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Old January 28th, 2013, 05:40 PM   #101 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unlocking smartphones without permission illegal after 01/25/13

If you pay the etf that's the end of the contract and you should be able to unlock it then.

There's no reason to unlock the phone while under contract.

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Old January 28th, 2013, 05:44 PM   #102 (permalink)
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That's only for 4G (HSPA+ which some people don't consider "real" 4G) speeds, but the actual data usage is still unlimited. And you can get 100 minutes with unlimited text and data for $30/month with 4G speeds up to 5 GB and probably use VoIP instead of cellular for most calls.

And I would be spending $300 for a Nexus 4 from the Play Store, not $500 for a GS2.

So how does Virgin Mobile compare? I haven't looked at their plans yet, so what do you have?

ramjet73
Doesn't tmob have a $30 plan? 200 mins or something, unlimited text n data

Anyways VM is OK ( gotta be cheapest for a smartphone, at least initial cost).

Service really is lacking but it works( and that's what wifi is for lol)

$35 for 300 min, unlimited data and texts? How can you really beat that?
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Old January 28th, 2013, 06:07 PM   #103 (permalink)
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Service really is lacking but it works( and that's what wifi is for lol)

$35 for 300 min, unlimited data and texts? How can you really beat that?
Well, if the 4G coverage isn't available or doesn't work well then I guess WiFi is an alternative, but it's a PITA having to move from hotspot to hotspot when using mobile data. That's what WiMax/4G was supposed to address but now that Sprint's phasing that out and going with LTE that I won't be able to use, the T-Mobile $30 plan with 5GB at HSPA+ speeds looks pretty good to me, as long as they allow VoIP.

I checked the VM website and if I understand correctly, the 4G limit for VM is 2.5GB/month unless you have the $15 hotspot option and then you get 3.5GB. Although it only includes 100 minutes, that makes the $30 T-Mobile plan look pretty good if I can use those minutes for incoming calls and use a VoIP app like GrooveIP for outgoing.

Just thinking out loud here, and I appreciate your input. BTW, I'm looking at the new T-Mobile pre-paid plans and I think they are different than the ones requiring a contract.

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Old January 28th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #104 (permalink)
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I think getting a free or heavily subsidised phone on a mandatory two year contract is very similar buying a car on a hire purchase or instalment plan. You get the phone or car, but it's not actually yours until the payments are completed. Either you complete the loan payments or you complete the contract.

If you default on a car loan, they repossess the car. And if you default on a two year carrier contract, they can blacklist the ESN or IMEI, rendering it useless. That's why you sometimes get blacklisted ESN and IMEI phones on Ebay, that do have outstanding finance issues, like there's monies owed to a carrier.

If you pay the ETF, that's it the phone is yours, there's no more contract and payment obligations to the carrier, surely you can then legally unlock it?
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:05 PM   #105 (permalink)
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Well, if the 4G coverage isn't available or doesn't work well then I guess WiFi is an alternative, but it's a PITA having to move from hotspot to hotspot when using mobile data. That's what WiMax/4G was supposed to address but now that Sprint's phasing that out and going with LTE that I won't be able to use, the T-Mobile $30 plan with 5GB at HSPA+ speeds looks pretty good to me, as long as they allow VoIP.

I checked the VM website and if I understand correctly, the 4G limit for VM is 2.5GB/month unless you have the $15 hotspot option and then you get 3.5GB. Although it only includes 100 minutes, that makes the $30 T-Mobile plan look pretty good if I can use those minutes for incoming calls and use a VoIP app like GrooveIP for outgoing.

Just thinking out loud here, and I appreciate your input. BTW, I'm looking at the new T-Mobile pre-paid plans and I think they are different than the ones requiring a contract.

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A friend has been using Vonage for out going for 3or4 months on the $30 plan, Tmob hasn't said a word YET.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:21 PM   #106 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unlocking smartphones without permission illegal after 01/25/13

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I think getting a free or heavily subsidised phone on a mandatory two year contract is very similar buying a car on a hire purchase or instalment plan. You get the phone or car, but it's not actually yours until the payments are completed. Either you complete the loan payments or you complete the contract.

If you default on a car loan, they repossess the car. And if you default on a two year carrier contract, they can blacklist the ESN or IMEI, rendering it useless. That's why you sometimes get blacklisted ESN and IMEI phones on Ebay, that do have outstanding finance issues, like there's monies owed to a carrier.

If you pay the ETF, that's it the phone is yours, there's no more contract and payment obligations to the carrier, surely you can then legally unlock it?
Exactly.

But the problem is, people can currently just get the subsidized phone, and not pay the bills. The carrier will blacklist it, but that doesn't matter because the person unlocks it and takes it to another carrier (who doesn't care you owe the first carrier money).

This law makes people be accountable, and I support that. You signed the contract, fulfill it.

If you pay the etf, you should be good to unlock
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:25 PM   #107 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unlocking your Phone is now Illegal

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That's only for 4G (HSPA+ which some people don't consider "real" 4G) speeds, but the actual data usage is still unlimited. And you can get 100 minutes with unlimited text and data for $30/month with 4G speeds up to 5 GB and probably use VoIP instead of cellular for most calls.

And I would be spending $300 for a Nexus 4 from the Play Store, not $500 for a GS2.

So how does Virgin Mobile compare? I haven't looked at their plans yet, so what do you have?

ramjet73
Neither is wimax...
That's supposed to be decent 3g speed.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:26 PM   #108 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unlocking smartphones without permission illegal after 01/25/13

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Exactly.

But the problem is, people can currently just get the subsidized phone, and not pay the bills. The carrier can blacklist it, but that doesn't matter because the person unlocks it and takes it to another carrier (who doesn't care you owe the first carrier money).

This law makes people be accountable, and I support that. You signed the contract, fulfill it.
I agree with this 100%, but my concern is what if the carriers refuse to unlock it if you do buy full retail or fulfill your contract? Since it's illegal to do it yourself, by refusing to unlock it, they force you to stay with them or buy a new device.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:28 PM   #109 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unlocking your Phone is now Illegal

How did we go from unlocking phones to which carrier is the best



BTW, for those interested there's an ongoing thread with this is the android lounge
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:34 PM   #110 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unlocking smartphones without permission illegal after 01/25/13

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I agree with this 100%, but my concern is what if the carriers refuse to unlock it if you do buy full retail or fulfill your contract? Since it's illegal to do it yourself, by refusing to unlock it, they force you to stay with them or buy a new device.
That's the only thing I could see anyone being possibly upset over.

I imagine if a carrier did it the BBB/FCC and just about any other acronym you could think of would be all over it. Itd be a PR nightmare.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:38 PM   #111 (permalink)
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That's the only thing I could see anyone being possibly upset over.

I imagine if a carrier did it the BBB/FCC and just about any other acronym you could think of would be all over it. Itd be a PR nightmare.
Yeah, I hope it won't come to that though.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:41 PM   #112 (permalink)
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Yeah, I hope it won't come to that though.
Agreed
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Old January 28th, 2013, 09:00 PM   #113 (permalink)
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Exactly.

But the problem is, people can currently just get the subsidized phone, and not pay the bills. The carrier will blacklist it, but that doesn't matter because the person unlocks it and takes it to another carrier (who doesn't care you owe the first carrier money).
Isn't carrier IMEI and ESN blacklisting across all carriers, there's like a central registry or database of blacklisted numbers? So if a phone is blacklisted on say Verizon Wireless, it's also blacklisted for Sprint etc.

I know it's like that in the EU. I'm sure the original intention was to render stolen and missing phones bricked and useless on all carriers.

Years ago in the days of analogue ETACS phones in the UK. It was quite common to change a phone's ESN. A phone's ESN was blacklisted for all carriers in the UK, because of outstanding monies owed and defaulted bill payments. Changing a phone's ESN in those days was quite easy to do, and wasn't illegal either.

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This law makes people be accountable, and I support that. You signed the contract, fulfill it.

If you pay the etf, you should be good to unlock
Yup.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 09:13 PM   #114 (permalink)
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How did we go from unlocking phones to which carrier is the best



BTW, for those interested there's an ongoing thread with this is the android lounge
We agreed when this thread was still in the Evo V 4G forum that the Library of Congress decision was of little consequence to most users so we started to discuss why one would want to unlock a phone and that led to the carrier discussion.

I didn't realize that this type of discussion always had to be conducted in the lounge.

This thread has so many pieces merged together that it's become almost impossible to follow.

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Old January 28th, 2013, 09:40 PM   #115 (permalink)
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I think getting a free or heavily subsidised phone on a mandatory two year contract is very similar buying a car on a hire purchase or instalment plan. You get the phone or car, but it's not actually yours until the payments are completed. Either you complete the loan payments or you complete the contract.
I hope no one faints, but I'm going to disagree with mikedt! I just don't see how a phone I pay for can belong to anyone but me, regardless of its heavily discounted price. The heavily discounted price is an enticement from the carrier to get me to extend [or, for a new customer, initiate] a contract for service from them, not for the phone, per se.

I've never leased a vehicle [I BUY them--I like knowing they're mine!], but I see no analogy here at all. Again, with phones it's the service contract the company is really selling the customer, not the phone. With a car loan or lease, it's the car itself that's being sold to the customer, not a service.

I know from experience that upgrading a phone via my carrier yields me a new phone, which is mine outright, plus a contract I agree to for phone service. I've never broken said contract*, but even if I did the phone would still be mine because that was our agreement; I would, however, still be responsible for paying for the service contract, whether I'm using said service or not.

* I've been with AT&T so long that I've watched it go from AT&T to Cingular and back to AT&T! I don't break contracts.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 09:43 PM   #116 (permalink)
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We agreed when this thread was still in the Evo V 4G forum that the Library of Congress decision was of little consequence to most users so we started to discuss why one would want to unlock a phone and that led to the carrier discussion.

I didn't realize that this type of discussion always had to be conducted in the lounge.

This thread has so many pieces merged together that it's become almost impossible to follow.

ramjet73
Generally, if it's not specific to that device it shouldn't be in a device specific forum.

It's best to address all of these concerns in one centralized place where everyone can be heard rather than have 10 separate threads with the same thing being said.

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Isn't carrier IMEI and ESN blacklisting across all carriers, there's like a central registry or database of blacklisted numbers? So if a phone is blacklisted on say Verizon Wireless, it's also blacklisted for Sprint etc.

I know it's like that in the EU. I'm sure the original intention was to render stolen and missing phones bricked and useless on all carriers.

Years ago in the days of analogue ETACS phones in the UK. It was quite common to change a phone's ESN. A phone's ESN was blacklisted for all carriers in the UK, because of outstanding monies owed and defaulted bill payments. Changing a phone's ESN in those days was quite easy to do, and wasn't illegal either.



Yup.
No, a black listed phone on 1 carrier is good to go on another compatible carrier here in the us.

The way the eu does it would make a whole lot more sense and prevent the need for this law in the first place

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I hope no one faints, but I'm going to disagree with mikedt! I just don't see how a phone I pay for can belong to anyone but me, regardless of its heavily discounted price. The heavily discounted price is an enticement from the carrier to get me to extend [or, for a new customer, initiate] a contract for service from them, not for the phone, per se.

I've never leased a vehicle [I BUY them--I like knowing they're mine!], but I see no analogy here at all. Again, with phones it's the service contract the company is really selling the customer, not the phone. With a car loan or lease, it's the car itself that's being sold to the customer, not a service.

I know from experience that upgrading a phone via my carrier yields me a new phone, which is mine outright, plus a contract I agree to for phone service. I've never broken said contract*, but even if I did the phone would still be mine because that was our agreement; I would, however, still be responsible for paying for the service contract, whether I'm using said service or not.

* I've been with AT&T so long that I've watched it go from AT&T to Cingular and back to AT&T! I don't break contracts.
It really doesnt matter whether the phone is truely yours or not though. By taking the $400 discount a person takes on a debt (2 years with a company) that they must repay.

Sure, if you break the phone you have to pay to repair it. You can sell the phone and use another, ect

Bottom line is, you are either with that company for 2 years or you pay the ETF. Either one will repay the debt and then you can go onto a different carrier.

My point to every post in this thread has been there is no good reason to unlock a phone while under contract unless you plan on ditching that service and not paying your debt to them.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 09:54 PM   #117 (permalink)
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Purchased a refurb incred on ebay when i broke the original! Soon-to-be ex. holds Verizon account hostage. We have had three phones on the V network for a long time and no issues until stb ex ran off with girlfriend and left son and I to pick up pieces. He took ownership of the account so we can't even check to see if he is paying the bill. I better stop with the stb ex while i still have some dignity. Anyhow, I don't want to register new incred until I can afford to open my own account on V network and it is a V network phone. Do I have any options and should I just register phone under old account, unlock it and throw it away when I do get my own account since I did only pay $50.00? V told me he will own phone, phone number and everything else associated with the phone on the original account. I thought I was going to unlock the new incred once I opened my own account!
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Old January 28th, 2013, 09:56 PM   #118 (permalink)
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Old January 28th, 2013, 10:36 PM   #119 (permalink)
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Oh yes, I am confused! I have placed several posts and my stats never change. What am I doing wrong?
Nothing.

You're posting in forum games. Those don't count. :
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Old January 28th, 2013, 10:39 PM   #120 (permalink)
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If you pay the etf that's the end of the contract and you should be able to unlock it then.

There's no reason to unlock the phone while under contract.
Sorry, I'm trying to catch up and piece together the threads that have been mashed together so I hope this hasn't already been covered.

If I buy a phone outright, whether it is from the carrier or another source, and activate on a line I have under contract, I would like to be able to pass the phone it is replacing on to someone else for use on any compatible network.

I'm still fulfilling my contract for the service and I haven't seen anything that says a subsidized phone is the property of the carrier. As has already been stated the subsidy is compensation for committing to the contract for the service, and as long as that contract is fulfilled I should be able to have the carrier unlock that phone or be allowed to do it myself if they can't/won't.

I've never heard of a carrier requiring a phone to be returned to them if your account gets closed for excessive roaming or data usage, have you?

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Old January 28th, 2013, 10:41 PM   #121 (permalink)
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I didn't realize that this type of discussion always had to be conducted in the lounge.

This thread has so many pieces merged together that it's become almost impossible to follow.
Sorry about that, but device forums are for devices. We have carrier and manufacturer forums and for broadest issues, the general discussion forums.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 10:42 PM   #122 (permalink)
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Sorry, I'm trying to catch up and piece together the threads that have been mashed together so I hope this hasn't already been covered.

If I buy a phone outright, whether it is from the carrier or another source, and activate on a line I have under contract, I would like to be able to pass the phone it is replacing on to someone else for use on any compatible network.

I'm still fulfilling my contract for the service and I haven't seen anything that says a subsidized phone is the property of the carrier. As has already been stated the subsidy is compensation for committing to the contract for the service, and as long as that contract is fulfilled I should be able to have the carrier unlock that phone or be allowed to do it myself if they can't/won't.

I've never heard of a carrier requiring a phone to be returned to them if your account gets closed for excessive roaming or data usage, have you?

ramjet73
No, the phone just gets blacklisted until the money owed is paid. This law prevents that person from hopping to another carrier and avoiding paying the bill

If a carrier ends the contract, that's usually the end of it right there.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 10:48 PM   #123 (permalink)
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Sorry, I'm trying to catch up and piece together the threads that have been mashed together so I hope this hasn't already been covered.

If I buy a phone outright, whether it is from the carrier or another source, and activate on a line I have under contract, I would like to be able to pass the phone it is replacing on to someone else for use on any compatible network.
Certainly, buy an unlocked phone.

Something that you can't do with a Sprint phone, btw.

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I'm still fulfilling my contract for the service and I haven't seen anything that says a subsidized phone is the property of the carrier. As has already been stated the subsidy is compensation for committing to the contract for the service, and as long as that contract is fulfilled I should be able to have the carrier unlock that phone or be allowed to do it myself if they can't/won't.

I've never heard of a carrier requiring a phone to be returned to them if your account gets closed for excessive roaming or data usage, have you?

If you fail to fulfill a contract for a subsidized phone, you won't need to return it, they'll blacklist it so it can't be used again.


The law here is concerned with GSM phones, not CDMA, fwiw, as far as I can tell.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 10:54 PM   #124 (permalink)
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I hope no one faints, but I'm going to disagree with mikedt!
No problem Moody. I'm sure there's plenty of things that we do agree on...

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I just don't see how a phone I pay for can belong to anyone but me, regardless of its heavily discounted price. The heavily discounted price is an enticement from the carrier to get me to extend [or, for a new customer, initiate] a contract for service from them, not for the phone, per se.

I've never leased a vehicle [I BUY them--I like knowing they're mine!], but I see no analogy here at all.
You've always paid cash for your cars, and never borrowed the money for them with a secured loan or finance plan?

I'm thinking the same way. The carrier is effectively lending you the money to pay for that free or heavily subsidised phone, and the payments for it are included in the two year carrier contract that you sign and commit to paying.

IANAL but when you buy a car on finance or a payment plan, you're not actually leasing it. The car is yours once you've fulfilled the required payments. And if you do default, they can repossess it. You can go ahead and destroy the car if you want while there's still outstanding finance on it, but then you'll become personally liable in the event of default.


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Again, with phones it's the service contract the company is really selling the customer, not the phone. With a car loan or lease, it's the car itself that's being sold to the customer, not a service.

I know from experience that upgrading a phone via my carrier yields me a new phone, which is mine outright, plus a contract I agree to for phone service. I've never broken said contract*, but even if I did the phone would still be mine because that was our agreement; I would, however, still be responsible for paying for the service contract, whether I'm using said service or not.
I think the intention of locking, that's their leverage and security. Like with the threat of repossessing your car. That's why I made the comparison. So that if you don't fulfil the two year term, or pay the ETF if you want to get out of it. The phone is blacklisted. The phone is still yours, for what use it might be.

Think this is nothing new. Mentioned previously they used to do it in the UK for the old ETACs phones, where people had defaulted on their contracts with monies owing.

I doesn't work like that here in China. Phones are always full price, unlocked, and you pay up-front for them. The exception is Hong Kong. Phones there are often locked and heavily subsidised. That's why I became interested in this subject.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 11:01 PM   #125 (permalink)
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No, the phone just gets blacklisted until the money owed is paid. This law prevents that person from hopping to another carrier and avoiding paying the bill

If a carrier ends the contract, that's usually the end of it right there.
So you are saying that even if I were to pay full price for an upgrade phone from the carrier I would not have the right to unlock the phone being replaced and use it on another carrier until the contract ends? That doesn't sound right to me since that phone would no longer be used to access the service under contract. The carrier can (and probably would) blacklist the upgrade phone if the contract wasn't fulfilled.

Edit: And if I did an upgrade to a new subsidized phone while still under contract and have to sign a new contract to get it, which phone is being subsidized at that point? In that situation I would certainly expect to be able to legally unlock the phone that was upgraded.

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Old January 28th, 2013, 11:12 PM   #126 (permalink)
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So you are saying that even if I were to pay full price for an upgrade phone from the carrier I would not have the right to unlock the phone being replaced and use it on another carrier until the contract ends? That doesn't sound right to me since that phone would no longer be used to access the service under contract. The carrier can (and probably would) blacklist the upgrade phone if the contract wasn't fulfilled.

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Old January 28th, 2013, 11:17 PM   #127 (permalink)
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If you pay full price none of this law should apply because the phone is yours and no debt is owed-no contract
Please see the edit to my last post. What applies to the old phone if you upgrade while still under contract and have to sign a new contract to do the upgrade?

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Old January 28th, 2013, 11:31 PM   #128 (permalink)
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No problem Moody. I'm sure there's plenty of things that we do agree on...
Yes, indeed.

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You've always paid cash for your cars, and never borrowed the money for them with a secured loan or finance plan?
I've done both--I've paid cash (actually, written a check) and I've also financed new cars. What I've never done, and never will do, is lease a car.

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I'm thinking the same way. The carrier is effectively lending you the money to pay for that free or heavily subsidised phone, and the payments for it are included in the two year carrier contract that you sign and commit to paying.
Nope. In my case, at least, each time I've upgraded to a new phone via my carrier, AT&T, I owned the phone outright. It was the [typically two-year] service contract that I committed to pay for. I paid for the phone at the time I did each upgrade, whether that be $0.01 or $200, it was still paid for and that was that. The agreement that I contracted to was for service.

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IANAL but when you buy a car on finance or a payment plan, you're not actually leasing it.
No, no, and I didn't mean to imply that. Purchasing--including financing--a vehicle and leasing a vehicle are two entirely different things. I don't do the latter because I want a vehicle to be mine, and I don't want to worry about mileage overages, dings, scratches, other damage, etc., at the end of the lease.

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The car is yours once you've fulfilled the required payments. And if you do default, they can repossess it. You can go ahead and destroy the car if you want while there's still outstanding finance on it, but then you'll become personally liable in the event of default.
Yes, absolutely, but again this is not a good analogy for the phone situation!

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I think the intention of locking, that's their leverage and security. Like with the threat of repossessing your car. That's why I made the comparison. So that if you don't fulfil the two year term, or pay the ETF if you want to get out of it. The phone is blacklisted. The phone is still yours, for what use it might be.

Think this is nothing new. Mentioned previously they used to do it in the UK for the old ETACs phones, where people had defaulted on their contracts with monies owing.
I honestly have no idea how/what happens here in the US because, as I've said, I've never broken a contract--I've been with AT&T since the last millennium. But I THINK that if you break your contract, you're liable for paying the remainder due on it, or an early termination fee, or something like that...but the phone is still YOURS!!
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Old January 28th, 2013, 11:36 PM   #129 (permalink)
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I honestly have no idea how/what happens here in the US because, as I've said, I've never broken a contract--I've been with AT&T since the last millennium. But I THINK that if you break your contract, you're liable for paying the remainder due on it, or an early termination fee, or something like that...but the phone is still YOURS!!
Yes, your liable for a fee. This law ensures the person pays the fee before moving on to a different carrier.

Yes you own the device, but who actually owns it is irrelevant because you can't use it on a different carrier till you've paid the debt. Whether you want to think of that debt as a service contract or repaying the discount doesn't matter. The end result is the same.

If you don't pay the phone isn't usable. So it won't matter whose it is
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Old January 28th, 2013, 11:57 PM   #130 (permalink)
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Yes, you're liable for a fee. This law ensures the person pays the fee before moving on to a different carrier.

Yes you own the device, but who actually owns it is irrelevant because you can't use it on a different carrier till you've paid the debt. Whether you want to think of that debt as a service contract or repaying the discount doesn't matter. The end result is the same.

If you don't pay the phone isn't usable. So it won't matter whose it is
So you're saying that in the US it works this way? As I've said, I've never broken a contract so I have no personal knowledge of what happens if you do. I actually don't see how this can be the case, as the phone was bought and paid for at the time of the upgrade. But I'm open to hearing proof to the contrary!
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Old January 29th, 2013, 12:08 AM   #131 (permalink)
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What about pre paid? I paid a lot of money for my GS3 on Cricket because I don't like being stuck with contracts. I guarantee there is no way Cricket would agree to unlock my phone for me, ever. In fact, the sales guy made a big deal of telling me not to try putting another carrier SIM card in it, or it would lock up the phone. I am willing to bet that Boost or Virgin would never unlock their phones either. You are giving the carriers way to much credit for being reasonable. Just because they "should" unlock your phone if you pay full price or finish the contract, doesn't mean they will. If this ruling doesn't command them to do so under those circumstances, I wouldn't assume anything. From what I've heard its like pulling teeth to get those unlock codes now, and can vary with which CSR you deal with whether they will provide them at all.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 12:46 AM   #132 (permalink)
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So you're saying that in the US it works this way? As I've said, I've never broken a contract so I have no personal knowledge of what happens if you do. I actually don't see how this can be the case, as the phone was bought and paid for at the time of the upgrade. But I'm open to hearing proof to the contrary!
This is why I believe theres so much controversy over this new ruling. People hear its going to be illegal to unlock and automatically hate it without understanding why


Under the "old" system (pre-2013):
Joe Schmoe goes to ATT and gets a brand new shiney Note 2 for $300 (a $700+ phone) and a 2 year contract. Joe then decides ATT is too expensive and stops paying the bills. ATT blacklists the phone so it can never be used on its network until the outstanding amount due to them is paid. Joe unlocks his phone and takes it to another carrier where he uses their service.

ATT is out hundreds of dollars (thousands over the life of the contract)

Under the current (new) system:
Same as above. Joe Stops paying the bill. ATT blacklists the device. but now...Joe cant unlock the device. Joe can either A)go to a different carrier and buy new phone through them(starting the process over) B) pay his bills C) pay the ETF

ATT gets the money its due in situations B and C. a) would be much more expensive for joe and likely isnt going to go that route. His brand new note is worthless until the bill is paid.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 12:58 AM   #133 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unlocking smartphones without permission illegal after 01/25/13

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I hope no one faints, but I'm going to disagree with mikedt! I just don't see how a phone I pay for can belong to anyone but me, regardless of its heavily discounted price. The heavily discounted price is an enticement from the carrier to get me to extend [or, for a new customer, initiate] a contract for service from them, not for the phone, per se.

I've never leased a vehicle [I BUY them--I like knowing they're mine!], but I see no analogy here at all. Again, with phones it's the service contract the company is really selling the customer, not the phone. With a car loan or lease, it's the car itself that's being sold to the customer, not a service.

I know from experience that upgrading a phone via my carrier yields me a new phone, which is mine outright, plus a contract I agree to for phone service. I've never broken said contract*, but even if I did the phone would still be mine because that was our agreement; I would, however, still be responsible for paying for the service contract, whether I'm using said service or not.

* I've been with AT&T so long that I've watched it go from AT&T to Cingular and back to AT&T! I don't break contracts.
You make this sound like an all or nothing situation, I was also a long time customer of Cingular/AT&T back in my BlackBerry days, being a long term customer I never had any problems getting my sim unlock code from AT@T for using my phone overseas. I would imagine that the carriers would still provide the service to known, long standing customers, the law addresses those who aren't. And someone else mentioned CDMA/GSM world phones, both Verizon and Sprint offer them, the GSM radios are unlocked for use outside of North America for the same reason, you pay the carrier for subsidizing your phone for the duration of your contract but still be unlocked while traveling overseas.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 01:06 AM   #134 (permalink)
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Edit: And if I did an upgrade to a new subsidized phone while still under contract and have to sign a new contract to get it, which phone is being subsidized at that point? In that situation I would certainly expect to be able to legally unlock the phone that was upgraded.
I think I answered my own question since no one seemed to want to field it.

I checked on the Sprint website and when you enter into a new contract before the current one expires the old contract is terminated which means the old phone would be yours to do with what you want. That's actually my current situation since I have a 2 year contract that expires in June and currently am eligible for an upgrade. So if I understand all this correctly if I want to upgrade to Sprint's version of the M7 when it's available and sign a new two year contract I'm free to do what I want with my Evo 3D since I'm sure Sprint won't unlock it for me, even to use it on their own Virgin Mobile plans.

And since there's an exemption in the new ruling for phones purchased before 2013 that should apply to the Evo 3D as well.

Is that correct?

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Old January 29th, 2013, 01:52 AM   #135 (permalink)
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I think I answered my own question since no one seemed to want to field it.

I checked on the Sprint website and when you enter into a new contract before the current one expires the old contract is terminated which means the old phone would be yours to do with what you want. That's actually my current situation since I have a 2 year contract that expires in June and currently am eligible for an upgrade. So if I understand all this correctly if I want to upgrade to Sprint's version of the M7 when it's available and sign a new two year contract I'm free to do what I want with my Evo 3D since I'm sure Sprint won't unlock it for me, even to use it on their own Virgin Mobile plans.

And since there's an exemption in the new ruling for phones purchased before 2013 that should apply to the Evo 3D as well.

Is that correct?
Sorry, I wasn't clear on your question earlier.

Yes, that's correct.

You're free to use your 3D phone as a wifi appliance, PDA, sell it, trade it in or keep it as a backup. It's yours and it's not blacklisted.

You can transfer it to VM, but you'll have to do that on your own using an identity transfer process and a donor phone.

As mentioned earlier, this law seems more directed at GSM phones.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:16 AM   #136 (permalink)
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If you pay the etf that's the end of the contract and you should be able to unlock it then.

There's no reason to unlock the phone while under contract.
I agree, but apparently you cannot unlock your phone whether you are under contract or not, according to the EFF:

https://www.eff.org/is-it-illegal-to-unlock-a-phone

So even if you are out of contract it is still illegal to unlock your phone.

Here is a petition to The White House to make unlocking legal:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/make-unlocking-cell-phones-legal/1g9KhZG7
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Old January 29th, 2013, 07:39 AM   #137 (permalink)
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I agree, but apparently you cannot unlock your phone whether you are under contract or not, according to the EFF:

https://www.eff.org/is-it-illegal-to-unlock-a-phone

So even if you are out of contract it is still illegal to unlock your phone.

Here is a petition to The White House to make unlocking legal:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/make-unlocking-cell-phones-legal/1g9KhZG7
The way I read it, Its illegal to do it yourself no matter what. They're trying to prevent downloading software off some torrent and unlocking your phone

Unfortunately, The white house .gov petitions are a dime a dozen as anyone can do one for anything. I see its up over 30k signatures, but as to whether we see any change we'll have to wait it out. There's 3 or 4 with just as many signatures dealing with the wbc and no action on that.

This ruling protects carriers from the situation I described above, you better believe they fought to get this and will fight even harder to keep it.

I still support it. Those losses are getting passed on to the rest of the paying customers one way or another.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 12:51 PM   #138 (permalink)
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No, the phone just gets blacklisted until the money owed is paid. This law prevents that person from hopping to another carrier and avoiding paying the bill

If a carrier ends the contract, that's usually the end of it right there.
I am not sure I like this idea...It is a lot like my contract with my internet carrier. I was with one carrier who simply refused to fix my internet conenction. I was getting crashes, no service notices, and far slower speed than they advertised. The companies response was to blame everything from my computer to my alarm system. They refused to send a technician so I told them what they could do with their service and went with cable where every problem went away overnight. The old provider spent the next two years billing me and threatening me. It seems their half of the contract, to provide reliable service, was sort of optional, in their eyes, while my part, payment, was locked in concrete. Now imagine if my non payment could result in some sort of a universal blacklist where I could not get service from any source, as your proposed solution would seem to do.

I view a contract as a dual responsibility....I agree to pay and the provider agrees to provide. If they default, I no longer owe them anything. Unless the law has an easy and free method of resolving disputes that does not simply default to the carrier alwas being right, I would be against it.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 01:02 PM   #139 (permalink)
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This is why I believe theres so much controversy over this new ruling. People hear its going to be illegal to unlock and automatically hate it without understanding why


Under the "old" system (pre-2013):
Joe Schmoe goes to ATT and gets a brand new shiney Note 2 for $300 (a $700+ phone) and a 2 year contract. Joe then decides ATT is too expensive and stops paying the bills. ATT blacklists the phone so it can never be used on its network until the outstanding amount due to them is paid. Joe unlocks his phone and takes it to another carrier where he uses their service.

ATT is out hundreds of dollars (thousands over the life of the contract)

.
But what if it is the company that fails in its obligation to deliver reliable service...say they sort of forget to issue software updates while other companies with similar phones have. What if you live in an area with very poor wireless service? What if they increase the cost of ones monthy bill way out of relationship with other carriers...

A contract is a two way commttment. Joe is not the only fellow with a legal obligation. Too often the company considers the 'contract' only binding on the user...they feel their obligations are infinitely loose and only enforceable after a long and expensive court process.

Put another way, they feel they should hold all the cards and this regulation reinforces the idea. One is an indentured servant to the company until ones bill is paid.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 01:35 PM   #140 (permalink)
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But what if it is the company that fails in its obligation to deliver reliable service...say they sort of forget to issue software updates while other companies with similar phones have. What if you live in an area with very poor wireless service? What if they increase the cost of ones monthy bill way out of relationship with other carriers...

A contract is a two way commttment. Joe is not the only fellow with a legal obligation. Too often the company considers the 'contract' only binding on the user...they feel their obligations are infinitely loose and only enforceable after a long and expensive court process.

Put another way, they feel they should hold all the cards and this regulation reinforces the idea. One is an indentured servant to the company until ones bill is paid.
The price is already determined in the contact, and isn't going to change until the next contract is signed.

Service in your area is something that should be researched and determined before you sign a contract. That's just good consumer practices. If service becomes unusable, there are customer service avenues to take. It's not an excuse to stop paying the bill.

You aren't guaranteed software updates. Once again, not receiving the ics, jb, or whatever is in the future is not a real reason to get out of the contract.


You agreed to be an "indentured servant" (your views and terminology, not mine) for 2 years by signing the contract... Not an excuse to stop paying

Bottom line is if you signed it, you have obligations. Yes the carrier does as well but this is about the individual. If you don't want those obligations, either pay the etf or buy the phone outright
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Old January 29th, 2013, 01:48 PM   #141 (permalink)
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But what if it is the company that fails in its obligation to deliver reliable service...
This is a very good point. In the almost 7 years since I moved back to California, I've had *ZERO* ability to use my cell phones in my house. And this is despite having taken measures prior to moving to make sure I'd have good coverage here. I had already checked their coverage map myself, and it showed great coverage for my new address, but I took the extra step of calling and speaking to an actual person. That person told me that I would have to upgrade my phone (I don't remember now what the exact reason was), but once that was done I'd have wonderful coverage. Yeah, not exactly. I'm currently on my FIFTH phone since I moved back here, the last three of which have been smartphones, and getting a signal in my house is IMPOSSIBLE. I gave up complaining to AT&T a long time ago. To their credit, they did credit me some monthly fees the last time I complained to them about having no service--I simply told them to LOOK at my usage history to verify that I hadn't used the service at all, and when they did they were kind enough to issue a credit. I haven't complained lately because I just don't feel like it, and because I have unlimited long distance on my landline, so there's no reason not to use my home phone for all calls when I'm at home. Still, though, I'm PAYING for service that I don't actually get when I'm in my house.

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say they sort of forget to issue software updates
Another good point. AT&T has apparently abandoned the Motorola Atrix 2, so there won't be any software upgrades...and I'm just supposed to suck that up and not be pissed off about it?

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A contract is a two way commttment. Joe is not the only fellow with a legal obligation. Too often the company considers the 'contract' only binding on the user...they feel their obligations are infinitely loose and only enforceable after a long and expensive court process.
Exactly, and they know that they have legal teams only a rare individual customer can match. So it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that they'll prevail in a court case, not only because of their superior legal team but also because an individual will likely throw in the towel following delay after delay after delay. Most people can't afford the time [off work] and money for a dragged out legal case.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:22 PM   #142 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ramjet73 View Post
This was already covered in the http://androidforums.com/evo-v-4g-all-things-root/681374-illegal-unlock-phones-today.html thread and I linked an article in this post that is much more balanced and less sensational.

The bottom line is that it's really not a big deal, and doesn't affect bootloader unlocking at all.

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How can you say this is no big deal? Just because there is an easy way around it? That doesn't matter. The big deal is that the government of our "free" country is passing laws that give companies the right to control products that we buy from them. What's next, the auto industry will get them to pass a law saying that it is illegal to put a Chevy engine in a Ford?!!
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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:36 PM   #143 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by PrinceCorwin View Post
How can you say this is no big deal? Just because there is an easy way around it? That doesn't matter. The big deal is that the government of our "free" country is passing laws that give companies the right to control products that we buy from them. What's next, the auto industry will get them to pass a law saying that it is illegal to put a Chevy engine in a Ford?!!
Your "buying" a heavily subsidized phone and then expected to fulfill your promise.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:46 PM   #144 (permalink)
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I veiw it like this IF I can't take it with me when I go then its not truly mine. Its just in my possession for an amount of time. Just remember NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE. My Tattoo's on the other hand are mine to do as I please I paid for them. I will take them with me when I go to that one bed apt.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:51 PM   #145 (permalink)
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Your "buying" a heavily subsidized phone and then expected to fulfill your promise.
No, you're BUYING a heavily discounted phone as an incentive from the carrier to have a service contract with them. The phone is yours outright as soon as you pay for it, whether that's $0.01 or $200 or WHATEVER, it's YOURS. The phone is not part of the contract you're entering into when you agree to stick with the carrier for X amount of time--for SERVICE, not the phone.

This is getting old...
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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:54 PM   #146 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by PrinceCorwin View Post
How can you say this is no big deal? Just because there is an easy way around it? That doesn't matter. The big deal is that the government of our "free" country is passing laws that give companies the right to control products that we buy from them. What's next, the auto industry will get them to pass a law saying that it is illegal to put a Chevy engine in a Ford?!!
Did you read that article?

What is it that you want to be able to do that was impacted by the recent Library of Congress ruling?

There is a lot of stuff being discussed in this thread that has nothing to do with that Library of Congress decision.

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Old January 29th, 2013, 06:21 PM   #147 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MoodyBlues View Post
The phone is not part of the contract you're entering into when you agree to stick with the carrier for X amount of time--for SERVICE, not the phone.

This is getting old...
I agree. However, the point about whether the phone is on sale or subsidized is moot (Nothing thats brand new goes on sale for %50+ off...).

There's no reason to unlock a phone while under contract.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 06:50 PM   #148 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rxpert83 View Post
Your "buying" a heavily subsidized phone and then expected to fulfill your promise.
Isn't that what the ETF is about? Between the discounted price paid up front and the ETF that the carriers charge I would think they make enough to at least cover their cost for the phone.

Why would we have to pay for unused service? Most service contracts I've seen have provisions for cancellation by either party with the required notice.

I'm not trying to say that's the way the cellular contracts read, just that the carriers seem to have some rights and privileges that go beyond normal business practices.

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Old January 29th, 2013, 08:52 PM   #149 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by JIMV View Post
I am not sure I like this idea...It is a lot like my contract with my internet carrier. I was with one carrier who simply refused to fix my internet conenction. I was getting crashes, no service notices, and far slower speed than they advertised. The companies response was to blame everything from my computer to my alarm system. They refused to send a technician so I told them what they could do with their service and went with cable where every problem went away overnight. The old provider spent the next two years billing me and threatening me. It seems their half of the contract, to provide reliable service, was sort of optional, in their eyes, while my part, payment, was locked in concrete. Now imagine if my non payment could result in some sort of a universal blacklist where I could not get service from any source, as your proposed solution would seem to do.

I view a contract as a dual responsibility....I agree to pay and the provider agrees to provide. If they default, I no longer owe them anything. Unless the law has an easy and free method of resolving disputes that does not simply default to the carrier alwas being right, I would be against it.
Yes - so far as I know in the USA, if a cell phone carrier cannot serve you (coverage issues they can't solve and so forth) - then you will be freely let from your contract without penalty.

We have more posts on threads on that happening here than I care to count.

And that's fair enough.

However - both sides have to seek remedy as specified by the contract (OK - you don't _have_ to do anything, but that's typically in the agreement).

Are there horror stories - yeah, as with all service organizations, along with smooth sailing when it gets goofy, you get the horror stories. Those need to be escalated in management until you get your consumer rights.

Does this law strip you of any of that? No, it does not.

Do you get to avoid the normal carrier cure and just unlock your phone and avoid your contract dispute clauses? Well - I think most people would say not, that's a lose-lose deal. (I'm not accusing you of that, I'm just covering bases.)

So - there's no need for confusion here. When we talk about blacklists, we're not talking some secret list of you as a consumer - we've only referred to devices in question by carriers, with specific causes as outlined here.

It's the same blacklist that prevents your stolen phones from being used by bad guys - no more, no less, no big deal and not part of this law.

It was only brought up in one specific context to answer one sort of question.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 08:57 PM   #150 (permalink)
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Isn't that what the ETF is about? Between the discounted price paid up front and the ETF that the carriers charge I would think they make enough to at least cover their cost for the phone.

Why would we have to pay for unused service? Most service contracts I've seen have provisions for cancellation by either party with the required notice.

I'm not trying to say that's the way the cellular contracts read, just that the carriers seem to have some rights and privileges that go beyond normal business practices.
Yes and no.

Examples - I have the benefits of a broadband sale for my home internet but I had to agree to two years and to a termination fee if I cancel early. I got an upgraded DVR from my satellite provider for a song, with a contract extension, and I have to pay dearly if I cancel early. I have some equipment on a lease/buy for cheap for my laboratory, but I have to pay a penalty if I cancel that.

So - it's not an unusual business practice, nor one without many other precedents.

Do the carriers have us behind the 8-ball and are having their way with us?

That, I won't argue with.

But - I signed the contract, so it is what it is.
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