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Court clears way for suit hating on T-Mobile's locking, ETF policies

Chris Ziegler

Looks like someone doesn't want their free-on-contract handset too badly! The California Supreme Court has thrown down its seal of approval to proceed with a lawsuit challenging a couple basic principles of carrier subsidies -- locked handsets and early termination fees -- with T-Mobile begin named as the lucky defendant this time around. The carrier had previously tried to get the case thrown out (as all good corporate lawyers should) by pointing out that its contracts require customer disputes to be arbitrated rather than taken to court, but the plaintiff's legal team successfully argued that the claims they were bringing against T-Mobile weren't arbitrable. So help us out here: what does a "win" for the public good constitute in this case, court-compelled unlocks and penalty-free contract terminations or the continued availability of heavily-subsidized handsets? Is the prorated ETF a good compromise?

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