By Adria Calatayud


U.K. communications regulator Ofcom said Tuesday that it will ban mobile phone companies from selling handsets locked to their networks, a move that is expected to make it easier for consumers to switch between providers.

The ban is part of a broader package of rules outlined by the regulator, which will also require companies to provide better contract information and measures to make it easier for customers to switch between broadband providers.

While some U.K. mobile phone operators sell unlocked devices to their customers, other companies like BT Group PLC, Vodafone Group PLC and Tesco Mobile still sell mobile phones that can't be used with other networks unless they are unlocked, Ofcom said.

Almost half of the customers who try to unlock their device find difficulties in doing so, Ofcom added.

The new rules, which will become effective from December 2021, will allow consumers to move to a different mobile network while keeping their existing handset, hassle-free, the regulator said.

"We stand ready to implement these changes when they come into force," a Vodafone spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for BT's EE said the business will work with Ofcom to comply with its guidelines.


Write to Adria Calatayud at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 27, 2020 06:36 ET (10:36 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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