Mashable tonight serves a stark warning to all those out there who may be planning to unlock their cellphone in the coming weeks, highlighting that the process of factory unlocking cellphones in the country is set to become illegal, this Saturday (January 26).
The new ruling arrives as a result of a law originally passed by the Library of Congress back in October 2012, which, in turn, saw the governing body open a 90-day window for those people who had just bought a smartphone and were looking to unlock it.
On Saturday (January 26), though, that window will finally close, seeing the process of unlocking cellphones itself actually become a federal offense in the United States.
The process of unlocking a cellphone is thought to be desirable, given that it allows the cellphone in question to work on more than one cellular carrier. This main benefit can be a god-send to travelers, or simply a convenience to those who like to switch their cellphone carrier on a whim to take advantage of their differing data and service plans.
As for who can unlock their cellphone handsets going forward? — Well, according to Christopher Reed on behalf of the U.S. Copyright Office, “only a consumer, who is also the owner of the copy of software on the handset under the law, may unlock the handset.”
Saturday‘s new ruling won’t affect everyone, though.
“For example, Verizon’s iPhone 5 comes out of the box already unlocked, and AT&T will unlock a phone once it is out of contract,” Mashable’s report highlights.
You can, (of course), also pay full price for the iPhone 5 on Apple’s Online Store, and receive the handset in an “unlocked” state right out of the box.