O2 will unlock iPhone for use on other networks

Bitterwallet - O2 will unlock the iPhoneWe missed this at the time, but eagle-eyed (it's his left one) Bitterwallet reader Mark spotted today's iPhone news. Courtesy of an interview with The Times, O2 boss Matthew Key has put his hands up and admitted the service provider will unlock a customer's iPhone once it is available on other networks. In other words if you're out of contract, you can switch to Orange in a fortnight:

Q: Is there any truth in the rumour that after Orange and Vodafone are able to sell the iPhone you will not allow people to unlock their iPhone, even if they are out of their contract period? If so, how can you justify this action if the customers have paid for the phone over the life of their contract and you will not be the sole carrier? Do you not think this would possibly be illegal under EU law?

Andy McConn, Glasgow


There is absolutely no truth in that rumour. Once the iPhone becomes available on other UK networks, we will allow O2 customers to unlock their iPhones, although of course they will still need to honour any outstanding contract period they have. At the end of their contract period, they are entirely free to move to another operator — though naturally we hope they won’t want to!

[The Times]


  • Ben
    Hmm, interesting. I wonder what that means for people like me on pay-as-you-go? Once the years' free data has been used it makes jumping to another network very attractive.
  • Jack
    I wouldn't imagine it would apply to PAYG, to be honest.
  • Mark
    Why not? you pay upfront for the phone. Surely thats like rubbing salt into wounds for o2 customers.
  • Andy
    I REALLY hope that this also applies to PAYG users - i bought my 16GB 3GS about 2 months ago, and unlocked to Vodafone using ultrasnow. I activated using the o2 SIM provided, but never actully activated the sim i think, because although i get signal with the o2 sim, i cant receive calls (obviously no credit). I certainly paid a large amount for the phone so i would hope that they consider that "paid off" so will be free to unlock. Should i set about properly activating the o2 PAYG sim so it registers with O2 so that in the event i can unlock, they will see an active o2 sim? I suppose i will have to top up the sim to activate it?
    It better apply to PAYG as well - we've paid for the phone outright!
    It doesn't really matter anyway - I'll just continue with Ultrasn0w, but if they do start getting arsey about it, I'll make sure I never go near o2 again - regardless of exclusives.
  • Chris
    Yawn...another day another BW iPhone feature....
  • Chris
    ...I use the word 'feature' very loosely of course.....
  • Amanda H.
    Chris, There aren't any other phones! Youv'e been watching too much star trek.
  • me
    Hopefully itll be pay as you go too, although as I got my 3gs from cex I have no idea whether it started life as a contract phone or payg anyway. We got a date we can ask for it to be unlocked?
  • Meee!
    O2 PAYG iPhones are still subsidised by around £100 iirc. This is compared to unlocked PAYG versions sold abroad. Perhaps they'll let you unlock it after it's a year old or after you've spent X amount on top-ups?
  • Andy
    I hope they dont make us wait a year. I paid a lot of money for this phone new from the Apple Store (so not o2 - o2 just happened to be the only provider at the time) and for them to force us to wait a year is like having a contract!
  • Evil K.
    I've been told its not possible by O2 atm, the staff say there is no option on their systems. I hope they can by 10 Nov as Andy McConn stated.
  • Chris
    Will the unlock be free or will they make you pay for it??
  • Steve
    Any thoughts on what the Apple store will be doing ? Will they sell models locked to each network? Or (I hope) unlocked iPhones with a range of payg sims? Now that would be nice. . .
  • Peter
    I have heard that it will apply to PAYG from only 1 year (not sure if thats from sell date, activation date, top up date...etc) and will cost £14
  • Pete t.
    Managed to lock mine up by taking the 3.1 upgrade so this will be a godsend as I will be abale to use cheap SIMs when I am abroad rather than be creamed for data by O2.
  • Phone E.
    I work for o2 and the policy regarding unlocking Pay as you go handsets is that the handset has to be connected to our network for one year! The same goes for every network. This is regardless of what phone was purchased and is to protect our company from "box breakers" and phones used for fraud!
  • shagee
    All vodafone mobiles are now unlocked,or if locked they will unlock for free,i wonder what this means for the iPhone when it comes to voda next year :)
  • Patrick
    I bought my iphone second hand, so its been on O2 pay monthly for over 12 months, im now using it on PAYG. Would that be eligible for unlock?
  • shagee
    There does seem to be a problem with some networks,they will only unlock to the sole owner/T-mobile/3 network,not sure about the rest,b
  • shagee
    There does seem to be a problem with some networks,they will only unlock to the sole owner/T-mobile/3 network,not sure about the rest,but these to piluks won't unlock
  • Richi
    The PayG iphones would fall under the same law as the contract iphone... im pritty sure it would be illeagal for them to not offer the ability to change network for people that have stumped up £440 for a phone outright. ill be at the apple store november 10th getting my brand new iphone 3gs thats been sat in a box for 3 weeks because im on an orange contract unlocked. and if they say no, ill kick up a fuss in the store and get arrested lol!
  • Robbiej
    Hi, I,min a similar position to others - buying my daughter an I Phone - told her to wait till 10th Nov to see wha the pricing is as i have written a spreadsheet to specifically compare prices of CURRENT OPTIONS its only 02 Contract vs PAYG - my findings are if you want Like for Like ie 3gs 16gb vs 3gs 16gb Do not go for Contract Contract 2yr Inc 600Mins 500Texts + INITIAL £87 Cost =£909.24 or £38 Per Month (this does NOT include any EXTRA Mins Texts u may buy in addition to Free MiNS tEXTS) On the other hand PAYG 3gs over 2 Years spending £5 per Month & Inc the Initial £440 = £560 or £23.33 Per Month......Afer the 2 yrs you really are Quids in with PAYG!!!!!!!!!!! Contract = Overpriced Committment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now can anyone tell me about unlocking the I phone ULTRA something or other has been mentioned please enlighten me....Cheers Sinfull
  • kim
    I have an orange contract which i am paying for normal mobile..but wanted the iphone, so i bought a payg iphone £400 as was told possible coming out on orange soon..Now it is out on orange i want to use my existing contract on my iphone. i phone orange but was told i was new due for upgrade until january, and i could not use my existing cause i am registered with a samsung mobile, which i no longer have anyway as didnt like and use a nokia, anyway she said i have to use the phone on orange contract i am registered with, but i said if i broke my phone i would go out and buy a new one and put my sim card in it. she said u cant lol.. but anyway what i am getting at is i want to use my orange contract on my o2 payg phone how do i go about this, as dont think i should have to fork out more money to buy another iphone. thanks any help would be great x
  • mark
    A man from CEO office at O2 phoned me today after I left an email with the CEO of O2 after complaining about the poor customer service I had about unlocking my PAYG iphone and has said they will not unlock any Iphone PAYG unless it has been used for 12 months on a PAYG contract even though it does not say in any of there terms and conditions, but as from 10/10/09 they will unlock any contract phone as long as you bay your O2 bills till the end of the contract, he also said if you sold you previous Iphone 2G/3G and bought a PAYG 3gs and used it on your existing iphone contract they will not unlock it at the end of your first contract, you then have to put a PAYG sim in it and then wait 12 months before they will unlock it. My point I pointed out to them was if its not in any of there term and conditions how can us the customer agree to it, they say they wont unlock any PAYG Ipone unless it goes past the qualifying period which does not state the length of in any terms and condition which could be 1day / 1month / 1 year or when hell freezes over, they they have put this in there terms so they won't lose any customers and keep making money out of us, so I asked him how much credit I had left on my iphone which was £4.20 so I said I will use this credit up and switch the iphone off until my 12 months have come then I will ask to unlock my phone, if they haven't change the lenght of the terms again. If you have any complaints please email the CEO of O2 on the following email address he will thank you for your imput in this matter. [email protected] The more emails the better.
  • Pedja
    I contacted CEO and some guy called me back. I pointed same facts as Mark but no luck. I think that we need to send more emails to CEO of O2 and complain about this unfair treatment. Terms and comdition are misleading the customer. He told me that iPhone wasn't subsidised but the tariff of 12 months wifi and data was (£120). This is really a joke they are running out of excuses. Just email the CEO so we can have this changed in our favour.
  • mark
    I bought my iphone 3 years ago for £169 i unlocked it and did not sign up to the o2 contract. Subsequently using orage PAYG.# will i be able to unlock it officially to avoid any problems with apple in terms of warranty and such?
  • Belinda M.
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