In light of the Library of Congress’s official stance on phone unlocking, AT&T has released a statement clarifying its own position. In short, the carrier will still unlock phones for customers after their contracts are fulfilled using a code. After that, customers with unshackled handsets are free to do as they wish.
The carrier goes on to explain what the legislation is all about, and said that in the end AT&T customers won’t be affected. AT&T said that, once contractual obligations are met, the carrier will unlock up to five devices per account per year. “We will not unlock devices that have been reported lost or stolen,” the carrier said.
The outcry over the unlocking issue was prompted after the Library of Congress determined a new, more narrow unlocking exemption ruling unless specific criteria was met. AT&T goes on to say that the Librarian’s decision was reasonable, if a bit confusing. But the carrier puts it plainly, “The Librarian’s ruling will not negatively impact any of AT&T’s customers.”
Still, it’s up to AT&T to decide whether it would like to unlock your device after your contract is up—it should be the consumers. But that’s a completely separate matter, one that Sina Khanifar is taking up with the White House.
“The problem isn’t simply whether or not carriers have a reasonable unlocking policy, but the right for people to use software to change the firmware on their phone and use them as they wish,” Khanifar said.