As of 2022, mobile phone companies will be forbidden to sell locked handsets that are only available for a specific network. This makes switching networks more simple and easy for customers.
Some companies, including BT/EE, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone, still sell mobile phones that can’t be used on other networks. Research carried out by Ofcom shows that more than a third of people who decided against switching said this put them off.
Almost 50% of customers who try to unlock their phone have difficulties doing so. For example, they may experience a long delay before getting the code they need to unlock their phone; the code might not work; or they could suffer a loss of service if they did not realise their phone was locked before they tried to switch.
So, following consultation, Ofcom have confirmed that mobile companies will be banned from selling locked phones, allowing people to move to a different network with their existing handset, hassle-free. The new rules will come in from December 2021.
The ban on selling locked handsets is part of a package of measures we’re introducing, most of which reflect new European rules. This includes making switching easier and helping to make sure customers are treated more fairly.
At the moment, customers switching between broadband providers such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk on Openreach’s copper network can simply contact their new provider, who will manage the switch from there.
But customers moving to a different broadband network – such as Virgin Media, CityFibre, Gigaclear or Hyperoptic will need to manage the switch themselves and coordinate with both their new and existing provider to avoid a gap between the old service ending and the new one starting.
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LinkedIn: Telecom Solutions Ltd