Home

Share this Story

About that Verizon and Bootloaders and FCC Violation Story That is Floating Around

 

Our inbox certainly shows that you all read XDA from time to time, since it has been flooded over the last two days with this story about how Verizon is “illegally” locking the bootloaders of its phones. This report claims that Big Red is violating an open access provision in Block C (their LTE frequency that was purchased for greater than $4.6 billion) by locking the bootloaders of their phones. I hate to say this, but I’m reading this legal jargon quite differently than everyone else it seems and do not believe that bootloaders have anything to do with Block C.  

First let’s look at what the piece of this open access provision states that has everyone all heated:

“Use of devices and applications. Licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network, except…”

And that exception reads as follows:

Insofar as such use would not be compliant with published technical standards reasonably necessary for the management or protection of the licensee’s network…

So this may just be my negativity, but I would put money on Verizon arguing and producing a document having to do with security and bootloader unlocking. You see, it states right there that they cannot limit the use of one’s phone unless they deem that service to be a liability to the protection of their network. Since we all know that “security” seems to be the reason for locking up a phone, then there is your exception to the rule. Remember that these things are vague and companies like Verizon use that to their advantage.

The second part of this story has to do with “locking” of phones and reads as follows:

Handset locking prohibited. No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers, to the extent such features are compliant with the licensee’s standards pursuant to paragraph (b)of this section, nor configure handsets it provides to prohibit use of such handsets on other providers’ networks.

I hate to break this to everyone, but “locking” in this scenario has nothing to do with bootloaders. We are talking network access here which means they are referencing a phone that can access multiple frequencies or another carrier’s network. “Locking” and “unlocked” mean two different things these days. For most people, an unlocked phone has to do with one that works on another carrier’s network (like my Euro Galaxy S2 that works on U.S. AT&T). To hackers and ROM developers, it means a bootloader. Everyone is just confused here.  An “unlocked” phone in this situation falls under that first category and means that Verizon cannot lock its phones from working on another network (this is not a bootloader situation). Since their are currently no other networks to my knowledge that have access to their LTE frequency, they shouldn’t have a problem doing that.

Everyone follow that? Now, as I stated above, these things are vague and I’m pretty sure my interpretation is about the 4th or 5th different take. What I would say, is that if you are angry with the whole situation, then feel free to submit a complaint to the FCC as has been suggested. Who knows, maybe they will end up siding with the bootloader crowd at some point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1315579242 Kevin Lewis

    A lot of VZW smartphone users don’t know and don’t care about locked bootloaders.
    But most consumers don’t like having anything on their devices that devices that may be intrusive, invasive, can’t opt out and can’t get rid of it!
     

  • Robert Dunn

    There are two reasons that I see Verizon insists on locked boot loaders.

    First is that people brick their phones and come in asking for warranty replacement.  This is only an issue because the only time people brick their phones is when something goes wrong trying to circumvent locking measures.  

    Second, and more importantly, is so that they can block 3rd party applications or ROMs which allow tethering without paying Verizon an extra $30/mo for the privilege of using their own data connection.  Verizon explicitly acknowledges this, and they will even block you from doing it through their back end if you manage to get around all the other roadblocks they put up on the handset itself.

    Verizon could easily manage network traffic on the back end if it were an issue, but it is not.  It is about blocking 3rd party applications that allow use of a data connection for tethering so they can try to extract more money from customers for a non-service, which to me is plainly a violation off “Licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network”.

    The clause “Insofar as such use would not be compliant with published technical standards reasonably necessary for the management or protection of the licensee’s network” is about preventing non-standard radio software from disrupting the network by attempting to interact with the network in a manner that is not compliant with published LTE standards, It has nothing to do with quantity of data usage or load on the network.  This is controlled by the cellular baseband firmware, which nobody, as far as I can tell, cares about being locked or not.  

    The bootloader locking in and of itself may well not in and of itself be a violation of the rules, but it is being used as a means to and end of blocking 3rd party data tethering, which IS a violation of the rules.  If it were not for Verizon blocking of tethering apps on the market,  I would suspect the majority of people who unlock/root/flash would not even bother doing so.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Rich

    This has nothing to do with Block C… Block C is the range of frequency VZW bought from FCC to get 4g LTE… And in this agreement, they may not at anytime, charge on a bandwidth basis and or not allowed to block the freedom of choice to customers like they did with the mobile hotspot stuff…

    When VZW went to Google and told them to block mobile hotspot apps and service but VZW’s, that was in direct violation and luckily we had someone strong enough and smart enough to sue VZW for said event…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

      How does this have nothing to do with Block C? Using that block of frequencies came with the agreement that they would not restrict devices or applications on it – and that is exactly what they are doing by requiring motorola to lock the bootloader. It restricts the applications (and the built-in features of the device).

      When the devices were 3G-only (and not in that frequency block) there was no such requirement that Verizon was required to adhere to. Seems to me that it has EVERYTHING to do with Block C.

  • Arthur Uscg

    It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. ups, It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘locking’ is

  • Knlegend1

    I personally don’t care anymore. I’m tired of doing extra stuff to phone now. With ICS hopefully we won’t need to worry about taking g our phones that extra mile because the OS would be good enough. So Verizon lock bootloaders all you want I don’t care anymore. Lower your freaking prices though if you are going to give me a phone with limited capabilities though.

  • Anonymous

    wrong website for you. we’re OBVIOUSLY enthusiasts who demand full control over a device and service we sink a ton of money into.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve said this many of times but I really have a feeling vzw is going to find a way to lock the gnexus. I can’t imagine they would let one phone be an exception after being so strict with everything else.

  • Anonymous

    Vzw is never gonna let moto unlock bootloaders, they know that if they did a buch of people would jack up their phones and head to a vzw store for a new one

  • Gerardo Meillon

    Lets take legal actions and make a colective legal demand!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Why can’t people just enjoy a high-quality product for what it is?  I swear, we’ve turned into a world of whiny victims who aren’t happy unless they’re rallying against something.

    • http://twitter.com/Justinwrites Justin True Anderson

      May I recommend a history book?  Or was the 40 hour work week and bathroom breaks the result of whining too?

      • Anonymous

        So you’re comparing unlocking phone bootloaders to a major U.S. labor milestone?  You are taking this WAY too seriously! 

  • Anonymous

    tiny.cc/qcfnd

  • Tyler

    *there #corrections

  • http://Deodexed.com Deodexed

    I love Droid-Life and I have followed them (Kellex) from D1 days. With that said, All i could hope for is that Droid-life will continue to stand by what most of us Developers want, an unlocked bootloader. 

    For the people who say “we don’t care for a custom Rom or an unlocked bootloader” well good for you, the 75% of what this Droid-life supports is customization/modding. The next time you want a the next updated Android version, remember that what the Devs give back to this community comes from the AOSP project, and gets implemented into the retail version. 

    Where does Cyanogen work now? http://www.slashgear.com/cyanogen-hired-by-samsung-will-continue-work-on-cyanogenmod-for-android-16171941/ oh yeah SAMSUNG! This is because DEVS make a difference and contribute back to the community! AOSP 

    Instead of saying “who cares” or losing faith, try to make a difference with your support, even though you don’t give back by coding, you can give back by your support. If you own an Android phone, then support the community and don’t lose hope. Just because you are not a Developer or Themer, you still are a huge impact to the community. You are probably one of the most important parts, the buyer/owner!

    My two cents, bash me if you wish!

    • Kierra

      So we’re suppose to be quiet? I dont mod. This isnt an important issue to me. I like Moto devices. That doesnt make me a less savvy consumer. I buy the tech that fits my needs. Why cant you do the same? Support the companies that support your needs. B!tchin does nothing. 

      • http://Deodexed.com Deodexed

        HA HA like that will ever happen! No man, people who do nothing, have the biggest opinions. We all know this!  

      • http://twitter.com/Justinwrites Justin True Anderson

        Great if it isn’t important than you shouldn’t mind if we pursue policy change right?  K thanx.

    • Kierra

      Its not like their arent developer devices. Buy those.

  • jbonics

    Verizon sucks period.

  • Kierra

    Of all the effed up things in our country you b!tch over a bootloader? FACEPALM. 
    ITS A PHONE

    • Sp4rxx

      Amen

    • http://twitter.com/Justinwrites Justin True Anderson

      Bootloader is symptomatic of everything else

      • Anonymous

        I think women should also have the right to vote!  Oh, wait…

  • Juliancollins09

    Google could buy tmobile or sprint, and sell all of there nexus phones. Also Motorola phone unlocked and just give Verizon corporate phones. That’s what their aiming for

  • Pennywise

    Kellex is not guessing here… He’s right. It’s not even debatable. I don’t know how this misinterpretation had any legs in the first place.

    • Anonymous

      Everyone fancies themselves lawyers.  Nerds especially.  Nerds who think that they are the smartest guys in any room they walk into because they have a fancy custom ROM on their phone. (Psst.  Nobody gives a sh*t)

    • http://twitter.com/benb007 Ben Baker

      I disagree.  I’ve read into this as well and I think the premis of the article is flawed.  I don’t think that Verizon would be taken seriously if they provided such a document in light of the fact that they are preparing to release a Nexus device.

  • Anonymous

    The locking of bootloaders does not harm or infringe upon the public’s right to the provisions of safe, secured telecommunications on big red’s LTE network nor does it deny them the right to dial 911 at any time.

    ie:have fun wasting your breath. 

  • Jim Davis

    I wonder how that “No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers” clause jibes with Verizon’s blocking of tethering?

    • Anonymous

      Tethering isn’t disabled.  You can enable it at any time.  You’ll be charged the fee to use it however.

      Choices have consequences you know.  Tethering is not part of your standard data contract.

      • EC8CH

        It is a standard feature in Android.  One which Verizon is forcing manufacturers to disable.  The questions is do the terms of Verizon’s lease allow them to form their contracts in such a way that allows them to disable a standard feature (tethering) from the devices using that leased airspace.

        Verizon’s contracts are not the law of the land.

        • Anonymous

          Agree. This is what I read into it at well. They sell you a plan offering unlimited data use but restrict how they allow you to use it. This is in clear contrast and violation to their agreement with the FCC.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

             Err, no. There’s no FCC agreement about what Verizon may charge for service.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

          Not disabling – just charging for. That pricing agrement doesn’t violate anything, as much as I wish we could claim that.

          • EC8CH

            Nope disabling…  Google added native tethering into Android starting with Froyo.  Carriers have forced this feature to be removed before allowing devices onto their network.  The question is does this violate the terms of their lease with the FCC?

            “Because we want to charge extra for that” is not a valid defense.

  • http://twitter.com/BrianBrick Brian Brick

    damn, I wish Kellen didn’t have such a valid point, but hopefully something good may come of it either way. I think the other big reason that this might not go far is that such a small percentage of android users have any clue what a bootloader is and what an unlocked one could mean for them. its easy to forget when you are always looking at forums and stories on Droid-Life and XDA where nearly everyone is an openess enthusiast if not a hopeful hacker

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

    I don’t buy your explanation of why this does not apply. I’m sure we can all come up with a fairly lengthy list of software that requires at least root, if not a custom kernel to run properly that is compliant with the technical standards and does not unreasonably affect the management or security of the network.

    What I can’t come up with is any application (software, firmware, kernel, ROM, etc) that DOES interfere with management or security of the network. The closest I can come up with is tethering applications, which do not actually even require a bootloader to be unlocked to operate on most phones.

    This would not be as black+white if Motorola had not pushed Verizon under the bus and claimed “Verizon made us do it”, referring to the locked bootloader. If a phone manufacturer decides on their own to lock a phone, that is perfectly legal. When a carrier imposes that restriction, as is the case here, that is a violation. This means that there IS a feature of the phone that is being restricted at the request of the provider.

    I, for one, will be filling out an FCC complaint. I can’t help but feel that this was Google’s plan all along: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2008/03/fcc-releases-70/

  • Anonymous

    How many security threats/incidents has Verizon had from the OG Droid? I’m guessing not many.

  • Anonymous

    Soooo….when does the Galaxy Nexus come out?

  • Guest

    everyone who buys a motorola phone on verizon only perpetuates their practice.

    fight this battle with your wallet.  to buy a locked down phone and then complain about it being locked is stupid and insane.

    • http://www.facebook.com/borgey401 Andrew Borges

      EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!! I could not have said it any better, you morons buy devices THAT YOU KNOW WILL be locked down and then piss and moan about it. Uhhhmmmm are you serious? It’s really not that hard to figure out. The ONLY way anything would ever change is if EVERYBODY (including the average consumer) stopped buying Motorola devices on Verizon. We all know this will never happen though, so why even buy them? If you care about root/ROMs then bottom line is that a Motorola device IS NOT for you.

      • Kierra

        I dont root, I dont care.

        • Anonymous

          The RAZR is a great looking phone that will no doubt continue Motorola’s reputation for superior build quality.  I’ve had great luck with their phones in the past, and see no reason not to buy this one.

          • Geri O

            One word…

            “Bionic”

          • Guest

            Other than No NFC, changeable battery or HD screen…

        • Anonymous

          then why are you here? obviously he said ‘if you care about root/ROMs’

    • Tom

      Not going to happen. The people on this website and the romming and rooting community take up about 15% of the Android population. That 15% is insignificant. Everything will still continue because most people don’t care. Instead you may miss out on a great phone. The general consumer doesn’t care about that stuff. You won’t be hurting Moto or Vzw in anyway.

      Sure you can still fight with your wallet, but you won’t win, because you are the minority. A very SMALL minority at that.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Kellex, blocking other carriers from carrying the same phones. From a business standpoint this makes sense. If I am going to subsidize your phone for a 2yr commitment for $200, then if you leave, the ETF is around $200; that’s about $400 total and from the likes of things, phones (out right) are upwards to $600+. This is just business. And as long as the other 99.9999% that are not as active as we are here on DL, VZW will continue to rake in…. say 1.38 Billion for Q3. I think those greedy fat cats know exactly what they are doing…

    • Anonymous

      You do understand the point of that was that this practice is illegal, right.  A phone that is locked solely onto one network is illegal.  Now Verizon is unique in the fact that their technology is different than the other networks, which makes it not possible (SIM card wise, etc.) to use the phone on another network.  But if another carrier shared the same wireless technology as Verizon, then the VZ phone would have to, by law, be able to be used on the other network as well.  

      This discussion is not about unlocked phone, it’s about bootloaders – just like Kellen said.

      • Anonymous

        Touché. Hey the law is the law, right? And business is business. The VZW fat cats love loopholes, and if they aer caught breaking the law, then good! Bootloaders is another issue I am also having a hard time grasping…

    • akhi216

      And what about people who pay full price for phones?

  • Anonymous

    Here’s the complaint I just filed.

    Verizon Wireless is unfairly requiring manufacturers to lock the bootloader on their devices.  There is no security risk in allowing developers to use an open source product like AOSP or allowing end users the ability to remove apps that limit the ability to fully utilize the phone with respect to memory allowance and choice of services (examples would be VZ Navigator or the memory heavy-149MB-app Let’s Play Golf 2).  This restriction on bootloaders enacted only by Verizon in the US also limits the ability to do simple tasks like take a full back-up of a device.  This hinders the ability to utilize the amazing developer market which promotes the open-source execution of Android.  Verizon also blocks access to free apps that compete with their own services like tethering or mobile hotspot.  Data usage is limited on most accounts, and as such, Verizon should not be allowed to dictate what our data may be used on.

    • Anonymous

      Just copy/pasted the same complaint on FCC!

    • http://twitter.com/havens1515 Randy

      Only problem with your complaint, is that is states some obviously incorrect facts. I have a Droid 2 (which has a locked bootloader) and I can do the following which were listed in your complaint:

      “remove apps that limit the ability to fully utilize the phone with respect to memory allowance and choice of services” – Just needs root
      “take a full back-up of a device.” – just needs root

      I agree that these should be possible without root. BUT, you do not need an unlocked bootloader for them

      I do however agree with this statement:
      “Verizon also blocks access to free apps that compete with their own services like tethering or mobile hotspot.”
      and I’m wondering if that violates recently passed Net Neutrality laws. The Net Neutrality laws haven’t actually been put into effect yet though, so they can continue to do that at least until those laws take effect.
      EDIT: Blocking apps may actually hinder competition, and be violating anti-competition laws.

  • Sundar Ganapathy

    It appears that there may be some room for the FCC, if they choose to take our side, to argue that Verizon’s argument that unlocked bootloader are a threat to network security is undermined by the fact that there are already numerous devices operating on the network with unlocked bootloaders (Xoom, Galaxy Nexus, Droid Charge).  Therefore, the burden of proof would be on Verizon to show empirically, rather than hypothetically, how these devices have created a danger not posed by other locked devices operating on the network.  Of course, the cynic in me doubts the FCC will pursue this, particularly because Verizon has done such a good job of improving network infrastructure in the USA (versus all other carriers).

    relevant section:

    “Once a complainant sets forth a prima facie case that the C Block licensee has refused to attach a device or application in violation of the requirements adopted in this section, the licensee shall have the burden of proof to demonstrate that it has adopted reasonable network standards and reasonably applied those standards in the complainant’s case. Where the licensee bases its network restrictions on industry-wide consensus standards, such restrictions would be presumed reasonable. ”

    because other carriers, both in the USA and abroad, are allowing manufacturers to offer bootloader unlocking (see non verizon htc devices), it would appear that Verizon’s standard is not reasonable relative to other wireless carriers.

    • RW-1

      Spot on my friend!

      • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

        For a US example, T-Mobile USA’s own HTC Sensation 4G and HTC Amaze 4G have unlockable bootloaders.

    • http://twitter.com/havens1515 Randy

      You, my friend, need to be our lawyer in this case! You should represent the people of the United States! (Or Motorola, FCC, whoever is going against Verizon)

  • Fattie McDoogles

    I think Kellen is completely right. Regardless of how you interpret it Verizon will use the vagueness it for their gain and will spin it however they so choose. Thats why they have a legal department and lawyers on salary. They do THIS (as in this particular situation) all day everyday for a living. Sucks to be consumers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10215724 Raj Bhatt

    The thing is, Moto saying VZW is forcing them to lock the bootloader has to be BS. There are many handsets from other OEMs that come with an unlocked BL that VZW has no problem with. Maybe Moto locked it up and can’t figure out how to undo it haha

    • Anonymous

      Name one? :P 

      Only unlocked device is the XOOM. The rest have to be hacked to be unlocked.

      • Anonymous

        Samsung devices…my DROID CHARGE (UGH) has an unlocked bootloader. the fascinate had an unlocked bootloader. Im pretty sure the revolution is unlocked. the stratosphere is unlocked. the optimus is unlocked

        • http://profiles.google.com/jason.s.holmes Jason Holmes

          No those were all locked they just do it really crappy and hackers figure out a way around the lock.

        • DJstinkDIK

          Nope they all had to be hacked to unlock. They are locked just poorly done Andd not encrypted like motorola

          • Anonymous

            Exactly.

          • Anonymous

            no they were not locked. their recoveries would not stick after a reboot unless you were rooted but that’s it. there was no special process to unlock it. all you needed to do was flash cwm via odin and boot into it and flash a rooted kernel. i can flash cwm onto a completely stock out of the box device without anything else…

          • Knightcrusader

            Killer, you’re right. I am not sure what everyone else is thinking of. :-/

          • Knightcrusader

            No, Samsung has not locked even one of their bootloaders.

            I should know cause I just rooted the Stratosphere. I didn’t have to hack anything. All I did was compile a kernel, configure ro.secure to false, and flash it via Samsung’s own flashing tool.

            No fastboot oem unlock. No copying over an unlocked engineering bootloader. No hacking.  Period.

      • GotSka81

        But who is forcing Moto to encrypt their bootloaders?  Not lock…encrypt.

        • akhi216

          Verizon is…duh.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10215724 Raj Bhatt

        I heard the Droid Charge and the LG Revolution both came factory unlocked. Any truth to that?

        Also, I meant encrypted in the previous post, pardon my mistake.

        • Knightcrusader

          Yes, they are unlocked and unencrypted.

          They do, however, have a flag set on the Stratosphere and SG2 devices when a custom kernel is flashed, but that’s it. This way they can use it to deny warranty claims.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Forte/542650247 Michael Forte

      All manufacturer’s phones come locked. The difference with Motorola’s phones is that the bootloader is also encrypted, making it incredibly hard to crack.

      • EC8CH

        “incredibly hard”
        as in impossible so far :-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

         Not true. The RAZR will have an unlocked bootloader on every other global carrier. Just not Verizon.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

      There is some interesting wordplay in the situation. Did Verizon *force* Motorola to lock the bootloader? Or did Verizon *request* that Motorola lock the bootloader? Motorola blames it on Verizon, but you make a good point about other manufacturers that do not lock the bootloader. Verizon clearly does not have this as a blanket policy, so to call it a “requirement” can’t be right. Unless the requirement for Motorola is not the same as the requirement for Samsung/HTC/etc

  • Anonymous

    “No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers, to the extent such features are compliant with the licensee’s standards pursuant to paragraph (b)of this section, nor configure handsets it provides to prohibit use of such handsets on other providers’ networks.”

    Why are they allowed to lock tethering?

    • Anonymous

      Tethering is an interesting topic that is much more relevant to all of this than bootloaders. A formal complaint was filed with the FCC, but we have not heard anything since.

      • EC8CH

        Wonder if they allowed the unlimited data plans to be grandfathered in just so that they would have an excuse to block tethering across the board.

        • akhi216

          They allowed unlimited data plans to be grandfathered in so that they could have an “excuse” (for lack of a better word) to start throttled. Genius.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I don’t think that a legitimate response from Verizon regarding a phone’s feature being disabled should be “well, because we can charge for that feature separately.”

        • EC8CH

          blocking tethering on unlimited data plans should be their only argument with any semblance of reason.

          • Anonymous

            You might think that, but even there, the same FCC document clearly states that the possibility of excessive use is -not- a sufficient reason to block anything.

            Also of note: If you’re grandfathered into unlimited, you can also get(pay for) a special tethering package which is also unlimited.

          • EC8CH

            That’s interesting that language is in there.

            Unlimited data plans still give them an argument that the data is only meant to be used on the phone and not any other devices per the contract.

            On tiered data plans I think it would be harder to explain why customers can’t use the data they pay for in the manner of their choosing.

          • Anonymous

            Not if tethering is a feature of the phone.

        • Knightcrusader

          Cue the “well a computer/laptop/tablet/robot/toaster uses more bandwidth than the phone does” argument…

          Once the data arrives to your phone, it is none of Verizon’s business what you do with it afterwards. If you connect another device to your phone to share the internet, you are doing just that… sharing ONE connection.

          Here is an example: Say I download a large file on my phone over 4G, and I am using up ever bit that my phone is allotted. Say then I attach my laptop to my phone to tether at the same time. Then I get on Google. Where does that bandwidth come from? Well my phone reduces the speed on the large download so the Google request can be sent though. Say I download that file to my computer directly instead of to the phone’s SD card. What is the difference? I used the same bandwidth I already paid for.

          You pay for an unlimited data pipe to the phone. Your phone can only get so much bandwidth. Tethering doesn’t magically make the pipe bigger. If it did, THEN I can understand why they would charge twice.

          The FCC needs to extend the laws for ISPs to cell phone companies since they are becoming more ISP like than a telephone company with these 4G networks.

          • Anonymous

            I’ve always wondered why the cable companies don’t follow suit and charge you an extra $20/month if you watch the television shows on a screen larger than 32″.

            I also have wondered why the mobile carriers haven’t put something into the Terms of Service preventing you from TELLING someone what you’ve seen on your phone without a surcharge. Whether you are tethering or telling someone what data you’re pulling down… should be against the rules.

        • akhi216

          Agreed. Especially for the people on tiered data plans since we have to pay extra to use more data.

        • compchick813

          Yeah, they can charge for VZ Navigator separately, yet they have no problem letting us use Google Maps.  So if we don’t want to pay for the costs of using their tethering program, why can’t we use a third party one?  It seems like an equal comparison to me.

    • Jason

      they don’t have a way to keep you from tethering for free and in there eyes “stealing” from them. That is a security thing they can claim that slows down there network

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, I agree with your take on this, Kellex.  It sucks, but Verizon is not breaking the currently vague and open-to-interpretation laws governing the mobile carriers.  And, if an investigation was opened, you know that Verizon would magically come up with reference to unlocked bootloaders allowing hackers access to the network and using it for corrupt intentions
    …like having a full back-up of their device…or even removing unnecessary apps like VZ Navigator or Blockbuster!

  • Domakinsu

    I heard that Motorola doesn’t want us to have the bootloaders unlocked. 

    • Anonymous

      RAZR will be unlocked everywhere except Verizon…per Verizon.

      • Dragoneer

        Domakinsu was referring to bootloaders, not the devices.

        • Anonymous

          Exactly – Bootloader will be unlocked/unlockable everywhere but Verizon.  Motorola came out yesterday and said as much.  They also stated carrier requirements make the Droid version locked down.

          • Dragoneer

            Geez, I’ve been with Verizon for so many years and love their phones, especially the DROIDS. The DROID RAZR will (or… uh, after reading this; maybe was going to) be my next smartphone. This truly sucks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Wilson/1491637008 Scott Wilson

    The only apparent chance we have against Motorola is to band together and boycott their products. And to encourage our less tech savvy friends and family to do the same. I know a lot of people listen to me when it comes to phones, and I tell them to stay away from Motorola…

     Admittedly I do not always tell them why, but sometimes I do. I instead point to the virtues of other great phones. Sorry, but we that are interested in the technical aspects of our phones, and enjoy custom roms and kernels need to be serious about making sure Motorola feels the pocket pinch. Google owned or not.    

    • Fattie McDoogles

      Good luck. I wish it wouldn’t be such a feet to get stuff like that accomplished.

    • Alex Schechter

      It’s not Motorola, it’s VERIZON that won’t sell a phone with a locked bootloader, because then you can use the features they want you to pay extra for.

      • http://twitter.com/Skitz_Marz Alex Gandero

        but the only phones on Verizon that have encrypted bootloaders are Moto devices.

        • akhi216

          Motorola has revised there bootloader policy and will only lock future phone from here on out per a carrier’s request or if otherwise necessary. HTC has offered bootloader solutions for all of their phones.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

            Motorola complied with Verizon’s request. They didn’t have to, and they didn’t even have to offer that as an option.

      • Knightcrusader

        Not quite true.

        HTC and Motorola lock their bootloaders. Samsung does not. Neither does LG. Sony Ericson’s are unlockable. Not sure about Pantech.

      • akhi216

        They want you to pay extra for flashing custom kernals?

    • Kierra

      Lol I like Moto products. You have other options. Get the Nexus. Why the b!tchin ? 

    • akhi216

      Since Motorola revised their bootloader policy, the culprit it Verizon, thus if any boycotting needs to be done it should be aimed at Verizon. Of course that won’t happen because most people like having usable signals on their devices lol.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

        Motorola still played a part by agreeing.

        I’m glad they finally grew a pair and called Verizon out on it, at least. They should have just said it right in the product announcement to get the most coverage.

  • Anonymous

    For that last quote, it seems like the first half of the second sentence is the most relevant(depending on what is said in paragraph (b)): “No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers, to the extent such features are compliant with the licensee’s standards pursuant to paragraph (b)of this section”

    Disabling the feature that allows the bootloader unlocked would be illegal under this, unless paragraph (b) allows for locking due to security concerns. 

    Of course, the other problem VZW runs into is that the burden of proof is then on them to show that an unlocked bootloader does, in fact, pose a security risk to their network.

    • Anonymous

      That’s an interesting point, about the burden of proof. Couldn’t the OGD, XOOM, and lack of any demonstrated network security compromise despite the large number of unlocked bootloaders in the wild as a result of these devices make that a pretty substantial burden to overcome?

    • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

      Does that clause also mean that Verizon wouldn’t be allowed to lock down world phone capabilities (i.e. block MCC for USA to keep UMTS radio from working in the USA) on LTE phones?

      • akhi216

        That’s what it sounds like, but Verizon has too much power and influence to let that hold them back.

  • EC8CH

    Yet again… more rights trampled in the name of “security”

  • http://www.facebook.com/borgey401 Andrew Borges

    LOL leave it to XDA to come up with some completely off the wall crap. They obviously know nothing about what they’re talking about……… XDA YOU FAIL, you already look stupid because of how you treat well known developers in the community and you put out nonsense like this which is completely false information. Good job……..

    • Peter Kelly

      With all the truly valid info I’ve gotten from XDA, I can hardly call them FAIL.  

      I’m not a phone developer, so I can’t expand on the XDA treatment.  But, as a software developer who likes to tweak his phone, they’ve been spot on for FAQs and HOWTOs.

      That being said, I don’t think the website’s lawyers were involved in the post.

  • Larry Mao

    True, the language is open to interpretation, but since there is a question, we can exert some pressure on Verizon by filing complaints with the FCC, calling our Congressmen and senators and exerting some pressure to push for change. I’m sure Verizon does not want to be dragged into an investigation, or even the specter of an investigation, so a little pressure may go along way.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed, I filed a complaint. Why not? It only took a few min. We’ve tried bugging the hell out of Verizon and Motorola and it hasn’t got us too far. Maybe if we annoy the FCC enough they will do something. Hell it can’t hurt.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Wilson/1491637008 Scott Wilson

        Way to go Rockstar! I would like to see the Press feature a story about “Tech Phone Enthusiasts to Boycott Motorola Android Phones”…

        • Michael Allis

          But… Motorola has unlocked their bootloaders… Verizon is the one putting the pressure on Motorola to lock them in the US now.

          Perhaps pushing Verizon into a corner is the most apt way of addressing the issue?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Wilson/1491637008 Scott Wilson

            Good point, My contract is through the company I work for, ergo Verizon. I would love to pressure them the same way. Has Moto outright stated that Verizon is indeed the culprit?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1953314 Nathan Domier

            Yes, I believe so.  Also note that the RAZR is unlocked in Europe, but not in the states because of Verizon’s policies.

          • Ravnos CC

            “unlocked” or bootloader unlocked?

          • Anonymous

            Do you read droid-life.com? There was a story there a couple days ago on this very topic.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t know if we should blame Motorola or Verizon. Moto says they want to give us the option to unlock but Verizon won’t let them. If we can get Verizon to say they can be unlocked then Moto would have to unlock them since they wouldn’t have anything else to hide behind.

          • Sp4rxx

            ….if that’s true, then why let Samsung/Google have THEIR unlocked phone and not Motorola?  That’s actually unfair practices

    • Anonymous

      Not that I’ve got a soap box to stand on but, with all of today’s issues, I for one am not going to try to use the FCC and Congress to try to pressure verizon…over a bunch of phones. I just would not be able to live with myself…

    • Mischief165

      sure a complaint wont hurt. But don’t forget that verizon holds stocks in the  FCC and that they also hold a seat in congress. Do people forget who the government works for?

  • John

    There will always be a way around it

  • Anonymous

    Shhhhh, don’t kill the buzzzz of all the pseudo legal forum experts!

    • Anonymous

      Couldn’t help but chuckle at this. :P

  • Anonymous

    Buzzkill…