Today we launch our campaign to Unlock Better Mobile Deals. You shouldn’t be trapped in contracts that aren’t right for you, or be stuck with locked phones when your contract ends. And we need your help.
I couldn’t tell you exactly when my current mobile phone contract runs out, but I got a new handset about two years ago and I’ve recently been thinking about how I can save money on my next deal. A few months back, I was told I could upgrade to a new 24 month contract, but I wasn’t convinced it was what I really needed.
It turns out I’m not alone. Only four in 10 people with a mobile contract trust their provider to put them on the best deal for their usage at the end of their contract. A similar percentage think there’s probably a better value tariff for their usage than the one they’re currently on.
So what are my options?
Getting the latest handset will often mean signing up for a long-term contract, but my phone’s only two years old, and there are some pretty good pay-as-you-go or sim-only options from different providers. But to get these deals, I’ll need to get my phone unlocked. Even though I own my handset, it’s probably going to cost me.
Some providers will unlock your phone for free (giffgaff and Three), but others can charge as much as £20. As Roel told us here on Which? Convo:
‘EE/Orange have just asked me to pay £20.54 to unlock my phone. This is effectively a charge to prevent me from switching supplier.’
Another commenter, KC, asked about getting a phone unlocked so they could use a foreign Sim card while abroad. Their provider told them there was a £20 charge and it would take 20 days.
Two thirds think it’s unfair that phones are locked to a provider’s network, and eight in 10 think providers should unlock phones automatically and for free when contracts end.
These are all reasons why we’ve launched our campaign to Unlock Better Mobile Deals.
Help us get mobile phone companies to do more
We want mobile phone companies to unlock handsets for free: selling pay as you go handsets unlocked, and automatically unlocking contract phones for free at the end of the contract.
We also want them to unlock the best possible deals, by alerting people that their contracts are about to end and giving them details of all the available deals to best match their needs.
Sign our petition if you want mobile companies to do more, and then tell us below about your experience with your provider. Have you ever had to pay to unlock your phone?