White House Files Petition Asking FCC to Require Carriers to Unlock All Mobile Devices

iphone_5_black_whiteThe Obama administration has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking that all wireless carriers be required to unlock all mobile devices, reports The Washington Post. The move comes several months after The White House backed a "We the People" petition that successfully garnered more than 100,000 signatures calling for cell phone unlocking to be made legal.

The "We the People" petition was started following an October ruling by the Library of Congress' Copyright Office that ended an exemption within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that formerly allowed cell phone unlocking. It became illegal for U.S. mobile phone users to unlock newly purchased cell phones without express permission from their cell phone carriers on January 26, 2013.

According to Tuesday's petition from The White House's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, permitting unlocked devices, including both smartphones and tablets, would increase both competition and consumer choice.

"Americans should be able to use their mobile devices on whatever networks they choose and have their devices unlocked without hassle," said Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary of the NTIA.

The FCC reportedly began investigating whether or not the cell phone unlocking ban results in harmful effects for consumers in March, though no news has surfaced on the issue since then.

At this time, it remains illegal for individuals to unlock cell phones purchased after January 26, 2013 in the United States. Carriers are still permitted to unlock devices, however, and unlocked devices can also be purchased at unsubsidized prices from a number of carriers.

Top Rated Comments

Klae17 Avatar
96 months ago
This won't get us to forget about the NSA, Obama.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bluespark Avatar
96 months ago

When all phones are required to be unlocked on demand, you can kiss the $99 or $199 iPhone goodbye. They'll START at $499 or $549, to reflect the true retail value of the phones. It's locking that makes subsidized prices possible.


Wrong, service contracts make subsidized phones possible.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aluminum213 Avatar
96 months ago

This won't get us to forget about the NSA, Obama.


Yes, blame it all on Obama, just like rush and hannity want you to
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Carmenia83 Avatar
96 months ago

When all phones are required to be unlocked on demand, you can kiss the $99 or $199 iPhone goodbye. They'll START at $499 or $549, to reflect the true retail value of the phones. It's locking that makes subsidized prices possible.


Not necessarily. Just because your phone is unlocked, doesn't relieve you of the contract you signed. If you ditch early, you'll still be paying the subsidized portion of the hardware in your early termination fee.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
puma1552 Avatar
96 months ago
interesting, everyone hates the carriers but as soon as obama tries to do something for the consumer, everyone jumps to the carriers' defense...wtf?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
likemyorbs Avatar
96 months ago

Anyone who thinks government can just force companies to sell us unlocked phones for what locked phones cost now is not being honest with him/herself.


So if I'm on At&T and I want to go to Europe and buy a sim card there and use it in my phone, I shouldn't be able to do that? Even if your phone is unlocked, it doesn't mean you can get out of your contract without an early termination fee, which more than covers the subsidy on your phone. This is exactly what government is there for, to keep corporations from abusing customers.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 Rumored to Feature Blood Glucose Monitoring

Monday January 25, 2021 5:05 am PST by
The Apple Watch Series 7 will reportedly feature blood glucose monitoring via an optical sensor, according to ETNews. The report, which mainly focuses on the blood glucose capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, explains that Apple is intending to bring blood glucose monitoring to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 using a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels,...
14

Apple Releases iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 With New Camera Warnings and Bug Fixes

Tuesday January 26, 2021 10:04 am PST by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.4, the fourth major updates to the iOS 14 operating system that was initially released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.4 come more than a month after the release of iOS and iPadOS 14.3, updates that brought new emojis, Intercom support, and more. The iOS and iPadOS 14.4 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible...
7

Apple Releases watchOS 7.3 With Unity Watch Face, Expanded ECG Availability and More

Tuesday January 26, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today released watchOS 7.3, the third major update to the watchOS 7 operating system that was released in September. watchOS 7.3 comes more than a month after watchOS 7.2, an update that brought support for Apple Fitness+ ‌‌The watchOS 7.3 update‌‌ can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update. To install...
14

Apple Releases tvOS 14.4 for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV Models

Tuesday January 26, 2021 10:02 am PST by
Apple today released tvOS 14.4, the fifth update to the tvOS 14 operating system that was initially released back in September. tvOS 14.4 comes more than a month after the release of tvOS 14.3. tvOS 14.4, which is a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the ‌Apple TV‌ by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌ owners who have...
14

Apple Releasing iOS 14.4 and watchOS 7.3 Later Today

Tuesday January 26, 2021 7:20 am PST by
In its Black History Month announcement this morning, Apple has confirmed that iOS 14.4 and watchOS 7.3 will be released later today. watchOS 7.3 expands the ECG app on the Apple Watch Series 4 and newer to Japan, Mayotte, Thailand, and the Philippines, while iOS 14.4 introduces a notification on iPhone 12 models with non-genuine cameras. Both software updates also add support for a new...
AirPods Pro Gen 2 Feature2

Second-Generation AirPods Pro Widely Rumored to Launch in First Half of 2021

Tuesday January 26, 2021 8:24 am PST by
Apple plans to release second-generation AirPods Pro within the first half of 2021, according to unnamed industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes in a report focused on flash memory supplier Winbond. From the report:Winbond is also expected to be among the NOR flash suppliers for Apple's next-generation AirPods Pro slated for launch later in the first half of this year, the...
apple watch black unity

Apple Celebrates Black History Month With Limited-Edition Watch, Featured Apps and Books, and More

Tuesday January 26, 2021 6:14 am PST by
Apple today announced that it will be celebrating Black History Month with curated content that highlights and amplifies Black creators, artists, developers, and businesses across the App Store, Apple Music, the Apple TV app, Apple Books, Apple Podcasts, and more. The content will be featured throughout the month of February. Black Unity Sport Band has "Truth. Power. Solidarity." ...
magsafecasedangle

Apple Elaborates on Potential for iPhone 12 and MagSafe Accessories to Interfere With Implantable Medical Devices

Saturday January 23, 2021 2:42 pm PST by
Since the launch of iPhone 12 models in October, Apple has acknowledged that the devices may cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators, but the company has now shared additional information. Apple added the following paragraph to a related support document today:Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain...
14

iOS 14.4 Patches Vulnerabilities That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Tuesday January 26, 2021 12:16 pm PST by
Apple today released iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4, and along with a handful of minor new features, the software introduces security fixes for three vulnerabilities that may have been used in the wild. According to a security support document shared by Apple, there were kernel and WebKit vulnerabilities affecting all iPhones and iPads running iOS or iPadOS 14. The kernel vulnerability could allow ...
matte black macbook pro colorware

Apple Researching High-End Titanium MacBook Casings With Unique Textured Finish

Tuesday January 26, 2021 7:10 am PST by
Apple is researching the use of processed titanium with unique properties for future MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones, according to a newly-granted patent application. In a filing titled "Titanium parts having a blasted surface texture," granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by Patently Apple, Apple explains how various devices could adopt titanium casings with a...