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December 17, 2013
Cell Phone Unlocking (yawn)
ISRI, who I mentioned briefly back in October
sent me another press release, this one declaring victory in the cellphone unlocking tussle. They're happy the FCC and telecoms have come to an agreement. Having looked at the agreement I think this is making lemonade of lemons, as the carriers have grudgingly given up the tiniest fraction of ground and the FCC has given up pursing actual full customer freedom
Under the agreement you're allowed to unlock when a service contract ends. Most contracts are for 18-24 months or more, so you might get to jailbreak your phone years after you buy it when your contract runs out. But really how many people do you know who let their contracts run out and keep their phones? Most either renew to keep hold of tasty sign-up incentives that go away if the contract expires, or buy a new phone and get a new contract.
The net effect for consumers will be that virtually nobody can jailbreak their phones (legally) and people will still keep doing it illegally, usually shortly after they get the phones. This may be a "victory for recyclers" but it's a shabby deal for consumers. Unless, of course, you're outside the US where this sort of nonsense isn't tolerated.
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