If you bought a car and the garage handed it over with a lock on the bonnet only they had the key for I guess you’d feel pretty upset.
Or if you bought a laptop and the shop said that you could use it only to visit certain websites you’d probably be outraged – right?
So why is it that mobile networks can get away with locking handsets to restrict what you can do with them?
Giffgaff don’t sell handsets so many of our members have to re-use handsets or buy new ones that are locked to their “original” network – so we did some research and discovered some remarkable facts about locked handsets.....
There are around 25 million people in the UK who own a locked handset – which means they can’t necessarily move easily to another provider to get a better deal.
The average charge by the big networks to unlock a phone is £17 – meaning that UK consumers would have to pay a staggering £430 million to free their phones.
28% of people think that unlocking their mobile is illegal, which it isn’t, and two thirds of them think that networks should be compelled to provide unlocking information at point of sale.
There are alternatives to going to the handset’s original network for an unlock code – there are lots of online services and, of course, the thousands of corner shop operations that advertise the service. But the problem is that some of these services are good, others are bad and some of them are pure rip off merchants – they either charge for codes that can be got for free or that just don’t work at all.
So we here at giffgaff have decided to try and make a difference – and the first thing we did was have a bit of fun at the industry’s expense by creating the giffgaff illegal theatre – to highlight that whilst unlocking your phone isn’t illegal plenty of other things are. Have a look, and hopefully a laugh, here.
Then we got practical, and decided we should help anyone and everyone who wants to unlock a phone to do it easily and at the lowest possible cost - so today we are proud to launch our Unlockapedia - the free guide on how to unlock any mobile phone.
Our aim is to collate information on how and where to unlock every phone that has ever been sold so that:-
If there’s a way to unlock the phone for free we’ll tell you how to.
If you have to pay to have it unlocked we’ll provide unbiased reviews of where’s best to get it done.
And if there are unscrupulous operators out there who’ll rip you off we’ll name and shame.
The best thing is that Unlockapedia will truly “run by you” – the code for the site was written by one of our members (big thanks to Akisoft) and our members will write the reviews and score the providers so it’ll be completely unbiased.
And because we think locking handsets is just plain wrong, Unlockapedia will be open to anyone to use. So if you want to unlock your Vodafone mobile to work on Orange then Unlockapedia will be there to help.
We’ll be adding new content and advise to Unlockapedia all the time – so if you have any ideas or opinions for how we can improve the site please let us know by leaving a comment.