U.S. House passes bill to lift block on cellphone unlocking

Since the end of January it's been technically illegal to unlock the SIM card slot of your phone in the United States. Luckily, a bill passed through the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday with a vote of 295 - 114 that would make it legal again. Though the bill in question would repeal many of the limits placed on phone unlocking, the bill's author would like it to keep bulk mobile phone unlocking companies in the ban. These companies will often buy used handsets, unlock them, and resell them, which wireless carriers don't like so much. This addendum is still under debate, plus we have to wait and see what the Senate will do with it.

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.

How many of you have yet to unlock your device? Have you encountered any issues getting your device unlocked since the law went into effect?

Source: Reuters

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

U.S. House passes bill to lift block on cellphone unlocking

8 Comments

Verizon iPhones, being LTE devices, all come unlocked.

As a Canadian, I can get my iPhone unlocked within 90 days (for a price!) if subsidized, or immediately (for a price!) if unsubsidized.

It's still a lousy system, but it's less lousy than it used to be.

I've gotten all my previous iOS devices unlocked direct from the carrier for free with no hassles (AT&T). I have yet to see if they'll unlock my iPhone 5S or my wife's iPhone 5c yet. I'll probably try soon.

Sent from the iMore App

Try getting Sprint to comply. I think I'd rather go through some dental procedures than continuing the fight against Sprint.

I haven't unlocked my phone. I've been with the same carrier for many years. The inly thing that is keeping with my carriers is the option to surf and talk at the same time. If other carriers offer that feature I would have switch many years ago.

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I think in the UK all iPhones are unlocked but can't you buy an unlocked iPhone directly from US Apple stores?