Verizon Wireless Takes Baby Steps to Accepting Unlocked Phones

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, November 30, 2007 at 03:10 AM with 0 comments

Regular readers of The Hot Iron know well my gripe with mobile phones locked to particular service providers, and them not allowing unlocked phones on their network. The one exception in the US has been T-Mobile, whom I have used for over a year after switching from Verizon Wireless. Though there were other issues I had with Verizon prompting me to leave them, it looks like one of them may be starting to go away.

This week Verizon Wireless announced at some point in 2008 they would start allowing unlocked phones on their network. However, only certain phones would be allowed “only if the devices have passed tests, which their manufacturers will pay for, in a Verizon lab” – a direct quote from another article on MSNBC.com.

Currently Verizon Wireless and all other mobile providers, including T-Mobile, sell phones that work only on their network. These phones generally come with a lower price than buying them direct from the manufacturer as the providers will subsidize their cost, not to mention control the software on the phones. Where your phone number is portable from one provider to another, your physical phone is not. With T-Mobile, you can buy a phone from just about anyone, and then you place the SIM chip they provide you in the phone and voila – it works. Hmmm, I never heard anything about a T-Mobile lab.

My gut tells me the Verizon Wireless spokesperson and all their executives were clenching their teeth when they made this announcement. This will force them, and all other providers who open their eyes to this, to provide quality service to their customers and not just rely on locking them into service with contracts or hardware. I hope this change for them is one step forward, and not accompanied with 2 steps back.

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