Verizon iPhone 5’s GSM SIM Slot To Stay Unlocked

A few days ago, we learnt that the Verizon iPhone 5 is being sold with GSM SIM slot unlocked to customers, and will play well with GSM networks.

Today, a Verizon spokesperson, speaking to the Associated Press, confirmed that the Verizon iPhone 5‘s SIM slot will remain unlocked and doesn’t plan to lock it with a software update.

From AP’s report:

It’s the first time Verizon, the country’s largest cellphone company, has sold a phone that works on competing U.S. networks with no complicated hacking, or “unlocking,” procedures.

Last year, the first shipments of the Sprint iPhone 4S were unlocked and worked on AT&T, but Sprint later issued software updates that turned off that capability.

Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said Monday that Verizon does not plan to relock the iPhone 5.

Since AT&T’s LTE bands aren’t supported by the LTE chip included in the Verizon iPhone 5, only voice and 3G data would work on AT&T’s network. LTE would however work with certain other carriers which have LTE bands that are supported by the Verizon iPhone 5. For details head over to this post describing the three variants of the iPhone 5.

But unlocked GSM SIM slot is good news for Verizon customers who travel abroad frequently, as they can put a nano-SIM card from an international GSM carrier to avoid the exorbitant international roaming charges.

MacRumors attributes Verizon’s decision to an FCC requirement for using the 700MHz spectrum:

(e) Handset locking prohibited. No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers, to the extent such features are compliant with the licensee’s standards pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, nor configure handsets it provides to prohibit use of such handsets on other providers’ networks.

Sprint meanwhile continues its policy of unlocking iPhones only in response to subscriber requests, who want to use the device on international networks. AT&T only unlocks iPhones after the contract period is over.