Mobile phone firms urged to unlock handsets

Which? consumer group says that customers who have reached the end of their contract period should have their handset unlocked for free, enabling them to be used on other networks.

Currently mobile phones purchased on a contract are usually locked to the network that they were purchased from, in order to prevent SIM-swapping. In reality, this only increases frustration as many other non-official ways exist to unlock handsets.

It is the current practice also that, once a contract reaches its end point, mobile networks simply let the plan continue at the high, handset-subsidising cost, rather than contact the individual, and let them know that the plan has ended and that cheaper tarriffs are now available. Which? also said that this should become normal.

‘We want to send a message to mobile phone companies that they should help customers get a better deal by alerting people that their contracts are about to end and by unlocking handsets for free” said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd.