The FCC is going to look into the ban on unlocking phones. The ban, which came into effect on January 26 of this year, made it illegal to unlock an on-contract device for use on another carrier. Citing concerns over innovations, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that the commission would be looking into the matter. According to TechCrunch:
Genachowski isn’t sure what authority he has, but if he finds any, given the tone of the conversation, it’s likely he will exert his influence to reverse the decision. “It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones.”
The illegality of unlocking phones benefits carriers by keeping you locked into your contract. Of course, you can still pay an early termination fee, but now you have to get a new device when you move to a new carrier. This increases the hassle of the switching process, which carriers already make as hard as possible. Expect the carriers to fight back, because anything that makes it even a little easier for a customer to take their money elsewhere is a threat to their bottom line.
Are you glad that the FCC is investigating? Have you ever unlocked or considered unlocking your phone?