If You’re a Consumer, the Unlocking Cell Phones Bill is Excellent
by Randal Erman
Welcome to the brave new world of unlocked phones, America!
On July 25th, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Bill S. 517 was signed into law by President Obama on Friday, August 1, 2014.
This is a big win for consumers as it allows people to take their paid for cell phone from one carrier to another. This helps competition and reduces the cost barrier of switching carriers, as people no longer have to purchase a phone to work on that new carrier’s network. Of course, the cell phone has to support that new carrier’s network (GSM, CDMA, LTE for those technically savvy readers), but it eliminates the need to buy a new phone whenever they want to switch. All cell phones will hold more value for a longer amount of time.
From the ecoATM side, we see this law helping the refurbishing aspect of what we do, which is currently 75 percent of our business. Phones that are deposited safely and securely in our kiosks are eventually sold to a new owner or are responsibly recycled. Clearly, a mobile phone which stays in use for the longest amount of time possible is the most impactful way to help reduce the resources we consume for mobile phones. By allowing consumers to unlock phones, businesses that find phones a second life have more options for prospective users of these phones, both domestically and internationally.
To recap, this law is exciting for a lot of reasons:
It’s great to see Congress taking a step in this greener direction. Again: Welcome to a brave new world, America.