cellphone-unlocked Inquisitr

America, the land of the free, hasn’t quite lived up to its motto in terms of mobile liberty. Once a common and completely legal practice, unlocking a smartphone became illegal in 2013. Fast forward to today, over a year later, and we can set our smartphones free once again. All without fear of any possible prosecution.

The good news comes from the White House and senator Patrick Leahy, one of the leaders who helped spearhead the bill into acceptance. Today, President Barack Obama is to sign the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, allowing people to modify smartphone firmware and remove carrier restrictions.

Those who criticize online petitions for being ineffective will be surprised to find this is how this very bill was started. The White House responded to this issue as a follow-up to an official online petition that collected over 114,000 signatures. What’s even more surprising is that it didn’t take long for them to take action, responding within a couple brief weeks.

obama-htc-evo-3d Flickr/White House

This victory is quoted as being “a win for American consumers, a win for wireless competition, and an example of democracy at its best.” A statement we would have to agree with, especially those of us who live on such a restrictive mobile market as the USA tends to be.

It’s important to note this is not exactly a permanent solution, leaving a bit of uncertainty in how these matters should be handled in the coming years. As stated last week during the initial announcement of this bill’s passing, this decision is to be revised every 3 years. Whether the bill is to stay alive or not depends on how the market and other factors may look upon revision.

For now, you can unlock away with no fears! It’s interesting to see how technology happens to naturally evolve faster than laws can adapt to it, though. It’s starting to become a more common practice for manufacturers and carriers to ship devices already unlocked. We have a long way to go, but the market is definitely moving forward.

Edgar Cervantes
Edgar Cervantes has over 5 years of experience in tech journalism. Exploring the latest gadgets and constantly studying the industry are part of is daily drive. Regardless of what he is working on, you can be sure he is always trying his best to bring you the best content. He will be dead honest and will bend to nothing.
  • Jayfeather787

    Yay!!!!! I did it anyways when it was ilegal. Whatever. It was a stupid law anyways. The US and it’s laws :)

    • Jayfeather787

      I had to use the phone in another country. It was justified. And free. HTC Sensation FTW.

    • Jayfeather787

      Well, the WAN show just said you could receive prison time if you unlocked the phone, I think I might edit my comment.

    • Crutchcorn

      Yeah it was. That was rediculous.

  • le_avion

    The biggest problem with the US market is the proliferation of technologies and frequencies used. Unless it is a real global phone like the Nexus 5, a Sprint phone will not work on AT&T nor T-Mobile and even a Verizon phone may not work with Sprint. So after all this you may be able to unlock your phone and still not be able to move it to another mobile company. What is great about it that you can now take your GSM phone on your travel to another country and be able to purchase a local SIM to eliminate the exceptionally high cost of roaming charged by most US companies.

  • Mike

    so how do i get my new nokia lumia 635 unlocked from at&t can i do it now do i just call them ?

    • Tuấn Ankh

      Carrier unlock has been legal for years. I think “unlocking” in this article means self-unlock, like you do it yourself or you go to a small service store somewhere to ask them unlock for you. It is better for the consumers now because you can buy a locked AT&T phone, and then unlock it yourself in order to use it with T-mobile or something else.

      Back to your question, yes, just call them. I’m not sure what conditions they ask for in order to unlock it for you though, but give it a try.

  • Crutchcorn

    Finally! YAY!

  • Arturo Raygoza

    How do I unlock my unlocked Nexus 5?