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T-Mobile Phone Unlocking Lawsuit May Proceed 116

Posted by Zonk
from the fight-for-your-right-to-unlock dept.
Billosaur writes "Wired is reporting that the California Supreme Court has refused to review two lower court decisions involving a class-action lawsuit against T-Mobile over their policies regarding early termination and phone unlocking. The Court rejected the reviews without comment, opening the door to the lawsuit, which aims to block T-Mobile from collecting a $200 early termination fee from users. Also on the table: an order for T-Mobile to disclose the types of phone-locking technology that may be in use on customer's phones. The ramifications if the lawsuit is successful would be to allow phone users in California to unlock their phones, and might lead to further lawsuits nationwide."
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T-Mobile Phone Unlocking Lawsuit May Proceed

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  • Termination Fee? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by photomonkey (987563) on Friday October 12, 2007 @01:07PM (#20957519)

    What does unlocking a phone have to do with terminating a cellular contract?

    I'd love to see locked phones AND cell termination fees go the way of the dodo, but this seems like an "I don't like the terms of teh service I signed up for, so I'm suing" suit.

    In theory, if we could buy unlocked phones more easily, we could then choose whatever carrier we want, adn would probably be less likely to pay the cancellation fee.

  • by DECS (891519) on Friday October 12, 2007 @01:19PM (#20957731) Homepage Journal
    This is kind of stupid. Even if all the major US carriers were prevented from locking phones to their network, it would only open the market between T-Mobile and AT&T, and separately between Sprint and Verizon Wireless. Both use totally different networks (GSM vs CDMA2000), so nothing would be open.

    Further, as 3G rolls out, T-Mobile and AT&T's versions of UTMS totally incompatible, meaning that their next generation of phone will be naturally locked to a single provider. They didn't do that on purpose, there just isn't available bandwidth in the US to share the same band.

    The real solution--rather than enriching attorneys to raise frivolous lawsuits that won't accomplish anything--is to open up the TV spectrum and insist that it actually be open, as Google has been pushing for. That would rapidly obsolesce the existing mobile networks however, leaving them open for replacement as well. Verizon/Sprint/AT&T have spent billions building out old fashioned 2.5/3G mobile service, and aren't excited about the prospect of having it all thrown in the trash can.

    How AT&T Picked Up the iPhone: A Brief History of Mobiles [roughlydrafted.com]

  • by Kadin2048 (468275) * <slashdot.kadin@xox[ ]et ['y.n' in gap]> on Friday October 12, 2007 @11:37PM (#20963431) Homepage Journal
    All I have to say is, if you think T-Mobile is bad, you should try dealing with Cingular/ATT.

    T-Mobile has the best unlocking policy and the best customer service of any of the U.S. cellular companies, hands down. Granted, that's kind of like talking about which slave labor camp has the best dental policy, but it's the situation we're left with due to the technological, geographic, and regulatory climate in the U.S.

    A few months ago I was trying to help out a friend who was the executor of a deceased friend's estate. The deceased guy had been with Cingular for years, and had a fully paid-off, very nice phone, which someone else in his family wanted (which strikes me as borderline creepy, but hey, nobody wants to let a good smartphone go to waste I guess). Cingular would not unlock it, period, even though the phone was paid off, the account had been closed, and the account holder was dead. (They even got faxed a copy of the death certificate and everything.) Every time somebody called, they just said 'sorry, we can't do that,' and then started in on their sales pitch to try and sign them onto a new plan. (Even when the person calling identified themselves as the executor of a dead customer's estate, which you'd think would be a signal to drop the sales crap.) Written communication went unanswered. Eventually I just helped the friend find a place locally that unlocked it for $15, because that was easier than dealing with the cellphone company's shit. But the absolute gall they displayed was disgusting.

    T-Mobile fails mostly through incompetence and ignorance, but AT&T/Cingular fail through malice. At least T-Mobile has a fairly reasonable unlocking policy (I never had any problem getting phones unlocked through them, personally, even before I was out of contract).

    And as for Verizon and the other CDMA networks, they're designed with screwing the consumer as a primary goal from the ground up.

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