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A new ruling by the communications regulator in UK, Ofcom, will mean the end of locked phones in UK.
From December 2021 all UK mobile networks will be banned from selling locked phones in an effort to make it easier for buyers to switch networks at the end of their contracts.
Ofcom says at present it is a complicated process to unlock your handset, with 50% of users running into issues such as delayed unlock codes, failure of codes, or trying to switch networks without knowing their handset was locked, leading to loss of service.
35% of those who do not switch are put off from doing so by their phone being locked.
“[It] will save people time, money and effort – and help them unlock better deals,” said Ofcom’s connectivity director Selina Chadha.
Interestingly many networks in UK already sell only unlocked handsets, including O2, Sky, Three and Virgin Mobile.
BT and EE mobile, Vodafone and Tesco Mobile will, however, need to change their practice before the deadline.
Vodafone confirmed it will comply, saying “We stand ready to implement these changes when they come into force,” while EE, UK’s largest network, said: “We’ll work with Ofcom to comply with its guidelines.”