Five wireless carriers in the United States will be implementing new device unlocking policies that will hopefully allow customers to prevent their mobile devices from being tied exclusively to one network.
As reported by Android Central, the new unlocking rules will be put into effect starting on February 11th. The unlocking rules will reportedly be complying with the guidelines formulated by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA).
Of course, customers will still pay off their handsets in order to get them unlocked. But all in all, the new policies are a welcome change compared to the strict rules previously being enforced by most major networks.
Android Central's report specifically mentions that the new rules will apply to US Cellular and the Big Four wireless carriers in the US, namely AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.
As for postpaid mobile devices, customers must have their handsets or tablets completely paid off in order to qualify for unlocking. If the device is under a subsidized plan, customers will need to fulfill their service agreement.
Customers who own a prepaid mobile device can have their smartphones or tablets unlocked one year after activation, as long as they have fully paid for their devices. Also, both prepaid and postpaid customers must keep their accounts in good order (with zero overdue bills) and their devices must not be reported as stolen or lost. Not only can carriers decline unlocking stolen or lost devices, they can also choose not to unlock any smartphone or tablet associated with fraudulent transactions.
Those who serve in the military and are based overseas, they can have their mobile devices unlocked without having to fully pay them off. They just need to present their deployment orders to their respective wireless carriers.
Generally for all customers, their carries will unlock their devices for free if all the conditions mentioned earlier are met. Non-customers though may need to pay a reasonable amount for unlocking services.
Another change in the unlocking policies is that there will be two separate procedures for getting mobile devices unlocked. This will depend of course on the time customers purchased their handsets. Those whose devices were manufactured or released before February of this year are considered Master Subsidy Unlock (MSU) devices, and they can be unlocked via a code supplied by the wireless carrier that sold them. For devices available on February onwards, they are considered Domestic SIM Unlock (DSU) devices. They can be unlocked using an over-the-air command.
With the new unlocking policies, customers will now be able to take their unlocked devices to any wireless carrier, whether it be domestic or international (as long as the device is compatible with the network's frequencies).
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