The House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that says consumers have the right to unlock their mobile device for use on a different carrier’s network. This concept of unlocking is seen by many as commonsense, including the White House, which recently responded to a petition by saying “this issue is about the simple freedom to take your business where you please.”
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would give mobile-phone users the right to “unlock” their devices and use them on competitors’ wireless networks, although Senate action was uncertain. The House approved the bill easily, by a 295-114 vote, although some Democrats had pushed back against what they said was a last-minute Republican maneuver to change the legislation. It is not known whether the Senate will consider the bill. U.S. wireless carriers often tether, or “lock,” smartphones to their networks to encourage consumers to renew their mobile contracts. Consumers, for their part, can often buy new devices at a heavily subsidized price in return for committing to long-term contracts with a single carrier.