Verizon currently sells new smartphones unlocked, which is a great feature for things like traveling to a different country and using a network there. Now, though, Verizon wants to change its policy of selling phones unlocked out of the box.
In a blog post shared today, Verizon Wireless EVP Ronan Dunne says that Verizon wants to keep new phones locked to its network for 60 days after they're sold. After this period, the phones would unlock automatically. "We believe this temporary lock on new phones will protect our customers by limited the incentive on identity theft," Dunne says. "At the same time, a temporary lock will have virtually no impact on our legitimate customers’ ability to use their devices. Almost none of our customers switch to another carrier within the first 60 days."
Verizon has asked the FCC to "confirm that the 'C-block rules' put in place in 2007" allow them to keep phones locked for 60 days after their sold. Verizon agreed to sell their phones unlocked when they purchased spectrum in 2007 for their 4G LTE network.
This news is a bit of a disappointment, as having your phone unlocked out of the box is pretty handy for things like taking it to another country and using a local carrier. That said, this 60-day unlock policy would bring Verizon more in line with its competition: AT&T requires devices be active for 60 days before unlocking, Sprint requires 50 days, and T-Mobile requires 40 days.
It remains to be seen if the FCC will allow Verizon to begin locking its phones for 60 days after sale, but it's certainly possible that the policy change could happen soon. We'll let you know if it does.