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Groups Want Handset Unlocking Requirements as Part of T-Mobile/Mint Approval

Public and consumer interest groups asked the FCC to adopt handset unlocking requirements for T-Mobile as part of its proposed buy of Mint Mobile (see 2303150032), now before commissioners. T-Mobile officials expect approval of the deal this quarter (see 2401260071).…

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“T-Mobile’s proposed acquisition of Mint and Ultra Mobile raises concerns about the impact of the loss of these maverick [mobile virtual network operators] on the wireless market, including that consumers may face unnecessary obstacles when switching wireless provider,” the groups said in a Monday filing in docket 23-171. They note the FCC imposed an unlocking requirement on Verizon as part of its buy of Tracfone in 2021. “Consumer advocates have long argued that mobile phones should come unlocked by default, allowing users to more easily make choices about the device and service they purchase, as they can for other products,” said the filing by the Open Technology Institute at New America, Consumer Reports, Public Knowledge and the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.