One of the perks of having a SIM unlocked smartphone is that you get to use it with any carrier anywhere in the world (assuming compatible radios). Carriers do give customers the option to unlock the SIMs on their phone if they meet certain requirements, but it seems that Verizon customers might have to wait longer than usual.
This is because the FCC has basically given the carrier permission to lock phones to its network for 60 days from the time it was activated. The carrier had argued that due to the rise in smartphone theft and fraud, they wanted to implement SIM locking as a means to deter thieves and fraudsters. The good news is that once the 60-day limit is up, these phones will be automatically unlocked. In a statement issued by the carrier:
“Verizon plans to implement a short, 60 day fraud safety check period, which will go into effect very soon. After the 60 day period the phones will unlock automatically. That means, fraudsters who order and steal phones — clearly with no intention of ever paying for them will have a much harder time.”
For those who are wondering why Verizon needed to seek FCC permission, it is because back when the carrier wanted to license the 700MHz C Block spectrum for its LTE network, part of the deal with the FCC was that they had to leave all of its phones unlocked for use on other networks.
This new SIM lock policy will surely end up inconveniencing some customers, but unfortunately, there’s really not much else you can do about it, save for seeking out an alternative carrier.