Free unlocking extends to other equipment

Free unlocking extends to other equipment

After all, the decree-law that facilitates the release of mobile phones from the operators’ network was changed to include other devices, namely internet access cards, landlines and set-top boxes. The proposal will have come from Anacom, being accepted by the executive, writes Jornal de Notícias today.

The whereabouts of the decree-law have been unknown since March and although the TeK has questioned the guardianship ministry several times, it has never received a response on the date of entry into force of the measure that will bring more flexibility to mobile phone users.

The first version of the decree-law approved by the Government in March provided that cell phones could be unlocked more easily and quickly, and the process was free after the loyalty period. The mechanics of the process remain, but the scope is broadened.

According to the newspaper, the new version of the decree-law has already been promulgated by the President of the Republic and is awaiting publication in Diário da República.

Operators will now be required to unlock telecommunications devices free of charge after the end of the loyalty period, allowing their use within other networks. The process cannot take more than five days.

Customers will also be able to unlock the terminals during the loyalty period, but paying a fee that will vary according to the lifetime of the equipment.

According to the accounts presented by JN, in the first six months after the acquisition of the terminal, the operator can only charge the original price of the device, without discounts, deducting what has already been deducted in the monthly fees.

After the first 6 months the value drops to 80%, dropping to 50% of the original value after one year.

Loyalty schemes are used in various telecommunications services, relieving customers of the initial payment for the device and diluting the cost over a monthly fee plan that normally extends to 24 months.

Blocking the network is a strategy used to guarantee user fidelity and, although it could be done directly at the operator, the cost was usually high.

Other resources to «free» the equipment could be used, with «pirated» unlocks, but the user risked losing the warranty of the device.