unlocked phones. problem solved!

This is why I buy a phone that is already unlocked! and go with straight talk for my service plan. Its the same service as AT&T at 1/2 the cost, hey look one year into my 'contract' and my phone is paid for in full. Never mind the savings after 2-3 years.