The White House today said it thinks consumers should be legally able to unlock smartphones that are no longer on-contract with a wireless provider. This comes in response to a successful “We the People” petition on WhiteHouse.gov, which asked the president to reverse the unlocking ban.
R. David Edelman, Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation and Privacy, responded for the White House:
The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It’s common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs.
This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs — even if it isn’t the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility.