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Regulator To Ban Sale Of Carrier-Locked Phones

A ban on the sale of carrier-locked phones may be on its way to the UK after the communications regulator began consultation on the proposed rules.

The suggested regulation will ban carriers from selling phones that are locked to a specific network.

Major UK carriers such as O2, Sky, Three and Virgin Mobile already offer unlocked phones however the regulator wants it extended to all telcos.

The regulator is suggesting that unlock fees for locked handsets may dissuade consumers from switching to a different network.

Ofcom is proposing for carriers to sell unlocked devices, and make it easier for consumers to unlock their handsets.

‘By freeing mobile users from locked handsets, our plans would save people time, effort and money – and help them unlock a better deal,’ said Ofcom consumer group director Lindsey Fussell.

Consultations in the UK will be held until early march, with the regulator to make a decision by the end of next year.

In Australia, phones obtained from a specific carrier may be locked to that network for a fixed length of time.

Users may need to pay an unlocking fee to swap the phone to a different network or provider.

Depending on the type of device or plan can determine the cost of unlocking a phone from a specific carrier.

Both Optus and Telstra charge an $80 fee to unlock phones, with Vodafone charging nothing as long as the device was purchased on a plan.

Currently, major retailers like JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and the Good Guys offer unlocked phones from major brands like Samsung and Apple.

For more information regarding mobile service rights and regulations in Australia, check out the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission website here.

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