This may come as a bit of a surprise, but that mobile phone you have in your possession may be a source of legality come tomorrow. In October there was a big news story going around that people were allowed to unlock their phones no matter what carrier and no matter what contractual obligations they had. Well, that allowance was for 90 days and tomorrow that deadline is up.
First of all, what is unlocking? In the most basic sense it is making a mobile phone not dedicated to simply one mobile service provider. A device purchased under contract from one carrier is usually “locked” to only work with that service’s network. This creates a problem when a phone is only offered under one carrier, but a person wants to use that phone under another carrier. This mess can be solved by unlocking a mobile device. This means that the code in the phone is replaced to allow any network to function with another networks SIM card. This means any device can be used by a person under any mobile service. This seems like it should be the way it should be anyway, but here’s the issue.
Many times phones are purchased with a new contract and the phone price is slashed drastically as a result. A phone that would retail without a contract for maybe $500 would only be $100 or free. This charge that the mobile carrier is willing to take is so that the phone will be used under their network and they will make money off of your business for the amount of time of the renewed contract. If the phone is unlocked then you could get the cheap price and they might never hear from you again. For this reason, phones paid for at full price are sometimes available as unlocked legally by the provider. This is because they are making their money upfront from you and have no reason to care what you do with the phone.
It is all a mess of technicalities and in the long run ,and in the real world, this law will probably go the way of jaywalking and speed limits where they are broken unnoticed around every corner.