We had reported a few weeks back that from February, unlocking a smart phone has become illegal. If you are found guilty, you could be fined as well as imprisoned. This disappointed a lot of users and they even filed a petition against the same. However, many carriers were not happy with the negative impact of this ruling and now; AT&T has publicly announced that they would continue unlocking their phone as they did in the past.
According to Joan Marsh, VP of Federal Regulatory for the company, the recent ruling on smart phone unlocking has very little impact on AT&T customers. Looks like the company deemed it important to discuss the matter on their blog and Joan has given more details on the unlocking policy of the company in the blog post.
Joan adds that if it is possible for AT&T to get hold of the unlocking code from the manufacturer, then they will provide unlocking services to their customers. The carrier has agreed to unlock five devices per year per account, provided that the user has no unpaid balance in his account and his or her account is in good standing with the company. Moreover, the account should have been active for atleast 60 days. If any account fulfills these requirements, then the company will unlock their device as and when they receive the code from the respective manufacturer.
An excerpt from the blog post will give you a better understanding on the company’s views on smart phone unlocking.
“It is a pretty straightforward policy. That means that the Librarian’s ruling will not negatively impact any of AT&T’s customers. In fact, to make the unlocking process more convenient for our customers, AT&T has developed a website that allows iPhone customers to submit their unlock requests online. Customers can also visit an AT&T store or call us for assistance with a request to unlock a device.
In addition to making it easier for our customers to unlock their AT&T-provided devices, we also enable them to use third-party unlocked devices on our network. If you bring an unlocked, compatible device to AT&T’s network (that has not been reported lost or stolen), we will be happy to offer you a SIM card that enables you to obtain service from AT&T.”
However, the policy contains many ifs and buts which a user has no control upon. Like, it is upon the company’s discretion to decide whether an account is in good standing or not. Also, availability of unlock codes from manufacturer’s is also another point that users should be aware of.
Although we are happy to know that the company is willing to unlock AT&T devices of their users, it is worth pointing out that there is no guarantee that you will be get your smart phone unlocked. There are still many complications in the process and hence, we will have to wait and see how the company goes on with the actual process after this ruling.