back to article O2 loses lock stock in Palm Pre precedent

O2 won't unlock 'exclusive' phones, such as the Palm Pre, ever - unless you resort to the small claims court, in which case they'll unlock the handset and pay you off to boot. Following an 18-month contract O2 customer Rob Jonson wanted his Palm Pre unlocked to work with another operator, but O2 has a policy of never, ever, …


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  1. indicator

    From the O2 website....

    "The only exception are handsets which are exclusive to O2 such as the Palm which remain locked to the O2 network as we want our customers to have the very best Smartphone experience."

    Perhaps if their customers were having the "very best Smartphone experience" they wouldn't want their phones unlocked?

    Just saying......

    1. jonathanb Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Ah but ...

      only O2 can give them the best experience. If the phone was unlocked, they might move to a different network, and that clearly would mean an inferior smartphone experience. They might for example have web pages load before they get a chance to look at the progress bar.

      1. Code Monkey


        ...make a phonecall in a rural area. What sort of rubbush non-O2 experience would that be?

  2. Captain Underpants

    Well done Mr Jonson...

    ...but it's a ludicrous situation that the law in this country allows phone operators to refuse the provision of unlocking codes for the handsets in the first place.

    Ireland's not a model nation in many areas, but when it comes to mobile telecomms it leaves the UK standing in the dust. Seriously, compare the stress & time & money involved in getting a handset unlocked and a number ported from one network to another in the UK, then do the same thing in's ludicrous how easy it is in Ireland and how unnecessarily complicated and time-consuming it is here...

  3. Piloti
    Thumb Up

    Well done that man......

    But, a question to 02 : Who owns the handset ?

    O2 or the purchaser ?

    The purchaser of course.

    O2 really are a bunch of malignant $!£"%"£^" !!!!!

    My advice to anyone is : never buy from a carrier.

    I have never bought a subsidised handset - ever.

    Which means that on my travels I can drop in any sim from any country and pay local rates for local calls. Always cheaper than roaming.

    1. irish donkey
      Thumb Up

      Who owns the handset ?

      Depends who you ask.

      Ask a normal Joe in the street you do.

      Ask a highly paid Sony lawyer and I'm sure you will get another answer completely.

      Can we have the discussion that unlocking your hardware kills babies again?

      1. paulf

        Re: Who owns the handset ?

        Check your airtime agreement.

        IIRC (and IANAL) this came up ~6 months ago when Orange wanted to change their call costs significantly leading to lots of subs summarily cancelling their contracts mid-term citing a major disadvantageous change in the contract.

        A clause in the Orange contract was cited which states that supply of the equipment (i.e. handset) is separate to this (airtime) agreement. IOW they thought they were being clever and saying that if the handset is faulty that doesn't affect the airtime contract which remains in force, but it bit them because people were able to cancel their contract for the reason above, and keep the subsidised handset which was already theirs.

        All this locking of handsets is bollocks anyway. I kinda makes some sense during the minimum contract term, but not after that regardless of any handset exclusive. I've raised with OfCrap several times that handsets should be automatically unlocked for free at the end of the fixed contract term under which they were obtained as to leave them locked after this time is uncompetitive.

        As one of the commentards above said - if users were getting the best smart phone experience on O2 they wouldn't want to unlock their handset in the first place.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear...

    It is fairly apparent that the OFT sees this as "Obstructions to consumer switching."

    It doesn't matter if you state that you do not unblock "exclusive" handsets, that seems to be unfair in the eyes the OFT and possibly contract law. It is also not specifically mentioned within the contract for that exact handset (as all o2 contracts tend to be generic). Also, since when did "exclusivity" have ANYTHING to do with a customer's obligations? Exclusivity is something the operator negotiates with the supplier to ensure they are the only people selling the product. That position didn't change and so O2 have little in the way of defence.

    Having had a lot of experience within O2, I can't say I am that surprised it was handled so badly. Some of the decisions made by marketing are a sight to behold. Getting the exclusive with Palm to try and corner the smartphone market was a silly decision but par for the course with that department.

    SORT IT OUT O2. Your aim of "a million more fans in 2011" or whatever jingoistic phrase you are choosing to use these days, is going to fall well short!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    And yet they do allow it in some cases...

    I bought a Dell Streak off ebay, which is another carrier exclusive, and by participating in a web chat with an O2 representative, had an agreement to unlock the phone within 5 mins and had it unlocked inside an hour....

    O2 really aren't very consistent.

  6. David Cantrell

    Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.

    They're lieing. They were happy to unlock iPhones when they were exclusive to O2, provided you were a contract customer.

  7. bsix

    Just Had O2 refuse to Unlock My Pre

    Just tried on the phone to their customer service to get them to unlock the phone with no luck. They are sticking to the line aboute Exclusives and are saying the physically cannot do it.

    Clearly that sounds suspect inlight of the fact the guy mentioned here was able to secure that result.

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