Locking UK mobile phones will be banned as of December 2021.
The initiative, which is part of a larger package of measures implemented by Ofcom, has ruled that BT (including its subsidiary EE), Tesco Mobile and Vodafone will have to stop selling mobiles that only work on their networks from the end of next year.
Ofcom’s connectivity director Selina Chadha says:
“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 scrapping of this procedural step, along with July 2019’s Text-to-Switch initiative and February 2020’s Contract-end-Date notification, has been implemented to streamline switching and create a more competitive market.
Klaus Henke, managing director from Billmonitor comments on the ban:
“This is great news as it removes a real hassle factor for consumers - Billmonitor has seen cases where it has taken the network several weeks to unlock a handset! Our hope now is that the networks will also apply the new rules to SMEs; UK businesses are often charged for unlocking handsets, thus creating another hurdle for efficient switching.”