Saying the practice discourages users from switching carriers, the UK’s Ofcom regulatory body has ruled that all phones will have to be sold unlocked from late 2021.
Ofcom, the UK regulator expected to auction 5G’s 700MHz spectrum in early 2021, has announced that it is to ban the sale of phones that are locked to certain carriers. From December 2021, all UK phones must be sold unlocked.
The announcement comes 11 months after Ofcom published its plan to introduce such a ban, with the only new detail being the date. Speaking at the launch of the plan in December 2019, Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said that currently “Switching mobile provider can be really frustrating.”
“By freeing mobile users from locked handsets, our plans would save people time, effort and money — and help them unlock a better deal,” she continued.
According to BBC News, UK networks had previously argued that locking phones helped to deter theft and fraud. However, possibly to comply with existing EU rules, four of the UK’s major carriers already only sell unlocked phones.
Those are O2 — the UK’s original iPhone carrier — plus Sky, Three, and Virgin. The remaining carriers are BT and its EE division, Vodafone, and Tesco Mobile.
“We stand ready to implement these changes when they come into force,” Vodafone told BBC News. EE says it will work with Ofcom to comply.
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About bloody time too. The carriers should never have been allowed to lock the phones in the first place!
They locked them becaused they amortized the cost of the phone over period of years, did you really think you were getting that phone for free or at discount.Notice BT is one of last carrier still licking phone that is government backed carrier. BY does not want people just walking away.
They don’t need to lock the hardware for that, the price is included in the monthly payments of the contract. Even If you switch carriers you’re still liable for the contract.
Long overdue!Phone locking is an incentive for phony calling plans with hidden costs, and allows carriers, even after equipment has long been paid for by correspondingly more expensive calling plans, to keep charging extra, or charge outrageous “unlocking fees”.Obviously there’s no free lunch, but people should just pay a calling plan, plus either a phone rental fee or an installment plan payment for the equipment, if they are not willing/able to pay for the phone upfront.It’s also more responsible to not pay more expensive a phone than one can afford, or have a plan that locks one in a financial responsibility that one my not be able to fulfill in an economically uncertain environment, which then may lead to bad credit with all the ripple effects thereof.Best to get whatever phone one can afford to pay at once, and then have a plan without contract, one can change, suspend, or cancel at any time as circumstances change.Corporations however don’t want consumers to make smart, good choices, but choices that entangle them in dependencies.
Mobile phone, Ofcom, EE Limited, Telecommunications, Handset, United Kingdom
World news – US – UK Ban on selling locked iPhones begins in late 2021 | AppleInsider