U.S. House Passes a Bill Allowing People to Unlock Their Phones, But….

A new bill that makes it legal to unlock your smartphone on the end of your service contract has narrowly passed the U.S. House. However, some language within the bill may stifle businesses that sell unlocked phones to consumers.

This need to be excellent news for any small business owner who’d want to continue using a smartphone they prefer but desires to switch to a different mobile carrier.

The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act passed the home of Representatives by greater than two-thirds majority. The bill will now move to the Senate, The Hill reports . Once law, the bill would let smartphone owners who purchased their devices after Jan. 27, 2013, legally unlock their phones. Though those owners must wait until their current contracts expire.

Smartphone owners may have unlocked their phones prior to now legally. But that privilege expired when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was not renewed by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

The summary of the bill reads:

“This legislation allows anyone who wishes to unlock their cellular telephone for private use to hunt help from others without violating anti-circumvention provisions and clarifies that this bill would not permit the unlocking of mobile phones for the point of bulk resale.”

It’s the last part of the legislation that has some groups irate with the home. Because the bill stands, a smartphone owner can visit a business and feature their phone unlocked. But that business cannot unlock phones and resell them in bulk.

Sherwin Siy, the VP of Legal Affairs for the shopper watchdog group Public Knowledge said in response to the present bill:

“We’re disappointed that the home was unable to arrive a compromise that might have prevented such barriers and still met the objectives of helping consumers. There’s bipartisan support for such an method of reform and we’re hopeful that the bill might be improved within the Senate.”

Previously owned unlocked phones have risen in popularity for business owners who’re seeking to get a smartphone with out a contract. Though the initial purchase price can be high, an unlocked phone offers benefits. This type of is with the ability to choose your carrier and potentially switch if necessary.

The change inside the current bill so as to add the ban on “bulk unlocking” was a final minute one. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act may be amended further within the Senate before passage.

Unlock Photo via Shutterstock

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