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Verizon iPhone 5 Comes Partially Unlocked

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 7:13am
Andrew Berg

Reports that Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 5 comes unlocked may have been at least partially overblown. 

Verizon’s version of the iPhone 5 is unlocked insofar as it will run on competing 3G GSM networks via a SIM card, according to spokeswoman Brenda Raney.  Competing GSM networks here in the United States would mean the phone could run on either AT&T or T-Mobile USA. 

Still, users who should decide to take the Verizon iPhone 5 to another carrier might be disappointed, as they won’t be able to take advantage of the new iPhone’s LTE connectivity. Raney cited a lack of roaming agreements as the reason the phone won’t work on other LTE networks. 

“Verizon Wireless plans to enable global LTE roaming in the future,” Raney said. “As there are many LTE frequencies currently being deployed around the world, the company will be surveying which markets line up best with available frequencies.”

AT&T’s iPhone 5 supports three of the five LTE bands that Verizon’s iPhone 5 supports. 

The news comes as a bit of surprise, as carriers have traditionally kept on-contract devices locked to their networks for at least the life of the device’s contract, however end users who sign a two-year contract with Verizon presumably have little reason to take their devices to another network.  

AT&T customers currently can request an unlock code from the carrier but only after the contract associated with their device has been completed. 

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