Ofcom is Proposing a Ban on the Sale of Locked Smartphones and We're on Board

By Shabana Arif on at

The regulator is considering the ban based on consumer feedback.

It turns out that people are being deterred from switching providers because getting your smartphone unlocked isn't the straightforward process it should be.

Niggles like long waits for unlock codes are cited as putting people off, with a third of them changing their mind about switching, and almost half finding it difficult. It also comes with a cost of around a tenner to get the devices unlocked.

“Switching mobile provider can be really frustrating. By freeing mobile users from locked handsets, our plans would save people time, effort and money – and help them unlock a better deal,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's ccnsumer group director.

Currently, O2, Sky, Three and Virgin all sell unlocked devices to their customers. Ofcom is also looking into making the process of switching broadband easier, although it's not much of a slog as it stands right now. It's simple enough of a process on BT, Sky and TalkTalk on Openreach’s copper network, but that doesn't hold true of other ISPs like CityFibre, Gigaclear, Hyperoptic or Virgin Media. Crossover periods are enough to people off switching, as is talking to two different companies.

Ofcom's new rules will make switching easier and hold providers accountable for reimbursing customers if things start gong wrong. [Ofcom]