Switching carriers with iPhone 5 from Tmobile?
April 19, 2015 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I want to use my old Tmobile iPhone 5 on Verizon. Is it really true that this isn't possible?

This is an unlocked phone that I bought full price from Tmobile; Tmobile told me it should be usable with any carrier. Verizon says I need to get one of their devices, and I've seen conflicting info online. When I checked the IMEI info it says it works with LTE.

Alternately, can anyone recommend a good cheap dumbphone that's compatible with Verizon? I want to use a prepaid plan. I'm living somewhere temporarily and Tmobile coverage here isn't good enough for my work, but I don't want to sign a contract.
posted by three_red_balloons to Technology (7 answers total)
Yep. CDMA vs. GSM. Your phone should work with AT&T however.
posted by spitbull at 12:36 PM on April 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

I recently did the opposite and moved a moto x to t-mobile from verizon, it works just fine. Check that your phone has the support for the right radio frequencies but it should work, as with lte the cdma vs gsm problem has really gone away for the most part. I borrowed a t-mobile sim from a friend before i switched just to check that it would all work, you could do that to just to check.
posted by dstopps at 1:29 PM on April 19, 2015

When I was with verizon 6 years ago, they did not allow any phone on their network unless it was purchased through them, even other cdma phones. My wife lost her phone her father had several sprint (cdma) spares and verizon would not activate any of them.

We are now on Att (no tmobile service in our house).

They may have changed-but it sounds like they haven't.
posted by prk60091 at 3:58 PM on April 19, 2015

Nope, iphone 5 has separate gsm and cdma models, so you are SOL.
posted by spitbull at 4:47 PM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Even if you had a newer iPhone 5, like the 5S that combines network compatibility, you'd still be out of luck with regular Verizon. They have a habit of really not wanting to activate devices that they didn't sell. Straight Talk can possibly do it but no guarantees.

Will at&t coverage work? I would investigate an at&t reseller like Red Pocket Mobile or Cricket (the latter is owned by at&t and is a prepaid brand of theirs).
posted by fireoyster at 4:57 PM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, and future reference, this IS possible with some iphones even if verizon tells you it's not. But it has to be a 5s, 5c, or a 6. I'm only 100% positive it works absolutely for sure(and a million other accounts online) on the 6.

What you'd need to do is activate some other LTE phone, rip the sim out, and put it in your iphone. This is how people activate nexus 6's on verizon that aren't sold by them.

Apple didn't switch to 100% unified models until the generation after the 5 though. My old verizon 5 doesn't get LTE on AT&T for instance, but the 5s/5c/6 will. I also KNOW that sim trick method works on an unlocked 6. And i'm fairly certain it works on the 5s.

If you're bored and want to try i'd get the cheapest verizon LTE smartphone on craigslist(probably some $30 android junker), take it in and activate, then go put the SIM in the iphone.

For what it's worth, iphone 5's are cheap as hell now. The 5c is even cheaper, sometimes. You could probably sell your phone on swappa and buy a verizon model of either of those without really losing any money. Looking on swappa, the cheapest verizon 5's are $175 and the cheapest t-mobile ones are $199.
posted by emptythought at 7:55 PM on April 19, 2015

T-mobile usually has much better rates than Verizon. In your situation you would probably be better off staying with T-mobile (perhaps putting your account on hold).

Meanwhile, your T-mobile iPhone 5 can be activated on H20 Prepaid, which uses the AT&T network. If that works for you, great. Otherwise, if you really do require the Verizon network, you can do prepaid with PagePlus, which is Verizon-based. The rates are great, but you won't be able to use your iPhone 5. If an old flip phone is ok, just about any old Verizon-branded one will work, for example the Motorola V750 or VU204. You can find lots of them on Ebay.
posted by dacoit at 11:15 PM on April 19, 2015

« Older Can't connect laptop to TV with HDMI anymore...   |   So, I have a math question Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.