SIM Locked, Overstocked, Over a Barrel

I recently purchased a BlackBerry. I feel dirty and wrong. My excuse is that is was for someone very dear to me, and BlackBerries are cheap enough that I can use it as an opportunity to promote the virtues of iOS. But since I have not changed mobile provider myself for over 6 years it was a stark reminder of what it is actually like to be a mobile phone user in the UK at the moment. I think it’s a similar story elsewhere, but I am UK centric.

Analogy time so lube up and brace yourself.

When I was a kid, I occasionally used to go swimming at the local pool. The pool sold all kinds of swimming related accessories from trunks to arm bands/waterwings from Snorkels to floats. Generally these were all overpriced but on one occasion I wanted some new trunks (I believe I had grown tired of my budgie smugglers) so I stumped up the cash for a new pair of swim shorts. They were mine, I could swim wherever I wanted, and if I was feeling really rebellious I could wear them in the house nowhere near water!

Now imagine if the pool had sold me the swimshorts at a discounted price but informed me I could only use them to swim at that one pool even going so far as to put a mechanism in them that if I chose to swim elsewhere they would crush down and squeeze my love spuds with a vice like intensity rendering me unable to swim. There is no way the shorts would ever get sold.

By AnemoneProjectors (Angel  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Not me… in 2010

Now stop thinking of me in Speedos and now look at your mobile phone. Chances are it was brought associated with a network, either that or you paid through the nose for the handset. Back in the day a quick code tapped in to your Nokia 3310 rendered it SIM free, meaning you were off to play Snake and phone people on whatever network you liked. Not so with todays smartphones. There are many companies offering to unlock iPhones for example. However what they actually do is jailbreak them thus rendering Apple’s after sales support null and void.

I can understand that profit margins in this sector are very slim. If you buy a phone on a contract you get that phone at a huge discount. For example if you buy a iPhone 5 on a two year deal you can get it for nothing if you pay £44.00 per month for the tariff. Whereas if you buy the same phone unlocked from Apple you pay £529. So mobile providers have to try and keep your custom. I understand that but when your contract is up you should be able to move your phone to whatever provider you like. You current provider should have confidence that their service will bring you back.

Still at least it’s keeping Mazuma in business.


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