It seems that the clock is ticking for those who want to unlock their cellphones in the US, as from January 26th onwards, it will be deemed illegal to do so. How did this decision come about? A little bit of history lesson needs to come into play here, as back in October 2012, the Librarian of Congress, a body that determines exemptions to a strict anti-hacking law known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), laid down the rule that unlocking cellphones will be illegal, offering a 90-day window period so that folks will have enough time to brace themselves for impact.
Basically, when one unlocks a phone, it will free the handset from restrictions which ensure the device will work only on a particular network, meaning any other network that runs on a similar wireless standard will be able to play nice with said handset. Those who travel overseas often would find that unlocked phones are the most ideal route to take, while others prefer to have the freedom to switch carriers anytime they like.
Good to know that some carriers, like Verizon, has ensured that their iPhone 5 is unlocked out of the box, while AT&T ensures that a phone becomes unlocked once it is out of contract.