Phone unlocking to become legal in the United States again

By Scorpus ยท 18 replies
Jul 26, 2014
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  1. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,996   +1,300

    At last... something we can all agree on. :)

    So what's this mean exactly? Will new phones be sold by carriers as unlocked, or will we be easily able to unlock phones ourselves? My understanding was that phones were tied to a network because of the technology inside them... SIM card or otherwise etc.
  2. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,480   +973

  3. Scorpus

    Scorpus TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 1,968   +231

    Thanks for spotting that, not sure how it happened, but I fixed it
    Jad Chaar likes this.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,716   +3,143

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, (not really), but now it says just, "carri" on the forum page....:oops:
  5. JeffDotNet

    JeffDotNet TS Rookie

    I wonder how the carriers will react, back to locked in contracts?
  6. sapo joe

    sapo joe TS Member Posts: 81   +6

    No worries people, you can always come to Brazil and buy unlocked devices from us... LOL
  7. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,577   +1,716

    aside from getting robbed in the process
  8. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,309   +255

    Why do these telecoms offer phones that are locked in the first place?
    they should consider selling phones that are open-line. they should also reward loyal customers who renew their phone/data contracts with huge discounts on next phone/gadget purchases. hiding behind the veil of 'network-subsidized' cheaper but locked phones is not a good reason.
  9. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    Tell me again why something you buy that is permanently yours you have to ask to unlock it? its like asking someone permission so you can eat the orange you bought...
  10. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 231   +152

    It was a stupid law to begin with and it speaks volumes about the US government's "dedication" to its citizens.

    I've yet to see a carrier selling subsidized phones with prepaid cards, so it's a bit of a logical fallacy IMO. As long as you've got me contractually tied to your network for one of two years anyway, what's the need for such extra layers of "protection" ?

    Granted, I might be missing the big picture here, so if anyone has extra info, I'd love to hear it.
    Darkshadoe likes this.
  11. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,996   +1,300

    Want an analogy that really exists? In many states it's legal to sell fireworks and buy fireworks, but it's illegal to shoot off fireworks.

    If you think about it though, locking a phone to a network sorta makes sense because of the way phones are often paid for. It's been normal (until recently) to have your carrier pay for most, or all, of your phone if you signed a 2 year contract. If the carrier is paying for it, you have to deal with their rules and restrictions. It's the same way with many other things.... like if you want the govt to pay for something, they'll tack on a whole bunch of restrictions too.
  12. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,373   +47

    Good. I'm in S Korea right now. Just got a LG G3 which can be unlocked once I get home.
  13. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    Your first house is mortgaged when you pay that off your saying you shouldn't have the right to modify the house?
  14. Dukenukemx

    Dukenukemx TS Member Posts: 71   +16

    There's more than one way to skin a cat. Currently you have four phone companies that work on different technology in the US.

    AT&T - GSM 850 / 1900MHz
    T-Mobile - GSM 1700 / 2100
    Verizon - CDMA
    Sprint - CDMA

    All other phone companies in the US work with those networks. A lot of phones are usually restricted from within the phones radio rom to prevent being used on other networks. For example the motorola photon q is considered a great qwerty phone but it's only meant to work on CDMA. But guess what, you can get it working on GSM if you solder off a chip and install your own SIM card slot. Unfortunately the phone will not work in T-Mobile US due to difference in frequency. Even with this mod it'll only work in Europe or AT&T in US. Not all CDMA phones are SIM card slots, and if they do they prevent certain networks from being used.

    Samsung for example is pretty good on allowing their phones to work on all networks. The Skyrocket is a AT&T phone that won't work with T-Mobile frequencies until you flash a radio rom, and then it will. People are pretty sure the Photon Q could probably work if you had a radio rom to flash, but there doesn't seem to be one that exists that works on T-Mobile.

    Believe me phone companies don't need to lock people out of their phones. They can just make them useless on other networks. Even taking a Verizon phone to Sprint is a roll of dice, even though they're both CDMA.
  15. Frank Barnett

    Frank Barnett TS Rookie Posts: 61   +6

    Right the ways phones are done now this is a moot point. The difference is if the phones in the future are really unlocked chip with all the radios then this means something. So people can get all excited and talk about thier old phones they have now all they want doesnt mean anything yet. I think some of he newer higher end phones are like this but not many
  16. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,996   +1,300

    Well.. in the case of a phone and carrier, having an unlocked phone allows you to stop paying the carrier (when you switch). If you could do a home improvement project that would allow you to stop paying your mortgage, then I'd bet banks would stop giving people mortgages without protection.

    It's pretty hard to compare though, technology makes things possible that has never before been possible so the laws that are on the books don't apply. It's how the carriers get away with stuff like locking phones in the first place.
  17. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 231   +152

    That still doesn't make it right. You can't get a phone from your carrier before your previous contract expires, can you ? You're bound by those papers you've signed, not by the locked phone they just gave you. Why go the extra mile then ? To make a quick buck come contract expiration time ? That's just sad.

    I wouldn't worry about the carrier absorbing its expenses in a couple of years' time through the overpriced service you're getting and the large discounts they probably get from manufacturers. You're right, technology requires new rules, but how about giving them some thought and setting them up to serve the citizen and not the big companies ?
  18. "If you think about it though, locking a phone to a network sorta makes sense because of the way phones are often paid for. It's been normal (until recently) to have your carrier pay for most, or all, of your phone if you signed a 2 year contract. "

    That's what the cancellation fee is for (or could include).

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