A 2012 Copyright Office decision effectively outlawed the practice, which allows consumers to switch carriers without buying a new device, without carriers' approval
President Barack Obama is set to sign into law a bill that will make it easier for you to switch mobile carriers without buying a new phone.
The bill, dubbed the "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act," makes it legal for Americans to unlock their cellphones without carriers' permission. Unlocking a phone frees it for use with a wireless carrier other than the one on which it was initially sold. For example, if you bought your cellphone from AT&T, unlocking it could make it usable on T-Mobile.