The only justification for locking a handset as far as I am concerned is if they are heavily discounted. As it is vodafone are about the most expensive place in New Zealand to buy a GSM phone so there would have to be some drastic pricing changes to justify it.
... and Vodafone sinks even lower in my estimation.
I suppose this was relatively inevitable, good thing I'll never be buying a phone from Vodafone again given the price differential between them and parallel imported handsets (which also have better firmwares in most instances).
pretty confident its gonna be put into place. No better time to do it considering the 3rd player is about to enter, Telecom going GSM end of yearish? Orcon are coming in and TelstraClear is back. Wonder what they will charge the customer to unlock. I think i'd be harsh to charge a prepay customer to unlock but their is no reasonable way to distinguish between one bought on-account or prepay anyways.
I don't mind if it is locked for subsidised or on-term contract devices. If the term finished, or terminated, the phone should then be unlocked with a fee (or the justified cost of terminating contract). Should the phone be bought no-term or in full price, then it should be unlocked as it poses no harm to Vodafone if the device is unlock when paid with full dollar. When moving to another operator, it is not like their customised contact be accessible (with the vodafone DRM and checking the network they're in).
In fact, if should the phone be used on another network, permanently, then there should be an option for ex-vodafone-device-users to have the customised configuration be removed for free. This should remove the Vodafone DRM or specific stuff.
I agree mostly with Chiefie. However my opinion is:
If you buy a phone in a contract, at a discount it would be considered reasonable to lock the phone for the duration of the contract. After the contract has expired or has been canceled (with associated termination fee), the handset should be unlocked at no charge.
Remember that you are not leasing or renting the phones, you are buying them. If you buy them at full price - no unlocking should be required because the device should already be unlocked!
I heard this through other channels that some blackberries were already SIM locked, but took it with a grain of salt.
However - lets see what Paul has to say, its early days and I think its premature to judge Vodafone without official confirmation of whats happening...
People are going to have the option of unlocked phone at a cheaper price or locked phone at higher price. I agree if it's "included" or discounted as part of a contract then they have every right to lock the handsets but as history has shown this far, most are years-old models that are sold to the customer at a glorious profit.
The sales will plummet at the official stores especially once a customer gets burnt once and the parallel importers will use the "Unlocked Mobiles!" to their marketing glee.