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Telcos ordered to unlock phones for free after contract ends

Ralf Rivas
Telcos ordered to unlock phones for free after contract ends


Customers can soon ask telcos to unlock postpaid phones for free once the lock-in period is over

MANILA, Philippines – Smartphones and other gadgets purchased from telecommunications companies can soon be unlocked with no charges, giving customers more flexibility.

In a memorandum dated May 31 and released on Wednesday, June 5, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered all telcos to unlock devices free of charge, once the lock-in period ends.

The order will take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology had ordered the NTC to set up rules and regulations for the measure in 2018.

Companies like Smart and Globe must also inform subscribers when their device is eligible to be unlocked. 

Once customers ask for the device to be unlocked, telcos have at most two business days to grant the request.

Postpaid subscribers who wish to switch to another network also have the option to have the phone unlocked, but this would be subject to an early termination fee.

Meanwhile, prepaid subscribers can ask for the unlocking for free.

Customers, however, have to make sure that they are in good standing and have fulfilled their end of the contract to be eligible for the free unlocking of devices.

Globe and Smart offer postpaid deals and usually have a lock-in period of around two years. 

Last February, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law allowing users to keep their numbers even when they switch service providers. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.