Verizon is going to stop selling unlocked iPhones, CNET reports. The carrier tells the outlet that it plans to begin locking the phones it sells to customers, for an undetermined period of time, beginning in the spring.
The move is being described as a theft-deterrent. Verizon says that unlocked devices—particularly iPhones—are often targeted by thieves during their transportation to stores, or at the stores themselves. “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.”
As bad as it sounds, the majority of consumers will likely see little impact from this. Other major carriers, including AT&T, already have similar lock-in procedures in place. You’ll just have to contact Verizon to unlock your phone if you happen to travel outside of the country—where local providers often offer far better rates—or you wish to move your device to another carrier.
Verizon will be providing an update soon with the locked-in time period (I believe it’s 60 days for AT&T) and other details regarding the new policy.