President Obama signs bill making it legal to unlock your phone again

By Cody Lee on Aug 1, 2014

The White House announced this morning that President Obama will be signing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act today. The bill restores the copyright exemption that allows customers to unlock their phones, regardless of carrier restrictions.

The bill was first unanimously passed by the Senate a couple of weeks ago, and then agreed upon by the House of Representatives earlier this week. And with the President signing it into law today, it has become once again legal for users (and vendors) to unlock their phones… Read More

 

Congress passes bill making phone unlocking legal

By Timothy Reavis on Jul 25, 2014

Earlier this year, a DMCA exemption expired, which made unlocking your iPhone not only illegal, but also punishable by a $500,000 fine, five years in jail, or both.

Today, Congress passed a bill that makes unlocking your phone without permission from your carrier legal. The bill was first unanimously passed by the Senate a couple of weeks ago, and the policy was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives this afternoon. The last step is for President Obama to sign the bill, which will officially turn it into a law. Read More

 

Senate passes cellphone unlocking bill

By Cody Lee on Jul 16, 2014

The Senate has passed a bill legalizing cellphone unlocking this week. The unanimous decision to pass the legislation, which was penned by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, came last night, and it will now move to the House and onto President Obama.

The bill reinstates a 2010 ruling by the Librarian of Congress so that consumers can ‘unlock’ their cell phones without worrying about copyright laws. It also directs Congress to consider whether other wireless devices, such as tablets, should be eligible for unlocking… Read More

 

All Sprint devices released after February 11, 2015 to be unlockable

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 23, 2014

As much as carriers would want to keep devices locked to their network to make switching service impossible, this is fortunately just a pipe dream. Last December, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was able to successfully pressure major U.S. wireless companies to agree to unlock their devices for use on other domestic networks.

The US House in February passed a device unlocking bill and now the nation’s third-largest wireless operator Sprint has responded by announcing it will make all of its devices released after February 11, 2015 unlockable for use on competitors’ wireless networks without repercussions… Read More

 

US House passes bill that makes unlocking your phone legal

By Cody Lee on Feb 26, 2014

Reuters is reporting that the US House has passed a bill that would allow mobile phone users to unlock their devices and use them on competitors’ wireless networks without repercussions, making the once ‘gray-area’ practice completely legal.

Before you get too excited, however, there are a few big asterisks. First, for the bill to be written into law it must also be approved by the Senate, which could take years or never happen. And two, the bill contains an exclusion for ‘bulk unlocking.’ Read More

 

PassTime lets you customize the passcode requirement duration (and it’s really awesome)

By Sébastien Page on Jan 31, 2014

If you’ve been listening to either Let’s Talk Jailbreak or Let’s Talk iOS, you’ve probably heard Cody and I rant about the fact that you can’t use Touch ID for iTunes purchases without either using Touch ID or a passcode to unlock your device.

Since I first got my iPhone 5s, this has been a big annoyance. I do like the simplicity and security that Touch ID brings to my purchases on iTunes or in the App Store, but I do not want to use Touch ID or even a passcode to unlock my device. As it turns out, Apple won’t let you do one without the other.

Enters PassTime, a new jailbreak tweak by Julian Weiss that lets you set custom passcode or Touch ID unlock requirement durations, effectively solving my biggest Touch ID pet peeve… Read More

 

FCC and carriers finally agree on cell phone unlocking

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 12, 2013

Threatening regulatory action, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was able to drive U.S. wireless carriers into a corner concerning their stance on cell phone unlocking. As much as carriers would want to lock phones to their network to make switching service that much harder, the FCC and major U.S. wireless companies have reached an agreement which will make it easier for people to unlock their devices and switch from one carrier to another.

The wireless association called CTIA, which represents U.S. carriers like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular, released a statement on Thursday confirming that all named carriers have agreed to the new cell phone unlocking principles put forth by the government… Read More

 

Leaked document shows White House in favor of banning unlocking, jailbreaking

By Cody Lee on Nov 19, 2013

The last we heard, things were looking good in the fight to reform out-of-date policies on device unlocking here in the US. Last week, the FCC chairman sent a letter to the CTIA saying he’d like to see changes made before the holidays. But don’t get your hopes up just yet.

According to information recently leaked by WikiLeaks, the White House—despite publicly supporting unlocking—has been secretly negotiating a treaty with other countries and special interest lobbyists that would make this and other processes illegal by international law… Read More

 

FCC Chairman urges CTIA to amend Consumer Code on unlocking

By Cody Lee on Nov 15, 2013

There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about the consumer’s right to unlock their mobile devices, but very little meaningful action. That changed this week, though, thanks to new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Wheeler sent out a letter to the CTIA (the governing body of the wireless industry) urging it to amend its Consumer Code to include a policy ensuring consumer rights to get their devices unlocked once off contract… Read More

 

The Verizon iPhone 5s comes unlocked just like the Verizon iPhone 5

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 27, 2013

It looks like we’re 2 for 2 when it comes to unlocked iPhones on Verizon’s network. As you all know, I picked up my Verizon iPhone 5s on launch day, but I haven’t been able to test it out with a GSM sim card until today.

I walked into Walgreens just a few hours ago, and picked up one of T-Mobile’s No Annual Contract kits that contains the SIM card starter kit. Unfortunately the SIM card that came with the kit was one of the old-school normal sized SIM cards (people still use those?), so I had to break out a pair of scissors and cut it down.

After a few minutes of manicuring the SIM card down to a nano size, I was ready to rock and roll. I popped out my Verizon SIM, inserted my T-Mobile SIM, and sure enough, I was on T-Mobile’s “4G” network. Read More

 

Review: Touch ID fingerprint sensor

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 20, 2013

Far and away, the most compelling upgrade worthy feature on the new iPhone 5s is the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor. It was a feature that was rumored for many months, and today the general public can finally see what all of the fuss is about.

I’ve been putting the Touch ID sensor, which rests inside of the iPhone 5s’ redesigned Home button, through its paces all morning. I’ve come away extremely impressed — not only with its ease of setup, but with its uncompromising accuracy.

After using it for a while, it’s readily apparent that this is not something that Apple hastily put into the iPhone 5s. This isn’t your father’s fingerprint sensor. Touch ID is a feature that Apple has meticulously meshed into the iPhone to make one transparent and cohesive experience. And it just works. Read More

 

The price of an unlocked iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c

By Sébastien Page on Sep 10, 2013

This is it. Apple finally unveiled the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c without much surprise to anyone who’s been following the rumors for a while. We’ve already posted about the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c pricing and availability but we thought it’d be worth having a post dedicated to these devices’ prices off-contract.

So far, looking at Apple’s website, only T-Mobile will be offering unlocked and contract-free iPhones from day one, starting September 20th. If history is any indication of the future, chances are other carriers such as AT&T will later offer the devices without a contact, and unlocked for use on other carriers.

But let’s have a look at the prices of contract-free iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c… Read More

 

New bill introduced that legalizes cellphone unlocking and more

By Cody Lee on May 10, 2013

Back in January, the mobile homebrew community suffered a major blow when several DMCA exemptions expired. Among them was a rule that made unlocking cellphones legal, effectively making the practice illegal here in the United States.

But it may not be that way for long. A new bill just landed in the House of Representatives called The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013, which, among other things, would make the process of unlocking your cellphone unequivocally legal… Read More

 

Regional carriers voice support for cell phone unlocking

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 13, 2013

I find it peculiar that regional wireless carriers in the United States have traditionally been way more vocal in their support of Apple and sound business practices than the corporate behemoths like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile, the nation’s top carriers.

A new report out this morning praises some regional carriers for having the guts to back a broader initiative to make cell phone unlocking legal again. Contrast the move to AT&T’s “straightforward” policy of locking your device to its network until you’ve met the terms of your service agreement.

Specifically, rural carriers such as U.S. Cellular and Bluegrass Cellular are now backing these looming bills, likely in a bid to appease to its iPhone customers. Remember, these same guys happily undercut major carriers’ iPhone deals by at least $50… Read More

 

AT&T issues statement on unlocking policy

By Cody Lee on Mar 8, 2013

There’s been a lot of commotion lately regarding the recent expiration of a DMCA exemption that makes the unlocking of smartphones illegal. The people are talking about it, the government is talking about it, and the word is, it could lead to new legislation.

Today, AT&T issued a statement on the topic, reassuring customers that the DMCA rule has no effect on its unlocking stance. The whole thing comes off as a bit garish, as no one was really worried about that in the first place. But it does offer clarity on their policy… Read More

 

Legislation to legalize cell phone unlocking looms

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 7, 2013

After the White House last week weighed in on the still illegal cell phone unlocking in the United States, drawing responses from carriers, The Library of Congress and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden announced on Twitter yesterday his proposal of a new bill dubbed the Wireless Device Independence Act to ensure that owners of mobile phones are allowed to bypass copy protection and unlock their devices without being scrutinized as criminals.

Arguing “it’s a freedom issue”, the Senator confirms the bill seeks to amend a section of the United States Code covering the circumvention of copyright protection systems. A few other lawmakers voiced their support for unlocking as well, having announced plans to introduce legislation to make the practice legal again… Read More

 

US prepaid carrier Solavei now selling iPhone 5-friendly nano SIMs

By Cody Lee on Mar 6, 2013

Hot on the heals of this morning’s news that the iPhone 5 would be landing on Strata Networks soon, comes word that the popular handset can also now be used with Solavei, a US-based prepaid provider.

The carrier sent out a press release this afternoon announcing that it has begun offering nano Sim cards, meaning  you can now hook up Apple’s latest handset to its $49/month unlimited everything plan… Read More

 

The White House responds: cell phone unlocking should be legalized

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 4, 2013

With the United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski promising last Thursday to look into cell phone unlocking, the federal government is now expressing concern about the recent criminalization of the controversial topic, with the White House finally making known its official stance on cell phone unlocking.

R. David Edelman, a Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, and Privacy  for the White House, Monday published the official response stating the government stands in support of those wishing to unlock their cellphones once they have fulfilled the terms of the contract. Unlocking your iPhone, as you know, basically frees your handset from the clutches of your carrier so you can take it to any wireless company’s network… Read More

 

FCC questions ban on unlocking cell phones

By Ed Sutherland on Mar 1, 2013

The federal government is expressing concern about the recent criminalization of unlocking cell phones. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Thursday his office will look at the subject to see if and what the agency can do. Earlier this year, an exemption in a digital copyright law expired, prompting outrage from some mobile phone owners.

The head of the FCC said he is “concerned” that a return to the ban on unlocked cell phones could stifle competition or limit innovation. As Cody reported last month, a White House petition calling for again allowing unlocking drew more than 100,000 signatures… Read More

 

Petition to legalize cell phone unlocking will get response from White House

By Cody Lee on Feb 21, 2013

On January 26th of this year, the DMCA exemption that made unlocking your cell phone legal, expired, subsequently making the popular practice illegal. Now, folks who go about unlocking their handsets risk serious legal repercussions.

Obviously, people weren’t too happy with the way this played out, so an online petition was started to re-legalize unlocking. And as of today, that petition has surpassed 100,000 signatures, meaning the White House must issue a response… Read More

 
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