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T- Mobile UK launches one of the industry’s safest 18+ filtering service

  • Content Lock to be applied by default to all T-Mobile customers

  • Safer than the Code of Practice requirements

London, Wednesday 2nd February, 2005: T-Mobile today announced the launch of Content Lock, one of the industry’s most advanced filtering mechanism to protect children from accessing illegal or 18+ content on mobile phones.

T-Mobile’s Content Lock will be switched on by default on all existing and new prepay and contract customer accounts. This means T-Mobile customers will be unable to access any commercial, internet and illegal content rated 18+ unless they can prove they are over 18.  T-Mobile’s Content Lock also includes still pictures, video materials, mobile games, gambling and chatrooms as for over 18s only. Customers trying to access a website or a service on the internet via their mobile phone and rated as adult content will see a message that it is blocked.

Commercial content for mobiles deemed unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 is independently rated by the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB) and Internet content rated 18+ is based on SurfControl categories.  Content Lock also applies to illegal internet content sourced from the Internet Watch Foundation database of illegal websites.

Content Lock can be de-activated free of charge, but only after it has been established that the customer is over the age of 18. This can be achieved by providing ID, credit card details or though an identity check.  

In general, use of adult content over mobile remains low, as it represents just 1% of all content consumed via mobile1.  However, research2 has shown that nearly four in 10 young people between the age of nine and 19 have a mobile phone that can connect to the Internet.  About a third who access the Internet reported receiving unwanted content or unkind comments through e-mails, chat, instant or text messaging.  Over 46% of those who go on the web once a week say they have given out personal information to someone they have only met on the Internet.

Lord McIntosh, Minister for Media and Heritage said: "Mobile phone technology has the potential to bring massive benefits to us all. But we need to make sure we address the risks should it will be used inappropriately. I am very pleased to say the UK mobile networks have led the way in addressing the issue of children viewing adult material, and this step by T-Mobile is very welcome."

Frans Lijnkamp, Public Policy Director of T-Mobile UK said: “We believe it is vital to provide parents with the tools to protect their children from illegal or 18+ content on mobile phones and the industry has taken the appropriate steps to do so.  Our Content Lock service, however, will provide one of the safest possible mobile environments for children as it also includes, by default, a wider range of content such as gambling, chatrooms and video materials.”

1 Ofcom, The Communications Market, 2004
Economic and Social Research Council, July 2004.

- ends -

For more information, please contact:

T- Mobile
Elaine Devereux: Tel: + 44 (0) 20 8762 5046
                         T-Mobile: + 44 (0) 7950 396 249

Laure Lagrange  Tel: +44 (0) 20 7282 8001
                        T-Mobile: +44 (0) 7768 698731

Notes to Editors:


  • The IMCB was set up in January 2004 as part of the Code of Practice on new Forms of Content, signed by all 6 UK mobile operators. It is designed to facilitate the responsible use of new mobile phones services whilst safeguarding children from unsuitable content on their mobile phones. Operators committed to complying to the Code of Practice by January 2005.

Industry Statistics:

  • Consumption of adult content over mobile phones in the UK is low.
  • Adult content represents just 1% of all content consumed via mobile.

Source – OfCom “The Communications Market 2004”

  • Gambling and lottery sites – also covered by the code of conduct – represent a further 5% of total usage.
  • Chat services typically fall under operator-specific services, and are believed to represent a further 1-2% of usage. 
  • Total use of content and services covered under the auspices of the Code is less than 10%.

To register for adult content and de-activate Content Lock:


Step 1

Step 2

Step 3



Dedicated IVR (dial 1818)

Customer registers its name, address and date of birth


Provides details of a credit card

Details sent to third party credit reference agency.


When credit card is produced, a £2 charge is made on the card, then immediately re-credited

Letter sent to customer’s address confirming Content Lock has been removed.

Content Lock is removed.

Point of Purchase

(incl. T-Mobile Stores, independent dealers, telesales and direct mail).


Customer shows a form of ID (credit card, driver’s licence or passport).

Salesperson checks ID documents. 

When credit card is produced, a £2 charge is made on the card, then immediately re-credited.

In addition, salesperson calls mobile number to ensure number corresponds to a mobile owned by the person making the request.

Content Lock removed.

Customer Service

Contract customers



Prepay customers can use the name and address verification system


The credit card system as above

Sales person verifies that they are over 18 as already did a credit check to become a contract customer



Confirms that customer is over 18 and agrees to Ts & Cs.  Content Lock removed

Letter sent to customer’s address confirming Content Lock has been removed.


Same as above

About T-Mobile International

T-Mobile International is one of the world’s leading companies in mobile communications. As one of Deutsche Telekom`s three strategic divisions, T-Mobile concentrates on the most dynamic markets in Europe and the United States. By Q3 of 2004, almost 109 million people were using the mobile communications services provided by companies in which T-Mobile or Deutsche Telekom have a majority or minority stake. And all that over a common technology platform based on GSM, the world’s most successful digital wireless standard. This also makes T-Mobile the only mobile communications provider with a seamless transatlantic service.

T-Mobile also is partner of FreeMove, an alliance formed by four of Europe’s leading mobile companies - Orange, Telefónica Móviles, TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) and T-Mobile – to help their customers communicate as easily while travelling abroad as they do at home.

For more information about T-Mobile International, please visit www.t-mobile.net

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