Verizon to start locking phones to prevent robberies

Unlike most carriers, Verizon has always sold their phones unlocked from the get-go. No waiting period, no calling the carrier to get it unlocked, just buy the phone and use it on whatever carriers the phone is physically compatible with. Well that all changes with the announcement that Verizon will start locking phones out of the gate.

Phone Theft. Fast and Furious style.

Verizon is stating this is necessary to help reduce theft of phones from stores and delivery trucks. Just last November thieves stole over 300 iPhone X’s off a delivery truck. That’s upwards of $300,000 in product stolen at once. Verizon was a prime target for theft due to being the only carrier to not lock their phones so this is an attempt to limit that.

The change will happen in a couple steps. Initially, Verizon will have all of their phones locked and unlock them automatically at the time of activation. Then sometime this spring Verizon will implement a waiting period before allowing customers to unlock phones. We don’t know how long the waiting period will be or what the process to do the unlock will look like.

This change has sparked a lot of criticism as many people see it as a move by Verizon to lock potential phone purchasers on their network. If Verizon was having all phones locked and then unlocking them upon being sold much of this criticism could be easily avoided. It is the activation and waiting period requirements that make this problematic.

Verizon will undoubtedly take a hit on phone sales. It will be interesting to see if that hit is less than the cost of the phone theft problem.

Once more info is available we will be sure to post an update.


Source: The Verge via CNET


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