The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and telcos like Smart or Globe to unlock phones and other devices that are past their contract or lock-in period.
DICT’s Memorandum Order 004, Series of 2008, issued December 14th of this year, details that postpaid subscribers have no obligation to stick with the telco post-contract and thus must have the option to unlock their phone or device. The M.O. reads:
Section 2. Mandatory Unlocking. PTEs and/or wireless service providers who offer their subscribers mobile phones and devices, free-of-charge or at subsidized cost, in exchange for an agreed fixed lock-in period should provide their subscribers convenient sites, facilities and processes to unlock the mobile phone or devices of subscribers who wish to change between compatible wireless service providers provided said subscribers have completed such lock-in periods and have no outstanding obligations on their subscription contracts;
No implementation date has been disclosed, but it’s safe to assume that the change will roll out soon having been announced to the public.
Our take: it’s about time. Technically, you paid for the phone that comes with your postpaid plan. You should be able to do with it whatever you please, including switching telcos.