AT&T Says They Love to Unlock Customers’ Devices, Forgets Not Everyone is Their Customer

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In response to all of the hullabaloo over this phone unlocking situation that was created when the Librarian of Congress determined that it would be illegal to unlock a carrier-branded phone without approval, AT&T has decided to toss in their two cents. Posted to their public policy blog, Joan Marsh, AT&T’s Vice President of Federal Regulatory, made it clear that they have no problem unlocking their customers’ devices. That’s right, any customer “whose account has been active for at least sixty days; whose account is in good standing and has no unpaid balance; and who has fulfilled his or her service agreement commitment,” will have their phone unlocked by AT&T without issue. Talk about a list of qualifications. 

Marsh claims that the policy is “straightforward,” which I agree – it’s straight forward, alright. If you want to unlock an AT&T phone and take it to T-Mobile, you have to be a customer of AT&T’s, with an account in good standing, that has been active for sixty days, and also have fulfilled a service agreement. As the folks over at PocketNow have pondered, what about the guy who wants to be on T-Mobile, who buys a phone from an AT&T customer? No go? What about the woman who is moving to London and just bought an AT&T phone off of Craigslist, knowing full well that it has the ability to work on a network in Europe? Or what about the college kid that wants to use prepaid service, so he spent a few hundred dollars buying a phone from a friend with an AT&T line, yet wants to take the phone elsewhere?

Certainly these are very specific examples, but that’s also sort of the point here. If I buy something outright, it should be mine no matter the circumstance. It’s like buying a computer or a car. Once my credit card slides through the register, it’s mine to do with as I please. Think about if I were to buy a Chevy Volt and had the City of Portland tell me that I could only drive on their streets if I run the car on electric instead of gas and electric. And that in order to unlock the gas portion of the car and move to a nearby town, I’d have to drive it around the city for at least 60 days, get zero tickets, and pay my monthly car payment on time, or else.

AT&T claims in their post that they thought the “Librarian’s careful decision was reasonable.” Of course they do. Thankfully, we have the White House and a bunch of Congressmen backing us that do not believe it was careful or reasonable.

Via:  AT&T Public Policy



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