CDMA networks use a completely different technology from GSM networks to provide their services. Many people believe that you can easily switch from Verizon to Sprint since they are both CDMA’. But is that true?
What is CDMA technology?
Without going into details, CDMA networks do not use SIM cards to identify their customers. All user information is stored on the device.
This separation exists or at least existed on iPhones as devices. If an iPhone does not have a SIM Tray then this is definitely a CDMA device.
You certainly won’t find such a device from the iPhone 8 onwards.
But what does this have to do with switching from Verizon to Sprint?
Let me start from the beginning.
Are Verizon iPhones unlocked?
The only prerequisite for using another network is one: The iPhone must be unlocked.
Now Verizon is one of the few US carriers that sells unlocked iPhones. Whether you buy your device directly from them on a contract or swap your old device, you will be able to use whatever GSM network you want from the very first day.
I am not even sure when a Verizon iPhone becomes locked, however, it is extremely easy to unlock it through Verizon or in case of rejection, with a Verizon IMEI Unlock Service.
What changes when the Verizon iPhone is blacklisted?
Usually, the real problem starts when the iPhone is blacklisted by Verizon as lost or stolen.
Of course, the thief has already sold the stolen property to some unsuspecting victim.
If this victim is, unfortunately, you then I have good news.
A Verizon Unblacklist Service will clean the device without issues in about 10 days. Beyond that, if it’s already unlocked – which will be 99% – you’re ready to go.
If you are so unlucky and belong to 1% then, you will need an extra IMEI Unlock.
When it comes to 3rd party iPhone unlock solutions, iPhoneUnlock.Zone is the first provider that comes to mind.
My iPhone is unlocked. Can I now switch from Verizon to Sprint?
The answer is no because the iPhone is always unlocked to all GSM Networks, such as AT&T, T-Mobile and all their MVNOs.
Since CDMA networks don’t support SIM cards, you need to contact them and ask for their permission to use their services even when the iPhone is already unlocked. I know it sounds crazy but this is how it works.
As soon as you contact Sprint, you will find that you have to buy a new device and you may get a discount if you give them your old one.
The same will happen if you turn to a Sprint or even Verizon MVNO such as the Boost, Virgin, Tello or US Cellular network.
Just a few weeks ago, I researched the opposite, that is if you can use a Sprint iPhone with Verizon and the truth is I was expecting these results.
So, you can unlock a Verizon iPhone even when it is blacklisted but you won’t be able to switch from Verizon to Sprint or another CDMA Network. However, this can’t be an issue since you have all GSM carriers at your disposal and most carriers are GSM. In fact, only the USA and a few other countries are still using CDMA Networks.
On top of that, Verizon will fully switch from CDMA to GSM from 01/01/2020.