Come December 2021, UK regulator Ofcom will be banning the sale of locked phones in an effort to make switching mobile phone providers much easier with less hurdles. The ban was first talked about in December 2019 and if all goes ahead will come into play by the end of next year.
Currently there is a charge for some networks to unlock a phone, if it has been sold from a specific provider, the charge is typically £10 but some mobile phone providers already stopped selling locked phones a while back, those who don’t are O2, Sky, Three and Virgin. This new ban will take affect on BT and EE, which merged back in 2016 as well as Tesco Mobile and Vodafone. Tesco Mobile is an MVNO here in the UK and uses the O2 network.
“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.”
Selina Chadha – Connectivity Director, Ofcom