Telcos ordered to unlock phones for free after contract ends


MANILA, Philippines –A memorandum dated May 31 and released last Wednesday, June 5th by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered all telcos to unlock devices free of charge, once the lock-in period ends.

Smartphones and other gadgets bought from telecommunications companies can soon be unlocked with no additional charges, giving customers more flexibility.

Said 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 back in 2018.

Mobile and telephone companies like Smart and Globe must also inform subscribers when their device is qualified 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, however this would be subject to an early termination fee.

In the meantime, prepaid subscribers can ask for the unlocking for free.

Telco customers 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.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law in the previous February allowing users to keep their numbers even when they switch service providers.

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