carrier-locked GSM phones
Posted Aug 7, 2007 2:55 UTC (Tue) by omez
In reply to: carrier-locked GSM phones
Parent article: A turning point for open gadgets?
Yes, you can purchase an unlocked GSM phone from a number of sources in the US and use it with any activated SIM card. The device's price is not subsidized by the carrier, so it will be more expensive. You won't have to extend your contract with the carrier to pay back the subsidy, though.
A GSM carrier will, after a period of time, unlock a locked phone at your request.
Not all phone features will work with all SIM cards/provider networks, and not all network features will work with all phones.
None of this applies to CDMA phones from Verizon and Sprint. I've no idea what their rules are. The Sprint EVDO is nice, though.
The current FCC controversy is not over which device works on which network. Just like you are free to use any landline telephone on the POTS network, you can use any GSM phone on any GSM network, given a good SIM card. With a landline you can also choose your provider. The POTS network owner, likely a baby bell or reincarnated ma bell, must give access to other providers at cost. The rationale is that the public helps foot the bill for the POTS network with universal and rural access fees (read: taxes). The FCC recently decided that this rationale does not apply to radio spectrum, so no such equal access requirement will apply. If you put up an antenna and get a license, it's yours alone. Another way to dodge the requirement is to build a landline network without dipping into access fees. Verizon does this with their FIOS network. There's a stink about that, too, because they rip out the copper that we subsidized when they run the fiber to your house.
to post comments)