Verizon has no plans to lock unlocked iPhone 5

Apple's new smartphone comes "GSM unlocked" out of the box and will stay that way, a Verizon representative tells the AP.

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Verizon Wireless has no intention of hobbling its version of the iPhone 5, potentially allowing its customers to use the GSM smartphone on competing wireless carriers.

Verizon's version of the new iPhone, which was released on Friday, comes "GSM unlocked" out of the box, allowing it to be used on Verizon rivals AT&T and T-Mobile. While it was understood that this "feature" could be fixed via a future update, in much the same way Sprint did with the iPhone 4S last November, the nation's largest wireless carrier told the Associated Press it has no plans to relock the iPhone.

While the feature means Verizon customers can take their iPhone 5s to a competitor, AT&T and T-Mobile are unlikely to be seeing a wave of Verizon defectors anytime soon; Verizon customers are still tied to a two-year contract that won't be cheap to break.

Another factor likely to keep iPhone 5 owners with Verizon is the carrier's 4G LTE data network, which is slightly faster than AT&T's LTE network and considerably faster than the 3G data networks.

However, it will allow Verizon customers to save money by using local SIM cards while traveling overseas.

CNET has contacted Verizon for comment and will update this report when we learn more.