Lets just file this one under NOTHING MATTERS ANYMORE. This week, Verizon casually announced its decided to start SIM-locking its phones because “security,” despite the fact the carrier expressly agreed not to do it a decade ago. Why? Because who’s going to do anything about it? Verizon’s former lawyer Ajit Pai and the FCC? Fat chance.
When Verizon won its 700MHz Upper Block C spectrum auction in 2008, the restriction language specifically prohibited Verizon from SIM-locking handsets. Here’s the language, per Android Police:
Handset locking prohibited. No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers, to the extent such features are compliant with the licensee’s standards pursuant to paragraph (b)of this section, nor configure handsets it provides to prohibit use of such handsets on other providers’ networks.
Verizon said later this spring it will lock down phones for an unspecified period of time after sale to deter criminals from stealing the handsets and reselling them on the black market.
“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.”
Verizon Wireless is gonna SIM lock new phones in the spring? That's ok, I'll just take my unlocked Google Pixel and take it to another carrier's network at my nearest convenience!
— Nowak, mechanical keyboard king *clickclick* 🦊❄️ (@NowakVulpix) February 14, 2018
Verizon adds its still in FCC compliance under the new policy.
“This change does not impact the spirit of that agreement as it is designed to deter theft by those who engage in identity theft or other fraud,” a spokeswoman for Verizon told CNET. “It is not inconsistent with our obligations under the C Block.”
Really? So has the carrier cleared this with the FCC? They declined to say.
Verizon says it will provide more details to the new policy as the roll out approaches.