Monday, March 29, 2010

Japan To Consider Banning Cell Phone Lockdown

Bookmark and Share
In a country where cool heads prevail, cell phone carriers will be forced to abandon the practice of locking down cell phones so that they can only be used with the carrier that originally sold and activated the phones.  Legislators in Japan are considering such a ban to allow cell phone subscribers to keep their phones when switching carriers and to use their own cell phones while traveling in other countries just by popping in a foreign carrier's SIM card into their phone.

Cell carriers have swiftly come out against any attempt to ban cell phone lock down, claiming that forcing cell phone carriers to sell unlocked phones limits the kind of phones and services the carriers can offer to subscribers.  This is the weakest excuse I have ever heard for keeping the most customer unfriendly business practice ever known.  Yes, the cell carriers subsidize the cost of cell phones, and in order for the carrier to make their money back that's why cell phone subscribers have to sign three year contracts for post paid service. If the subscriber wants out of their contract, the early termination fees more than make up for the cost of subsidizing the cost of a cell phone.

Cell phone subscribers that switch carriers when contracts expire are highly unlikely to want to use a three year phone when signing up for service with a different carrier.  Banning carrier lock down helps the international traveler use their phones without getting charged a fortune in roaming fees.  When a subscriber relocates to another part of the country where the cell phone carrier doesn't offer service, it's the subscriber that ends up having to pay the early termination fees and has a phone that won't work where they now live.

Banning cell phone lock down gives a little bit of flexibility back into the hand of the subscriber, and should become the law in every country where cell phone service is offered.  Big telco will lobby elected officials on ensure that doesn't happen.

No comments:

Blog Archive