Sprint, or Sprint / Nextel as they are now officially called, will start offering unlock codes to customers requesting them that want to use their Sprint branded phone on another CDMA network.

This move comes as part of a settlement of class actions in California and Florida that claimed Sprint locked the devices to make it difficult for customers to switch carriers taking their Sprint phone with them.

The settlement covers all customers who bought Sprint phones between Aug. 28, 1999, and July 16, 2007. It should allow those phones to be switched to competitors whose networks are compatible with Sprint’s, such as Verizon Wireless and Alltel Corp.

The question I have is will the move prompt Verizon to discontinue their practice disabling devices beyond factory defaults? The BlackBerry 8830 has built in GPS, however, Verizon cripples this feature in their branded version. Sprint, on the other hand, does not.

I don’t imagine that there will be a huge wave of Sprint users switching their devices to Verizon just because they aren’t locked down, however, there will be some and I can’t imagine Verizon telling potential subscribers willing to pay the highest premiums on the U.S. that they will only take their money if the device they uses says Verizon accrues the bottom.