Verizon was Supposed to Start SIM Locking Phones by Now (Updated)


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Verizon shared plans back in February for a future change that involved SIM locking of their phones. The news made headlines because for one, Verizon doesn’t lock their phones and hasn’t for years (unlike other carriers), but it also was a significant change because they aren’t allowed to lock them. I’m not kidding with that. FCC rules they agreed to as part of their purchase of Block C spectrum prohibited handset locking.

We were told at the time of that reveal that we’d get a clearer outline of their planned changes once they rolled them out in the spring. If you’ve looked at a calendar recently, then you know that summer is almost over and fall is upon us. We are well past any sort of spring rollout of a policy change. We have no idea what Verizon is doing with the SIM locking policy they first shared back in February.

We’ve reached out to Verizon for an update on multiple occasions and have not received a response. You can take that a couple of ways, but it should at least mean that they haven’t actually SIM locked phones as they suggested they would start doing. Their public device unlocking policy hasn’t changed at all since February. You can read it here.

It still states the following:

  • We do not lock most phones or tablets that are activated with our postpay service either during or after the term of your service contract or Device Payment Plan installment sales agreement.
  • We do not lock our 4G LTE devices, and no code is needed to program them for use with another carrier.

As far as we can tell, these rules are still true. We haven’t received any reports of people having trouble using a Verizon phone on another network or while traveling internationally. I also just tested the Verizon Moto Z3 by inserting a T-Mobile SIM. I was given a warning that I wouldn’t be allowed to make calls, but could still use the data connection. That wasn’t actually incorrect, as I made calls and used data, just not at the same time.

So that’s good. But customers should still be given an update on the situation. Earlier this year, Verizon made it sound as if a short-term change would lock phones in boxes before immediately unlocking them upon activation. They claimed this was a theft deterrent and maybe it was. However, they implied that a stricter, non-automatic lock would arrive that could force customers to jump through extra hoops in order to take their phone off of Verizon’s airwaves.

Since Verizon won’t clarify their plans, we figured we would at least provide you with this update on the situation in case you were curious. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments if you’ve run into SIM locking issues with Verizon phones in recent months. We’ll also update this post should we hear back.



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