Using Cell Phone Unlocking Codes – Legal or Illegal? You may have heard about cell phone customers unlocking their cell phones and realizing great benefits. Cell phones obtained from your mobile network service provider are locked into that network. All your calls and texts use their system, even though other providers might offer better rates or services. In addition, people who have unlocked cell phones gain further benefits such as roaming capabilities around the world, higher resale value, and enjoying better promotional deals and perks.
Some people are concerned about having their cell phones unlocked. They worry about the legal aspect of it, and they worry about functionality with their provider and other providers if they toy with codes. Or they worry about having to pay fines and penalties to their network. However, this is not the case. While a lot of claims are made about the legitimacy of unlocked GSM cell phones or even more advanced model cell phones, the verdict is that, generally, it is totally legal. Here are some proofs that unlocking codes are legit.
The Library of Congress Verdict on Cell Phone Unlock Codes
The debate hinges on the fact that unlocked GSM cell phone software has copyright issues. Apparently, unlock codes belong to the digital materials category. But in 2010, the Library of Congress issued an updated ruling that unlocking digital materials is perfectly legit if it is intended for personal use. According to the ruling, circumvention is allowed to enable owners of devices to connect to a different network.
The Law on Cell Phones and GSM Unlocking
Do not let the heading fool you. In reality, there is no such law prohibiting network users from unlocking their mobile devices and opening it to other networks. It is just the network themselves placing the restrictions to prevent their customers from enjoying privileges from using other networks; using their network service and installing their apps. Owners actually have the legal right to do what they want with their property, including mobile phones. The only problem is that network providers reserve the right to void your warranty should they find out that you have activated your cell phone GSM unlocked codes.
Country Determines Legality to Use GSM Unlock Codes
While generally using unlock codes are legal, you need to know the laws in your country. The U.S. has formulated their own policy regarding the legitimacy of unlocking cell phones, as described above. The rest of the world already also has their own share of initiatives to clarify this matter; it is legal depending on which country you reside. Some countries allow unlocking cell phones anytime like in Austria. Other countries prohibit selling of SIM locked phones such as in Israel and Singapore. There are countries that have no laws governing SIM locking like Brazil. Lastly, some countries mandate cell phone networks to offer unlocking codes to their customers like Italy.
Clearly, unlocking your cell phone is legal. The only thing illegal is when you violate certain terms and conditions within the contract you have signed with your network provider.