Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vodafone NZ will now not lock phones

So to follow-up from my previous post about Vodafone now selling locked phones in New Zealand, it seems that the Government’s Commerce Commission (regulatory watchdog) has applied some pressure. “For now” Vodafone will not be proceeding with locking handsets.

Coverage here from Stuff:

Vodafone has backed off a controversial decision to lock its mobile handsets under pressure from the Commerce Commission.

Telecommunications commissioner Ross Patterson told The Independent Financial Review he had expressed concern about Vodafone’s “intentions”. The mobile firm had said it would charge $50 to unlock new handsets from April if people wanted to shift to another mobile provider in New Zealand or use a provider other than Vodafone for overseas roaming.

[From Vodafone relents on mobile lock]

Geekzone again has comment from Paul Brislen from Vodafone:

Here's the link to our letter to the Commerce Commission BEWARE: it's a PDF.

Clearly this is a win for customer feedback. Our customers told us they didn't like the move so we've changed what we're doing.

Any handsets that are locked will be unlocked for free. Just follow the instructions on the box.

The linked PDF says that Vodafone is changing its policy “as a result of the responses it has received from its customers”. It also states that Vodafone had already imported and started selling locked handsets to customers. They will continue to sell those handsets already in their “supply chain”. Any customers who wish to unlock those phones, will be “able to call a freephone number and do so free of charge.” However Vodafone, apparently “reserves the right to review in the future its decision on whether to lock handsets” and also raises the future possibility of “charging differentially for locked and unlocked handsets”.

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