Down in the Republic of Chile, government regulators have made a bold move to increase openness in the nation’s wireless industry. As of January 2nd, all phones sold in the country must be unlocked for use on any compatible carrier. This rule change will go along with mandatory number portability set to go into effect January 16th.
Even devices that were sold before the new regulations will be taken care of. A website will be available that takes a device IMEI number and device info, then spits out an unlock code. Chile is not the first country to ban SIM-locking. Singapore and Israel both forbid carriers from locking handsets.
There are various methods of unlocking devices without carrier approval around the world, but Chileans won’t have to worry about that anymore. In the US, most phones are locked, but carriers will usually unlock a device at the end of a contract. There is also the problem of CDMA networks in the US, which require carrier provisioning for phones to work.