Unlocked phones means unlocking even better deals!

We’ve all experienced the frustration of a phone that’s locked to one network – or at least know someone who has! Many of us treat ourselves to a new device only to later learn that if we spot a deal more up our street, switching networks will be like mission impossible.

The good news is that Ofcom are banning mobile phone operators from selling locked handsets as of December next year. Some providers like O2, Sky, Three and Virgin already sell unlocked handsets to customers, but others don’t.

Customers are are facing fees from some providers to unlock devices and switch them to another network – making it difficult for them to bag a great bargain.

Selina Chadha, the Ofcom connectivity director, said, “We know that lots of people can be put off from switching because their handset is locked.

“So, we’re banning mobile companies from selling locked phones, which will save people time, money and effort – and help them unlock better deals.”

There are a number of different networks that will be affected, like BT and its EE mobile division, Vodafone, and Tesco Mobile, with some companies defending locked devices stating that they help deter theft and fraud.

A photo of the front of an EE store.
EE have stated that they will comply with Ofcom's guidelines. 

Ofcom however have recognised that in unlocking all devices, customers will save time, money and effort and be able to access better deals – improving their mobile service experience massively!

EE and Vodafone have said that they’re more than happy to comply when Ofcom implement the new rules – great deals for everyone guys!

On average it costs around £10 to get a smartphone unlocked on any network, however Ofcom found that among half of those who try to do so, encounter difficulties such as faulty codes!

They also discovered that some owners don’t even realise that their new handsets are locked in the first place – meaning that they’re unexpectedly left with the struggle of switching.

Ofcom’s new rules state that operators must send customers the full details of their contracts before they buy a mobile phone – giving them all the information they could ever need!

You’ll be able to treat yourself to a new iPhone on Three for example with a data package to suit you, then when your contract is up and you spot a deal more up your street, you can switch networks without having to pay a fee!

A photo of someone holding an iPhone in their hand.
Treat yourself to a new phone with less worry about the future!

The new ban against locked mobiles means that the UK remains in line with wider EU rules, but Ofcom have stated that the problem was already on their radar before new regulations were put in place in 2018.

Of course, we have to consider Brexit when making all these decisions! The good news is that the UK government has said it will stick to the European Electronic Communications Code despite the Brexit transition period.

This new rule will hopefully make bagging a bargain easier for customers, letting them choose a package that suits them perfectly. Say goodbye to pesky unlock codes and say hello to great mobile deals in 2021!