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NTIA Letter Regarding the Handset Locking Rule for C Block Licensees

Docket Number: 
WT Docket No. 06-150
June 06, 2019

NTIA generally supports the granting by the FCC of a partial waiver of the prohibition against handset locking for the narrow purpose requested by Verizon. NTIA is sympathetic to Verizon’s concerns around theft and fraud and would not object to short-lived locking of handsets to the extent such locking may be effective in combating the described criminal activities. NTIA urges the Commission, however, to narrowly construct any waiver to avoid adverse impacts on consumer choice and handset portability. Such a waiver should only permit temporary device locking for the minimum duration necessary to mitigate the risk of theft or fraud in a particular instance (which may be shorter than sixty days), and should require Verizon to provide customers with a simple and effective way to request accelerated unlocking.