Any Day Now, Any Way Now, Cell Phones Shall Be Released
The future is looking bright for the unlocked cell phone. Mobile phones in the U.S. typically come with service plans that greatly discount the hardware while locking customers in to a particular provider. A phone you buy through Sprint probably won’t work if you switch to T-Mobile. A new ruling by the Register of Copyrights, however, may make it easier to unlock your phone and make it work with virtually any provider.
Every three years, parties can argue for exemptions to the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act. On this years list includes an approved exemption for unlocking cell phones. Under the previous provisions, switching carriers without switching phones was considered a violation of the first carrier’s copyrighted phone software. Upon reviewing this clause, the Copyright Office concluded that it had little or no basis in copyright law, and more to do with ensuring customer loyalty.
The ruling, of course, only applies to phones that can be unlocked in the first place. T-Mobile and Cingular lock their phones to work only with their SIM cards. Verizon and Sprint, on the other hand, use network-based permission lists that won’t allow phones they didn’t sell you onto their network. In that case, there’s nothing to unlock (and an unlocked phone won’t work on their networks).
David Thomas, CEO at Evident, is an accomplished cybersecurity entrepreneur. He has a history of introducing innovative technologies, establishing them in the market, and driving growth – with each early-stage company emerging as the market leader.