The Unlocking Revolution Begins Now!
Here is a very interesting article. After reading it I sent an email to the Chairman of the FCC. This article contains his name and address. At the bottom is a link to the source.
The Unlocking Revolution Begins Now
By Sascha Segan
It's time for you to take control back from your wireless phone carrier.
Too much power always corrupts. Wireless carriers have way too much power. By locking phones and locking Americans into contracts, they've made cell phones a lot cheaper, but at the price of innovation, freedom, competition and customer service.
The recent Copyright Office ruling on unlocking phones shifts a tiny bit of power back to consumers. But we need a lot more. Phones are the personal computers of the twenty-first century, full of our personal information, capable of entertaining us, connecting us and informing us. If we buy them, we should own them; we should be able to install the programs and features we want (at our own risk, of course), take them to whichever wireless carrier we desire, and customize them to our tastes.
Subsidies have worked well to bring cheap phones to the masses. Carriers give people $150 or $200 off the price of a phone, in exchange for locking them into a contract. It's essentially a rent-to-own installment plan, the same way a lot of people used to buy furniture.
But once the installments are paid off, you still don't own your phone. You can't take it to another carrier, you can't sell it on eBay to someone who uses another carrier, and you're not supposed to upgrade the features or fix bugs that the carrier hasn't approved of. Now, Cingular, Nextel and T-Mobile users are at least a little bit freer: they can bring their phones with them when they switch carriers, and they can buy used phones from other carriers at cheap prices. Sprint and Verizon must follow.
The carriers argue that activating un-approved phones – even if they're the exact same models they sell, like a Sprint RAZR on Verizon – will somehow damage their networks, or give a less-than-adequate experience. The first argument is the same nonsense AT&T used in the mid-20th century to force people to rent landline phones, and it's just as empty. As for the second, shouldn't the consumer be allowed to decide?
More unlocked phones means more advanced phones, too. Right now, carriers have Americans snowed into thinking that they're the only places you can buy phones. They only carry a limited set of phones, and they keep consumers coming to their stores through the crack cocaine of subsidies. But if unlocked phones become commonplace, independent cell phone shops will be more comfortable selling the advanced phones that carriers didn't decide to pick up. That means consumers, not carriers, will decide which phones we get to see, buy, and use.
The carriers won't go willingly, of course. Their anti-consumer regime works quite well for them. We'll have to go over their heads – say, to FCC chairman Kevin Martin, who has the power to regulate the carriers.
E-mail him at: and say something like this:
"With more than two-thirds of Americans owning mobile phones, the FCC must protect consumers against the predatory policies of the wireless carrier cartel. The FCC should mandate that once you're out of contract, Americans should be able to use any phone with any carrier, radio technologies and E911 readiness permitting. That will have minimal impact on the carriers' bottom lines, improve competition, and increase consumer choice."
Let's see if we can make a difference.
Source: The Unlocked Cell-Phone Manifesto - Columns by PC Magazine
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