President Barack Obama has given green signal to the new cell phone unlocking law, hence opening a path for all the mobile phone customers in the United States to switch to other carriers of their choice.
“A rare trifecta: A win for American consumers, a win for wireless competition, and an example of democracy at its best – bipartisan congressional action in direct response to a call to action from the American people,” said the White House while hailing the new cell phone law.
The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act was passed by the Congress unanimously last month. It repeals a 2013 decision of the Library of Congress that made unlocking of cell phone illegal, saying it violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Technology activist and entrepreneur Sina Khanifar filed a petition “We the People”, signed by more than 120,000 people, to launch a mass movement for the legalization of unlocking of cell phone in the United States.
“I asked repeatedly for Congress to make the exemption permanent and Rep. Zoe Lofgren even introduced the excellent ‘Unlocking Technology Act of 2013′ that would have done just that. Unfortunately, Congress wasn’t ready to deal with passing a permanent exemption to the DMCA,” Khanifar said.
For getting a petition recognized by the White House, it should be supported by at least 100,000 signatures.
The cell phones sold by most of the US carriers have a software lock that prohibits the users from using SIM card of different service operator on their respective devices. The new law will allow the users to break this lock and use new network of their choice in their old cell phones.
Things you must know about the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act:
- The government’s decision will help those cell phone customers who are frequent travelers and don’t want to waste money on roaming charges.
- It will also benefit those who want to switch to another network while keeping the same device.
- The law prohibits from “bulk unlocking”, i.e. unlocking of many devices for purpose of resale. The bill states, “No bulk unlocking.–Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to permit the unlocking of wireless handsets or other wireless devices, for the purpose of bulk resale.”