Unlocking bill passes through Senate with ‘unanimous consent agreement,’ now moves to the House

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Having a device be unlocked, whether it is tied to an active contract/agreement or not, has been an issue for quite some time. But recently, there’s been a bigger focus put on the effort from government officials. Now, a new unlocking bill is closer to reality than ever before, as it moves through one stage and into the next.

First introduced in 2013, it’s been a slow (but obvious) movement towards being passed. While there have been hangups and speed bumps, the majority of steps taken on the bill have been in the right direction, especially recently with language removed to make sure bulk unlockers are not left out of the loop (as they were initially).

Now, it has been reported by The Hill, that the bill has officially passed through the Senate, after a vote on Tuesday, July 15. Which means, the next step is for the bill to enter the House for a vote. The report quotes Senator Patrick Leahy on why this bill was necessary:

“This straightforward restoring bill is about promoting consumer rights,” Leahy said when the bill was introduced last year. “When consumers finish the terms of their contract, they should be able to keep their phones and make their own decision about which wireless provider to use.

Getting a mobile device unlocked isn’t impossible, but it certainly could be easier — and that’s what the bill is meant to address. If the law does get passed, then a customer will be allowed to get their device unlocked after a contract/agreement has expired without issue, and be able to use that device on another network — after the contract expires. As it stands right now, the rules are different carrier to carrier, and can even be determined by the very contract you sign. Moreover, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act prohibits the legal unlocking of any device that’s carrier-restricted.

Have you ever had any trouble unlocking a device in the past?

[via 9to5Mac; The Hill]