Samsung Galaxy S II on Verizon Wireless?
March 13, 2012 5:33 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to use an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S II on Verizon in the US?

So my brother generously gave me a Samsung Galaxy S II (GT-I9100) phone for my birthday, but unfortunately it seems that Verizon decided not to carry that particular brand of phone. I am pretty sure, from looking at the wiki of both the phone and verizon wireless, that the phone is capable of running on the Verizon network. And I know that Verizon does have SIM cards for some of their devices. So theoretically, I'd think it would be possible to use one of their SIM cards in the phone and it would work. When I went to the Verizon store, however, even the manager told me that there was no way they could make it work.

So I guess my question is this: Was this due to technical issues, or is it just Verizon's internal policy not allowing any non-Verizon branded phones on their network?
posted by Grither to Technology (5 answers total)
It depends on which version he got, I think. If it was originally a T-Mobile or AT&T phone, then no, because it contains GSM hardware. If it was originally a Sprint phone, it has CDMA hardware that may be compatible with the Verizon network.

This is an oversimplification (and I'm glad to be corrected...), but there are essentially two types of networks in the US: CDMA and GSM, and they are incompatible at a hardware level. As far as I know, no phones actually include both types of chips. If you look at the list of "Compatible Networks" on that Galaxy II S wiki page, I would read that as a list of variants that a given phone can implement, not a list of all variants that all phones do implement.

Some additional details to inform your future phone shopping.
posted by rkent at 5:58 AM on March 13, 2012

Best answer: There is a variant of the SGS2, called the "Duo", which supports CDMA2000. It has a dual SIM slot and was produced exclusively for the Chinese market. If your brother gave you one of those, it's quite the rare find and might work. Might. You'd need to get a CDMA SIM from Verizon, and I don't know if they really do that, because most Verizon phones won't use SIMs. At the very least you'll need to work your way up through innumerable layers of idiots to find someone who can give you a straight answer, I suspect.

But if the phone is anything other than the Duo, which again is very rare and not sold in Europe for the most part, it will not work.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:12 AM on March 13, 2012

If the model number you gave us is accurate, you have the generic GSM/HSPA version. That means it'll work for voice on both AT&T and T-Mobile, but will only get 3g data speeds through AT&T.
posted by Oktober at 6:18 AM on March 13, 2012

Some Verizon phones do take SIM cards, it's true, but those are 4G LTE phones, and LTE mandates that devices use SIM cards. A Verizon LTE SIM card, though physically compatible, will not work in a GSM/HSPA phone like you have -- you won't get service.
posted by zztzed at 6:24 AM on March 13, 2012

Best answer: Verizon will not allow a phone on their network unless it is Verizon branded. Period. It does not matter if it supports the correct CDMA frequencies - if it doesn't have Verizon branding they will not register the IMEI with their network. Ever.

Therefore, it is impossible to use a Galaxy S II device on the Verizon network, including Sprint's version.

The closest you can get is the Galaxy Nexus, which is essentially a SGII class device.
posted by imagineerit at 7:19 AM on March 13, 2012

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