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U.S. carriers now officially required to unlock your phone

by Jacob Kleinman | February 11, 2015February 11, 2015 9:00 pm PDT

Motorola Droid Turbo vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4-19

The day has finally come. All major U.S. carriers are now obligated to unlock your smartphone for you thanks to an agreement between the FCC and the CTIA, a trade group representing AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Starting Wednesday, you’ll be able to get your prepaid smartphone unlocked within a year of purchase. For devices bought on-contract, you’ll need to pay off the full purchase price of your phone and fulfill your contract obligations first. Once you qualify, you should be able to take the phone to your carrier and have it unlocked so it will work on competing networks.

Of course, it’s possible some carriers will still give you a hard time about unlocking your phone, especially if one believes you haven’t fulfilled your contract first. The unlock also might not occur as immediately as you’d like, since it can sometimes take a few days to process. Thankfully, plenty of carriers have already started following the new law, so they should be more than prepared to help you out.

CTIA

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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