It's been a long time coming but good things come to those who wait: Verizon will now activate compatible iPhones and the Nexus 6 from other carriers.
Verizon Wireless confirmed the change to 9to5 Mac and says customers with the handsets on other carriers can check eligibility on this website. The non-Verizon phones must first be unlocked before the carrier will activate them for use on the Verizon network. To be clear: The Nexus 6 always worked on Verizon's network, even if it was first activated with another carrier's SIM. The company never raised much awareness on this, however.
I'm disappointed that took this long for Verizon to embrace the growing trend of bringing your own phone to a carrier in the U.S. Sure, one of the carriers has to be the "last" one to do so, but Verizon has open access mandates from the U.S. government.
When the company bid in 2008 for 700 MHz spectrum, it agreed to activate non-Verizon devices for its network as noted in this early-2009 FCC report. To that end, Verizon announced an open access program but even early on, it really went nowhere in terms of network portability for phones.
Keep in mind that in 2007, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said this: "We will allow customers to connect any device that meets our minimum technical standards, and be activated on our network. We do not expect this to be a difficult or lengthy process, since we will only be testing network connectivity."
Sorry, but I'd say eight years is a lengthy process.
In fairness, it has only been recently that handsets supporting a broad array of network types have appeared. But now that they are and an iPhone, Nexus or other handset can work with any of the big four U.S. carriers, Verizon needs to step up its game and accept unlocked devices on its network.
To that end, my hope is that by this time next year, consumers can bring one of few dozen or more handset models to Verizon, even if they first activated the phone on a competing carrier's network.