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Consumers will soon be able to free their cellphones from the grip of wireless carriers thanks to final legislation that Congress passed Friday allowing mobile devices to be unlocked.

President Obama said he looked forward to signing the bipartisan measure that cleared the House, which the wireless industry had fought.

"The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget," he said in a statement.

The legislation, which the Senate passed July 15, reverses a 2012 ruling by the U.S. Copyright Office that prevented consumers from unlocking their mobile devices without the carriers' permission.

The carriers claimed that unlocking violated software copyrights and hurt the companies' profits. The Library of Congress, which policed the ban, sided with the industry, citing the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The White House supported reversing the ban after receiving more than 114,000 petitions.

Most mobile phones in the United States are tethered to particular networks and sold to users at discounted prices that the wireless firms subsidize. When locked, devices cannot be activated for use on another wireless provider.

The industry's major trade association said Friday's House vote "moves us closer to alleviating any confusion" caused by the Copyright Office.

"At the same time, it is important to note that CTIA's members already committed to a set of voluntary principles that enable consumers interested in unlocking their devices to do so," the group's statement added.

The Competitive Carriers Association, which represents smaller telecommunications providers, applauded the move to empower consumers.

"All consumers, no matter where they live, work or travel, should have the ability to take the device of their choosing to the carrier that best meets their needs and desires," said the head of the group, Steven Berry.

The Copyright Office granted an exemption in 2010 that allowed unlocking. It will review the policy in 2016.

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