FCC calls for carriers to automatically unlock smartphones


Is the FCC finally becoming… cool? It’s always put up a bit of a fight with carriers, but recent news has really started making it seem like it’s no longer just another cog in an industry-friendly machine, and more an agency that truly has the public’s back. A little earlier this month we told you about the arrival of a speed test app that may be used to hold carriers accountable for delivering the performance they advertise, and today we hear the agency’s new head making it clear that carriers need to get their acts together when it comes to unlocking our phones.

Tom Wheeler only just took the seat as FCC Chairman at the start of this month, and he’s already pushing hard for change. In a letter sent to the wireless industry, Wheeler spells out how simply allowing users to unlock their phones isn’t going to be enough.

He calls for the carriers to voluntarily put together systems wherein users are either actively notified when they’re eligible to have their phones unlocked, or for the unlocking process to simply happen automatically, with no end-user action required. Without at the very least a notification system in place, Wheeler calls any unlocking policy “a hollow shell.”

Wheeler doesn’t want to wait around, either, and is pushing for carriers to have a better unlocking system set up in time for the holiday season.

Maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but Mr. Wheeler’s tenure at the agency feels like it might be one worth paying attention to.

Source: Reuters
Via: The Droid Guy

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!