Verizon is currently the only major carrier that doesn’t lock its iPhones and other smartphones upon purchase, but that is now set to change this spring.
Reported by CNET, Verizon shared today that it will begin locking phones it sells starting sometime this spring. The carrier curiously says this move is an attempt to reduce theft and fraud.
“We’re taking steps to combat this theft and reduce fraud,” Tami Erwin, executive vice president of wireless operations for Verizon, said in a statement. “These steps will make our phones exponentially less desirable to criminals.”
CNET notes that Verizon hasn’t mentioned how long it will be locking devices after purchase. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all lock smartphones for a period of 40-60 days after purchase. These carriers have other variances for their unlocking policies as well.
While this may help Verizon prevent attempted theft and fraud, it will likely create new frustration for customers who are interested in traveling abroad or needing to switch carriers within the locked period.
For now, the carrier hasn’t shared any further details about this rollout except that it will unlock devices whether or not they are paid off once the to-be-determined lock period is up.
While SIM-free unlocked iPhone models aren’t typically available immediately at launch, they are currently available for all iPhone models at this point.
For Apple’s part, the company offers a separate Activation Lock feature that prevents lost or stolen iPhones from being activated without supplying the original owner’s email and password used with the device.