White House Wants Mobile Carriers to Enable Device Unlocking

Jaycee De Guzman September 20, 2013 0

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The Obama administration has been very vocal in supporting the drive for expanding the limits of mobile devices. Few months have passed when the White House called for a legislative measure for unlocking mobile phones. Now, the White House is rolling again its gears after filing a petition urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to oblige mobile carriers to unlock their devices offered to consumers. This will enable users to switch from one carrier to another easily and will cut cost and effort on buying another mobile device in case of carrier switching.

White House Wants Mobile Carriers to Enable Device Unlocking

White House Move Urged by Protests and Activists

The bold call of the Obama Administration about unlocking devices is primarily caused by calls and protests done by online activists few weeks after the said practice of unlocking phones was declared illegal by the Library of Congress in January 2013. The White House’s protest site was filled with complaints about the proclamation. The activists collected more than 114,000 signatures in their quest to fight against the decision of the Library of Congress. The FCC already announced its support about the unlocking of phones together with the current administration after their statement brought out in March allowing consumers to buy “unlocked phones”. The call of legalizing unlocked phones has been halted for a long time and lost momentum. However, the current petition is already fueling up the issue again.

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White House Wants Mobile Carriers to Enable Device Unlocking

Some Good Arguments For and Against Phone Unlocking

While legalizing unlocked phones will make carrier switching easy and fast for consumers, some people also argue that this will also hurt app developers as it will also be easy for them to transfer copyrighted software or applications from one mobile carrier to another. However, in a petition filed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the move to legalize unlocked phones will put a healthy competition in the market as well as enhancing choices among consumers. Changing FCC rules about unlocking would not be in accordance with the existing copyright laws. Thus, changing FCC policies would also need a study about amending or changing copyright laws in the US. The petition does not only cover mobile phones but also tablets. This will enable more users to switch carriers on their phones and tablets. This petition is also known to remove the burden from consumers, instead, putting the work on companies regarding changing mobile networks.

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