Reuters The practice of configuring a mobile phone to avoid specific carrier network restrictions known as “unlocking” will become illegal in the U.S. on Saturday, Jan. 26.
Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) section 1201 prohibits the so-called "circumvention" of technical locks on copyrighted works. The rule seems to sound very tight, but unlocking a device does not make it illegal although it strips all of the explicit legal protection it had before.
Two points are recognised to allow unlocked phones to be sold, particularly in the United States. First, "that it has gotten in the way of innovation and competition" and the second, "that its rigid rulemaking procedures are an imperfect fit for some issues especially technical ones," according to a post at www.eff.org.
DMCA rule does not only apply to mobile devices and unlocking but also creates an obstacle to jailbreaking tablets, game consoles, and other personal devices. The effects include threat against academics and tinkerers, block publication research on computer security, and to cover embarrasing failures of computer and mobile operating systems.
Benefits of Unlocked Mobile Device
1. Allows the device to work with any SIM card.
2. Switching between local network carrier SIM and international SIMs will be possible. Best preference during travel.
3. The ability to use foreign SIM cards efficient reduces data, phone, and roaming cost significantly than using a SIM from an specific network only.
4. Flexibility to use the device according to personal preference such as reuse, resell, or give away.
5. Does not have to wait till the contract finishes before obtaining the phone for yourself.
Availability of Unlocked Phones Worldwide
Unlocked phones or unlocking an existing one is mostly legal in many countries.
Certain parts of the world do not sell locked phone such as Belgium
GSM-based cellular networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile have options for unlocked phone subscriptions
Unlocked phones are available from online stores such as Amazon.com and Buy.com
Specialty merchants also sell unlocked phones, including PureMobile and CellHut
Cellular operators may help out on unlocking phones
Underground hackers can unlock several locked phone models