Ofcom call for locked handsets to be banned
Have you ever had a mobile handset which is locked to a network? Then had to request for the handset to be unlocked to be able to use it on another network?
Telecoms watchdog Ofcom wants to make it easier for consumers to switch between mobile networks, proposing that locked handsets will be banned.
Ofcom have reported that ‘nearly half’ of customers find the process of unlocking a handset quite difficult. Some networks such as BT/EE, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone sell handsets which are locked, meaning that are unable to be used on other networks. Should you want to unlock your handset a code is required from the original network that the phone is locked to.
As well as finding the process difficult, networks also charge for the handset to be unlocked. For example, if you have a locked phone on Tesco Mobile Pay-as-you-go then there is a charge of £10 for a handset that is less than a year old.
Three have said that they are ‘urging’ Ofcom to bring this plan into action as soon as possible.
Other networks already offer unrestricted phones – O2, Sky, Three and Virgin.
“By freeing mobile users from locked handsets, our plans would save people time, effort and money – and help them unlock a better deal,” Ofcom consumer group director Lindsey Fussell said.
In line with the new EU regulations The Watchdog has said it wants to make switching mobile broadband providers easier too. Last week consumer group Which? said customers could save £120 a year by making a change.