Three UK confirms that every phone it sells is now unlocked

When you buy a phone as part of a contract, there’s a pretty good chance the device will be locked to the carrier you purchased it from. Most buyers have become accustomed to that, despite the inconvenience that it can sometimes cause – for example, if you want to swap out your SIM card to use one from another network (especially when traveling abroad), or if you later give the handset to a friend or relative when you upgrade.

But some carriers like to do things differently. Three UK has now confirmed that every phone it sells – whether or on a contract, or pay-as-you-go – is provided unlocked.

Three has already been selling most of its devices unlocked for some time, but this announcement commits the company to ensuring that none of the phones it sells are locked to its network. Existing customers who purchased a handset from Three which is locked to the carrier can get it unlocked free of charge here.

Three’s director of customer strategy, Danny Dixon, said: “Unlocked phones give consumers a choice as to how to use what is on their handset. We’d rather focus on making the services we offer attractive and useful rather than limiting what our customers can do with their phones.”

The company added: “We’re pretty confident you’ll have no reason to want to leave us when your contract’s up, but we don’t want to force your hand. Choice is good.”

Other UK networks charge a fee to unlock devices, and some will refuse to do so until several months after purchase. EE (including T-Mobile and Orange), for example, will not unlock your device until six months after the handset has been activated, charging you £20.42 for the privilege. You can unlock your handset at any time with Tesco Mobile, although you’ll be charged £20 to do so within the first 12 months, and the process can take up to 28 days to complete.

More details on the differences in unlocking policies between UK carriers is available via Ofcom.

Source: Three via WPCentral | image via Three

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15 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I had a customer come in the shop today with a Samsung Fame she purchased this afternoon.
The staff told her it was unlocked already (and she got it for that specific reason) but it wasn't so she paid me to unlock it for her.
I gave her a receipt for the unlock and told her she should go back to the 3 shop and get them to reimburse her LOL!

I've been with Three since they started and i only ever had one locked phone. Seems they were never that bothered about locking them any way (some of the phones i got from them came direct from the manufacturer too).
Good to see they've made it an official thing now.

I am traveling Europe for my honeymoon. A whole month from the US. I got the all you can eat data plan sim for my phone. It has free roaming from 3!! I love 3.

MikeChipshop said,

Which is directly related to the story in the article above. Jeez man get over yourself.

It isn't actually.

The article is about phones from 3 being sold unlocked, the comment is about a SIM card from 3.

boo_star said,

It isn't actually.

The article is about phones from 3 being sold unlocked, the comment is about a SIM card from 3.

So what you're saying is a comment about Three shouldn;t be posted on an article about Three? Right, gotcha!

All joking aside "comment removed" is an extremely rude thing to say.

Edited by Walid W., Aug 5 2014, 1:09pm :

TPreston said,
The eu should stamp out this anticompetitive practice fir good.

Sure.

Once they stamp out getting handsets on finance (which is what most networks are doing.)

boo_star said,

Sure.

Once they stamp out getting handsets on finance (which is what most networks are doing.)


Not at all... In Italy you can buy a phone, any phone, and finance it signing a contract with the carrier but the device is, by law, unlocked since day one.

Cosmocronos said,

Not at all... In Italy you can buy a phone, any phone, and finance it signing a contract with the carrier but the device is, by law, unlocked since day one.

By finance I was referring to contracts (which are finance in all but name.)

If a carrier wants to sell you a phone on actual finance terms, I would expect it to be unlocked.