Ever since Verizon Wireless started selling 4G LTE devices, the biggest wireless carrier in the United States has been generous enough to sell those handsets unlocked. But times they are a-changin’.
CNET reports that beginning this spring, Verizon is going to start locking down its smartphones in a fashion similar to the other U.S. wireless carriers. The reason for the change, according to the carrier, is due to theft of smartphones.
Verizon says that the fact its smartphones are sold unlocked, they have become a primary target for thieves. The fact the handsets are able to go to other (supported) wireless networks without any extra steps from Verizon means that scammers can set up a wireless service with a fake name, then turn around and sell the devices and make a profit.
As noted in the original report, other carriers have already been locking their handsets from day one. Each offers the ability to unlock a handset at some point after service has been started, but each carrier also requires the the handset has been active on the network for a certain amount of days and that the device has been completely paid off.
AT&T requires a 60-day activation period and then tacks on another 14 days after the unlocking request has been sent over. T-Mobile has a 40-day waiting period, and Sprint has a 50-day waiting period. In each case, the device needs to be paid off.
Unfortunately, Verizon wasn’t keen on detailing when this specific change will be rolling out, nor was it able to say any specifics on just how long the waiting period will be or if customers will be required to pay off the device like the other carriers require.
This is a big change. What do you think?