It was finally announced officially that O2 allow iPhone unlocking once a user’s contract has expired. This was reported in UK’s The Times newspaper. The users will however, have to to honour any outstanding contract period they have. At the end of the contract period the users are free to move to another operator. Though O2 will not like that.
It gives a great freedom to the users to choose the any network provider while keeping the same phone. Here are some relevant exceprts from the Time UK interview with Matthew Key, head of O2, .
Q. Is there any truth in the rumour that after Orange and Vodafone are able to sell the iPhone you will not allow people to unlock their iPhone, even if they are out of their contract period?
A. There is absolutely no truth in that rumour. Once the iPhone becomes available on other UK networks, we will allow O2 customers to unlock their iPhones, although of course they will still need to honour any outstanding contract period they have. At the end of their contract period, they are entirely free to move to another operator — though naturally we hope they won’t want to!