As noted yesterday
, the FCC has agreed with carriers to impose unlocking policies requiring they make their unlocking policies clear, among other things. JimThePCGuy
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
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.