Cell Phones – To Lock or Not to Lock, that is the question

Everybody knows that the wireless carriers offer discounts on cellular handsets to lock us into the straight jacket contracts, usually 2-years, to keep us from leaving their service plans.  A lot of people accept this so they can get one of the really cool phones.

The question is really;

Why do carriers “lock” the phones to their system?

  •   Is it to keep us from running to competitors’?
  •   Is it so they can charge roaming fees at a higher rate?
  •   Is it to capitalize on people using data outside the carriers service area?

If we decide to pay full price for a phone to stay out of a long-term contract why should the wireless provider still be able to “code” our phone to play by their system only?

This makes no sense; We don’t owe them anything, but they still block us from moving our phone to another provider.

The Government appears determined to regulate everything we do, but has yet to look after the consumer here.

Cellphones are delivered clean, no bloat ware or unwanted software, and fully unlocked from the manufacturer.  Most wireless providers then go through an elaborate process and tamper with the phone to lock it down.

Who benefits from this?  It definitely is not you and I, once again as consumers we get taken advantage of.  The federal courts ruled in July 2010 that “jail breaking” or taking “root” on your phone is legal.  However, carriers decided that anyone doing that would have their warranty voided.

So enter the third party techno-geeks to provide support and service to those wanting their phone unlocked or repaired.  And guess what, the consumer pays again, and the rip-off continues, fair pricing and competition are out the window.

Here’s the million dollar question; Why when the majority of Asia and Europe not allow, BY LAW, the locking of phones, does the USA Government allow this to continue?

It’s about time we as consumers can get the phone we want for a fair price, and have portability to take that phone where we want to, and this monopolization is curbed.

Doug Karnuth

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