If you’re buying an iPhone from Verizon it won’t be unlocked anymore. The company says it is making the change to help combat theft.
Verizon told CNET it made the policy change because unlocked iPhones are a popular target thanks to their high resale value on the black market. Executive vice president of wireless operations Tami Erwin said,
We’re taking steps to combat this theft and reduce fraud. These steps will make our phones exponentially less desirable to criminals.
That doesn’t, however, mean you can’t get an unlocked iPhone from Verizon any more. As of now, the carrier will unlock your iPhone when it’s activated. Later this year, Verizon is changing to the same model AT&T uses where iPhones can be unlocked after a set about of time into your contract. Exactly how long that will be hasn’t been stated yet.
For many Verizon customers the change won’t matter because they don’t use their iPhone with different carriers. For those that do—like international travellers—the change is going to be pretty inconvenient.