Earlier this year, a bill was passed to make unlocking cell phones legal. While it was passed, there were some caveats that many couldn’t ignore. Further steps are now being taken on the bill, which is being introduced with a new version.
Announced on June 23, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) along with Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the new bill is a bipartisan legislation that would restore consumer’s ability to transfer their phones to other mobile networks. Last year, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act was introduced to restore an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which allowed consumers to unlock their mobile devices after their wireless contract came to an end. This new modified bill has been the result of months of work to focus on the needs of individuals.
From the announcement:
“Consumers should be able to use their existing cell phones when they move their service to a new wireless provider. I have worked for months with Ranking Member Grassley, Chairman Goodlatte and House members, consumer advocates and wireless providers to ensure we enact common sense legislation that puts consumers first by allowing them to ‘unlock’ their cell phones. Our laws should not prohibit consumers from carrying their cell phones to a new network, and we should promote and protect competition in the wireless marketplace. This is important to consumers in every state, and I look forward to beginning consideration of our bipartisan legislation this week.”
The real bonus is for “bulk unlockers,” which were originally not included. At surface level, that meant that individuals could unlock their devices, but handsets in bulk couldn’t be unlocked. That language has now been removed.