Orange UK Contract Up - Free To Unlock?

kolax

macrumors G3
Original poster
Mar 20, 2007
9,186
115
So my iPhone contract has just finished with Orange UK, and I want to unlock it. Orange seem to charge you £20 to do so.

I'm sure it was free when I did it with O2 a couple of years ago. I've seen through the contract, so they should be legally obligated to unlock it for free, seeing as I now fully own the phone?
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,057
49
Bristol, UK
I'm sure it was free when I did it with O2 a couple of years ago.
That's correct. O2 doesn't charge pay monthly customers to unlock. They're unique in the UK for doing that though.

I've seen through the contract, so they should be legally obligated to unlock it for free
No. There's absolutely no legal obligation that requires them to unlock the phone - you should be thankful that you can do it for just £20.42

seeing as I now fully own the phone?
No.

You've owned the phone from the moment you took out the contract. The contract only covers the service, not the phone itself.

All of this is down to policy. Orange chooses to let customers unlock their phone, but they can also choose the terms under which that can happen.
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Original poster
Mar 20, 2007
9,186
115
The iPhone was subsidised though, so I didn't fully own it, though I was in a contract and would be paying out the amount regardless.

It should be a legal obligation once customers have seen their contacts through. I own a device, yet my ex network provider still controls what network I can use it on.

I've fired an email off to the Orange CEO - their customer relations team will reply no doubt saying "that's the way it is", but I've let them know I find it insulting to be charged after seeing the contract through (they won't care) and that I'll switch to O2 when the new iPhone comes out (they might care).
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,057
49
Bristol, UK
The iPhone was subsidised though, so I didn't fully own it
This is a very common misconception. They effectively give you the phone as a gift when you take the contract out. It's yours from that point onwards.

That means that you can sell it, give it away, throw it off a cliff - whatever you want.

That also means that if you lose it or break it, then the network is in no way responsible and that your contract will still continue (because it's for the service, not the phone).

If they were to link the phone's ownership directly to the contract, then you would be able to argue in a court that you couldn't possibly keep up your end of the contract if the phone had been lost, stolen, damaged or had developed a fault.
 

hobsgrg

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2010
379
137
That's correct. O2 doesn't charge pay monthly customers to unlock. They're unique in the UK for doing that though.
Vodafone also unlock pay monthly customers for free. They unlocked my iPhone 4S for free just a couple days after I bought it.
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,057
49
Bristol, UK
Vodafone also unlock pay monthly customers for free. They unlocked my iPhone 4S for free just a couple days after I bought it.
Ah yes, so they do.

Orange: £20.42 (Pay Monthly and PAYG)
T-Mobile: £15.32 (Pay Monthly and PAYG)
Vodafone: they say that they charge £19.99 for anyone in-contract and PAYG
Three: £15.32 (Pay Monthly and PAYG)
O2: £15 (PAYG), Free (Pay Monthly)
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Original poster
Mar 20, 2007
9,186
115
I don't really see why they need to lock contract phones anyway. PAYG makes sense, but with a contract, they make their money regardless.

I'll probably just have to suck up and pay the £20, but I'll see what their customer relations team does. Probably give me free cinema tickets or something useless.
 

hobsgrg

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2010
379
137
Ah yes, so they do.

Orange: £20.42 (Pay Monthly and PAYG)
T-Mobile: £15.32 (Pay Monthly and PAYG)
Vodafone: they say that they charge £19.99 for anyone in-contract and PAYG
Three: £15.32 (Pay Monthly and PAYG)
O2: £15 (PAYG), Free (Pay Monthly)
Where does that £19.99 charge for Vodafone come from?

http://help.vodafone.co.uk/system/selfservice.controller?CONFIGURATION=1000&LEVEL_ID=1131&PARTITION_ID=1&CMD=VIEW_ARTICLE&LANGUAGE=en&COUNTRY=us&FEATURE_TOP_ID=1088&PARENT_TOPIC_ID=1088&TOPIC_ID=1142&ARTICLE_ID=2688&DISPLAY=SUBTOPICARTICLES&HANDLERMODE=NOJSPAGE

It's free for contract customers and PAYG customers after 12 months of buying phone, doesn't say price for PAYG in first year though.
 

reclusive46

macrumors 65816
Apr 14, 2011
1,088
27
Canada
Regarding the iPhone, it seems like Apple makes them lock it, as Vodafone and O2 don't lock any of their other pay monthly phones and don't have any problem unlocking it the second you get the phone.
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Original poster
Mar 20, 2007
9,186
115
Regarding the iPhone, it seems like Apple makes them lock it, as Vodafone and O2 don't lock any of their other pay monthly phones and don't have any problem unlocking it the second you get the phone.
Why would Apple care?
 

Azzin

macrumors 601
Jun 23, 2010
4,233
1,589
London, England.
The thing is, Apple don't care whether your phone is locked or unlocked, so why should the network operators?

If you get one on a contract (with Orange as an example), then you will be paying Orange x amount of £s/$s each month for 12/18/24 months, so they have your money coming in regardless.

Even if you lost the phone, you would still be liable for the remaining line rental, so they don't need to, nor should they lock contract phones or PAYG phones IMO.
 

Matteoso

macrumors newbie
Aug 19, 2012
2
0
I am on Vodafone and have approx 1 year on contract. I phoned them and asked if they would unlock my 4s and they did, no problem and no cost. To be honest I was surprised, took a few days but they did it.