Consumers currently are not allowed to ‘unlock’ their cell phones in order to switch carriers; Legislation would allow consumers to keep their same device when switching carriers
After Klobuchar pushed the FCC to take action on cell phone unlocking, all major carriers committed to allowing their customers to unlock their phones
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today announced that legislation she cosponsored to legalize cell phone unlocking has passed the Senate and will now head to the House of Representatives for final approval. Consumers currently are not allowed to ‘unlock’ their cell phones in order to switch carriers. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act would fix this and allow consumers to keep their same device when switching carriers. Last year after Klobuchar pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action on cell phone unlocking, all major carriers committed to allowing their customers to unlock their phones. Letting consumers unlock their cell phones gives them greater ability to switch carriers and promotes greater competition in the wireless market.
“Consumers shouldn’t have to shell out cash for a new cell phone just because they switch carriers,” said Klobuchar. “This commonsense fix will make life easier for consumers by letting them keep their cell phones when they change to a new network, and I hope the House will quickly pass this bill so it can be signed into law.”
Klobuchar introduced legislation last year that directed the FCC to take action to ensure consumers can unlock and keep their phones when they switch carriers. Following Klobuchar’s push, the FCC reached an agreement with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless in which the carriers voluntarily committed to allow their customers to unlock their phones.
Klobuchar has been a leader in the Senate to protect and advance the rights of cell phone consumers and to promote competition in the wireless market. With cell phone thefts surging across the country, Klobuchar earlier this year introduced legislation requiring carriers to provide kill switch technology that allows consumers to wipe personally identifiable information from their device and make it inoperable to thieves. After Klobuchar began advocating for kill switches, wireless companies – including Apple, Google, AT&T, and Verizon – announced a new commitment to make kill switch technology available on smartphones. In February, as Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, she held a hearing on competition in the wireless industry.