Verizon, the leading telecommunications network out there in the US, has just been reported to alter its generous unlocked phone policy around Spring, this year. It is expected that phones sold by Verizon would be locked for a limited unknown period of time before they can be used for other networks.
The change was inevitable, since people had started to misuse the policy to their own benefit. Before this and for a brief period from now on, the phones sold by Verizon could be used on another network as well. This is unusual for a network to sell totally unlocked iPhones from the beginning but Verizon took the bold brave initiative.
Now, since there were reports of phone stealing which were on their way to the retail stores or those which were stolen from the stores themselves. The reason why unlocked phones are at a high risk of being stolen is that they can be used overseas even if blacklisted, or could be resold in the black market. The purpose behind this could also be to curtail iPhone thefts which are prime target for thieves since they have much resale value.
According to Tami Erwin, who is the executive vice president of wireless operations for Verizon, “We’re taking steps to combat this theft and reduce fraud” He further added that “These steps will make our phones exponentially less desirable to criminals.”
With the new policy going to be implemented by around Spring, it could be a cause for some difficulty for those who plan on going abroad with their newly bought Verizon phones.
This is because with unlocked phones, one can simple buy a local SIM card with rather inexpensive rates compared to the hefty charges on roaming. Now, if you want to go overseas with your phone you will have to try your luck with Verizon to unlock your phone to be used internationally for a while.
FCC requires that US wireless carriers shouldn’t prohibit customers from using other networks by handset configuration of any sort. Therefore, as per Avi Greengart who happens to be an analyst at Global Data responded that there might be a violation of the rules by Verizon in a way. Though, Verizon’s stand on this is different.
Verizon spokesman remarked that “This change does not impact the spirit of that agreement as it is designed to deter theft by those who engage in identity theft or other fraud,” He further stated, lIt is not inconsistent with our obligations under the C Block.”
There might be another reason for Verizon to do so. It is known that there is already fierce competition amongst the telecommunication companies in the US. Therefore, switching carriers from Verizon to another network wouldn’t be easy.
As of now, it isn’t known for how long the policy shall be in effect. Let’s hope it would be for a short while.