Can a Verizon Phone Be Used With i-Wireless?
By Melinda Adams
There are three major networks used for cell phone communication in the United States. Global System for Mobile Communication, Code Division Multiple Access and Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDen). T-mobile, AT&T and their affiliates use GSM, Verizon uses CDMA, and Sprint uses CDMA and iDen. Phones are tied not only to their network type, but to their carrier. i-Wireless is a T-mobile affiliate, so you won't be able to use your Verizon phone on the i-Wireless network.
AT&T, T-mobile and their affiliates use GSM technology. i-Wireless is a T-mobile affiliate. These companies rely on Subscriber Information Module, or SIM, cards to assign a phone to a user account. This means that subscribers can change phones by inserting their SIM card into any phone that is compatible with their carrier. By default, AT&T and T-mobile phones are tied to their own networks, so their phones are not interchangeable. The phones can be unlocked from their networks, though, which makes them interchangeable by replacing the SIM card.
Verizon Wireless, Sprint and their affiliates such as Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile use CDMA technology for cell phone service. These phones are locked to their networks, so if a user wants to change phones, it must be done at a Sprint or Verizon store. CDMA phones have handset locks and need to be individually authenticated by their networks based on the serial number. Because of this, most unlocked CDMA phones cannot be used between networks.
The iDen network is used by Sprint, mostly for its Nextel and some Boost-branded devices. Like CDMA, if you switch phones, you will need to have user information transferred at the store level. Although it is possible to unlock iDen phones, they can only be transferred from Sprint or Nextel to Boost and vice versa.
Unlocking Your Phone
Because you own your phone, it is not illegal to unlock the device from its original cell network. Most cell carriers will give you an unlock code after 90 days of service. They may require that your contract expire before they will release an unlock code. Check with your carrier for its specific policy on unlocking phones. You may also choose to use a third party unlocking service. These services will unlock your phone for a small fee, and are often faster and easier than wrangling with your carrier for an unlock code.
Melinda Adams is a veteran freelancer who started writing professionally in 1993, specializing in travel and consumer electronics. She has written for many print publications, including "Cowboys & Indians," "Grand Canyon News," "Route 66 Magazine," "RV America," "TravelAmerica," "SmartTV & Sound" and "Woman's Day." She graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor of Arts in English.