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White House Officially Responds To Cell Phone Unlock Petition: "We Agree"

We've been waiting on this for a couple weeks now and the White House has finally come through with its response to the cell phone unlock petition. The short version, for the tl;dr crowd is simple: "The White House agrees." Citing not just smartphones but tablets as well, the Executive branch of the U.S. government states, in no uncertain terms, that there should be no reason that carriers should block a customer from switching carriers once contractual obligations are fulfilled.

The White House also pointed out that it kind of already supported this (sorta) by way of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is itself an agency of the Department of Commerce under the Executive branch.

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FCC To Investigate Cell Phone Unlocking Ban, Unsure If It Has Any Authority To Enforce Any Change

The President still hasn't weighed in on what he plans to do about the cell phone unlocking ban (he's been a little busy with that sequester business that's gonna cost some people their jobs), but FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is a little closer to the situation. Speaking to TechCrunch, the communications head said the organization plans to "look into" the issue and decide whether action should be taken and, if so, what action there is to take.

While Genachowski doesn't sound ready to start pummeling carriers just yet (though it wouldn't be the first time), he admits that the ban is worrisome (and it is!), saying the "ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns."

On the subject of pursuing any course of action: "It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones." Those words "can" and "should" are the two major hurdles that the FCC has to get past, though.

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