Consumer devices that require a service provider to function, like a mobile phone needs a mobile network, should not be locked into a particular provider to encourage competition between service providers and to maintain consumer choice. It may be necessary for a minimum contract period to run out, particularly for subsidised devices, but the consumer must be able to change networks after their contractual obligations have been met.
Most G20 countries have laws that prevent locking in consumers to using a particular service provider for a device.
United States: The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act allows mobile phones to be unlocked when a contract has been completed. Many other countries follow this model.
Japan: All devices sold by the three major mobile phone networks in Japan must be sold without a SIM lock when requested by the consumer, without a charge for this service.
Unsubsidised devices may cause retail prices to increase.
Lock in by stealth becomes more common.