There are some benefits of having an unlocked phone, but if you want to get a great deal when you buy a smartphone from a carrier, you have to conform to a locked SIM and a contract you must comply to. But the most popular carriers in the United States will start implementing new unlocking laws, on February 11th.
The AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S Cellular will adopt the new laws, which pretty much stay the same, only that it will make it completely legal to unlock your phone. The five carriers have made a voluntary commitment in order to give the consumer enough freedom to make informed choices when choosing a wireless service. CTIA has reviewed the code to make sure it fulfills the consumers’ needs and hopes, and compels the carriers to abide the rules through a series of six principles.
The wireless services provider will have to post on their website a concise and accessible policy on the services they provide, they’ll have to notify their customers that their devices are qualified for unlocking and they must provide free unlocking services, as long as the postpaid and prepaid owners ensure their devices have been fully paid. The consumer will only benefit of such services as long as the devices are not identified as stolen or are not associated with any fraudulent activity. While the normal customer has to fully pay the device to benefit of these services, the military personnel will benefit of them no matter of the payment status. Carriers also reserve the right to charge non-customers for their unlocking services. However, it’s unsure how most of these companies will implement the new laws.
Sprint, for instance, will include a message on the monthly bill once the MSL devices will be eligible for unlocking and for DSU devices, will automatically unlock the devices through OTA; once of course, they become eligible for unlocking too.
These new Consumer Code was designed in such way so that the consumer can have access to the information they need, regarding the carrier of their choice. Just keep in mind that this is a voluntary code, meaning the carriers have to adopt by their own choice the new laws. The carriers that had signed the agreement with the Code, although cover almost 97 percent of the U.S’s wireless services, some additional carriers have yet to comply with the Code. So before anything else, make sure your carrier is one of those which adopted it.
The carriers that already complied with the voluntary code are: AT&T, Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, Sprint Corporation, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless.
The new laws will be available for devices such as smartphones, tablets and other devices that are sold through the particular carrier.