A total of four commits were posted to various parts of Android’s Gerrit source code management and they show network carriers will be getting more fine-grained control over which networks devices will and will not work on.
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Last week, Android Q build leak showed that Google is planning to introduce a system-wide dark mode and new permissions UI for better privacy. In the latest development, four commits posted to various parts of Android’s Gerrit source code management show that the company is giving more teeth to network carriers. The new capabilities will allow them to blacklist other carriers, and lock the second SIM slot in case of dual-SIM devices.
According to the four “Carrier restriction enhancements for Android Q” commits (via 9to5google), the network carriers will have more fine-grained control and ability to lock your phone down to specific networks via your SIM card. Although the SIM locking is not new, it certainly gives an upper hand to the carriers to dictate what SIM to use by limiting the options. The only way you can dodge these draconian changes is by buying an unlocked phone.
In case of the single SIM phones, the carriers can essentially create a list of “allowed” (whitelist) and “excluded” (blacklist) carriers within the phone itself. This can be done by blocking virtual carrier networks that run on the same towers as the main carrier. For example, if you are using a phone which is SIM-locked to the ‘ABC’ network, it should work on ‘XYZ’ as both ‘ABC’ and ‘XYZ’ use the same towers.
With more power at their disposal with Android Q, the ‘ABC’ network can block the MVNO (which is ‘XYZ’) operating on the same network. This means that the phone will work if it has an ‘ABC’ SIM but not if it has a ‘XYZ’ SIM even though both of them use same towers. Android Q is also said to give power to these carriers in the case of dual-SIM phones as well. This could give them the a tighter control over the device.
Carriers can now block the second SIM tray. They could create a rule that in order to have the second slot of a SIM tray to be active, the first slot must be filled with an active SIM from that carrier. It could also prove out to be a positive change if carriers allow users to use a SIM of a from a different company. The restrictions, which can be applied immediately, are said to remain even if the user restarts the phone or does a factory reset. In both cases, emergency phone calls will still work as expected.
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