The Federal Communications Commission has Verizon granted permission to keep newly purchased phones locked on the network for 60 days. As a result, the leading US airline says it will do exactly that soon, claiming to prevent fraud and identity theft. "The phones will be unlocked automatically after the 60-day period," said Ronan Dunne, executive vice president at Verizon. "That means that fraudsters who order and steal phones, clearly without the intention of ever paying for them, will have a much harder time." Verizon is planning to implement the 60-day slot very soon.
If you wonder why Verizon needs this permission in the first place, it dates from the 2008 FCC auction of 700 MHz spectrum, with which Verizon saw the valued "C-block". The rules for that transaction required Verizon to use the phones sold for use on any carrier that can support devices. Since then Verizon has adhered to the policy and is therefore less restrictive than AT & T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Those other providers each lock new phones to their networks for a certain amount of time, until a device is fully paid, or both.
"We agree with Verizon that strict compliance with the unlocking requirements is not in the public interest because it facilitates and may even encourage fraud," wrote Donald Stockdale of yesterday in yesterday's application. "The damage associated with identity theft and related forms of telephone fraud is significant."
Verizon claims that 7,000 of his customers were affected by identity theft in 2018, an increase of 46 percent over 2017, and it says mobile phone fraud cost the company $ 190 million last year. That was a reason to ask the FCC to take this decision in February. Verizon's figures were sufficient to convince the FCC that a lock period of 60 days is acceptable, despite objections from T-Mobile. The competitor of Verizon said that the requested exemption would "remove" the unlocking rule. The FCC does not agree with this and explains its reasoning here:
This limited distance will not undermine the underlying policy objectives of the handset unlocking rule and will in fact serve the public interest better. The lock rule has been approved to allow consumers to migrate from one service provider to another on compatible networks. Allowing handsets to be locked for 60 days will not significantly affect this policy objective. Verizon indicates that only a & # 39; small part & # 39; of his customers transfer their number or switch provider within the first 60 days of the service and that those who switch providers usually return their mobile phone to Verizon within the 14-day return period. Accordingly, we agree with Verizon that a 60-day temporary lock will have no impact on a significant number of Verizon customers and that it will not have a material impact on their ability to switch providers.
By giving Verizon the thumb for its limited C-line distance, the FCC obliges Verizon phones to automatically unlock after 60 days – even for devices that still have payment schedules and even if a customer does not specifically request this. The only exception to this is fraud: if Verizon finds that a telephone has been fraudulently purchased, it can hold the device in place.
"We believe that the limited 60-day exemption we grant herein is a reasonable and balanced approach that will help Verizon fight device theft and fraud and only have a minor impact on consumers," Stockdale wrote. Verizon didn't get it everything however, it wanted to: the FCC denied its request to declare that the unlocking rule of the handset already allows a temporary closure policy such as this.