Criminal punishment discussion aside...
The article is not entirely clear about what is illegal and what is not.
It seems like what is illegal is unlocking a phone for the sole purpose of reselling it at a higher price than it was bought for. Which I can at least understand the argument behind that, even though I may not agree with it.
The article is much less clear if it is illegal to unlock for your own personal use. AFAIK some carriers will unlock your phone for you if you buy out the phone and pay a fee. In which case the carrier still makes a profit off you, or at worst they break even. They have no right to complain in that case. If you choose to switch to a new carrier, it's their fault for not offering a good plan for a good value.
I found this quote to be particularly flawed:
unlocking cell phones should end since permitting consumers to continue this practice would cause significant harm the wireless phone industry
Unlocking phones does not, and can not hurt the industry. If your phone is locked you will pay to one company in the industry. If your phone is unlocked, you could be paying to a different company in the industry. Either way, you are paying money into the industry. The industry is not only unharmed, it is completely unaffected.
It may or may not harm individual companies. But not the industry as a whole. If some companies find that they are suffering more than others as a result of lost business, then maybe they should learn a lesson from that, and offer services that people want at a reasonable cost. And if that is the case, then those companies would probably be losing business, whether phone unlocking existed or not.
The Free Market only works because consumers have the right to choose from which companies they prefer to buy.Edited by wedge - 1/30/13 at 5:21pm