From next year, phone companies will no longer be able to sell devices which are “locked” to specific networks.
The decision was ruled by telecoms Ofcom, who have said BT, EE, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone will have to stop selling mobiles which only work on their network. Customers can pay to have their phone unlocked but they have to pay to do so.
Other UK mobile phone networks currently offer customers the option to switch from one network to another while keeping the same handset but from December 2021, all networks will be forced to offer unlocked phones.
Selina Chadha, Ofcom’s connectivity director, said: “We know that lots of people can be put off from switching because their handset is locked.
“So we’re banning mobile companies from selling locked phones, which will save people time, money and effort – and help them unlock better deals.”.
Companies that do not comply with the new rules will face heavy fines.