UK Mobile Networks Banned from Selling Locked Phones



Freedom at last for the consumer! Telecoms Regulator Ofcom have announced that from December 2021, UK mobile networks are to be forbidden from selling phones locked to their services. This means consumers can now switch and change their providers by simply swapping out SIM cards.

UK Mobile Networks Banned from Selling Locked Phones

It's been a very long time coming for mobile phone consumers but it's finally going to be a reality.

From 2021, when you buy a mobile phone from a UK service provider, that phone will no longer be locked to the service of the network you bought it from.

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For years, consumers have been faced with renewing their contracts with their current service provider, even if they find a better SIM deal somewhere else because the process of unlocking handsets is complicated and discouraging.

UK Networks that still sell phones locked to their service.

  • BT
  • EE (BT Division)
  • Vodafone
  • Tesco Mobile

Together they make up over 50% of the market share in the UK. Which means almost 50% of consumers just don't have the freedom to switch providers quickly and easily.

UK Networks unaffected by the new ruling.

  • O2
  • Sky
  • Three
  • Virgin

Ofcom's connectivity director Selina Chadha said 'It will save people time, money and effort - and help them unlock better deals'.

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When asked to comment on the new ruling Vodafone responded: 'We stand ready to implement these changes when they come into force.' While EE added: 'We'll work with Ofcom to comply with its guidelines.'

How to unlock a phone?

It is certainly possible to unlock a mobile phone but it will cost you and the process can also be quite frustrating.

How much does it cost to unlock a phone?

Each UK network has their own costs associated with unlocking a mobile device connected to their service but you should never pay more than about £10 for the pleasure.


According to a study by Ofcom, about half of all those who try to get their phone unlocked experience difficulties. In some cases consumers can face a very long wait to receive a code needed to unlock their phone, while others either just never receive the code they were promised or if they do receive it, they find that it doesn't actually work.

The new ruling puts the UK compliant with wider European rules, and the new ruling will remain in place even after Brexit is finalised.


Benefits of switching providers

There are so many benefits to switching your network providers with each one competing against each other for your SIM slot.

O2 for example not only have excellent deals on data, minutes and text but they also have the might of O2 Priority Moments, the service that offers members lots of free stuff and heavily discounted products and tickets.


All you need to do to benefit from O2 Priority freebies and deals is order a FREE O2 SIM Card and pop it in your unlocked phone, top up and then head over to the O2 Priority website to sign up.


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