Future LG smartphones to gain unlocked FM radio access

The move comes from a partnership with NextRadio, a popular FM radio app for smartphones.

The next LG smartphone you buy will have an added feature that many are sure to find appealing: FM radio access.

Through a partnership with NextRadio, LG has committed to unlocking the FM radio chip in every smartphone it sells going forward. Previously, the carriers dictated to LG whether the FM chip was made available to users.

With the NextRadio deal, LG will no longer give carriers the option, and it will instead unlock the chip at the factory. According to the announcement, LG will also preload the NextRadio app on select devices, dependent upon carrier approval.

Why is FM radio access such a big deal? It's free, easier on your phone's battery, and doesn't take a toll on your data plan. And during emergencies, where cellular networks are often congested, access to an FM radio feed could be vital to receiving timely information.

The timing of the announcements comes just weeks before LG is expected to announce its next smartphone, the LG V30.

For those who currently own an LG device, you may already have access to FM radio. Below is a list of devices and carriers with the FM chip unlocked provided to ZDNet by LG:

  • G Fortune - Cricket
  • LG G Flex - Sprint
  • LG G Flex 2 - Boost Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile
  • LG G Stylo™ - Boost Mobile, Sprint, Virgin Mobile
  • LG G2 -Boost Mobile, Sprint
  • LG G3 - Boost Mobile, Sprint
  • LG G3 Vigor - Sprint
  • LG G4 - Sprint
  • LG G5 - Sprint
  • LG G6 - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless
  • LG Harmony - Cricket
  • LG Realm - Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile
  • LG Risio - Cricket
  • LG Stylo 3 - Boost Mobile, Cricket, Virgin Mobile
  • LG Stylo 2 - Boost Mobile
  • LG Tribute 5 - Boost Mobile, Sprint
  • LG Tribute HD - Boost Mobile, Sprint, Virgin Mobile
  • LG V20 - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile
  • LG Volt - Boost Mobile, Sprint, Virgin Mobile
  • LG Volt 2 - Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile
  • LG X Power - Boost Mobile, Cricket, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, Virgin Mobile

LG has no plans to release a software update to retroactively enable the FM chip on devices not listed above.

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