Recently, Ofcom – the communications regulator of the UK has announced that they are going to ban the sale of Carrier-Locked Phones starting in December 2021. This is a big move as it will affect the UK’s phone market in the future. So why does the UK have to ban phone carriers from selling locked handsets? Here is what we know so far:
UK Ban Carrier-Locked Phones To Help User Switch Providers
According to Ofcom, this move is aiming to make it simpler to switch between cell carriers. In the past, locking new smartphones would protect customers, thus making it harder for cybercriminals to commit fraud. For a long time, locked phones have always been an annoying issue for users, especially those who travel a lot. Being unable to switch the network can be painful as they are stuck with their contract and pay expensive roaming fees while traveling. As a result, they have to unlock their phone first. However, unlocking a phone is not always safe and can be expensive. According to Ofcom research, it usually costs around £10 to unlock a phone. In addition, the process can often cause problems like delays or loss of service. Therefore, Ofcom has decided to ban carrier-locked phones to stop this issue.
What Do These Changes Mean To Customers?
As your phone will no longer be locked, you will be able to put a new SIM into it whenever you like. For example, if your contract ends and you want switch to another provider, you can do it with ease. Or if you pass your old handset on to one of your family members, they can switch to the network that they like without any restrictions.
In addition, these changes also reduce your waiting time as it usually takes days for the carrier to unlock your device. Also, carrier unlocking is so expensive and time-consuming.
Which Carriers Are Ready To Follow This Policy?
Big network providers like O2, Sky, Three, and Virgin are already selling unlocked handsets. Others confirm with the BBC that they will follow the new rules when they come into force. This includes EE, Vodafone, and Tesco Mobile, which still require their users to unlock their phones in order to switch carriers.
What Else did Ofcom Announce?
Banning the sale of carrier-locked phones is just the beginning. Ofcom says that the carriers need to provide users with a summary of their contract terms before they sign up for their services, starting in June 2022.
What Countries Have Already Banned Carrier-Locked Phones?
In some jurisdictions, such as Canada, Chile, China, Israel, and Singapore, selling SIM-locked devices is illegal. The UK is the latest country to join this group. While even the UK bans the sale of locked handsets, this practice is still quite common in the US if you buy your phones directly from the carriers
There you go, this is what we know so far about the UK’s banning the sale of carrier-locked smartphones. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments!