Wireless carriers forced to love customers, set them free

Well, this is a piece of news. The pesky handset locks that U.S. wireless carriers thoughtfully program onto our cell phones so we don’t forget who loves us are about to go away. The Librarian of Congress on Friday ruled that locking phones is not a valid method for protecting “copyright” as the cited law is supposed to do. So as of yesterday, locked handsets are no longer legal. That is, carriers are obligated to unlock the handsets at no charge upon customer request.However, just because you can get your new RAZR unlocked for free and switch from T-Mobile to Cingular doesn’t mean it’s going to force a whole lot of churn. Many consumers are still by and large held captive by service contracts that carriers use to subsidize the cost of new phones.What will be interesting is whether this decreases the demand for new handsets with a carrier switch, as you can now take that RAZR back and forth whenever you feel like it. My guess is that people will always want newer, hotter phones, and the carriers will continue to be able to use that as a bargaining chip for service contracts and phone subsidies.Cheers to PhoneScoop for the tip.


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