Ofcom, the communications regulator agency in the United Kingdom, has announced that mobile network companies will no longer be able to sell phones locked to their network. The change in rules will come into play starting in December of next year, and the goal is to make it easier for consumers to switch networks when they want to.
The agency says that, according to its research, over a third of people who don't switch networks blame locked phones for it. Additionally, nearly half of those that do unlock their phone run into problems, such as extended delays in getting unlock codes.
In addition to the ban, Ofcom mentioned some additional measures meant to protect customers when buying into a network. For example, customers will get a summary of the terms of the contract in writing before signing up, with information such as the contract length and price, plus broadband providers need to disclose the minimum speeds customers can expect from the service.
Additionally, the regulator wants to make it easier to switch between broadband providers. Currently, switching between providers that use the Openreach copper network, such as BT, Sky, and TalkTalk, is already simple, and customers can simply contact the new provider to handle the switch. The goal is for this to expand to other networks, including services from Virgin media, CityFibre, and more. However, clear measures in this regard haven't been announced yet.