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For Immediate Release
July 28, 2014

RWA Applauds Congressional Passage of Cellphone Unlocking Legislation

The statement below may be attributed to Caressa D. Bennet, RWA’s General Counsel.

The Rural Wireless Association, Inc. (RWA) has long supported the ability of consumers to unlock their cellphones and applauds Congress for taking steps to ensure consumer rights are protected. In 2012, the Library of Congress Copyright Office reversed its longstanding position and stated that consumers violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (and are subject to criminal penalties) if they unlock mobile phones purchased after January 26, 2013. Congressional passage of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act repeals this decision, and will again allow wireless devices to be legally unlocked once a customer’s contract period is up.
 
Small and rural wireless carriers lack the economies of scale and buying power enjoyed by national carriers, which often leaves them unable to offer the latest mobile handsets to their customers. The American consumer’s inability to legally unlock mobile phones and move them to rural networks raises serious competition and innovation concerns. RWA appreciates Congressional attention to this issue, and encourages President Obama to sign this legislation into law without delay so that rural consumers are better able to choose their carrier-of-preference independently from the wireless device they desire to use.

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About RWA – Headquartered in Washington, D.C., RWA - the Rural Wireless Association is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve fewer than 100,000 subscribers. RWA’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient and innovative telecommunications technologies to remote and underserved communities. For more information visit www.ruralwireless.org
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Tanya Sullivan
RWA
703-772-2235

 
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