U.S. House clears legislation to make unlocking cellphones legal

Although most people generally don't think of it when they go to unlock their cellphone for another carrier, the process of doing so in the U.S. has been a topic of much debate involving consumers, the House of Representatives, and even the President of the United States.

For those unfamiliar, service providers like AT&T and Verizon typically lock their devices so they can only be used with their service. If unlocked, phones can be taken over to other carriers. This is hugely important for promoting healthy competition and empowering consumer choice, not to mention being very useful for travel.

Cellphone unlocking had previously been allowed but that law expired in January 2013, making the practice technically illegal within the U.S. After many months in limbo, Congress has decided to pass the unlocking bill making it once again legal, and President Barack Obama plans to sign it.

Such a silly thing to have in place, which certainly outlines how some of the laws are outdated. Sadly, it might not be the last we hear of it as the current exemption when signed is only good up until 2015.

Source: WSJ

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.

More Posts



← Previously

Iterate 72: Jeremy Olson on Hours

Next up →

Apple reportedly acquired BookLamp startup earlier this year for $10-15 Million

Reader comments

U.S. House clears legislation to make unlocking cellphones legal


I've done that while under contract (about 7 months in) with my 4s, and didn't need to go out of the country. I have tried twice with my 5s under contract, both times unsuccessfully.

Sent from the iMore App

They out limitations on how many you can get unlocked and verizon will not unlock older iPhones (4s and below)

Sent from the iMore App

We will see if this alters Sprints policy of every device released prior to February of next year as not being unlock-able.

Sent from the iMore App