If you've ever gone to a foreign country with a carrier-branded phone, or tried to use that phone on a different operator in the US, you've probably encountered the problem many have: it's locked. While most carriers did honor unlock requests in the past, or sell their handsets unlocked (like Verizon, mostly), there was no universal policy on the practice in America. As of February 11th, that's changing - the CTIA (basically, the wireless industry's special interest group) is laying out a set of phone unlocking (that is, SIM/network unlocking) principles that AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular will abide by in the wake of the congressional un-banning of phone unlocking.

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