Over the weekend, the news broke that the Verizon iPhone 5 would be GSM unlocked. Basically, while both the LTE and CDMA radios are locked to Verizon’s network, the GSM bands are unlocked and can be used on any supported frequencies. This was actually quite a surprising move, given Verizon’s tendencies to lock its devices in any way possible.
Now, thanks to the AP, some light has been shed on the subject. It isn’t the good will of Verizon’s heart, or even Apple paying money to keep the GSM bands unlocked: instead, it’s supposedly regulation.
NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon Wireless said Monday that it won’t prevent its version of the iPhone 5from being used on AT&T’s network.
The Verizon version of the iPhone 5, which went on sale Friday, came with an unexpected feature: it works on the network of AT&T and many other phone companies, as well as on Verizon’s.
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.
Verizon has also confirmed that this is no mistake, and they have no plans to re-lock the iPhone via a software update (likely because they don’t control the software in any way).
Again, pleasantly surprising for those who travel, and who just bought the iPhone 5 on Verizon. It’s also potentially a very noticeable feature: there aren’t many (actually, there aren’t any devices, that I know of) that are able to do this in the US officially.