No more locked smartphones!

Those with longer memories may remember this being quite a problem, but now we’re seeing more and more networks selling phones which are unlocked out of the box.

Wait. What’s a locked phone anyways?

Well, back in the day – and as a way to keep you tied to the network you got the phone from – a phone would only work on that particular network. If you defaulted on your contract and tried to sell the phone or use it on a different network, there’d then be the pain of getting the thing unlocked.

Networks like Three, O2 and giffgaff sell their phones unlocks, but Vodafone, EE, BT and Tesco Mobile continue to sell their handsets locked.

From December 2021 though, networks here in the UK will no longer be allowed to do this. Ofcom have announced that the whole unlocking process is complex and costs money, with some customers having problems getting it completed successfully.

Selina Chadha, Ofcom’s Connectivity Director, told us..

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.

The ban on selling locked handsets is part of a package of measures, most of which reflect new European rules. It’s all part of making switching easier, removing barriers and treating customers more fairly.