Android Q could expand carriers' options for SIM lock

The next version of Android appears to have a built-in feature that allows carriers to lock devices via SIM cards. (Google)

After an early build of Android Q, the next version of Google’s mobile operating system, was leaked last week, a new line of code was uncovered that indicates wireless carriers will gain greater control over locking customers’ phones via SIM cards, 9to5Google reports.

Developers found four different sections in the source code titled “carrier restriction enhancements for Android Q,” which appear to give operators more control over the devices they allow or disallow on their networks. The code indicates carriers will be able to designate a list of allowed and excluded carriers, which would essentially act as a locking mechanism for smartphones. Similar restrictions are expected for dual-SIM devices, according to 9to5Google.

The SIM lock will be applied immediately and remain in place even after a user restarts their phone or initiates a factory reset. The move could earn goodwill from carriers for Google, but it’s likely to turn off many customers who prefer to have the freedom to switch carriers without restrictions. Android Q won’t be released until later this year and Google could always change the code before then.