Tech Talk: Battle of the Budget Smartphones
Three has become the first mobile service provider in the UK, to offer completely unlocked smartphones for its customers.

UK wireless service provider Three has announced that it has officially begun offering completely unlocked smartphones to its new customers.

With its latest announcement, Three is now the first UK network wireless provider to offer unlocked smartphones.

With Three offering unlocked smartphones by default (albeit for only new customers), phone unlocking businesses across the country are bound to get affected lightly, if not intensely.

"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", stated Mr Danny Dixon, Director of Consumer Strategy at Three.

Network locked smartphones imply that a smartphone is currently hooked (locked) to a particular service provider's network right from the time of sale. To use it on different networks, users are required to get the phone network unlocked.

Now, with Three legally selling network unlocked smartphones, users are certain to save both time and money (approximately £20 to unlock externally) spent in getting their smartphones unlocked.

Three's latest announcement comes just days after a bill making smartphone unlocking legal, was signed by US President Barack Obama.

Along with selling unlocked smartphones for new customers, Three is also offering an incentive to its existing customers wanting to get their phones unlocked. As per this incentive, the wireless service provider will network unlock smartphones for existing customers, free of charge. Other major wireless service providers in the UK like Orange and T-Mobile do not offer unlocking services for a certain amount of time after customers purchase smartphones from these providers.

EE charges its customers nearly £21 for network unlocking, and offers the service after six months of handset activation. More details with respect to the unlocking charges (by different UK wireless service providers) are available on the official UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) website.

Recently, Three announced a new partnership with Virgin Mobile, to offer free Wi-Fi on the London Underground transit system.