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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
    Ry
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    Default CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    1. Disclosure. Each carrier will post on its website its clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on postpaid and prepaid mobile wireless device unlocking.
    2. Postpaid Unlocking Policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices or provide the necessary information to unlock their devices for their customers and former customers in good standing and individual owners of eligible devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device financing plan or payment of an applicable early termination fee.
    3. Prepaid Unlocking Policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.
    4. Notice. Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely when devices are eligible for unlocking, without additional fee. Carriers reserve the right to charge non-customers/non-former-customers a reasonable fee for unlocking requests. Notice to prepaid customers may occur at point of sale, at the time of eligibility, or through a clear and concise statement of the policy on the carrier’s website
    5. Response Time. Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request to the OEM to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation of why the device does not qualify for unlocking, or why the carrier reasonably needs additional time to process the request.
    6. Deployed Personnel Unlocking Policy. Carriers will unlock mobile wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing upon provision of deployment papers.
    My quick interpretation.

    1. You'll see carriers updating their websites to make their unlocking policy easier to find.
    2. When the phone is paid off, either completing the payment plan, fulfilling the (usually 2-year) contract, or paying the ETF in full, the carrier will unlock the device at the customer's request.
    3. Prepaid carriers have up to one-year to hold on keeping a device locked to their network. It can be shorter than one year though. Sounds like this can vary from prepaid carrier to prepaid carrier.
    4. When the device is eligible to be unlocked, the carrier is responsible for notifying the customer that it's ready. The customer still has to make the request. Carriers can charge non-customers or non-forumer-customers a fee to unlock a phone locked to their network.
    5. Carriers must unlock the device within two business days or provide a reason for the delay.
    6. Military personnel in good standing can request their device be unlocked by submitting their deployment papers. The device does not need to be paid off.
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  2. #2  

    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    Its about time there are clearer terms. I've never tried to unlock but I've heard horror stories from people who have.

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  3. #3  
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    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    I am interested on what this means for Verizon and Sprint world phones. They have the right bands for domestic GSM support but are artificially blocked. Will this new policy require them to completely unlock the phones even for domestic GSM use? I guess we need to wait and see...
  4. #4  

    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    Quote Originally Posted by ufergus View Post
    I am interested on what this means for Verizon and Sprint world phones. They have the right bands for domestic GSM support but are artificially blocked. Will this new policy require them to completely unlock the phones even for domestic GSM use? I guess we need to wait and see...
    That's close to what I was just thinking too. But do they have gsm bands? I thought they were made to only have CDMA radio bands.

    I wonder if it would be possible to take my Boost Mobile phone to Ting or such. Except by then my bill will be less. :rolleyes:

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    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    A lot of the newer Sprint phones have the correct GSM/UMTS bands for international traveling. They work domestically too, Sprint just locks it so you can't take you phone to <INSERT DOMESTIC GSM PROVIDER HERE>.
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    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    If you believe all the horror stories of the Internet Sprint is going to hemorrhage subscribers once this goes into effect.

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  7. Thread Author  Thread Author    #7  
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    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    Quote Originally Posted by ufergus View Post
    I am interested on what this means for Verizon and Sprint world phones. They have the right bands for domestic GSM support but are artificially blocked. Will this new policy require them to completely unlock the phones even for domestic GSM use? I guess we need to wait and see...
    For Verizon, not much. Their recent phones have shipped with the GSM side unlocked.

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    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ry View Post
    For Verizon, not much. Their recent phones have shipped with the GSM side unlocked.
    Yeah I just heard that.. That should be enough evidence to put all this locking non-nonsense to rest. I don't see hoards of Droid RAZRs on AT&T or T-Mobile.
  9. #9  

    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ry View Post
    For Verizon, not much. Their recent phones have shipped with the GSM side unlocked.
    And there is no way to "unlock" the CDMA side since CDMA technology is proprietary. Neither Verizon nor the phone manufacturers have a right to put Sprint's proprietary CDMA binaries onto a phone along with Verizon's.
  10. Thread Author  Thread Author    #10  
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    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    Quote Originally Posted by DayThyme View Post
    And there is no way to "unlock" the CDMA side since CDMA technology is proprietary. Neither Verizon nor the phone manufacturers have a right to put Sprint's proprietary CDMA binaries onto a phone along with Verizon's.
    Technically IIRC, all of Verizon's CDMA phone are unlocked, as in there is no hardware or software code preventing the handset it self from being used on another CDMA network. (Or the password is 000000). I think it has to do with getting ESNs or MEIDs into the other network's database and loading the phones with the right settings.

    (Flash to Cricket anyone?)

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  11. #11  

    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ry View Post
    Technically IIRC, all of Verizon's CDMA phone are unlocked, as in there is no hardware or software code preventing the handset it self from being used on another CDMA network. (Or the password is 000000).
    I don't think so. You need the binaries signed by the carrier's platform key for a CDMA phone to work on a CDMA network and neither Verizon nor Google nor the phone manufacturers could legally put those on a phone without Sprint's involvement. The platform key is proprietary and closed-source. It's the whole reason that Google stopped making Nexi for Verizon - they need Verizon's permission to sign the binaries with Verizon's platform key, and Verizon wanted to exercise too much control over the update process for Google's liking.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ry View Post
    I think it has to do with getting ESNs or MEIDs into the other network's database and loading the phones with the right settings.

    (Flash to Cricket anyone?)
    Now you may be able to flash Sprint's signed binaries onto a Verizon phone, but the phone manufacturers can't do that without Sprint's permission. Also you're right in that Verizon and Sprint would block the phone by its ESN/MEID/IMEI anyhow because neither Sprint nor Verizon support this activity.
  12. Thread Author  Thread Author    #12  
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    Default Re: CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms

    Quote Originally Posted by DayThyme View Post
    I don't think so. You need the binaries signed by the carrier's platform key for a CDMA phone to work on a CDMA network and neither Verizon nor Google nor the phone manufacturers could legally put those on a phone without Sprint's involvement. The platform key is proprietary and closed-source. It's the whole reason that Google stopped making Nexi for Verizon - they need Verizon's permission to sign the binaries with Verizon's platform key, and Verizon wanted to exercise too much control over the update process for Google's liking.

    Now you may be able to flash Sprint's signed binaries onto a Verizon phone, but the phone manufacturers can't do that without Sprint's permission. Also you're right in that Verizon and Sprint would block the phone by its ESN/MEID/IMEI anyhow because neither Sprint nor Verizon support this activity.
    Legal vs. technical. People use Verizon phones on Cricket all the time. That right there already proves that you can take a CDMA phone from one CDMA network and use it on another CDMA network.

    And it's not an inherent limitation of CDMA - CDMA networks could use SIMs if they wanted to. It's just the way CDMA was implemented by Verizon and Sprint (And Cricket, and Metro PCS prior to the T-Mobile acquisition, etc.).

    All of this unlocking business that the FCC and CTIA are involved with points to SIM locks anyway - something that the CDMA carriers don't have to worry about.
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