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Congress OK’s Bill That Allows Consumers To Unlock Mobile Phones

SAMSUNG CSC

No more being roped to just one telco

Congress officially approved House Bill 5790, also known as the Consumer Protection on Mobile Communication Service Contract, on its third and final reading yesterday.

The bill, authored by Rep. Francis Gerald A. Abaya (first district of Cavite) allows consumers to unlock devices provided by their telco in their mobile subscriptions for a fee. Until the introduction of the bill, consumers needed to go to unaccredited repair shops to get their devices unlocked, and the process usually voided the warranty of their device.

“Device locking makes it difficult for consumers to take advantage of the competitive offers available in the market,” Abaya said.

Under the proposed law, consumers now have an option to unlock their devices for a fee, and for free after their contract expires. This will allow them to take advantage of the dual-SIM capabilities of newer handsets being offered by global companies, which are sometimes locked to a single telco even though they have two SIM slots. The regular, dual-SIM version of the Samsung Galaxy S6 for example, is locked to either Smart or Globe, depending on who you go with.

The bill imposes a fine of Php 5,000 to Php 500,000 on violators and allows for the suspension of non-compliant dealers, retailers and sellers.

What do you think of the new bill? Sound off in the comments below.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

11 Comments

  1. Useless. Di mo rin pala maunlock ng free kapag nakuha mo ang phone. Dapat free na totally.

    1. free sia pagtapos ng contract mo.. ang gusto mo kasi pagkakuha mo ng phone paunlock mo at free na agad?? unfair naman sa mga telcos yun..,

    2. Not even in other countries do they do what you want. There will always be a fee if you want it unlocked during the contract. That’s one of the terms you have to agree to if you opt for a contract device.

  2. In case this law is passed, I hope that ntc can implement this and bar the telcos from applying TROs from the supreme court. Look what happened to the supposed text refund from the excess sms charges.

  3. Most Telcos contract last for 2 years (24 Months) at wala naman atang phone na more than 2 years ang warranty so di na talaga ganun kalaking issue ang warranty, pero good move padin to kasi atleast after ng contract mo sayong sayo na talaga phone mo at pwede mo nang gamitin kahit saan. Question lang sa dual sim.. Ang alam ko pag dual sim yung isang sim lang ang naka lock yung 2nd pwede naman kahit saan.. May Lumia 535 ako na phone na galing sa globe, yung isa naka lock sa globe yung isa smart ang nakalagay.. Are you saying na yung new phones ngayun naka-lock na both on same network?..

    1. Not all phones provided by telcos are unlocked. Globe provided a dual-sim phone as a retention plan unit. Unfortunately, both sims are locked to their network. I tried placing a competitor’s sim but it wouldn’t work. I went to one of their business center to inquire if they can unlock one of the sims since it’s beyond logic to have two sims from the same provider. They informed me that they cannot unlock it since they provided the unit & that it is still within the plan’s contract.

  4. Hope they can implement
    Got a telco locked phone under prepaid
    Apparently Globe cannot unlock the phone if under prepaid!
    Postpaid lang daw pwede kasi hindi nila makita sa system nila kapag prepaid
    Dapat matingnan din ang angle na ito

  5. Correction on Galaxy S6, only the primary sim slot is locked and not the secondary. The secondary slot is unlocked to all network by default.

  6. Nakausap q isa sa csr ng globe,
    You can request daw po ng unlocking of unit after daw mag expired ng contract so taliwas siguro tong report na to? Kc mostly 2years inaabot ng contract pag nakaplan ka sa kanila…

  7. My 24 months contract was finished for my Experia z from SMART, so i went to the office in SM-Southmall to request for the unlock code. First of all the people from the customer service were very rude and ignored and denied to me that they have the obligation to unlock my phone. They told me the only way to unlock my phone is to get it unlocked by a third party for a fee. As a foreigner and customer i refuse to be treated this way by the customer service who’s job it is to help us instead of treating us as fools As i refused this and demanded to speak with the manager they changed there attitude and told me they would provide the unlock code within 2 to 3 weeks (they had to request the code from the head office ). After 3 weeks without any news i went back to follow up and they now told me i have to bring my phone in so they can send it to the head office to unlock it, this would take approx 3 weeks to get my phone back unlocked. I know for sure they simply play the game to make it the customer difficult and tiresome so they give up and pay the fee to unlock there phone by a third party. Way to go SMART you lost a client who had 3 phones on a 24 month contract and a Smart land line, i changed all 3 phone’s to Globe already after this treatment my land line will be next.

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