Vodafone had never locked their handsets in New Zealand, but I guess the idea of having competition from NZ Communications and Telecom New Zealand coming later this year is something that frighten them.
I agree that SIM locking handsets could be a smart move, if the operator provided the phones with significant discounts. There's no confirmation that Vodafone NZ will discount locked handsets.
Operator in Europe offer handsets at very low price when locked. Or even free.
As it happens, currently being the only GSM operator in the country, sell their handsets at very nice prices (for them), with no subsidy at all, regardless of contracts being signed or not.
In other countries SIM lock is used a lot - even though in the U.S. it is legal for users to unlock the handsets at any moment.
In general we expect an unlock code to be issued at the end of a contract, or if the customer pays a fee.
There's a discussion going on Geekzone now about this,
We have no idea if Telecom NZ or NZ Communications will SIM lock their handsets. But we are still months away of seeing their networks commercially available - Telecom NZ is said to launch their GSM network in November 2008, meaning Vodafone NZ has started locking their customers six months ahead of the competition.
The good old days of "no contracts, no locked phones" are gone from this country.
UPDATE: This is now confirmed.
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