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Senate passes phone unlocking bill


The Senate has passed a bill legalizing phone unlocking, following a favorable House vote on a companion bill this spring. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, brought by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), reinstates a rule allowing consumers to unlock their cellphones for use on a different network, whether on their own or using a professional unlocking service. The passage comes over a year after President Barack Obama came out in support of the policy, and about six months after phone companies agreed to adopt clear unlocking practices in the absence of a law. Though carriers can choose to remove this restriction after the buyers contract is up, consumers who want to unlock their own phones operate on shaky legal ground.

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