This, at its most basic, should be seen as a veritable win for the American people who first called out for the need of such a legislation – and has now reached its ultimate completion with US President Barack Obama signing into law the Unlocking Consumer Act, which basically says that any consumer who has already paid for their phone can have it unlocked and take it to the mobile carrier which they think provides the services that suit their needs best.

It needs to be said, this is the first time that a petition that traces its roots via the “We the People” website – an online platform for US citizens to offer suggestions and ideas to the government for resolving relevant issues – has actually resulted in a fix via legislation. With that in mind, this can truly be marked down as a major “win” for the US consumer.

What started with a petition by digital rights activist Sina Khanifar – actually a very a simple request, that the law would allow consumers to “unlock” their mobile phones and take it to the carrier which they think best suits their needs. The petition drew enormous support, and forced the US Congress to take heed. What resulted was a very “common sense” law that says all consumers can now have their phones unlocked. What’s more, the law also ensures that US citizens without the tech savvy to unlock their devices on their own can and should receive help in doing so.

In the end, consumers are given a free choice – a real choice with market freedom and not one bogged down by hidden profit agendas – to take a phone and switch carriers, a right that they really should have if they have complied with the device’s purchase contracts and if the phone is compatible with said carrier. This is a breath of fresh air for a sector that seems to be tying down and restricting more than it is giving freedom to communicate.

VIA: The White House

  • Lucifer

    But what carrier will allow you to use your own phoLuciferne to use their service?

    • Leslie Gray

      Any of them will allow you to activate a personally owned device. You just need to determine if the device is compatible with the carrier you want to subscribe to. For example, AT&T devices will not work on Verizon. It’s a GSM versus CDMI issue. Each carrier will be able to help you with activation after you get your device unlocked by your old carrier.

      • m97402

        perhaps you meant GSM versus CDMA?

      • Leslie Gray

        Yes, thank you. I’ll correct that.

  • Oliver Klosoff

    Goodbye Verizon and Hello T-Mobile!!!

  • dipr

    question: sprint and virgin mobile have some phones in common. but i was told i cannot use a ‘sprint’ branded phone on virgin. will this change now, or the sprint brand still will not work on virgin? thanks.

    • Oliver Klosoff

      The “will not work” is because of the locking of phones to the carrier that issued them. You can now take your phones and have them unlocked freeing you up to use them with any carrier.

  • greg bush

    or t-mobile could say we dont recognize that esn as being our phone so no unlock.. despite the branding physically and during start up. always a loop hole. but we would like to add you to our network ?

  • Kelly M.

    Now, if we could just get Congress/Obama to listen to the “We the People” petition to DEPORT Justin Bieber, that would be an example of democracy at it’s finest.

  • dipr

    ok Virgin Mobile told me their system will only accept their own coded phones, so you are stuck until at least next year, new law or not.