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In which I reveal my ignorance about the cell phone landscape...
November 9, 2012 11:10 AM   Subscribe

My husband has a phone I'd like to replace as a gift for him, and I want to be sure I understand what I'm getting into.

My husband has a fairly new (4 months old?) Samsung Galaxy III. Something horrid happened to it and I'd like to replace it for him. He bought it through Amazon Mobile and we added it to our Verizon account. Replacement is not covered, so I'd like to just order this for him. Is there any difference at all between the "bought it for a specific carrier" phone and the "international unlocked phone" besides price and unlocked-ness?
posted by ersatzkat to Technology (6 answers total)
 
There are multiple types of phone network. The type used by AT&T, T-Mobile, and nearly every other carrier nationwide is called GSM. it comes in multiple frequency flavors, but I won't get into that because it's not relevant to your situation because...

Verizon uses a totally different kind of network called CDMA.

That phone's unlocked, but it's GSM-only.

We're starting to see a few GSM+CDMA phones - like the new iPhone 5 - but they're still rare animals and certainly not the status quo. Long story short: You need to look for a phone that specifically says it'll play nice with Verizon.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:21 AM on November 9, 2012


The international version is a GSM phone. The one that is compatible with the Verizon network is a CDMA phone.

I don't see the CDMA one on Amazon, but you can get it for sure via Verizon without a contract. Just do a search for phones with month-to-month pricing and you'll find it.
posted by inturnaround at 11:25 AM on November 9, 2012


Argh, just missed my edit window: Rather than "nationwide" I meant to say "worldwide." Nevertheless, the meat of "you need a Verizon-specific phone" stands.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:26 AM on November 9, 2012


You've both helped me - I'm very grateful - thanks!!
posted by ersatzkat at 11:47 AM on November 9, 2012


BTW, you can get a replacement for this phone on ebay. That's where I picked up my manufacturer refurbished (aka new as far as I can tell) Galaxy SIII for Verizon, for about $400.
posted by xiaolongbao at 12:53 PM on November 9, 2012


Yup, you can get a CDMA phone and just tell Verizon that you have a new phone, and they'll need some numbers from the phone to add it to your account.

Also, the software on board will be mostly the same, but slightly different on a phone that isn't married to a carrier; the OS should be the same, but Verizon, like all carriers, will add its own suite of apps, crapware, branded stuff, etc., while the phone that never married a carrier will have a basic set of apps only.

Finally, if I hadn't just stuffed myself with thai food, I'd be combing the city for xiaolongbao right now, thankyousomuch!
posted by Sunburnt at 1:13 PM on November 9, 2012


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