Ofcom is banning the sale of locked mobile phones, making it easier for customers to switch networks.
Most networks already sell unlocked devices but some still sell handsets which can only be used on their services unless they are unlocked. While some phones can be unlocked for free during or at the end of the contract, others are only unlocked in return for a fee.
The ban was first suggested last December after research found that more than a third of potential switchers said the need to get their phone unlocked at the end of their contract put them off moving network while almost half of those who try to unlock their device said they found it difficult.
Following a consultation, Ofcom says it will now introduce the ban from December 2021.
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.”