New legislation requires U.S. wireless carriers to unlock out-of-contract phones

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Date: Thursday, February 12th, 2015, 04:52
Category: iPhone, Legal, News

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This could come in handy.

America’s top wireless providers can no longer refuse to unlock devices for customers who have paid financing plans in full or completed their contract term under a new set of industry rules — agreed to over one year ago — which went into effect yesterday.

As part of the pact, wireless carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon, and will notify active customers whose devices are eligible for unlocking. Those who have purchased a used, carrier-locked device can also have those unlocked for a “reasonable fee.”


The carriers will respond to all device unlock requests within two business days, though the actual unlocking time may be slightly longer. Military personnel being deployed overseas can have their device unlocked at any time, as long as their account is in good standing, by showing their carrier their deployment papers.

Prepaid users will not be left out in the cold. Those customers can have their devices unlocked “no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.”

The carriers and U.S. Cellular agreed to the new rules in late 2013 as part of the CTIA Consumer Code for Wireless Service. They pledged to implement at least three of the rules by May of last year, and to be in compliance with all of them by today.

For specific details as to the unlocking options available to you, check your carrier’s web site.

If you’ve gone through the unlocking experience and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Via AppleInsider

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2 Responses to “New legislation requires U.S. wireless carriers to unlock out-of-contract phones”

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