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’.

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