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Unlocking-cell-phones4:00 PM – Phone unlocking has been popular in the recent years.  It became such a big issue that Federal Communications Commission had to step in to regulate and make some changes.  A lot of online petitions asked for unlocking to be made legal and easier for customers to obtain.  Now the FCC has answered.

According to CTIA, which represents wireless carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, has announced that the FCC and five other carriers have come to an agreement when it comes to unlocking phones.  The FCC threatened to pursue regulatory action and of course wireless carriers don’t want that, so to prevent that route, the carriers have come to an agreement with the FCC.  The new policies that were discussed must be implemented with in twelve months.

What the new policies pretty much do is that after your contract is up with your carrier, you can request your phone to be unlocked.  Do note that contracts in the United States run in 2-year periods, so to request your device to be unlocked, you must be out-of-contract.  You can also purchase a device outright by paying retail price for it and the carrier may unlock the device for you.

There are several other provisions made such as phones to be unlocked for use by overseas military personnel, straight forward notifications to customers eligible for unlocking, and disclosure of the participating carrier’s unlocking policies on the carrier’s website.

Below, you can read the agreement in full detail.  Let us know what you think about this.

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

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.