You can now legally unlock your cellphone in the US again starting today



After both the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously passed the cellphone unlocking bill (Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act) last month, we only had to wait on the President to sign it into law. Today, President Obama will do just that, in a rare event the White House calls a “triple win” — one for the American consumer, one for wireless competition, and the other for bipartisan congressional action (democracy).

What all this means is starting today, we now have the right to unlock our smartphones — or pay someone else to do it for us — without fear of prosecution from the law. To be fair, cellphone unlocking has only been illegal for a little over a year now, this was after a previous exemption to 1998′s Digital Millennium Copyright Act expired back in late 2012. With a fresh new exemption now in place, we are now free to unlock our cellphones until 2015, in which case the whole process starts all over again.

Keep in mind that while it’s legal to unlock your cellphone in order to take to other service providers, you’ll first need to make sure it’s been paid off with your current provider. After that, you can either unlock your own, or a used smartphone you bought from someone off of Craigslist. Until the big 4 networks in the US are all using VoLTE, good luck finding smartphones that are actually cross compatible with other networks. The US is funny like that.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. It saddens me that this was an issue to begin with.

    1. I forgot it was an issue. Haha.

  2. I wonder if anyone was actually prosecuted for this, doubtful.

    1. I was actually prosecuted and am currently fighting a case for this. Hopefully this changes everything.

      1. It should hopefully. Wish you the best.

  3. America, america

  4. So will verizon lte phones work on straight talk now?

    1. they cripple a lot of their devices with excluding the proper bands

  5. Because using T-Mobile with hour AT&T devices was an issuse before or the mvnos

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