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The Legality Of Unlocked Cell Phones In The United States

August 13, 2020

For the past couple of years, the process of phone unlocking is illegal in the country. But thankfully, the use of unlocked phones is now permitted based on the revised law that allows such devices to be made available to American consumers. And this paved the way for some international companies like Xiaomi to penetrate the US market.

Are you interested to know more about this topic? Then we suggest you to continue reading this post as we are going to discuss the legality of unlocked cell phones in the United States once the 2-year carrier contract is already4  fulfilled.

What Are The Basis For Legalizing The Use Of Unlocked Phones In The US?

In August 2015, then Pres. Barack Obama officially signed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act which allows consumers to unlock and legalize the use of unlocked phones in the entire country. Additionally, 2 years prior to the signing of the bill, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) have convinced US carriers to be open to the new rules on smartphone unlocking.

These are the basis why smartphone consumers in the United States can request their carrier without any hesitation or complaint once the 2-year contract is completed.

How The Law On Unlocked Cell Phones Came About?

The law started out from digital rights activists who posted a petition in the We The People site. This is a website from the White House where US citizens can post suggestions and recommendations to improve the government further. The petition was able to gather 114,000 signatures, which are more than enough to prompt the FCC to take action and work with the US carriers, the Congress, and the government to develop a solution to address the said issue.

The resulting agreement was officially made into a law that was mentioned by President Obama as stated above.

What Motivated The Previous Rule On Using Unlocked Cell Phones To Be Changed?

Here are some of the reasons why the use of unlocked cell phones had to be allowed:

  • The legality of unlocked cell phones is already needed since most of the smartphones being sold (both new and used) were already unlocked.
  • Apple and other major carriers in the market were already selling an unlocked iPhone 5S.
  • The Nexus 5 devices from Google were also sold unlocked.
  • Top retailers in the US like Best Buy were already offering different types of unlocked phones.

When Will The Process Of Unlocking Cell Phones Be Considered ‘Illegal’ Based On The New Law?

According to the new law, consumers are only allowed to have their phones unlocked only if their contract from the carrier is already expired. Likewise, the process of unlocking can only be performed by the authorized carrier as intentional tampering of the “licensing” software will be considered as an infringement, and therefore illegal.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the legality of unlocked cell phones in the United States is now backed up by the law. Just make sure the 2-year contract with your original carrier is up before transferring to another network.

If you’re looking for a place to buy quality unlocked phone brands like Xiaomi, Samsung and Oneplus, visit Wireless Place’s website for more information.




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