It's now free to unlock your mobile

The UK government have sanctioned a deal with UK mobile network providers to end unlocking fees for phone devices.

Once the initial contracted period with your network provider is over, whether that is 24 or 12 months on a pay-monthly contract, or immediately when on pay-as-you-go, you will be able to use any SIM card in your device, and your network can't charge you to unlock it.

This is the same arrangement as before, but now it won’t cost you anything for networks to unlock it. All you have to do is ring your provider and ask for the unlocking code.

As a country we've been spending £48,000,000 a year on unlocking our handsets, with most providers charging around £20 a pop.

There are a number of benefits to having an unlocked phone:

Firstly, it is cheaper. If you finish your contract, you can move over to another, cheaper network and keep the handset. Sim only deals can slash your monthly phone bill, and you can even go back to pay as you go if you're a light user.

You can get O2 Priority moments on any network.

Roaming charges are gone. When a locked phone travels abroad, if the user makes a call, the network provider will usually include an add-on fee, this can build up and up to a substantial amount that will be added onto the monthly bill. Instead of this, if your phone is unlocked, you can just buy a local sim card with whatever plan fits and that will be that.

Back in 2013, a 40 year-old woman racked up a £20,000 bill after being caught out by roaming charges after she used the internet in Turkey to post holiday pictures on Facebook. Check out our guide to avoiding roaming fees.

And finally, if you are planning on selling your old phone, according to eBay that compared to a locked phone, an unlocked phone will have a higher resale value and would also be easier to sell.

So if you have any old phones hanging about, gathering dust; get it unlocked and sell it on, there may be a few quid in it for you.