Ofcom announces plans to ban mobile phone companies from selling “locked” phones

Mobile phone companies would be banned from selling “locked” handsets, under a range of new plans from Ofcom to make switching even simpler.

Companies including BT/EE, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone still sell mobile phones that cannot be used on other networks unless they are unlocked, which can cost around £10. Ofcom research has found that more than a third of people who decided against switching said that this put them off.

Ofcom is therefore proposing to ban mobile companies from selling locked phones, allowing people to move to a different network with their existing handset, hassle-free. Ofcom says that it is also planning to make it easier to switch between broadband networks, as part of a broad package of protections for customers that reflect new European rules. This also includes:

  • proposing new rules that will mean British Sign Language users can contact the emergency services using video calls; and
  • changes to Ofcom’s accreditation scheme for price comparison tools (see item below), to make sure they continue to work for customers in the digital market.

To read Ofcom’s news release in full, click here.