As of late January it became illegal to unlock your phone. This came as a result of some changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that were actually put in place back in October 2012. Basically, as it stands now — you are not allowed to unlock your phone. That simply means that you cannot buy a phone for one carrier and unlock it for use on another carrier.
This will probably not be all that much of an issue for most people, however putting that aside many feel that you should be able to do what you want with a device you paid for. To this point, a petition to make phone unlocking legal was started shortly after this went into effect. The petition hit the goal just a few days back and we have yet to hear any response on the matter.
More to the point though, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, in speaking at CrunchGov was asked about the topic. Genachowski did say that the “ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns.” Further going on to note that this is “something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones.”
As for if this will bring any change, maybe, but maybe not. If you look at the wording in that last statement you will notice the “see if we can and should” — it is the latter that implies they are just going to investigate. Still, while this may not bring any change, it is nice to see that the FCC doesn’t necessarily fully agree with the fact that it is now illegal to unlock a smartphone. This combined with the petition and maybe we will see some serious further discussion on the matter.