FCC Says Verizon Can SIM Lock Phones Again

The FCC has granted Verizon a partial waiver to start SIM locking new handsets to its network for 60 days. “This news out of the FCC is the response to Verizon requesting back in February that it be allowed to lock devices to help deter fraud and theft,” reports Droid Life. From the report: Why did they need to ask the FCC about locking? As we have explained a couple of times now, Verizon agreed to specific usage terms when it licensed 700MHz C Block spectrum for its LTE network years ago. One of the individual terms concerned handset locking, where Verizon had to acknowledge that it would leave its phones open for use on other networks at all times. Unlike AT&T or T-Mobile phones, where you have to fulfill a number of criteria in order to get either to unlock a phone for use elsewhere, Verizon’s phones were to remain unlocked.

The FCC’s partial waiver permits Verizon to lock a customer’s handset for 60 days from the date someone activates it on Verizon’s network. Once the 60 days are up, this is what should happen: “After the expiration of the 60-day period, Verizon must automatically unlock the handsets at issue here regardless of whether: (1) the customer asks for the handset to be unlocked, or (2) the handset is fully paid off. Thus, at the end of the initial 60 days, the unlocking rule will operate just as it does now, and Verizon’s customers will be able to use their unlocked handsets on other technologically compatible networks.” The only exception is for fraud. “Verizon will not have to automatically unlock handsets that it determines within the 60-day period to have been purchased through fraud,” the FCC says. Verizon has since issued a statement thanking the FCC and confirming that this new 60-day lock policy will go live “very soon.”

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