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On contracts and unlocking cellphones

04/29/09 | by Adam | Categories: iPhone

Link: http://emperor.tidbits.com/TidBITS/Talk/2606

TidBITS, an Apple-centred news/discussion site, had a very brief discussion on unlocking cellphones after the contract is up.

I have to say I'm unsure why cellphone companies are not obliged to do this. The rationale -- as I understand it -- is that the cost of the phone is subsidised by the contract and the longer the contract, the more the subsidy (i.e. the cheaper the phone is.) Once that contract is complete, the subsidy should be fully paid back and therefore the cellphone should be entirely yours. However, on a locked phone this is not the case as it's still limited to use on only that particular cell network. I can see why the cell companies don't want to do it as it's an extra impediment to switching, and if the phone was free with a contract I could even accept it, but when you're spending several hundred dollars on a more sophisticated device like the iPhone the device should be yours free and clear.

Imagine buying a house where the mortgage company said (after being paid back in full) "Ok, it's all yours, but you're still going to need to pay us to live in it."

It's a bit absurd.


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