Unlocking of phones bought after Jan 26, banned by DMCA

Yes. You heard it right. Unlocking phones bought after Jan 26 has been finally declared illegal by DMCA. Digital Millennium Copyright Act had decided in October 2012 that unlocking mobile phones would no longer be allowed. However they provided a 90-day window during which people could still buy a phone and unlock it and 26th January is the day on which this window ends.

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For those who don’t know unlocking a phone frees it from the restriction of any particular network carrier, allowing it to run and access other networks that use the same wireless standard. So, that makes a user free to select a network of their choice.

But what if you have bought a phone before 26th? Well, if you have bought a phone earlier or on 26th, you can unlock it anytime.

However is there any thing that you can do if you are planning to buy a phone after 26th? Well, Yes. You can unlock it. But the clause is that you will need the approval from your carrier. So, now you will have to depend on your carrier’s decision to be able to unlock your phone.

The new rule against unlocking phones won’t be a problem for everybody. For example, Verizon’s iPhone 5 comes out of the box already unlocked, and AT&T has decided to unlock the phone once it is out of contract. But still it all depends on the choice of the carrier and the user is left with no choice other than requesting the respective carrier to allow them to unlock their device.

Source: Library of Congress (Amazon).

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Roger Dunning is a technology evangelist. He lives in New York with his wife and pet dog. You can find him 24×7 on the Internet.

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