Was expecting this for a while and it finally got done. Yea! If you have followed, I have written about the universal SKU device a lot, from a roaming perspective, UIM perspective and device engineering perspective. See here for some history. There was only the action piece to get through, so this post has lots of PDF documents to get through but the CTIA recommended Consumer Code for Wireless Service is the topic, so I’ll just summarize the 6 new points to add to the Consumer Code below. Below that I will put the FCC and CTIA documents and just above that my take on it…
Each carrier will post on its website its clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on postpaid and prepaid mobile wireless device unlocking.
2. Postpaid Unlocking Policy.
Carriers, upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices or provide the necessary information to unlock their devicesfor their customers and former customers in good standing and individual owners of eligible devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device financing plan or payment of an applicable early termination fee.
3. Prepaid Unlocking Policy.
Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.
Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely when devices are eligible for unlocking, without additional fee.
5. Response Time.
Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request to the OEM to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation of why the device does not qualify for unlocking, or why the carrier reasonably needs additional time to process the request.
6. Deployed Personnel Unlocking Policy.
Carriers will unlock mobile wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing upon provision of deployment
In my view this is a very good step forward in general. It took too long and it is being spun into a huge ‘favor’ to us for my taste but it’s getting done. This is completely voluntary so companies can not comply or stop without warning without any consequences. In my opinion, the end destination is for us to all have the ability to have any device go anywhere on any network, allowing us to vote with our $, whom we think is doing the best job for us at any time. Equipment OEMs need to keep pushing for universal RF front ends to make this a reality. Remaining challenges are: Embedded UIM vs removable and roaming agreements for LTE. This also will make Public Safety LTE trials easier too…. ha….Overall, a thumbs up!.