FCC chairman tells CTIA and US carriers to allow phone unlocking or face regulation

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This may be a good sign for iPhone owners in the US. Tom Warren has been at his new job as FCC Chairman for about a week, and he is already taking on the CTIA and the telecommunications companies on the behalf of consumers. 

In a recent letter sent to the CTIA,  Warren chastises the group and the telecommunications companies it represents for dragging their feet on mobile phone unlocking. The government agency has been working with the CTIA for eight long months on establishing a set of rules that’ll govern cell phone unlocking by consumers. The FCC is pushing for five rules that’ll  require telcos to do the following:

  • provide a clear, concise and readily accessible policy on unlocking
  • unlock mobile devices for legitimate owners of those devices once their service contract has been fulfilled
  • notify customers when their devices are eligible to be unlocked and/or automatically unlock those devices for free
  • unlock devices or provide an explanation of a denial of any unlock requests within two days
  • unlock devices for military service men and women upon deployment

The CTIA has agreed to four of the five proposals, with the requirement to notify customers being the only sticking point.  The FCC chief  isn’t backing down writing in his letter that “absent the consumer’s right to be informed about unlocking eligibility, any voluntary program would be a hollow shell.”  Wheeler tells the group to institute these policies by the end of the year  or face regulation.

[Via Engadget]