Both FCC And Carriers Finally Agree On Cell Phone Unlocking
Carriers have to implement the new policies in the next 12 months. FCC will take action if the carrier’s fail to comply. The principles showcase requirements that when customers become eligible for unlocking, such as when their contracts expire, carriers have to unlock their phones or list practices on the internet.
CTIA also states that an unlocked device may not allow for full interpretability (GSM v.s. CDMA tech difference, for example). Also, the unlocked device may not retain all functionality necessarily.
Disclosure: Each carrier will post on its website its clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on postpaid and prepaid mobile wireless device unlocking.Carriers reserve the right to decline an unlock request if they have a reasonable basis to believe the request is fraudulent or the device is stolen.
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.
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.
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.
- Response Time: Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request to 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.
- 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.
Carriers reserve the right to decline an unlock request if they have a reasonable basis to believe the request is fraudulent or the device is stolen.
Not sure what the reasonable fee is going to fee. It would be better as a part of the contract. Also, the stolen device and fraud claw can be misused to avoid unlocking of eligible customers.
This agreement comes after the Obama administration collaborated with FCC. In our opinion, consumers should be given a free will to unlock devices.