Is your cell carrier violating phone unlocking rules?

Who's best and who's worst? I've got details.

Is your cell phone carrier violating the the rules for unlocking phones? I've got details about which carriers are failing, and which live up to the standards.

February 11 was the cell phone carriers' deadline for implementing guidelines for unlocking phones. A year ago, the carriers had agreed to implement the policies by that date.

So how have the carriers done? According to Sina Khanifar, who created the petition that ultimately led to the unlocking rules, not so well. In fact, only one of the major four carriers, Verizon, has lived up to all of the requirements in the agreement, he says.

Khanifar graded the carriers according to six key parts of the agreement:

Disclosure. Whether carriers post clear policies about how they will handle unlocking.

Postpaid policies. Policies that cover unlocking phones purchased via a two-year contract from a mobile carrier.

Prepaid policies. Policies that cover unlocking phones bought outright.

Notification. Whether carriers notify people when their phones are eligible for unlocking.

Response time. Whether carriers unlock phones with two days of an unlocking request, or explain to consumers why they haven't.

Deployed personnel. Whether carriers unlock phones for deployed military personnel.

Khanifar rates Verizon as the best, meeting all six requirements. He adds, "They've almost entirely stopped locking their devices."

Next is AT&T, which he says meets five of the six requirements. The only mark against AT&T, he says, is that it's questionable whether the company meets disclosure requirements.

The worst are Sprint and T-Mobile, which he says meet only three of the requirements. T-Mobile, he says, doesn't meet the postpaid and prepaid policies, and it's questionable whether the company meets the notification requirement. Sprint, he says, doesn't meet the the postpaid and prepaid policies or the deployed personnel policy.

If you're interested in the rules that cell phone carriers need to follow for unlocking, check out this article.

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