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O2 could impose out-of-contract iPhone lock-in

Whose handset is it, anyway?

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iPhone users might, or might not, be able to unlock when their contract expires, as O2 still hasn't decided if deserters should be able to take their toys with them.

Apple fans who rushed to O2's contracts to get their hands on an iPhone have been asking if they'll be able to take their precious status symbol with them if they change networks. However, not only are they being told conflicting stories, but it seems the network hasn't decided itself, yet.

Until now, the Telefonica-owned operator was refusing to unlock handsets, on the grounds that it had an exclusive contract with Apple. That exclusive is now over, and iPhone users will be welcomed by Orange and Vodafone if O2 will provide the unlock code (officially) needed to put a competitor's SIM into the iPhone.

In a statement, O2 told us: "we did not offer unlocking at the end of a customer’s iPhone contract as we had the exclusive contract for the iPhone in the UK. Obviously, that situation has changed... and we are currently working through what will happen."

So if you're one of the many clutching an iPhone but unhappy with O2's coverage or service, then you'll just have to shell out for a new one or hope that O2 will relent over time. Or you could take the unofficial unlocking route, and perhaps jailbreak your handset while you're there. ®

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