Wireless Broadband

Encourage Wireless Companies to Unlock Phones at End of Contracts

Most people like purchasing cheaper, subsidized cell phones. Carriers are able to do this because they will regain some of the lost cost of buying a phone over time with a contract. However, once a contract is up one should no longer be forced be locked in with the same carrier on a cell phone we bought. The FCC should encourage wireless companies to allow phones to unlock the phone's sim card slot so it can work with other networks after the contract has ended. Since the consumer fulfilled the contract and owns their phone, one should be allow to it on any network he/she wants.


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Similar Ideas [ 5 ]


  1. Comment
    Michael Sullivan

    Most wireless companies will unlock your SIM card or phone for no charge or little charge after you have had it for some period of time. At the end of your contract, or if you end early and pay an ETF, I can't imagine a carrier not being willing to unlock your SIM or phone. Have you asked your carrier to unlock your phone? Is the phone technically compatible with the other network you want to move to? (You are not going to be able to use an AT&T or T-MO phone on Verizon Wireless or Sprint Nextel because they use incompatible technologies.)

  2. Comment
    ralf83 ( Idea Submitter )

    Actually, I have the original iphone with ATT. After I called them they said there was no way to unlock the iphone even though my service contract was up. I know they unlock iphones in other countries once the contract is up, why not here. Why should I be stuck with just ATT, especially if I take my phone on international travel, when I completed my agreement.

  3. Comment
    Michael Sullivan

    ralf83, have you tried googline iphone+unlocking? There are over 15 million hits. No, the solutions are not supported by AT&T, but there are solutions that will let you use your phone with an international SIM card.

  4. Comment

    It's more then just requiring a phone be 'unlocked'. Imagine how TV sets would work if the NTSC standard was never created (one TV for ABC and another for CBS?)... We need all providers to move to the same technology, so that I can purchase a phone for one carrier & know that it will function on all US carriers (phone manufacturures should be required to support all frequencies as well). The CDMA vs GSM thing (and the ATT/TMobile even using differing frequencies) is absolutely ridiculous. I'd like to see the FCC mandate a consistent technology like they did with ATSC/NTSC so that devices can be TRULY portable from carrier to carrier. Once my cell phone provider knows I'm not locked to there service to keep using my pretty-shiny phone, we'll finally see real competition on service & price.