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What you need to know when you buy a phone and bring it to Verizon
Verizon no longer offers contracts, making it possible to bring your own phone to the network. You just have to remember to check a few things before you do that.
Not so long ago, long-term agreements were the most popular way of buying new smartphones on the biggest US carriers. This method had its advantages, such as allowed you to buy a decent phone for cheap or sometimes get it for free, but its major downside was that it locked customers to one network and phone usually for as long as two years. With manufacturers updating their lineups at least once a year, 24-month contracts were a huge obstacle for users who wanted to stay up to date.
Having that in mind, in mid-2015 Verizon followed the trend on the market and removed contracts from its offer. With them gone is subsidized pricing forcing customers to buy phones at full retail price or choose one of financing plans. While at first it may seem like a catch, it actually provides a few interesting options. For instance, you can buy a used or refurbished phone, which tend to be much cheaper than brand new models, or use a phone you already own on the network of your choice.
Of course, first you should check if the phone will actually work with the carrier. It’s especially important if you buy a cheap phone from a lesser known manufacturer, since its specification may make proper functioning on the network impossible. Here’s what you need to know when you buy a phone and bring it to Verizon.
It’s especially important, since US carriers use two different technologies for voice and text services – CDMA and GSM. The CDMA is used by Verizon and the GSM by the rest of the networks, including AT&T and T-Mobile. Both technologies are very different from each other and as of now there is no easy fix that can make a GSM device compatible with a CDMA network. Since most of the world relies on GSM technology, unlocked phones don’t include CDMA networks, hence they normally won’t work on Verizon network.
4G LTE radio frequency
At the moment, 4G LTE is the highest standard for wireless internet. However, even though 4G technology used by carriers is uniform throughout the world, it doesn’t mean that a 4G LTE smartphone will work on every single network. That’s because each carrier has its own radio frequencies. In other words, a phone needs to be capable of tuning into frequencies specific to the carrier of your choice in order to work properly. Otherwise, you may have to deal with some serious issues such as significantly slower downloads or no service at all.
What to look for when you buy a phone for Verizon service
If you plan to bring your own phone to Verizon, you need to be certain that it will support CDMA bands – 0 (850 MHz) or 1 (1900 MHz), period. As far as LTE is concerned, though, making sure the frequency matches is not the only thing to check. Carriers actually use different “chunks” of the same frequency for their LTE networks, hence it’s more useful to look at the specific LTE frequency “band class” that is supported. If you’re thinking of bringing a phone to Verizon, you need to make sure that it supports any of these three LTE band classes: LTE band 13 (700 MHz c), band 4 (1700 MHz f) or band 2 (1900 MHz).
Keep in mind, though, that carriers use a number of frequencies to build their networks. Moreover, some frequencies may not be available in certain areas, since carriers own licenses for specific markets. For this reason, unless all bands match exactly, the phone you plan to buy may not work properly.
With users moving between carriers more frequently now than before, manufacturers include more frequency bands in their devices so that they can be used on multiple networks. If you buy a phone from Apple, Samsung or Motorola, chances are that it will play nice on a number of carriers, though it’s always a good idea to check the specs, just to be on the safe side.