House approves Senate’s bill to legalize phone unlocking, now it’s up to the President

by: Andrew GrushJuly 25, 2014

cellphone-unlocked Inquisitr

Just last week the Senate passed a new bill that would allow users to unlock their phones without explicit consent from the carrier it is locked to, provided they own the device or the contract connected to it has expired. At the time we reported that the House of Representatives had already passed a similar bill, but slight differences between the two bills meant that House and Senate would need to reach some sort of compromise before the bill could be passed into law.

As it turns out, the House of Representatives has now unanimously passed the Senate’s version of the bill, throwing out the House’s original ban on bulk unlocking. What this means is that after two years, cellphone locking is finally becoming legal again. For those unaware, the legality of cellphone locking came into question in the United States when a DMCA exemption allowing phone unlocking (without carrier approval) expired in 2012. Since then we’ve heard all sorts of talk about passing laws or making changes that would reverse the decision but, until now, no actual changes had been made.

So what’s next? With both the Senate and House approving the “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act”, it’s now just a matter of getting the bill signed into law by the President. For those fearing that the bill will be turned down at the last moment by Obama, we wouldn’t worry about it too much, considering the President has long since expressed interest in making cellphone unlocking legal for US consumers.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated when the bill is officially signed into law. What do you think of the new bill? Does it go far enough, or do you think locking a cellphone to a carrrier shouldn’t be legal in the first place?

  • mjh49783ab

    Or, you could come north of the border, and pay someone $10 to unlock it for you. ;^)

    • Cole Raney

      That border is pretty far for some of us.

      • mjh49783ab

        Yup. That can pose a problem for some good folks. It’s certainly not a perfect solution for all.

  • MasterMuffin

    Never got the reason why unlocking should be illegal. I just see no real reason for that!

    “carrrier” :)

  • Hayden7200

    Shouldn’t be legal in the first place.

  • Guest

    It wasn’t legal before?

    • Tuấn Ankh

      Yep, it used to be, then they screwed up and made it illegal. That happened in 2009, I think.

  • Cole Raney

    Even if the president vetoed this, it could pass. You need a 2/3 vote to overrule a veto, and if it passed unanimously in the house, then there is no reason it wouldn’t be overruled.

  • takpro

    No reason he wouldn’t sign it. I believe all ObamaBama phones are unlocked. If you can make it to the border, it is probably part of the welcome basket.

  • preciousbwallace

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

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    • Jayfeather787

      I hope your car goes crazy and backs over you.

  • TechLover

    Locking shouldn’t be legal in the first place: We r paying for the phone plan, I see no reason why I can’t switch arnd sim cards from other carriers on a phone I own. (It’s not like I dun have to pay for the contract)