AT&T released a somewhat unusually optimistic response to the U.S. Library of Congress’s ruling about the unlocking of phones. It states that under copyright law, mobile phone users are no longer allowed to unlock their device without complete authorization from the carrier to which they subscribe.
As you might imagine, this sparked plenty of controversy among technology enthusiasts and even the government, but it also got many of the carriers a bit disgruntled because the ruling gives their unlocking processes a negative implication. The statement given by AT&T, however, evokes a bit of confidence from the carrier in its easy and painless unlocking process. Joan Marsh, Vice President of Federal Regulatory for the carrier, insists “the ruling has very little impact on AT&T customers.”
She describes AT&T’s unlocking policy as the following: “If we have the unlock code or can reasonably get it from the manufacturer, AT&T currently will unlock a device for any customer whose account has been active for at least sixty days; whose account is in good standing and has no unpaid balance; and who has fulfilled his or her service agreement commitment. If the conditions are met we will unlock up to five devices per account per year.”
Seems simple enough right? It could be, but there are some issues with this. Simply put, if AT&T either can’t obtain an unlock code from the manufacturer or based on its own judgment decides that you account isn’t in good standing, you’re shit out of luck. Before this would have been solved by performing an unlock yourself, but now thanks to the Library of Congress that action is considered breaking the law.