Verizon to lock its handsets for protection from thieves

Verizon to lock its handsets for protection from thieves
The nation's largest carrier, Verizon, has been selling unlocked handsets to its customers. This allows them to switch carriers, and replace one SIM card for another. But starting this Spring, Big Red will be making a big change. Today, Verizon announced that it will soon start locking handsets that it sells to its subscribers, preventing them from changing carriers with a simple SIM switcheroo.

Verizon says that it will make an announcement before putting the new policy in place. The carrier states that it is taking this action to stop criminals from stealing smartphones while they are in transit to Verizon's retail stores, or already inside a Verizon location. A handset that is unlocked is easier for a thief to re-sell, especially since switching carriers is only a SIM card switch away.

Once this is in place, a new phone will remain locked to the Verizon network from the moment it is activated, until a software update unlocks the device. The carrier did not say how long a just-purchased handset will remain locked to its network, but it will prevent criminals from using a stolen identity to buy a new phone and then selling it.

With this move, Verizon will join the rest of the industry. It has been selling unlocked phones ever since it started offering handsets that support its 4G LTE pipeline. A deal made with the FCC forced the wireless operator to sell unlocked smartphones; in exchange, Verizon received approval to purchase a block of 700MHz spectrum for its LTE service.


Currently, the other three major stateside carriers will unlock a handset once it is paid for, and a number of days have elapsed since the device was purchased. On T-Mobile, the wait is 40-days. You must wait 50-days to unlock your phone on Sprint, and twiddle your thumbs for 60-days on AT&T.  Unlike the competition, Big Red will not wait for a handset to be paid off before unlocking it.

source: CNET

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22 Comments

1. cncrim

Posts: 1590; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

I dont blame you V, but just hope the unlock process will be smooth like ATT. Sprint and Tmobile is a bitch when come to unlock, even the phone is paid for. They keep asking for original owner to call in, what is the point for original owner call in when a simple IMEI check show the phone is paid?

14. gravityron

Posts: 46; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

lol ...

2. jjface

Posts: 257; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

Locking should be banned

9. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 970; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Why? Clearly there's good reason for VZW to stop selling them factory unlocked.

13. jjface

Posts: 257; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

If they just unlocked paid off phones automatically the day they are paid off then it would not be a problem but the fact is carriers make it hard to unlock even when you have paid off the phone. Have to wait 40 -60 days - utter BS. Bought it off ebay and though it is paid off and whitelisted you are still so out of luck. You have no verizon account so screw you. No unlocks via chat must spend 2 hours on the phone etc etc. Verizon does sound better than the other 3 at least so we'll see.

3. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3166; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I don't like it, but I agree with the principle of locking until it's paid off. Until your car is paid off you can't get the title so it's not unprecedented for a company to protect itself. Those of you protesting a carrier dragging its legs to unlock a phone have never had to chase a bank to release the lien on a vehicle title.

22. civicsr2cool

Posts: 277; Member since: Oct 19, 2016

"Until your car is paid off you can't get the title " Maybe in your crappy state but thats not true everywhere

4. Jrod99

Posts: 778; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Hey Verizon. Go bleep yourself. Never again.

5. eraw890

Posts: 6; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

im telling

7. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

How about Verizon track their shipments better and stop getting ripped off for starters. And I thought IMEI can be blocked from activation, which should deter theft as well? So even though their phones were Unlocked before they were still, essentially locked phones. The CDMA radio Verizon phones require, prevents many of their phones to be used on other carriers as well.

8. cncrim

Posts: 1590; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Are you aware Verizon iphone and Pixel is universal phone right?

10. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 970; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Track their shipments better? How? Hand-hold the box all the way to the store? No, it's FedEx and UPS employees cutting open boxes and taking iPhones. Ask me how I know.

15. andynaija

Posts: 1264; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

How do you know?

11. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Verizon phone modems have both CDMA and GSM. Snapdragon phones have pretty much all US bands.

12. Derekjeter

Posts: 1556; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Every one who talks s**t about Verizon, I guarantee you, they left huge bills with Verizon and they stole the phones and left to another carrier.

16. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Bull. I'm with Verizon, pay my bill every month. They're a crappy company.

17. releasedate

Posts: 8; Member since: Feb 19, 2016

The FCC required them to sell unlocked GSM phones. How does Verizon just decide they arent going to do that anymore?

21. ShadowHammer

Posts: 209; Member since: Mar 13, 2015

I was wondering the same thing. It was just mentioned in passing in the article, then no explanation. Maybe once they got the spectrum they wanted, the restriction went into sunset?

23. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

This is the Trump FCC. Verizon will be allowed to do whatever they want.

18. releasedate

Posts: 8; Member since: Feb 19, 2016

unlocked 4g lte phones i mean

19. Foxgabanna unregistered

I feel like they are just doing this because people can buy their phones there and just hop ship at any given time assuming Verizon pisses someone off. Thus losing money on churn while giving people a phone to go f**k themselves with. It’s kind of smart actually.

20. ibap

Posts: 871; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

There is no reason for any delay when the phone is paid for and the owner requests an unlock. We should cry BS on this issue at every opportunity. It shouldn't matter how you got it, or how old it is. If you've committed to a contract, and they've got your credit card number, that is an entirely separate issue.

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