iPhone 5 held in hand

Verizon is selling its version of the iPhone 5 unlocked.

It’s no mistake: The company plans to keep it that way, according to a Verizon spokesperson who spoke to the AP.

That means, if you buy an iPhone 5 from Verizon, you’ll be able to use it on many competing GSM networks around the world — and in the U.S., you could use it on AT&T and T-Mobile.

Verizon is betting that customer loyalty will come from other places: For instance, the Verizon iPhone 5’s high speed LTE data connectivity will only work on Verizon’s network, not other carriers’.

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Also, the carrier allows you to use Apple’s FaceTime app on its data network (AT&T doesn’t), and its LTE network covers 75 percent of the country.

Finally, Verizon still demands a two-year contract to buy the iPhone 5 at the subsidized price, as most carriers do. So it’s probably a safe bet that most new iPhone customers won’t be going anywhere.

Still, it’s a nice boon if you’re going abroad or want the flexibility to use another carrier.

Via Associated Press

iPhone photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat