The problem TracFone has is that it sells the phones cheap... below cost often times, only to turn a profit when people buy minutes at rediculously expensive premiums. This is how cell phone companies get you - we all know that already, so when someone unlocks a TracFone phone and doesn't buy minutes from them it's "taking money out of TracFone's pocket" their attorneys argue.
What I found interesting is that there could be a huge clash coming in the courts - as MetroPCS (another cell phone company similar to TracFone) is offering to unlock competitor's phones as long as they're the same technology (CDMA) and give them a month's worth of calling for $30. From a July 8th article in RedOrbit.com:
Under the offer's terms, MetroPCS will tinker with phones originally sold by Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel (S), Alltel, or any other carrier whose network is based on CDMA [code division multiple access], the technology MetroPCS uses. MetroPCS will unlock the phone and provide a month's worth of calling -- all for $30.Whoa. So here's TracFone suing companies that unlock their phones and send them overseas to be used, when MetroPCS is doing it as part of a legal commercial promotion! I can't wait for these two forces to collide. I can see it now, TracFone filing suit against San Antonio-based Houdinisoft and MetroPCS. MetroPCS filing suit back... this could make it all the way up to the Supreme Court!
This should be fun. I feel like in the end, the customer should be the winner, but we'll still end up getting screwed (early termination fees, anyone?). Either way, I want ring-side seats for this one and a big tub of popcorn so I can watch the fur fly.