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One U.S. carrier is way better at unlocking phones than the rest… and it’s not T-Mobile

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:56PM EST
U.S. Carrier Unlocking Scorecard

Last week, legislation from the U.S. government requiring carriers to unlock their customers’ phones went into effect. There are still some restrictions, but unlocking your phone should be easier than ever before. Unfortunately, only one of the four major carriers is actually abiding by all of the requirements a week after the new rules were set in place.

READ MORE: You’re finally free to unlock your smartphone again – here’s what you need to know

Sina Khanifar, the consumer rights activist who is credited with starting the petition that eventually led to the new legislation, decided to check in and see if each carrier had held up its end of the bargain. These were the results:

These are the six commitments that all four carriers voluntarily agreed to in order to stop the FCC from imposing new regulations. Although Verizon appears to have taken the tenants of the “Consumer Code” in stride, AT&T is still struggling to provide eligibility notifications and both T-Mobile and Sprint are only fulfilling half of their commitments.

But whether or not the carriers can actually get their acts together, there are still a few key missing components from the code.

“Interoperability is an obvious and critical piece of what makes unlocking valuable,” writes Khanifar. “If you unlock your phone, you need to be able to take it to another carrier and use it. […] But many carriers, most notably Sprint, specifically say that they won’t activate phones that were originally sold by another carrier. That’s despite the cellular technologies the phones use being entirely standardized.”

For a more detailed breakdown on each of the carriers, be sure to check out Khanifar’s recent article.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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