Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Mar 2013 19:28 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless "The White House agrees with the 114.000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs."
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RE: Unlocking Phones
by unclefester on Mon 4th Mar 2013 22:55 UTC in reply to "Unlocking Phones"
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13


I've heard some people claim that the phone has to be locked in order to pay back the phone subsidy, but that's a silly claim because the customer is still liable for the contract payments regardless of whatever other SIMs the customer might want to use. I still have to pay my contractual phone bill whether I use the phone or not.


If you look at the wording of the contract you will find that you are actually paying for data. The phone is provided for free or minimal cost to access that data. If you allow a customer to unlock the phone they can make a legal argument that they are no longer required to pay for the data. They can then get a free handset.

IMHO the carriers should be required to provide the phone at actual cost (eg $20/month for 24 months) and separately charge for data and calls. The result would be that many people would then buy cheap handsets an make a lot fewer calls - bad for both the handset makers and the telcos.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Unlocking Phones
by roblearns on Mon 4th Mar 2013 23:50 in reply to "RE: Unlocking Phones"
roblearns Member since:
2010-09-13

They can't make any legal argument related to the phone being unlocked.

That's incorrect. If you agree to pay $2400 - you owe it.

Period.

You think if you turn your phone off and don't use it, then you don't have to pay? Wrong.

That's just made up - fictional nonsense, and shame on you for making things up and acting as if it's true.

You can get out of a contract paying an ETF - but that's a side issue, unrelated to using 'data'.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Unlocking Phones
by Alfman on Tue 5th Mar 2013 04:11 in reply to "RE[2]: Unlocking Phones"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

roblearns,

I was going to reply, but it'd be redundant with what you've just said. I don't see how anyone could get out of their contract obligations by simply disconnecting their phone. If they could then early termination fees would be 100% pointless.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Unlocking Phones
by unclefester on Tue 5th Mar 2013 07:35 in reply to "RE: Unlocking Phones"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Sorry Robleams and Alfman but in this case you are both completely wrong.

Never assume the law has anything to do with commonsense or morality.

You may think that you are buying a phone with a bundle of "free" calls and data. The legal reality is completely different - you are actually purchasing a bundle of network services with a phone provided at no cost to access those services. You are required to pay for those services whether you use them or not.

Technically if a carrier allows you to unlock the phone they have mutually agreed that you have no obligation to pay the remainder of the service contract. This may seem absurd but it is how the law works.

In Australia it is perfectly legal to unlock a phone still on a contract. However, in this case, the carrier has not legally agreed to cancel the network access contract so you must continue to pay out your contract.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Unlocking Phones
by Alfman on Tue 5th Mar 2013 13:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Unlocking Phones"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

unclefester,

"Sorry Robleams and Alfman but in this case you are both completely wrong."

Maybe, but do you have any evidence whatsoever to back this claim? None of your posts have so far provided anything.

"You may think that you are buying a phone with a bundle of 'free' calls and data."

No, who thinks that? Seriously? When I buy a phone under a two year contract with X minutes per month, I expect to get the phone and X minutes per month. Neither of them are "free" in any sense of the word.


"The legal reality is completely different - you are actually purchasing a bundle of network services with a phone provided at no cost to access those services."

There's nothing "free" about the phone either. When I go to the carrier store and look at plans, the costs for those plans vary depending on the phone which gets bundled. So if the phone were free this logically could NOT be the case.


"You are required to pay for those services whether you use them or not."

At least we agree on this.


"Technically if a carrier allows you to unlock the phone they have mutually agreed that you have no obligation to pay the remainder of the service contract. This may seem absurd but it is how the law works."

Do you have a citation specific to the US?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Unlocking Phones
by Alfman on Tue 5th Mar 2013 14:49 in reply to "RE[2]: Unlocking Phones"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

unclefester,

Let me just add one final thought before you offer a response. I don't see the point in itemizing costs when the consumer is in fact paying for a bundle. Let's say one goes to buy a car when they see it bundled with a "free" gps (to please the car analogists ;) ). We know the gps isn't truly a free item on it's own, it's really just part of a bundling deal.

However even if you still think it's legitimate to itemize the costs for individual items in a bundled deal and you want to claim that the phone is free, that still doesn't address why the phone should be locked exclusively to the carrier. Can you address this point specifically?

(Edit: in my earlier post, I said the cost of the plan varies, but to be more precise I should have said the price of the bundle varies instead).

Edited 2013-03-05 15:05 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2