Posted by: Clarity Blog | February 4, 2013

New Anti-Unlocking Smartphone Law opens Pandora’s Box!!

They finally made it illegal to unlock smartphones over the weekend, unless you have the permission of the carrier that originally locked the phone. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act now states: “…with respect to new wireless handsets, there are ample alternatives to circumvention. That is, the marketplace has evolved such that there is now a wide array of unlocked phone options available to consumers. While it is true that not every wireless device is available unlocked, and wireless carriers’ unlocking polices are not free from all restrictions, the record clearly demonstrates that there is a wide range of alternatives from which consumers may choose in order to obtain an unlocked wireless phone.”

This new policy makes it more difficult to move between smartphone carriers and still keep your existing phone. People generally unlock their phone so they can get out from under the poor service of one carrier and move it on to another (you MUST have a carrier for the phone to work).  Sometimes this is due to cost savings but more often this “churn” (the term the carriers use to recognize turnover) is due to poor customer service, coverage that is inferior, etc.

This ruling is one way the carriers can continue to lock you in, even if they are providing the kind of service that would make you leave that establishment. You aren’t penalized by changing your home phone system or cable carrier, as people often do: sometimes for a better short term incentive by a competitor and the promise of more bundled services (which make it harder for you to leave them, by the way), but more often it is because of poor service, coverage quality, or customer care. The same reasons for leaving apply, it makes you wonder how fair this new policy is…..

Picture Credit:

World International News


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