Verizon has long been the best bet for those who want unlocked smartphones. Almost every major handset that Big Red sells is unlocked out of the box which lets customers change SIM cards and use other carriers if they want. However, the company is going to change this behavior in the spring when it starts locking smartphones to its network in a bid to combat theft.

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Verizon is going to enforce this new policy in steps. It will initially unlock the handsets once customers have finished the activation process so that it can prevent people from stealing smartphones from its stores.

The second step will take place by spring this year when Verizon will implement a waiting period. It will then lock new smartphones to its network for an unspecified time before allowing customers to unlock them. It hasn’t confirmed as yet how long customers will have to wait to unlock the devices and if they’ll have to manually submit a request to get their device unlocked.

Unlocked phones are particularly targeted by thieves because they can easily be resold or shipped out of the United States to other countries where can be used with different carriers. Verizon says that this new policy will help prevent the devices from being stolen when they’ve been shipped to its retail stores or from its stores themselves.

The carrier says that it’s going to provide more details about this new policy when it’s closer to implementing it.

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about Verizon.

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