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05/03/2013 12:11:47 PM
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Publish Date05/03/2013 12:11:47 PM
In a move to support consumers’ rights the White House called for cellphone unlocking; this will give the Americans the choice to freely switch from one carrier to another.
For U.S. consumers to be able to take their cellphones when they switch carriers will make it easier to take advantage of lower rates once an initial contract is fulfilled.
Moreover, this would increase the competition between the wireless carriers and could lead to lower prices.
The Obama administration and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will urge the Congress to agree on the cellphones unlocking.
Last year the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress made it illegal for consumers to unlock their cellphones.
Some U.S. consumers use computer programs to unlock their phones but most consumers probably are not even aware of this process.
The freedom to keep the cellphone regardless of the carrier became a popular cause in U.S. technology circles.
An online petition called “We the People” sent to the White House gained more than 100,000 signatures in one month.
Wireless carriers say they do not understand what the fuss is about since users can ask for phone unlocking once the contract is done.
However, the problem is that most phones in the U.S. are designed to operate on one network and not the others, unlike in Europe.
For now, an unauthorized unlocking, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, is punished with a $500,000 fine or five years in prison or both, for a first-time offense.
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