New UK Law Bans Providers Locking Mobile Phone Networks

/ 2 years ago
smartphone smartphones

Many people choose to ‘purchase’ their mobile phone directly through a provider as, rather than paying several hundreds of pounds, you get your new smart device automatically ‘paid for’ as part of your monthly bill. This does, however, usually come with a pretty notable caveat. Namely, that the mobile phone is always ‘locked’ to certain providers. In other words, at the expiration of the contract, if you decide to jump ship, the phone may not work with your network.

Following a report via the BBC, however, the UK Government has introduced a new law that will automatically require all smartphones sold to be available to operate, with no restrictions, on all networks.

New UK Law to Remove Need for Mobile Phone Unlocking

Having paid, more than once, to have a smartphone unlocked for all networks, I freely admit that this is a very annoying practice by providers. To date, however, they have largely claimed that the practice was primarily in place to deter theft and fraud. Forgive me if I don’t but that one…

Over the last year, however, many providers have, somewhat quietly, stopped doing this and, following the introduction of this new law, every one of them in the UK will be required to only supply mobile phones that are capable of operating, without any changes, with any network provider.

smartphone smartphones

When Will This Happen?

As part of the new law, all network providers will be required to ensure that their smartphones (sold individually or as package deals) are made available, and unlocked, by no later than December 2021. The good news, however, does not end there. – As a relatively quiet new addition to the law, changes also set to come into effect in December 2021 will allow customers far more chance/flexibility of breaking broadband/internet contracts. Specifically, if the provider changes the terms of the deal midway through the contractual period such as, for example, putting the price up.

So yes, we’ve got to wait a little over a year before these changes come into effect, but anything that gives us humble consumers more power can’t be a bad thing!

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

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