Americans will have to get permission to unlock their Smartphone from Saturday. In October 2012, a change was made to the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act that provisionally allowed owners to unlock their smart phones without the need to ask their network beforehand. Previous to the change, owners were classically charged a fee when they asked their operator to unlock a telephone. Alternatively, users could buy unlocked versions of smart phones from manufacturers, but these handsets were typically more expensive than those locked to one network.
Many online services have sprung up that unlock phones for a small fee and some have supposed the change will have no effect on them. On that date a 90 day time limit that made it permissible to unlock phones with no permission is due to expire. Many Americans unlocked their phones to avoid running up big bills when travelling exterior the US. Unlocking a phone is distinct from a practice known as jail-breaking that opens up a phone so software from illegal sources can be run on it.