The White House announced today that President Obama is signing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act in law allowing consumers to unlock cell phones from their carriers at the end of a contract.
Today, President Obama will sign into law the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, and in doing so, will achieve a rare trifecta: a win for American consumers, a win for wireless competition, and an example of democracy at its best — bipartisan congressional action in direct response to a call to action from the American people.
The legislation allowing consumers to legally unlock a cell phone first passed the Senate on July 16th, then received approval again from the House of Representatives on July 25th before moving to the President’s desk today.
Senator Patrick Leahy and Jeff Zients, the Director of the National Ecomic Council, describe the implications of the new law:
The bill not only restores the rights of consumers to unlock their phones, but ensures that they can receive help doing so if they lack the technological savvy to unlock on their own.
The most important part of this joint effort is that it will have a real impact. As long as their phone is compatible and they have complied with their contracts, consumers will now be able to enjoy the freedom of taking their mobile service — and a phone they already own — to the carrier that best fits their needs.
Finally, the White House shared a statement from President Obama on the bill becoming law:
I applaud Members of Congress for passing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Last year, in response to a “We the People” petition from consumers across our country, my Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose. We laid out steps the FCC, industry, and Congress should take to ensure copyright law does not undermine wireless competition, and worked with wireless carriers to reach a voluntary agreement that helps restore this basic consumer freedom. The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.