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US House Passes Cellular Device Unlocking Bill

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New Member
Feb 6, 2014
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AppleInsider reports that on Friday the House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 517, which is a law that, once signed into law, would let users of cellular devices unlock those devices and then move to another carrier without having to pay any penalty for doing so. As the law stands currently, to do so would […]

That's very good news. We've had a similar law in Canada since last December whereby cellular carriers are not allowed to refuse to unlock your cellphone.
I am glad but I am also skeptical. These bills usually come with unintended consequences and a price tag. I wonder what will happen to the price of phones?
I thought the FCC had a law passed a few years ago that required carriers to unlock phones after your contract expired and you requested the phone be unlocked.

AT&T told me when I requested my 'out of contract' iPhone be unlocked, they gave me all sorts of excuses;
1) It can't be done
2) Business account phones can't be unlocked (I own the business and phones)
3) it's illegal

After all the excuses, I asked the operator for his name and employee ID so I could reference that when I filed a complaint with the FCC. Immediately the operator (who was a nice and courteous) transfers me to another operator who said she will submit my iPhone for unlocking. 2 days later I connect the iPhone to iTunes and it popped up with a message stating "congratulations, your iPhone is unlocked".

Mission accomplished.

It was only after I told the operator I would file a complaint with the FCC, suddenly their tune changed and they were more than happy to have my phone unlocked. AT&T even called me back a few days later to make sure my phone got unlocked.

This is not the first time I dropped the "I will file a complaint with the FCC". The power transformer outside my house was defective and generating tons of interference to my TV, am/fm Radio, WX radio, etc. 18 months of dealing with the power company to fix the problem (power company engineers came out and confirmed the problem and was noted on my account) but nothing was done to correct the problem. Fed up, I filed a complaint with the FCC, and guess what!? The power company was out within 5 days of the complain filed and fixed the problem. FCC field agent actually came to my house 2 days after I filed the complaint and verified the bad transformer which was generating the interference.
Just checked with Verizon and their iPhone 5s's come unlocked either paid in full or under contract. This is good news for other US carriers, but I expect the price of iPhones to increase because of this new "law"