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Verizon's LTE might be restricted to Big Red's devices only

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Verizon's LTE might be restricted to Big Red's devices only
LTE is in its nascence in the US, and Verizon's customers are still wrapping their heads around the fact that they have to use a Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card in their device to spread that 4G goodness around. There are no actual devices even, only USB dongles that allow you to access Verizon's LTE network, but this is certainly going to change pretty soon.

So what happens if you have an LTE SIM card from Verizon, and want to use it with an LTE device that supports the same frequencies, but is not in the carrier's portfolio? World's biggest SIM card maker Gemalto answers that they have embedded options to restrict access in their LTE cards, mainly for theft-prevention, and other security purposes.

The LTE card can report back to the carrier what device is currently the card in, unlike GSM SIM cards, where the lock is on the device's side. A bunch of LTE products will be hitting the market next year, so we will know pretty soon if the devices themselves will be locked to the respective carrier, but even if they are not, carriers can still apply their own restrictive policies through the LTE SIM card. Just another day in carrier's paradise, but we might be getting ahead of ourselves here. The fact that these possibilities exist doesn't mean that Verizon will use them, right? Right?

Gemalto also clarified that its LTE cards allow for backward identification of GSM, CDMA, and UMTS subscribers, so you won't need two cards when you switch from GSM to LTE usage. The company is also at the forefront of NFC payment services, and has developed an NFC-enabled SIM card with the necessary security software for mobile payments. It also offers flexible antennas that can be connected to these NFC SIM overlays, and wrapped around the phone's battery, which can turn most phones into mobile wallets.

The company's reprogrammable embedded SIM card solution was to be used by Apple in the next iPhone, but the European carriers said this move will turn them into zombies, and threatened to cut subsidies for Apple's products, if the company moves ahead with these plans.

source: PCMag

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posted on 22 Dec 2010, 10:59

1. WillieFDiaz (Posts: 66; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Wow... You clearly dont know how SIM cards work then...

SIM cards NATIVELY can be locked to DEVICE, NETWORK or COUNTRY. In this case, the LTE card would be locked to DEVICE and NETWORK.

If you want a new device, you get a new card. That new device will likely have to be authorized via IMEI and if the IMEI doesnt match up before the card is issued, then said card isnt issued. Since the card is good ONLY for the IMEI, once the card is issued, if the subscriber decided to use it in a non-Verizon device, the SIM remains locked.

They do this on GSM - so its no different on LTE. Nice try though.

posted on 22 Dec 2010, 11:47

2. Libertasian (unregistered)


^^ what he said.
Also wasn't it already reported that Verizon's LTE devices would be locked down harder than Fort Knox?

posted on 22 Dec 2010, 11:57

3. calamazoo (unregistered)


nah, not really, I've used my GSM SIM card in probably four or five devices already, some of them I've bought from abroad and unlocked, some from other GSM carriers that were unlocked, and some have belonged to my carrier, and were locked.

My GSM card is not locked to any specific device, I mean, but the devices were locked to their networks before unlocking them. Whereas with LTE it seems that the Verizon can recognize when I put it in, say, unlocked AT&T LTE phone (if that's how it will work), and refuse to service me based on the fact that it's not their phone... i'm sure that if there's a SIM card, there will be a way (official or not) to make it work in any device of your choosing. we'll say how they play it out

posted on 22 Dec 2010, 12:58 1

4. kcombs (Posts: 254; Member since: 15 Dec 2010)


they have to do this. if they do not the phone will not work, because Verizon is CDMA and they are using a GSM based LTE for the 4G network. if the phone (for example) is a LTE based AT&T(or any LTE phone) phone and you use a Verizon SIM card in it it cannot covert GSM to work with the phone. the phones that Verizon are going to be using are CDMA based but with the SIM will receive the LTE network, the SIM cards are going to only receive a GSM band so the phone will work while not connected to a LTE tower. so to make it easy, if you get a unlocked LTE phone it will only work while on LTE, since it will cost too much and no wireless carrier has data on every tower you will only be able to use a unlocked phone on LTE, so most of the time the phone would not work.

posted on 16 Jan 2011, 23:16

5. silverfang77 (Posts: 7; Member since: 21 Nov 2010)


What do you mean? LTE phones won't be GSM or CDMA based. Those old technologies are yesterday's news. Even if a way hasn't bee found yet, some hacker will find a way to unlock LTE phones and use other carriers' SIM cards in them, just as you can with GSM phones now.

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