The CCA Voice - Spring/Summer 2016 - (Page 25)

THEME: LOCAL VIBES, MOBILE LIVES Unlock Handsets: Unlock Competition By: Jessica DeSimone Gyllstrom Attorney, Telecommunications Law Professionals PLLC A mericans thrive on their freedom to choose. This is something that wireless carriers know very well. Consumers want the flexibility to choose their wireless device, the amount of data they use, and features applicable to them. These options are all aspects of service plans that have become more customizable in recent years in response to consumer demand. Currently, due to an exemption under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") granted by the Library of Congress, consumers have the freedom to choose the wireless provider and network that works best for them, without having to purchase a new expensive handset. This exemption permits the lawful unlocking of handsets and certain other wireless devices. Unlocking a device allows it to be used on any compatible wireless network, rather than being bound to one network and one service provider. Accordingly, this exemption spurs competition and innovation and should be adopted as a permanent exemption by the Library of Congress. Every three years the Copyright Office launches a de novo rulemaking proceeding to examine the need for exemptions under the DMCA. These proceedings are extremely resource and time intensive; requiring petitions for each proposed exemption, significant written legal and evidentiary submissions, and oral testimony. Exemptions under the DMCA are likely to be granted if users of copyrighted works are, or may be, adversely affected by the prohibition in their ability to make non-infringing uses of a particular class of copyrighted works. With respect to wireless device unlocking, this means to make use of the underlying software that enables devices to connect to a wireless network. Such an exemption was granted in 2006 and 2010. However, in 2012, the exemption was more restrictive and limited to wireless handsets obtained by January 26, 2013. Due, in part, to public uproar, as well as advocacy from industry groups like CCA, Congress passed what is known as the Unlocking Act, which, among other things, reinstated the 2010 unlocking exemption for wireless handsets. Last year, the exemption was significantly expanded. Under the 2015 exemption, used wireless devices may be unlocked in order to permit a consumer to switch wireless networks. The scope of this exemption covers all types of wireless handsets; tablets, portable mobile connectivity devices (i.e., mobile hotspots), and wearable devices such as smart watches or fitness devices worn on the body. This exemption is important to consumers and carriers alike because it promotes competition in the wireless industry as well as continued innovation. This exemption enables consumers to have the choice of which network to connect to once they have fulfilled their This exemption is important to consumers and carriers alike because it promotes competition in the wireless industry as well as continued innovation. THE commitments to their original service provider. Without this exemption, consumers would likely be forced to purchase a new wireless device in order to change service providers, which may result in substantial costs to the consumer - both in price as well as in the replacement of purchased features specific to the device. These costs may hinder a consumer's ability to switch service providers, thus stifling competition. This exemption is also important for competitive carriers facing significant challenges in obtaining the latest, mostadvanced devices. The exemption allows carriers to offer service to a range of customers that they may not previously have had access to due to their handset inventory. As a result, carriers have also been able to offer more flexible and creative pricing plans. Indeed, there are many options now available to consumers outside of two-year locked-in wireless service contracts and consumers are no longer bound to one provider because of their original device purchase. Looking Ahead Most recently, the Copyright Office announced that it will review the exemption review process; seeking comments from the public starting in February. This review seeks to create a presumption in favor of renewal when there is no meaningful opposition to the continuation of an exemption. This is a proposal that CCA has long advocated for and competitive carriers should continue to support. Consumers should not worry about losing the right to use their used devices on a network of their choosing every three years. Furthermore, adopting the proposed presumption will free up resources that may be allocated towards other advocacy needs for competitive carriers and ensure that carriers will continue to be able to "unlock" innovation going forward. VOICE * www.competitivecarriers.org * Spring/Summer 2016 25 http://www.competitivecarriers.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The CCA Voice - Spring/Summer 2016

Board of Directors/Staff
Chairman’s Letter by Slayton Stewart
A Message from the President & CEO by Steven K. Berry
CCA’s 2015 Annual Achievement Award Winners
Bringing IoT Home
Creating the Foundation for Highly Successful IoT Programs
Meeting the Needs of Mobile Customers in the Era of the Cloud
Cows, Cars, and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Policy Breakthroughs Bring Mobility Closer to You
Unlock Handsets: Unlock Competition
IoT: The 3 Most Promising Letters in Business Today?
Let Your Digital Marketing Strategy Deliver Results
Managing the World of Connected Everything
Rugged Phones & The Connected Consumer
When Size Doesn’t Matter
Network Wellness: A Lesson in Becoming Proactive
The Service Orchestration Imperative for 5G Enterprise Cord Cutting
The Future Device: eUICC/eSIM Lifecycle Management
The IoT Effect on Wireless Networks
3 Ways Smartphones Can Increase Productivity
Unlimited Amounts of Data – For Everyone?
Mitigating Signaling and Security Burdens of IoT
2016: A Very Important Year for Mobile Carriers
Company Profiles
Index of Advertisers
Congressional Spotlight: Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)

The CCA Voice - Spring/Summer 2016

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