Verizon, the largest carrier in the United States, will no longer sell unlocked smartphones starting sometime this spring. The news was first reported by CNET.
The big change in policy will be made to combat theft. Previously, all Verizon smartphones could immediately be used with other carriers. Here’s more from the report:
Verizon said it is doing this to deter criminals from stealing phones, often on route to retail stores or from the stores themselves. Unlocked phones make attractive targets because they can be resold on the black market or used overseas with different carriers. That’s particularly the case for iPhones, which are a top target for thieves because of their high resale value.
“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.”
Once the new policy goes into place, all smartphones sold by Verizon will be locked for a certain amount of time.
The three other major carriers in the United States – T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint – also sell locked smartphones with different policies on when and how they will unlock them for consumers.