UK Announces Ban on Sale of Network-Locked Phones
UK regulator Ofcom pressed ahead with previously unveiled plans to forbid the sale of locked devices by operators. The ban restricting the practice should be put in place at the end of 2021.
The watchdog noted in a statement that new rules will result in operators being unable to offer locked handsets which cannot be used on other networks, effective from December 2021. Ofcom said the move will make switching operators hassle-free by letting customers move to a different network with their existing device.
The regulator listed EE, Vodafone UK and Tesco Mobile as operators which still sold locked phones, and noted unlocking was a potentially complicated process which can also cost around £10. Ofcom noted its own research showed 35 percent of respondents had chosen not to switch operator because of the complexity around procedures to unlock devices.
Almost half of consumers quizzed reported hurdles when attempting to unlock their handsets, including delays and loss of service. Ofcom said it was also introducing measures for people to receive a written summary of main contract terms prior to subscribing, including prices and length of the agreement. These elements will come into effect in June 2022.