Back in February, Verizon asked the FCC to allow it to SIM lock for 60 days all new phones that it sells
. At the time, the nation's largest carrier said that it requested this to protect its customers from fraud and identity theft. Because the company is the only one of the four major wireless operators in the states to unlock handsets as soon as they are sold, Verizon says it was concerned that criminals were focusing on taking advantage of its subscribers.
Verizon made the request to the FCC because criminals were stealing customers' identities and ordering phones that they had no intention to pay for. Once the bad guys received these handsets, they could use SIM cards to connect to a compatible wireless provider. And today, the FCC announced
that it is giving Verizon the approval to lock down its phones for a period of 60 days so that it can conduct a fraud safety check on each handset it sells. After 60 days, a phone will unlock automatically. Verizon executive vice-president Ronan Dunne said today in a statement
that the new policy will go into effect soon. Dunne says that the new policy will have little impact on legitimate Verizon subscribers.
"Verizon plans to implement a short, 60 day fraud safety check period, which will go into effect very soon. After the 60 day period, the phones will unlock automatically. That means fraudsters who order and steal phones — clearly with no intention of ever paying for them will have a much harder time.
Even with these safeguards in place, Verizon will still have the most consumer-friendly unlocking policy in the industry and we see very little impact on our legitimate customers’ ability to use their devices."-Ronan Dunne, EVP, Verizon
Repeating the comment that it made back in February at the time it made the original request to the FCC, Verizon says that it still has "the most consumer-friendly unlocking policy in the industry."
Verizon was forced to unlock its phones immediately after their sale because of an FCC auction it won back in 2008. The carrier picked up 700MHz spectrum in the C Block for $4.74 billion. Under the FCC's rules covering the auction, the winners of the C Block spectrum could not "deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee's C Block network." Even though Verizon submitted court documents trying to prevent the FCC from forcing it to follow the open-platform rules, Google was able to get the carrier to agree to abide by them.