Skip to comments.Phone unlocking ban could could hit you in the wallet
Posted on 01/28/2013 10:07:36 AM PST by J05h
As of Saturday, your options for owning an unlocked phone become far more limited. You can ask your carrier to unlock itand good luck with thator you can pay a premium to manufacturers like Apple or Google for a new unlocked phone. You just cant unlock your phone yourselfat least, not legally.
That decision was made not by voters, the courts, or even Congress. It was made by one man, 83-year-old Congressional Librarian James Hadley Billington, who is responsible for interpreting the meaning of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Billington decided last October that unlocking your phone yourself is a violation of the Act, which was originally written to prevent digital piracy.
(Excerpt) Read more at pcworld.com ...
Another example of too much power in hands of unelected bureaucrats.
Can someone explain this to me? Surely, they don’t mean just turning it on....Sorry, I’m old and this new fangled day technology is confusing to me...
When you buy your phone you are locked to that carrier!
To switch carriers it has to be unlocked!
From the end of the article:
Hays says that when LTE phones become more common, the issue of unlocking becomes even more important. Today, when you unlock an AT&T (GSM) phone, your only real option is to go to T-Mobile, which uses the same cellular technology. But when all carriers have converted over to the new LTE networks, the owner of an unlocked LTE phone has a choice of four major carriers and a number of regional ones.
Hays says the carriers may have worked hard to get an unlocking ban to protect themselves against widespread unlocking and massive churn in the (LTE) future.
Cell phones are usually sold locked to one network. You can unlock that phone and use it on another network with the same technology, or sell it, or use it on a trip overseas and not pay international roaming. Right now in the US that mostly just means using a ATT phone on T-mobile or vice versa. But you can get cheap Sprint and Verizon phones, unlock them and use them on their cheaper prepaid networks.
Thats now supposedly illegal. In some countrys its illegal for the phone company to sell cell phones locked to one carrier.
Doesn’t really effect me. I absolutely refuse to do business with Verizon (long story), AT&T has horrific customer ratings. Sprint is about the only reliable signal I can get here in the hills of MA and they’ve treated me right. Plus unlimited everything on my Galaxy S3.
BS. I was in the Philippines in October and went to the market areas and they had multiple tables where they can unlock your Iphone, Droid and Samsung phones as I piggybacked on the local carrier. It was around $5 equivalent and the same to put it all back together.
These guys were pros. Once I got back stateside, I went to Verizon for separate app issue, these clowns had no clue it was unlocked in the first place.
I had a retail and wholesale business selling phones.
The unlocking will continue to be available and will occur no matter what this law says. It’s impossible to enforce because people can learn to unlock their phones via the web and dealer stores (non-corporate stores) will continue to do it in backrooms for $50 or $100 now that it is illegal.
Before this law, unlocking was prohibited in dealer contracts for dealers, but customers had no restrictions.
Go back to who this benefits: carriers not named AT&T.
99% of my customers who wanted a phone unlocked were those who wanted to unlock the iPhone to use on T-Mobile. AT&T is trying to prevent loss of subscribers.
Another aspect of this is the large scale sale of iPhones to the Chinese market by people/companies other than Apple and AT&T. I shipped at least some 50,000 unlocked iPhones to Hong Kong. There was no law or dealer agreement prohibiting my doing this. The iPhones were bought by legitimate customers of Apple or AT&T, sold to me legally because I paid a good price, then I sold them legally to the Hong Kong market at a markup of $135/unit.
How did you think iPhones got into the Asian markets?
I’ll take my chances, I need the practice on ignoring federal law for when the new gun laws go into effect....
Think of it like this:
You buy a new vehicle at the dealership. They give you a significant discount (25% - 50%) because you sign a two-year contract to have your vehicle serviced and repaired at only that dealership. They’re gonna make lots of money on your service and repairs. (The service & repairs aren’t free to you.) To enforce this contract, they install a lock within the engine that only they can unlock when they service or repair the vehicle. Optionally, you can well above MSRP for the vehicle with a lock and have it serviced where you want. You opt for the discount and service contract.
So later, when your two-year service contract is up (or you pay a gigantic fee to break your contract early), you decide that you want to have your car serviced and repaired somewhere else. Maybe you weren’t happy with their service or you can have the same work done for much less elsewhere.
You ask the dealership to unlock the engine. They ask, “Why?” You tell them that your contract is up and you want go elsewhere for service and repairs. The dealership says, “No.” You argue that it’s your vehicle; you paid for it. They say, “It’s our lock and it’s copyrighted.” You pay an independent mechanic to remove the lock. You then have your vehicle serviced and repaired wherever you want.
Under this new interpretation of the law, it’s now illegal for you to hire that independent mechanic to remove that lock. You can sell your vehicle, but the buyer can’t have the engine unlocked either. He has to have it serviced and repaired at that same dealership.
If you’re a customer in good standing with the dealership, they may or may not take off the lock. It’s their decision not yours.
Agreed. I am a very happy 17-year Sprint customer. They treat me right and go the extra mile if I am ever displeased in any way whatsoever.
I only purchase unsubsized unlocked phones. My lastest two are a Galaxy Nexus direct from Google and a Sony Xperia P for work.
Folks, you are much better off financially paying $299/$349 to Google for an unlocked phone like a Nexus 4 and then signing up for Straight Talk ($45 per month unlimited talk/text & 2 GB data) or some other prepaid plan. The wife and I did just that two year ago and we’ve saved thousands....certainly more than enough to justify the upfront purchase of the phone.
The phone company has the right to sell locked or unlocked phones, and to charge more or less for each as it wishes. The government has no right to tell a company how it must do business.
(The government has taken the right; but that doesn’t mean that it has the right.)
Aha! So this is all your fault.
(Kidding. I’m totally kidding.)
Whoops. Optionally, you can pay well above MSRP for the vehicle without a lock and have it serviced where you want.
Talking about the LTE Network, I wonder if this is another proprietary network like CDMA that is not hardly used worldwide. I know GSM is the standard elsewhere. I picked up an unlocked iPhone for the reason to use when I travel overseas.
Thank you FRiends for the explanations. You are why I love FR!
That money went to a good cause, like my new reproduction model 1873 Colt.
I should have included you in my #19 thank you. I appreciate my FRiendly lessons! ;-)
Plain old phones had a similar issue if you wanted to move and keep your number or switch local carriers. Then they made “local number portability” the law .
I’m sure the new Consumer Protection Czar will ride to the rescue and fix everything.
lucky you- new Colt!
Well yes it did. Carry on!
You did and you’re welcome.
No, you can just pay the regular price for that phone and be done with it. Talk about getting things bass-ackwards!
If you think you can get that $500 phone for $0.99 with no strings attached...well, think again.
Sounds like the guy in charge of ritual at Gormenghast castle in Mervyn Peake's classic fantasy...IIRC an ambitious young man put himself in virtual charge of the castle by taking that job over and using it to his own ends. Makes you wonder.....Not that this affects me - I neither have nor want a smart phone - but it is yet another freedom gone to socialism.
the rule change doesn't really affect my wife and I much because we don't switch carriers or get a new phone very often. Our phones are all several years old and we have been with the same carrier for longer than that. But I do have a story that can illustrate a little closer what I think that the real issue is. Ten years ago we were using the same carrier that we had our land lines with for our cellular service. We were satisfied with the price and service up until they sold of their cell towers to Sprint.
They said that this would improve their coverage, but the Sprint towers we were now using gave first priority to Sprint customers. Even after several months most of our calls were dropped within a couple of minutes. It was explained to me that whenever all of the spots in the cell tower nearest our phones were filled up our calls would be dropped to make way for Sprint customers just coming on line.
We were quite happy with the expensive Motorola handsets that we had paid hundreds of dollars a piece for. We are careful with the things we own so they were in perfect condition and we had also purchased hands free adapters and external antenna connectors for our cars, along with extra batteries and cradle charges. We were out of contract... so after six months of frustration we decided to switch to Sprint. I assumed that we would be able to use our premium handsets that were already using the Sprint network.
No dice! Sprint forced us to buy new handsets. They did not offer the same type we had so we could use all of the accessories we had for them. We ended up getting phones that were twice the size of the ones we already had, but at least the problem with dropped calls went away. I almost decided to go with a different carrier, but we were already paying significantly more per month than we had been and I knew the towers worked where we lived... which can be a problem when you are in an outlying area.
I still have those expensive phones in a drawer along with a few others. Of course they are expensive paper weights if no carrier will let you use them. It bothers me that I cannot use products that I purchased for the use they were intended. This is actually about control. The contract carriers don't want you to be able to use even one of their older phones with one of the no-contract carriers. I am getting very tired of it and am about ready to give Sprint the boot.
Sorry to hear you got stuck with an uncooperative provider.
Not to point out the obvious, but did you try to just use your new Sprint SIM cards with your previous phones?
I’m not aware that the cell net would be able to discriminate between the phone devices if a valid SIM card is recognized.
Sim cards are used only on GSM networks. Sprint is CDMA. From what I have read this ruling affects Sprint customers who want to use their older Sprint phones on Cricket, Boost Mobile or other pay as you go providers using CDMA networks. To me it appears to be a typical government one size fits all solution to what is basically a non-problem.