Thursday, September 12, 2013

Network locked phones


I and much of the IT industry in South Africa don't give ICASA much credit; there are plenty of complaints about them. But I can admire one thing they did; in 2001, phones that were sold were to be network unlocked.


What a big difference that made. We in South Africa take this for granted, but here in the USA, which you would expect to be a liberal and open market, phones by default are network locked. You have to generally pay more (to be expected), and wait longer (which you wouldn't expect), to get an unlocked phone. This is an incredibly frustrating process, which is usually made harder by the network operators themselves throwing up all kinds of false and artificial barriers. How long you have used the phone on the network, the type of service you have, etc, etc. See this article for an example by T-Mobile.


For once, our regulator did the right thing early.


Update: looks like the Obama administration agrees, according to this article.