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US carriers agree to standard set of rules for unlocking phones, tablets

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
The "big four" U.S. wireless providers, all of which offer Apple's iPhone and iPad, have reached an agreement on six standard principles by which consumers' mobile phones and tablets will be unlocked for use on competing carriers and overseas.

SIM-free iPhone 5s


AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have all recommended that the six principles be included in the CTIA Consumer Code for Wireless Service. Once the rules are officially adopted by the governing agency, all of the carriers, as well as member U.S. Cellular, have pledged to "move quickly" to implement them.

The carriers have agreed to clearly disclose their unlocking policies on their respective websites, to unlock mobile devices for customers after their service contract has expired, and to unlock prepaid mobile devices no later than one year after their initial activation."We believe this agreement will continue to foster the world-leading range of devices and offerings that Americans enjoy today." - CTIA President & CEO Steve Largent

The carriers will also notify customers once their devices are eligible for unlocking, and will respond to unlock requests from customers within two business days. Finally, customers in good standing who become deployed military personnel and can provide necessary paperwork will have their devices unlocked by their carrier.

"We believe this agreement will continue to foster the world-leading range of devices and offerings that Americans enjoy today," CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said in a statement. "The robust and differentiated technological ecosystem has brought unparalleled and world-leading benefits to American wireless users, in the form of high-end and affordable devices, post- and pre-paid options, and with the world's most advanced devices being launched first in the United States."

The full list of six principles adopted by major U.S. carriers is included below:

1. Disclosure. Each carrier will post on its website its clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on postpaid and prepaid mobile wireless device unlocking.

2. Postpaid Unlocking Policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices or provide the necessary information to unlock their devices for their customers and former customers in good standing and individual owners of eligible devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device financing plan or payment of an applicable early termination fee.

3. Prepaid Unlocking Policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.

4. Notice. Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely when devices are eligible for unlocking, without additional fee. Carriers reserve the right to charge non-customers/non-former customers a reasonable fee for unlocking requests. Notice to prepaid customers may occur at point of sale, at the time of eligibility, or through a clear and concise statement of the policy on the carrier's website.

5. Response Time. Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request to the OEM to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation of why the device does not qualify for unlocking, or why the carrier reasonably needs additional time to process the request.

6. Deployed Personnel Unlocking Policy. Carriers will unlock mobile wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing upon provision of deployment papers.
post #2 of 19
Have not seen anything but unlocking, locking devices, how about data and stuff.
post #3 of 19

I read in these forums recently a statement that unlocking an iPhone disables CDMA, rendering a CDMA+GSM phone as a GSM-only phone.  Anyone able to confirm this?  It seems like a rather one-way path toward AT&T, if true.  Or does having 4G-LTE overcome/circumvent this?

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

Have not seen anything but unlocking, locking devices, how about data and stuff.

What are you asking? Are you asking? (I don't see a question mark.)

post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post
 

I read in these forums recently a statement that unlocking an iPhone disables CDMA, rendering a CDMA+GSM phone as a GSM-only phone.  Anyone able to confirm this?  It seems like a rather one-way path toward AT&T, if true.  Or does having 4G-LTE overcome/circumvent this?

Some one correct me if I am wrong but not all CDMA networks are the same, You can not take an unlock VZ CDMA phone and use it in Japan on their CDMA, there is no standards. Based on this unlocking a CDMA with GSM makes it a GSM only phone unless you plan to go back to the provider who unlock it in the first place.

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

I read in these forums recently a statement that unlocking an iPhone disables CDMA, rendering a CDMA+GSM phone as a GSM-only phone.  Anyone able to confirm this?  It seems like a rather one-way path toward AT&T, if true.  Or does having 4G-LTE overcome/circumvent this?


In the us we have GSM and CDMA networks. Carriers like AT&T and T-mobile use GSM and Verizon and Sprint use CDMA. Most countries in the world use GSM. The difference is with GSM the phone is identified and allowed network access with a removable SIM card. With CDMA carriers identify and grant network access through the phones unique identifer number. So with an unlocked GSM phone one merely has to put a useable SIM in the phone. With CDMA the carrier has to grant your unique phone access as opposed to merely activating a SIM. A particular phone might also not support all of the carriers various frequencies.

It is probably easier to switch carriers in the US on GSM networks. You have T-Mobile, AT&T, straight talk, and AIO as some options.
post #7 of 19
Right now, Verizon is required by the FCC to sell iPhones as unlocked, out of the box, from the first day. That's why we went to Verizon from AT&T last December. I wonder if this will effect that.
post #8 of 19

And the carriers will beg the manufacturers to make specific phones for only their specific frequencies.

 

"Yes, sir, we'll be happy to unlock your phone, too bad you can't use it on any other carrier because of the radio. "

 

This is just smoke and mirrors, again.

post #9 of 19
Thankfully there are still multiple companies that will unlock your phone in about an hour for ten bucks. I do business in Europe and even with multiple plane tickets proving this, plus 16 years of service with them, ATT refused to unlock my phone for when I travel. Thankfully it wasn't hard to find a service online that would. I unlock all my phones now the day I buy them.
post #10 of 19
Locked phones? Does that still go on? This is too funny. God, I love my unlimited LTE/4G data, voice and text messages for $25 a month.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

Locked phones? Does that still go on? This is too funny. God, I love my unlimited LTE/4G data, voice and text messages for $25 a month.

Bullshit
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cletus View Post


Bullshit

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cletus View Post


Bullshit

I live in Finland, a country that actually knows how to price. Go feel stupid now.

post #13 of 19

I guess the drawback is that you have to live in Finland.  No thanks.  So, I'll stick with my higher priced plan. 

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post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bottleworks View Post
 

I guess the drawback is that you have to live in Finland.  No thanks.  So, I'll stick with my higher priced plan. 

Said by someone who thinks that Mexico and Canada is abroad. Get a passport.

post #15 of 19
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

I live in Finland, a country that actually knows how to price. Go feel stupid now.

Originally Posted by bottleworks View Post
I guess the drawback is that you have to live in Finland.  No thanks.  So, I'll stick with my higher priced plan. 
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post
Said by someone who thinks that Mexico and Canada is abroad. Get a passport.

 

I don’t know about you, but I like this exchange. :lol:

 

And Mexico and Canada are obviously abroad. Not sure where you’re confused; they’re not states yet.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #16 of 19
Actually Mr. Skil you are correct. I was making reference to the fact that most Americans don't have passports, nor travel outside of CONUS let alone live anywhere else. Yes Canada and Mexico are abroad in that sense but the comment that I responded to is typical of someone with parochial ambitions.
post #17 of 19
This whole thing is my fault for calling "bullshit." My bad—I meant "who gives a shit." PS: I've had more different stamps in my passport than you'll ever dream.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

Actually Mr. Skil you are correct. I was making reference to the fact that most Americans don't have passports, nor travel outside of CONUS let alone live anywhere else. Yes Canada and Mexico are abroad in that sense but the comment that I responded to is typical of someone with parochial ambitions.

While true, and I agree that to a degree my fellow Americans can, at times, be a bit clueless about the rest of the world, I'd also point out that in my international travels I have also met many others who are also quite clueless about just how big the US is. Or they think NYC or Disneyland is representative of the rest of the US, because that's all they've seen. Prior to the formation of the EU, how far could you drive before you NEEDED a passport to go any farther? I can board a plane and 5 hours later still be over US territory. And it's only been relatively recently that we needed a passport for Canada or Mexico either. Going any farther requires a trans-oceanic flight.

You are right. But I also wonder how many Europeans wouldn't have passports (or speak foreign languages) if it wasn't practically a necessity of daily life (work, school, relationships, business partnerships, etc) because of the size of European countries? I've lived places in the US which are 2,300 miles apart (er, sorry, 3,700 km. LOL), a distance farther apart than from the western edge of Portugal to the eastern edge of Germany. We just don't need passports to travel that far, to go to school or get jobs that far away from home, etc.

It's unfortunate that it's financially and geographically more challenging for Americans to "get out more" and experience different cultures. But just like I've met a German working at a hostel in New Zealand, a British college student working the summer on a dive boat in Australia and a Norwegian IT professional working in Singapore, I've also met Americans working at schools in the foothills of Kilimanjaro, teaching English to kindergartners in Thailand, touring the ruins of Rome, and providing medical treatment in the mountains of Peru.

BTW: On many occasions during my travels, I find that people assume I'm Canadian. So maybe there's more of us out there than you think. We don't all walk around in shorts, running shoes (er, trainers) and baseball caps. Ha, ha.

(Sorry, boring day today at work...had nothing better to do than rant about international travel on a completely unrelated conversation about cell phone carriers!)
post #19 of 19

I can dream quite a bit. A trip to the local 7-11 doesn't count as going abroad. Back to the holler and get a clue.

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