Let me start by saying that this does not include Jailbreaking or Rooting your device to allow you to run software of your choosing that is not “approved” by the manufacturer or carrier. There are illegal torrents and hacked software that is still that, illegal, but unlocking remains legal. What I am talking about is unlocking cellphone so that you can use another carrier with the same wireless signal technology. This is very common with T-Mobile customers who do not have access to the iPhone. There is said to be over 1 million iPhones on the T-Mobile Network. Another common reason to “Carrier Unlock” your device is to travel overseas and use another carrier SIM card with the same wireless signal technology to avoid the MASSIVE roaming charges you would incur with your US wireless carrier.
No More Legal Unlocking Cellphones Starting Saturday.
As of this Saturday courtesy of the Librarian of Congress which in October of 2012 determined that unlocking cell phones would no longer be allowed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In the goodness of their hearts they gave everyone a 90 day lead time until this was to become affective. As of Saturday, January 29th the window will be shut closed and all carrier unlocking will no become illegal.
There are some exceptions of course. You can always purchase your device free from contract or outright, and then it can be unlocked which it generally is from the manufacturer like Apple. For example the iPhone 5 can be purchased outright for $650 bucks and is carrier unlocked. Not Jailbroken (phooey). Google does the same with the Nexus. So basically if you are not under contract, you can have full access to your phone.
There is hope thought. According to the Advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), there are questions if the DMCA has the right to make the determination on the legality of carrier unlocking your cell phone.
In an email to TechNewsDaily, EFF attorney Mitch Stoltz said, “Arguably, locking phone users into one carrier is not at all what the DMCA was meant to do. It’s up to the courts to decide.”
So hurry up and and get you cell phone unlocked if you plan on going on vacation and want to beat your carriers roaming charges. No More Legal Unlocking Cellphones after Saturday, you’ll be breaking the law.