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Sprint or Verizon customer? Read this before buying a phone on Black Friday


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The more you know

Read this to avoid headaches on Christmas morning.

Google Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Black Friday savings have arrived, slashing prices on everything from TVs to toasters. There’s a heap of deals out there for just about every product you can imagine, and unsurprisingly, a lot of folks take advantage of these discounts to pick up a new smartphone for either themselves or a loved one.

Buying a phone during Black Friday is a smart move, but before you go ahead and click that “buy now” button, there’s something you should know. Even if you find a deal that’s too good to pass up, all of those savings will be for naught if the phone ends up not being compatible with your carrier of choice — specifically if you use Sprint or Verizon.

To avoid those potential headaches, here’s are a few tips on what you should know before picking up a discounted phone this Black Friday.

Not every unlocked phone works on Sprint and Verizon

Verizon logo

Source: Android Central

When buying a phone from a website like Amazon or B&H, the device is “unlocked.” In other words, it’s not tied down to a specific carrier and can be used on whichever carrier you please by popping in a SIM card to get voice, text, and data service.

The process of buying an unlocked phone and getting it set up with your carrier is easy enough, but not all unlocked phones are made equal in these regards.

Every unlocked phone supports GSM networks, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and any smaller prepaid carriers that use their services (Mint Mobile, Cricket, etc.). Just search “unlocked phones” on Amazon, and any of the devices you find will be able to get service through those networks without a problem.

If you’re a Sprint or Verizon customer, however, things become more complicated. Sprint and Verizon utilize CDMA technology, a wireless protocol that’s not as widely used as the GSM tech you get with AT&T and T-Mobile. As such, unlocked phones like the Samsung Galaxy A10 and Nokia 7.2 will work perfectly fine on AT&T or T-Mobile, but won’t do a darn thing if you try putting in a Sprint or Verizon SIM card. Verizon is phasing out the CDMA side of its network at the beginning of 2020, but we’ll still have to deal with these compatibility quirks.

Thankfully, there are some solid options that do

Moto G7

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

A few years back, trying to find unlocked phones that worked on Sprint and Verizon was a nightmare. These days, however, things have improved a lot. Not every unlocked phone works with these carriers, but it’s now easier than ever to find ones that do.

Knowing whether or not an unlocked phone works with Sprint or Verizon is quite simple. On the product listing for the phone you’re looking at, you’ll see “CDMA,” “Sprint,” or “Verizon” mentioned somewhere.

One of the best unlocked phones that works on Sprint and Verizon is the Moto G7. The Moto G7 gets a lot right, with some of its strongest aspects being its great build quality, display, and dual rear cameras that are more than good enough for Instagram. The G7 also happens to be heavily discounted for Black Friday with a generous $100 savings.

Samsung Galaxy A50 on Amazon

Source: Android CentralNotice the “CDMA compatible” text — that’s good!

Another great example of an unlocked phone that works just fine with Sprint/Verizon is the Samsung Galaxy A50. This is one of the best mid-range phones Samsung’s created in years, and there’s a lot contributing to that.

The Galaxy A50 has a gorgeous 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, three rear cameras that are bound to impress, and stupendous battery life. It’s also being discounted for Black Friday, giving you another great option of an unlocked phone that Sprint and Verizon customers can buy without thinking twice.

Hello Moto


Moto G7

A powerful mid-ranger that works on all carriers

The Moto G7 is one of the best smartphone deals you can find in 2019, and it just so happens to work on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. The G7 impresses with its top-notch build quality, a colorful display, and reliable cameras.

Most impressive


Samsung Galaxy A50

Tons of features at a great price

Another unlocked phone you can use on Sprint and Verizon is Samsung’s Galaxy A50. There’s a lot to love about the A50, namely its AMOLED display, triple camera system, and 4,000 mAh battery that allows for legendary endurance.

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Joe Maring

Joe is Android Central’s News Editor and has had a love for anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He’s been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012, and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip? Send an email to joe.maring@mobilenations.com!

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