From 1 May we are locking new handsets to our network. All new handsets sold will include information about handset locking and how to unlock handsets.
Locked handsets can be unlocked for a fee of $50. So if I buy a phone, without a contract, or my contract expires, and I move to, say, Aussie, I have pay for the privilege of using Vodafone & buying a Vodafone handset. I feel much better now.
This is being done to protect the customers’ experience of the Vodafone brand. Vodafone brands its mobiles with both the Vodafone and Vodafone Live! look and feel. If a customers takes a Vodafone mobile to another network, the customer won’t be able to access the Vodafone experience and services.
I wonder how many consumers are going to buy a Vodafone handset, then move to another network & then complain about not being able to access Vodafone Live. Not many, and I imagine that most of the complaints would go to the network they're on. So again, I call bovine fecal matter.
This sounds as hollow as region zoning on DVDs, and possibly equally as illegal. If I buy a handset from Vodafone, and then move to another network, and I'm unable to use my phone, wouldn't that make the phone unsuitable for the purpose it was purchased for? It's an externally applied restriction to protect market share, not to protect the consumer from moving to another network.
One bonus with parallel importing is that the phone won't be locked, it'll be cheaper, and, on top of that, probably faster. I imagine that Vodafone will start losing a lot of handset purchases once people start realising that they can't change networks without the hassle of getting the phone unlocked. As has been mentioned, I imagine Telecom & NZCom will just pay the unlocking charge, same as most ISP pay the churn charge for ADSL.