Previously, for security reasons, Blizzard required all Overwatch 2 players to attach a phone number to their Battle.net account to be able to play the game. This requirement is a basic 2FA system, which allows the players to protect their accounts and for Blizzard to control who has access to the game.
Blizzard claims that SMS Protect helps verify ownership of your account. In the unforeseen event that your account is compromised, you can retrieve it. Additionally, it also helps Blizzard ban disruptive players or suspend them. SMS Protect makes it extremely difficult for these banned players to return under a different name.
However, SMS Protect excluded some players for reasons unrelated to their in-game behavior. As each Battle.net player required a separate number, Overwatch players living in the same household and sharing a phone line could not use the SMS Protect feature. Thus, they could not enjoy the game.
This feature was also enabled for purchasing Overwatch, which was later replaced with Overwatch 2. The situation got even more complicated when some prepaid plans worked while others did not. Many players reported that the Mint Mobile and Tello Mobile prepaid plans worked fine for the SMS Protect System.
The restriction against the prepaid services was because of the perception most people had of them. They were always portrayed by movies and tv shows as a tool for criminals and spies. Still, over the years, the market has become competitive.
Although the removal comes as a sigh of relief for some, many actually supported the SMS Protect feature. They claimed it helped cut back on smurfing. This is when higher-ranked players gank lower-skilled players by creating new accounts.
In the announcement, Blizzard also addressed the issues. They stated that they are slowly addressing concerns Overwatch players have raised in the past. These include server crashes, game stability, issues with queues, and more.