Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Congress Passes Bill Allowing Unlocking Cell Phones
Townhall.com ^ | Christine Rousselle

Posted on 07/26/2014 4:32:28 PM PDT by Kaslin

A bill to permit the practice of "unlocking" a cell phone--meaning a consumer could use the same phone on different carriers--was passed by the House of Representatives yesterday and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act passed with wide bipartisan support and was sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) in the House and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the Senate.

Unlocking a phone without the wireless carrier's permission was legal in the U.S. until a 2012 decision by the U.S. Copyright Office. That decision resulted in a grassroots campaign to fight for the legality of unlocking a phone. A petition on the website We The People garnered over 114,000 signatures in support.

The White House released a statement praising Congress for passing the bill, saying that it will help to restore "basic consumer freedom."

I applaud Members of Congress for passing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Last year, in response to a “We the People” petition from consumers across our country, my Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose. We laid out steps the FCC, industry, and Congress should take to ensure copyright law does not undermine wireless competition, and worked with wireless carriers to reach a voluntary agreement that helps restore this basic consumer freedom. The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.

Kudos to Congress for finally getting this one right. More consumer choices is always a good thing, and carriers have no right to refuse to unlock phones even after a contract has ended.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bobgoodlatte; cellphones; consumerchoice

1 posted on 07/26/2014 4:32:28 PM PDT by Kaslin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Almost impossible to believe the Feds did something good for the people.


2 posted on 07/26/2014 4:37:15 PM PDT by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

‘bout time.


3 posted on 07/26/2014 4:38:09 PM PDT by upchuck (It's a shame nobama truly doesn't care about any of this. Our country, our future, he doesn't care.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: upchuck

very much so


4 posted on 07/26/2014 4:42:15 PM PDT by riverrunner
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: catnipman

I don’t quite grasp what they have done and how it helps the people. There has got to be some kind of lawyer set traps hidden in the language.


5 posted on 07/26/2014 4:47:56 PM PDT by fella ("As it was before Noah so shall it be again,")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: fella
It means I can go to AT&T, buy the phone I really want, force them to unlock it, carry it over to the Verizon store, and hook it up to Verizon.
6 posted on 07/26/2014 4:57:59 PM PDT by Excellence (Marine mom since April 11, 2014)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: catnipman

>>Almost impossible to believe the Feds did something good for the people.<<

I have been sending my old PDAs to my relatives in Mexico for years. All of them have been put to use immediately by various carriers with no problem.

They think it strange we can’t take our phone from carrier to carrier up here.

Ironic, eh?


7 posted on 07/26/2014 4:58:03 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (AGW "Scientific method:" Draw your lines first, then plot your points)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
Do the owners also get a “disable/kill switch” for the phone/device when they buy it?

(In case the phone is ever lost or stolen, so they can render it worthless)

Just curious.
My cheap phone and my no-contract service is very inexpensive, but if it was ever stolen, I could have the unused service balance transferred, and the phone would be rendered worthless to a thief.

I can see wanting to be able to sell or donate an old but still good higher end phone, and also why one might want to change service providers at will.

But doesn't this also make it easier for thieves to profit?

8 posted on 07/26/2014 5:15:35 PM PDT by sarasmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Excellence

Does it mean AT&T still has to honor the warranty?

I ask, because I don’t know how the higher end consumer device warranties work.


9 posted on 07/26/2014 5:22:58 PM PDT by sarasmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: catnipman

You probably have to call the NSA to get them to switch it over.


10 posted on 07/26/2014 5:31:46 PM PDT by bgill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom

Be forewarned: there is almost ALWAYS a deductible they don’t mention when you sign up for it.


11 posted on 07/26/2014 5:32:51 PM PDT by ronnyquest (I spent 20 years in the Army fighting the enemies of liberty only to see marxism elected at home.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Stay tuned....Obama plans to unblock pens next


12 posted on 07/26/2014 5:41:26 PM PDT by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Excellence
It means I can go to AT&T, buy the phone I really want, force them to unlock it, carry it over to the Verizon store, and hook it up to Verizon.

That ain't gonna work, AT&T & Verizon use different phone technology. You could go to T-Mobile though.


13 posted on 07/26/2014 5:44:57 PM PDT by 867V309 (Don't tread on me, bro)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

I didn’t realize the Feds outlawed the act of unlocking a phone in 2012. Does this bill do anything besides undo that FTC rule?


14 posted on 07/26/2014 5:46:13 PM PDT by Cementjungle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom

Your phone’s handset registers it’s “hardware” (usually referred to as an IMEI for most phones) every time it authenticates with a network (aka you turn it on, travel, etc). The phone company knows that IMEI belongs to you.

When someone steals your phone, you should immediately call your provider. They will basically “flag” that IMEI as stolen. Options at this point for the company range from sending its location data to the police, all the way to (most likely) simply not allowing that phone to register. In other words, turning it into a brick. Or, in your terminology, activating a kill-switch.

This it the case for all cellular phones from the fanciest smart phone, to the dumbest burner phone (which I proudly carry).


15 posted on 07/26/2014 5:52:58 PM PDT by The Black Knight (What would John Rambo do?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Excellence

But ONLY if you stay within the same system , GSM or CDMA


16 posted on 07/26/2014 6:05:01 PM PDT by Cyman (We have to pass it to see what's in it= definition of stool sample)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom
The warranty is through the manufacturer.
17 posted on 07/26/2014 6:30:38 PM PDT by Excellence (Marine mom since April 11, 2014)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: 867V309

TMobile is less expensive than ATT.


18 posted on 07/26/2014 6:34:32 PM PDT by Excellence (Marine mom since April 11, 2014)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: catnipman

Oh goodie. America is burning but I can change cell phone carriers.


19 posted on 07/26/2014 6:44:11 PM PDT by Afterguard (Liberals will let you do anything you want, as long as it's mandatory.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: The Black Knight
Thank you!

It's rare to get a such a concise answer to an IT question.Bless you! So the anti-theft deterrent is the owner maintaining records of the device's IMEI code, no matter which service provider(s) the device owner chooses to select.Correct?

On the flip side, can service providers also detect the IMEI codes of devices that fraudulently access their wireless business services?

Because I was recently made aware of an “app” that allowed any laptop to become a “wireless hotspot”.
That seemed to me to be theft of services, since while it was proposed as an emergency “work around” for a sudden loss of local wireless Internet access due to unexplained equipment failure,it occurred to me that it could easily be used to get “free service forever” on somebody else’s dime.

20 posted on 07/26/2014 7:02:08 PM PDT by sarasmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: freedumb2003

They also pay significantly less for service. Using similar equipment and a large portion of the same support personnel.


21 posted on 07/26/2014 7:22:49 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Excellence
No, that's not usually the case in my experience as both a retail consumer, and as a dealer/reseller of products.(not cell phones)

Sanyo might manufacture the same device, but label it under several different OMD labels,ie AT&T, Panasonic, Sharp, Verizon etc.

So the AT&T version might come with a 1 year AT&T provided “manufacturers warranty”, while the Verizon version might come with only a 90 day “manufacturers warranty”.
Panasonic might offer a two year “manufacturers warranty”.

The warranties are based on what the OMD company negotiated with the manufacturer, generally based on total volume or customer base.

The manufacturer is in Thailand or China.
Good luck contacting the manufacturer for warranty repair/replacement.

I'm going to presume “unlocking” the device will also void the dealers warranty.

That sounds like fun, for the consumer!

22 posted on 07/26/2014 7:41:13 PM PDT by sarasmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Why is the government meddling in a private contract? Let the market and contract law dictate what happens to used phones.


23 posted on 07/26/2014 8:04:35 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 SGH-M919 that is for T-Mobile.
Samsung makes 11 different S4 models for different carriers.
When searching for a phone you have to look at what frequency the carrier uses. T-Mobile uses 1700 & 2100

A Nokia Lumia 1020 from ATT uses the same frequency’s and you can use a T-Mobile SIM card to have it work on T-Mobile.

Where I work T-Mobile is mostly dead inside the building but my co-workers ATT model with a T-Mobile SIM works great. The phone works and he gets data from 10mb to 13mb where I get almost no phone coverage and at best 440kb data to mostly zero. Both of us pay $30 a month and use skype for phone calls so we do not use our 100 mins per month. Using data it is pretty much unlimited.

Outside the building the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone works great. I suspect Nokia has a better antenna.


24 posted on 07/26/2014 8:04:45 PM PDT by minnesota_bound
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 1010RD

Good question.


25 posted on 07/26/2014 8:13:39 PM PDT by RedHeeler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

This is a good thing, but don’t they have slightly more important things to worry about?


26 posted on 07/26/2014 8:19:49 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Still bitterly clinging to rational thought despite it's unfashionability)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Right about now, theOne is placing calls to Verizon and ATT and hitting them up for contributions so he can come up with an excuse to veto the bill.


27 posted on 07/26/2014 8:40:04 PM PDT by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Good grief. How is this a win for the marketplace?

Is there anything else we’d like Big Brother to arrange and regulate for us?


28 posted on 07/26/2014 8:46:12 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 1010RD

Agreed


29 posted on 07/26/2014 8:46:49 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: catnipman

Smokescreen for the LIV to boost mid-term results.

“See? We unlocked your phones!”


30 posted on 07/26/2014 9:20:17 PM PDT by logi_cal869
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom

Your wireless provider will keep a record of your IMEI. When you go to the store, and buy a new phone under contract, they update their records with the new phone. If you instead buy a phone from a friend and add it to you contract, part of the registration process involves them updating this information as they add it to your account.

If you want your own, most phones have the IMEI recorded on the phone behind the battery. If you have AT&T or T Mobile, you can also type *#06# and the phone will display it for you.

A service provider can only know if a device is fraudulently accessing the network if they know it is stolen. Which is why it is vital to call them if you suspect it has been. Your phone authenticates with the network many, many times a day. One of the pieces of authentication is your IMEI. Basically, your phone says “I am XXX”. The network looks up the IMEI (amongst other things), runs that IMEI against a database to make sure it’s valid and not stolen, then allows you service if everything checks out.

By reporting the stolen phone to your provider, they will add your phone to the database tagging it as bad. So a thief takes your phone, you report it, they add it to the database. The next time the thief tries to turn the phone on, travels, or even a certain time passes; the phone will attempt to authenticate again. Since the phone is now tagged as “bad”, authentication will fail. Common sense translation: it stops working.

Although computers are a little different, the same concept applies. To keep things simple, networks maintain who “you” are the same way through equipment identifiers. So if someone steals it, simply report the device as stolen.


31 posted on 07/27/2014 2:31:49 AM PDT by The Black Knight (What would John Rambo do?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Absolutely appropriate. You own your computers!


32 posted on 07/27/2014 3:13:24 AM PDT by cynwoody
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom
Does it mean AT&T still has to honor the warranty?

The warranty would be with the maker of the phone, not AT&T or any other carrier. The manufacturer's interest lies with the end consumer, not the carrier. In the past, they've crippled their phones in order to win approval from carriers, but they are nonetheless happy to see hackers bypass the cripplements. After all, if they worked to build in a neat feature, they are not going to be happy about its curtailment to support a carrier's agenda.

IOW, phone makers are great. Carriers suck!

33 posted on 07/27/2014 3:18:53 AM PDT by cynwoody
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom
That sounds like fun, for the consumer!

Fun for the lawyers, and hopefully very expensive for the carriers, dealers, etc., attempting to assert the voiding provisions!

34 posted on 07/27/2014 3:21:59 AM PDT by cynwoody
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom

Will manufacturers now make the product differently, knowing it cannot be locked? In the future will this get rid of models being made exclusively for one carrier? I think things are about to change for the whole cell phone industry.


35 posted on 07/27/2014 7:32:15 AM PDT by Excellence (Marine mom since April 11, 2014)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

My sister emailed today that her Samsung Galaxy S4 SGH-M919 will not charge. She sent me a part that needs replacing and a link to a video that shows how easy it is to replace the usb port. Price of the part is just $3.99
Buy the tools you need maybe another $8
Most of the samsung parts are cheap except for the screen and digitizer. She will do the repair herself.

Samsung S4 Not Charging, Not Syncing, Repair - Fix
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCJcBltgE-I

ePartSolution-Samsung Galaxy S4 SGH-M919 USB port Charging Port & Microphone Mic Flex Cable Ribbon Replacement Part
http://www.amazon.com/ePartSolution-Samsung-SGH-M919-Charging-Microphone-Replacement/dp/B00EZ6EZ6U


36 posted on 07/27/2014 12:19:33 PM PDT by minnesota_bound
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: minnesota_bound

I tried to replace my screen on my first generation Nexus 7 and I ended up cracking the new screen during the installation. Lesson learned!


37 posted on 07/27/2014 12:44:41 PM PDT by Sawdring
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson