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Today, the FCC announced that the major wireless phone providers have met their commitment to unlocking consumers' phones, allowing them to use their devices on competitors’ networks.
The following can be attributed to Sherwin Siy, Vice President of Legal Affairs at Public Knowledge:
"One year ago, the FCC called for wireless carriers to reach an agreement that would give consumers control over the phones that they already owned, preventing the consumer from being locked into one provider because of the substantial cost of the phones themselves.
"We're glad that the FCC has found that the carriers have met the one-year deadline set for compliance with this commitment, and that unlocking should be that much easier for consumers. However, there are some limitations to this agreement that don’t necessarily solve the problems for all wireless consumers.
"Furthermore, this does not eliminate the problems of lock-in or potential liability. The original source of concern--the law that can make it illegal for consumers to unlock their own phones--is still in effect. While Congress ensured that consumers would not be breaking the law when they unlocked their own phones in the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, that law is only effective for a short period of time.
"Just last week, consumer groups, competitive carriers, and electronics recyclers asked the Copyright Office to preserve consumers' unlocking rights for the next three years. We look forward to ensuring that this happens, but also hope that Congress might ensure that such a change can be made permanently, and settle the matter once and for all."