UK Ban on Sale of Locked Handsets to Come into Effect December 2021

British telecoms regulator Ofcom has confirmed it is to ban mobile phone operators from selling locked handsets in order to make switching networks easier for customers (via Sky News).

ofcome uk telecoms regulator
The watchdog says the current rules hurt some consumers because locked handsets can't be used on other mobile networks until the owner pays for them to be unlocked – usually around £10.

Ofcom, which first floated the idea in December last year, says the new rule will be implemented from December 2021 to make switching providers easier.

The new rule will target BT/EE, Tesco Mobile, and Vodafone, all of which sell locked handsets. O2, Sky, Three, and Virgin do not sell locked phones and won't be affected.

Ofcom said its research found the issue was putting more than a third of people off switching with their existing handset and potentially getting a better deal.

It also highlighted the difficulties experienced by many consumers who currently need to be sent a code to unlock their device, which is often time-consuming and can involve failed codes and a loss of service during the unlocking process.

"We know that lots of people can be put off from switching because their handset is locked," said Ofcom's connectivity director, Selina Chadha. "So we're banning mobile companies from selling locked phones, which will save people time, money and effort - and help them unlock better deals."

Top Rated Comments

Wig321 Avatar
7 months ago
OFCOM has actually done something for once?
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LeeW Avatar
7 months ago
About time, the whole handset locking thing was really to prevent people within contract trying to cancel in the middle of it whether they could or not, but they made it ridiculous even out of a contract. I started paying for handsets outright years ago due to this.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coredev Avatar
7 months ago
They need to become active on their own now, since after Brexit the EU is not taking care of their sh*t anymore.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac Rules Avatar
7 months ago
Good, pro-consumer move.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kerr Avatar
7 months ago
This became the norm a long time ago in Australia
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bokito Avatar
7 months ago
While I approve these bans the telcos will find other ways to block/annoy customers who want to move over like delays, dozens of calls to remind you how good the provider is or just 'errors' when moving you over. You need more than a ban on locked phones to actually help customers.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

General Music and AirPod 3 Feature

Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier on May 18

Thursday May 13, 2021 10:32 pm PDT by
A new rumor suggests that Apple will announce the third-generation AirPods and the recently rumored HiFi, or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, on Tuesday, May 18, via a press release on its website. The new rumor comes from Apple YouTuber Luke Miani who shared the alleged exclusive news with the AppleTrack website. According to the YouTuber, Apple plans to release the next-generation AirPods...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Fires Newly Hired Ex-Facebook Product Manager Following Revelations of Past Misogynistic Comments

Thursday May 13, 2021 12:10 am PDT by
Apple has fired Antonio García Martínez, an ex-Facebook product manager and author of the controversial book "Chaos Monkeys," following public and internal calls for removal and investigation due to past misogynistic statements, The Verge reports. Apple hired Martínez earlier this week to join its ads team, however, comments that Martínez made in the past sparked condemnation from users...
imac m1 blue isolated 16x9 500k

M1 iMac is Up to 56% Faster Than Prior-Generation High-End 21.5-Inch iMac

Wednesday May 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Apple's M1 iMacs are set to start delivering to customers next week, and ahead of the official launch day, benchmarks for the machines have been showing up on Geekbench, likely from reviewers who are testing them. It will come as no surprise that M1 iMac benchmarks are right on par with benchmarks for the M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, coming in with an average single-core score...
2021 mbp hdmi slot 3d

2021 MacBook Pro Leaks Confirm Returning MagSafe and Ports

Friday May 14, 2021 3:06 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro models are expected to feature a number of major changes such as larger display options and powerful new Apple silicon chips. Among the more surprising updates to this year's MacBook Pro models is the return of three ports that have been missing from the machines for over five years. Expected to come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, the 2021 MacBook Pro models are...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
google photos

PSA: Google Photos Unlimited Storage Ends Next Month, Here's How to Export Your Pictures to iCloud

Thursday May 13, 2021 5:26 am PDT by
For as long as it's existed, Google Photos has offered free unlimited storage for uploading images at a reduced yet good enough quality for most users. From June 1, 2021, however, all photos and videos uploaded to Google accounts will count against users' cloud storage. If you've been relying on Google to back up your media library, it may be time to move that content elsewhere. This article...
AirTag in Envelope Feature 2

AirTag Used to Successfully Track a Mailed Package Across the UK

Wednesday May 12, 2021 8:44 am PDT by
An Apple customer in the United Kingdom has successfully used Apple's Find My network to track an AirTag as it was being sent by mail to a friend in a completely different city. Outlined in a blog post at Intego, Kirk McElhearn said he taped an AirTag to a piece of card, wrapped it inside a small bubble envelope, and then sent it on its way. Kirk lives in the small town of...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...
prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...