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Campaigns | Unlock mobile phones

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Update

Millions of pounds wasted paying for mobiles you already own

Mobile phone owners are collectively shelling out an extra £355m per year for handsets they’ve already paid for. 

Our research found that nearly half of mobile owners don’t switch immediately when their contract comes to an end. And since most contracts don't separate the cost of the handset from calls, texts and data, you’ll find yourself paying over the odds for a phone you’ve already paid off. 

Collectively we’re overpaying by a total of £355m a year - an average of an extra £92 each. 

Paying over the odds

O2, Virgin Media, Tesco Mobile and Utility Warehouse have tariffs where the handset and airtime costs are separate, while giffgaff has never bundled the handset in. Whereas customers on Vodafone, EE and Three still continue to be charged one bundled price.

For example, a contract with O2 Refresh for an iPhone 6 costs £49 a month for 5GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts. Of this, O2’s clear that the handset is £25, meaning you’ll only pay £24 per month when the contract ends. 

On a similar plan with Vodafone (4GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts) it costs £48.50 a month – but that price doesn’t change once you’ve come to the end of your contract. If you don’t switch or change your contract, you’ll keep paying for the phone you’ve already paid off.

Make mobile firms play fair

Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:

‘Consumers are being misled and as a result are collectively paying millions of pounds each year for a phone they have paid off.’ 

We’re calling on all mobile providers to separate out the cost of the handset so you don’t continue paying for it after your contract comes to an end. You shouldn’t be handing over money for nothing. If you agree, please sign our petition today.

News

New cap for lost or stolen phones falls short

The Government has announced a new voluntary agreement with five major mobile operators to tackle shock phone bills.

Update

Win! EE cuts mobile unlocking fees

27th February
Success
News

Victory for mobile unlocking in the US - what about in the UK?

All mobile operators in the US now have to unlock mobile phones and tablets at the end of your contract. In the UK, we want providers to follow the US’s lead and make switching easier by unlocking handsets automatically for free.
News

Mobile users should not foot bill for fraud

We're calling on Britain's biggest mobile phone operators to play fair with their customers one year after they promised to protect people facing massive bills if their phone is lost or stolen.
Success
Success

New protections against mobile phone bill shock

New proposals from the Government will protect consumers from huge bills run up on stolen mobiles.

News

Have you bartered for a better mobile deal?

When your mobile phone starts to slow down and it generally begins to look a bit tired, you may be looking to upgrade to a new handset. But how do you make sure you’re getting the best out of your upgrade?
News

Is it too difficult to unlock mobile phones?

A recent YouGov survey for mobile operator Giffgaff finds that almost a third of mobile users aren’t sure if liberating your handset (from the network it’s initially locked to) is legal.
Take action

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