Disparate versions of the bill need to be combined before Presidential review
The US Senate has passed a controversial bill allowing customers to unlock off-contract cell phones. With a unanimous vote, the Senate's passage of the bill directs the Librarian of Congress, the authority for rulemaking for such matters, to "consider whether other wireless devices, like tablets, should [also] be eligible for unlocking." The bill has a ways to go before it reaches the President's desk, however. A similar bill, passed by the House of Representatives, needs to be reconciled with this version of the bill -- the House's version of the bill does not contain language allowing bulk unlocking by companies.
Proposal would allow resellers to mass-unlock phones for resale
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced on Monday an agreement on bipartisan legislation that would restore the ability of consumers to more easily transfer their cell phones to other wireless carriers, by making mass cellphone unlocking for resellers legal. The revision to existing legislation will be listed on the Judiciary Committee's agenda for this week's executive business meeting.
Report claims T-Mobile Galaxy Avant can be unlocked using onboard app
A smartphone heading to T-Mobile could have an app for carrier unlocking pre-installed as part of a new T-Mobile initiative, according to a report. The Samsung Galaxy Avant, an Android device believed to be heading to the carrier in the near future, will apparently unlock itself after following a number of prompts in the app, resulting in a completely unlocked smartphone which can be used on other carrier networks.
WhatsApp reaches 500M monthly active users,700M photos shared daily
WhatsApp has hit a milestone of half a billion active users, the messaging service has announced. The 500 million-user figure is 50 million more than it reported in February, when it also announced it was being acquired by Facebook for a total of $19 billion in cash and shares, with the service now seeing 700 million photographs and 100 million videos being shared between users every day.
Last minute revision adds prohibition to bulk unlocking
The US House of Representatives has approved a bill legalizing cellphone unlocking, against the will of the groups who originally sponsored the bill in the first place. The bill is now headed for the Senate, with what opposition has called a "poison pill" attached, preventing companies from bulk-unlocking devices for resale. If approved, the proposed bill extends an exemption currently in place for two years that legally allows cellphone unlocking, instead of the originally-proposed permanent solution.
New mobile phone unlocking rules expected soon
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is close to completing a list of rules for cellphone unlocking with US carriers, according to a report. The new rules would govern how a carrier advises a consumer about unlocking and the timing of the unlocking process itself, with the deal between the mobile phone networks and FCC expected to be agreed upon in the near future.