Chile Mandates All Phones be Sold Unlocked

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Bad Kharma

Nice to see a country whose politicians aren't owned by the big US multinationals. It would be nice to see in Canada, but it seems that PM Harper is too deeply in their pockets.

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ApathyCurve

So some cat named "Bad Kharma" whines on the internet about crony capitalism and a spambot replies to him...

Yeah, there's a joke in there somwhere.

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Ghost XFX

Our gov't is too busy coming up with asinine bills to control the Internet, to be so bold to unlock all the phones. What a shame, Chile understands the freedom of choice more than the U.S.A.

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dgrmouse

None of the comments I've seen so far take note of the biggest advantage of decoupling phone from carrier:  software choice.  Carriers are not ethical, and if they can sell your usage data and Facebook status to an advertiser they will do it without asking you or sharing the profits.

With regard to the technical difficulties the author expresses, I have zero sympathy - one can /create/ technical difficulties to hinder compatibility quite easily if allowed to do so.  The television networks, I assure you, would LOVE to be able to broadcast in a way that forced you to choose a "FOX" TV /or/ a "NBC" TV but refuse to license to anyone that wanted to allow you to tune into both. Those no-government-intervention conservative nutjobs that have posted earlier can't envision this, but it's exactly what would happen if the TV networks were not tightly regulated. It is only a measure of the increasing corruption our government has succumbed to that cellular networks are not as well regulated as cable and network services.

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ApathyCurve

There is a balance point in the market between laissez faire and regulation.  The Invisible Hand doesn't work in a pure form; that was proven by the excesses of robber barons in the late 19th century.  Likewise, modern quasi-socialism in places like Greece, France and the UK have proven that over-regulation will also strangle the golden goose. So I'm in agreement that some level of regulation is necessary; the problem is who decides the proper level?  Do you trust politicians?  Because I don't.

Also, when you make sweeping generalizations like "carriers are not ethical," you undermine the validity of your argument.  Stick to specific examples and avoid ad hominem attacks (such as "conservative nutjobs"), and you'll be taken more seriously.

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dgrmouse

Valid points, all.  Thanks.

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dukeofurl

Now, if only they would do that here in The United States.  The problem is that big telcoms own the federal government.

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dgrmouse

Agree, 100%.  Hard to believe that our government once broke up AT&T and protected us from unlawful wiretapping.

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routine

As with all government action this will have unintended consequences.

My guess... Higher phone prices

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dgrmouse

What an absurd assumption.  You would have the business interests in Chile or elsewhere decide for themselves what frequency, power, etc. that the telephone radios operate at?  Derp derp, no - you would not jeopardize the entire nation's infrastructure.  The carriers do not have the interest of the people in mind, and Chile is lucky to have a government that is working toward the interest of the people instead of the corrupt corporate-driven system we have in the US.

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routine

You have too much faith in government my friend.

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Holly Golightly

Wow, that is great news for the people of Chile. As an American, I kind of envy them a little. I hate the idea of spending $300 on a phone locked to Verizon. I wonder how long will it take for Congress to fight for our mobile freedoms? These phones are too expensive to be locked. For that I might as well get a tablet and call it a day. None of the GSM/CDMA mess.

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Wingzero_x

Couldn't agree with you more. Where I live my phone service is awful, but I really like my phone, and the carrier that does have great coverage in my area doesn't carry the phone. Seriously the is nothing like turning a corner and losing a call. So I'm forced to use two phones, from 2 different carriers. Just recently though I was freed from one, thanks to the better selection of pre-paid.

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Holly Golightly

You know, prepaid has changed a lot from then till now. Now for just $30, you can get unlimited phone calls under select carriers. I used to buy $10 top up cards which got me 20 minutes. As corrupt and expensive these phone companies are, I am glad to see some serious competition in the prepaid markets. When prices are lowered, we consumers win. Hopefully cellphones will drop market value. Unlocked can cost as much as $800. Insane if you ask me.  I am still thinking about going with Skype though because it is $6 and still unlimited. They just need to make tablets as small as cellphones, then switching over would be super easy.

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Zallomallo

I hate the idea of the government mandating how cellular devices should be sold.  You can buy phones unlocked, they're just super expensive, but now totally out of line with other mobile products.

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Holly Golightly

The problem is, the price for an unlocked phone is more than the price of a tablet itself. Something seems a little off with the telecom industry and is in dire need of regulation. Heck, the early termination is now $350 plus $300 for the cost of the new phone. Smartphone bills are around $100 a month, and you pay more for less. So for 2 years, you are paying $3,050 or more if you get a smartphone that is locked with any of the major carriers. I say spending $500 on a tablet with $6 a month Skype and $50 mobile broadband is a much more attractive offer to my wallet right about now. Total spent on getting the cool package is only $1,344 compared to the locked package at $3,050. 

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austin43

If the price is too high, then people will stop paying it; plain and simple.  It's the way capitalism works, and the government should focus on getting rid of needless regulation, rather than adding more.  A smartphone is a privilege, not a right.  If the price is too high for you, then maybe stick to a regular phone plan, or hey, just don't have a cell phone at all.  *sigh* Entitlement has gotten out of control in this country.

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Holly Golightly

First off, we need phones. How else would unemployed Americans get jobs if they can not get a phone call to schedule a job interview?

Feature phones are going the way of the Dodo Bird. We are in the 21st century. Look at computers. They used to be over $2,000 on average, and now you can get one as cheap as $200! Why can't the telecom business go this route? I guess if I wanted to really save money, I could always get a typewriter instead of a computer.

Having a smartphone is not a right... But we kind of need it if we are to stay connected with the world around us. Otherwise where would we be without technology? We need to improve the quality of life in this country, and therefore, we need technology.

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Wingzero_x

Normally I would agree whole heatedly with you, but in this case that is too general. These contracts are too expensive and confining to get out of if needed. What happens when because of career obligations people are forced to move in an area where the carrier they have doesn't have service? Should they be made to continue paying for a service they can't use? My first cell contract was with Ameritech and the phone was useless within 3 miles of my house. I hated paying that bill. At the time there were no alternatives, and no way out.

Just so you know, I am only referring to the service only not the hardware.

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someuid

I guess the big question here is do cell phone sales and service plans take off due to this openess, or does it not have any affect?  I'm assuming it lures a lot of extra people into the market for portable devices, and users are quicker to upgrade to new models knowing they don't have to navigate service contracts and locked phones by carrier.

It would be nice if this was done in the US as well.  Open choice to the consumer so they can vote with their wallets.

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