Three announces that it will now unlock smartphones for free

Three has announced a new policy of unlocking phones from its network for free.

Every new phone from Three will come unlocked, and the good news is that even those who are existing customers and signed up for a locked phone can unlock their device. If you want to unlock, simply head to this page and fill out the details.

Three notes that Ofcom is launching a campaign against the unfairness of having a handset locked to a specific network, and having to pay £15 or so to free it from those operator shackles so you can shift elsewhere. (Or indeed, having to pay up when you're given a phone as, say, a hand-me-down, and don't want to go with the network it's locked into).

Danny Dixon, Director of Customer Strategy at Three, commented: "We want our customers to have the best mobile experience. Unlocked phones give consumers a choice as to how to use what is on their handset. We'd rather focus on making the services we offer attractive and useful rather than limiting what our customers can do with their phones."

Most of the major networks don't do unlocking for nothing, of course, although O2 does have an online form whereby you can request a free unlock – although the operator does state that "this policy may vary depending on your handset", so it's not a guaranteed affair.

Three also recently started offering new SIM-only plans with free 0800 calls.