AT&T will continue to unlock customers' smartphones

By on March 8, 2013, 4:30 PM

AT&T has promised to continue to unlock customers’ handsets despite a revision to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that went into effect back in January to ban the process. The issue gained plenty of media attention last month when a petition with more than 100,000 signatures garnered a response from the White House.

In a lengthy blog post on AT&T’s public policy blog, the company made it clear that it was their policy to unlock customers’ devices if they met certain terms of their service agreement. Unlike jailbreaking which has been legal on smartphones since 2010, unlocking a phone allows it to be used on other carriers. Conversely, jailbreaking is the term used to describe the process of allowing someone to modify the software on a handset.

AT&T vice president of federal regulatory affairs Joan Marsh said the policy was straightforward as they aim to make the unlocking process as easy as possible.

AT&T said they will unlock a device for a customer if they have the unlock code or can reasonably obtain it from the manufacturer so long as the customer’s account has been active for at least sixty days, the account is in good standing and has no unpaid balance and the customer is no longer under contract.

Earlier this month the White House issued a reply saying they believe consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. The response further noted that the Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to address the issue.

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