A new proposal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could open the door to unlocked mobile devices in the US.
FCC director Kevin Martin said that the proposal would pertain to the 700MHz spectrum soon to be vacated by TV stations.
Two bands within the spectrum would be auctioned off with a provision stating that the owners would be required to allow all mobile devices to access the broadband network without restrictions.
Martin hopes that the move will provide a network where users would not have their smartphones locked into a single provider or set of services, such as the arrangement between Apple and AT&T with the iPhone.
"You can use any wireless device and download any mobile broadband application with no restrictions. The only exceptions would be software that is illegal or could harm a network," Martin told USA Today.
The 700MHz spectrum has been highly sought after because of its longer range and better ability to penetrate walls. Most current wireless technologies operate in much higher frequencies.
The US Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) dismissed the proposal, however, calling it "Silicon Valley welfare".
"Crafting special rules for a company with a market cap of $170bn to address problems that do not exist in our competitive market makes no sense whatsoever, " said CTIA president and chief executive Steve Largent.
"We sincerely hope that the FCC recognises the indisputable facts of this debate and decides on a policy that places all bidders on an equal footing."
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