Remember the old days when phones were locked to certain carriers and it was difficult to change carriers? In Australia we have been lucky in the past few years where carriers have not locked down their phones but with a new commit to the AOSP that may well change when Android Q drops later this year.

The folks at 9to5 Google have found four commits that were posted to the AOSP Gerrit on the weekend that signal a change in how carriers can lock phones to their networks. The new commits give networks control over which SIM card will work in the phone and which won’t.

The new commit means that carriers will be able to have a list of allowed and excluded carriers for that device. Dual SIM phones will also be affected with carriers able to lock out secondary SIM card slots if the specified SIM is not used in the first slot.

The changes will be in the system partition and thus will survive a factory reset and obviously a reboot. Hopefully many carriers, especially most Australian carriers, are unlikely to use this commit but the option is there.

Do you think this will end up with carriers locking phones to their network? Is this a good thing do you think?

Source: AOSP.
Via: 9to5Google.
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    Yes, I fear the carriers will grab this with both hands, as yet another way to lock their customers in. But with the swing towards BYO, this may not have as big an impact as imagined… I’ve already made the change to BYO (based on my Telco of choice being unable to pass on Android security patches in a timely fashion) so this won’t tip my hand, but I bet it will for others who are currently on the fence..

    s k

    What the actual… why is this coming back? Google should be trying to move away from this

    Dean Rosolen

    Of course, the carriers will frame this as “protecting their network/customer security”. I can see the pitches for this new functionality now.


    More phones in landfill. 😒

    Jeni Skunk

    Better than odds on they will enable it in full. How to easily prevent connedsumers from being able to change telcos, make it impossible for them to take their device with them to another telco.
    I really hope the ACCC is made aware of this upcoming evil, and that the ACCC rules this change as illegal to utilise in Australia.


    Ah, you mean the same ACCC that guards against a market concentration of banks and supermarkets? Do you really think they’d do anything.

    Jeni Skunk

    Good point Les.