Unlocking Smartphones is No Longer Legal in the US

Unlocking SmartphonesIt is no longer considered legal for smartphone users in the United States to unlock their carrier-subsidized smartphones. Although the practice technically violates the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), this unfavorable turn of events would easily disappoint many smartphone users. Granted, there are far fewer consumers who would unlock their devices than those who faithfully comply to their 2-year contract agreements.

As expected, CTIA is a vocal supporter of this decision as the organization counts all major US wireless carriers as its members. The act of signing a 2-year contract agreement and shelling out a mere $49.99 may seem trivial for common smartphone users, but wireless carriers see things a bit differently.

They are selling smartphones with significant amount of subsidies and hoping that subscribers will continue to purchase monthly plans over the contract duration. CTIA sees that that the practice of unlocking phones is harmful for the mobile industry, which could indirectly result in degradation of services offered by wireless carriers.