GSM

Why can't I use my Obama Phone with Verizon?

Motorola Moto G7

Episode 1597

John from Santa Barbara, CA

John got an "Obama Phone" with AirVoice Wireless. When he got a new Motorola Moto Phone that was unlocked, it says it uses GSM or LTE. And AirVoice Wireless only uses Verizon. Can he use the phone? Leo says that Verizon is CDMA, so a GSM phone won't work. But AirVoice also says they're an AT&T carrier. From the chatroom - input the APN settings listed here and it needs to be a phone that works with AT&T. https://apn.gishan.net/en/apn/airvoice/motorola-moto-g-4g-2nd-gen

How can I get a replacement phone after T-Mobile killed my service?

Cell Tower

Episode 1414

Alan from Simi Valley, CA

Alan has had a bad experience with several cell providers and he doesn't know who to trust. T-Mobile shut down GSM, so he couldn't use his phone. He went to AT&T, and they gave him a data only contract, leaving him without the ability to call or get text messages. He also can't afford to buy a smartphone.

How can I use my phone while traveling internationally?

Episode 1212

Tim from San Diego, CA

Tim is traveling and wants to know how he can save money on data charges. Leo advises going to prepaidwithdata.wikia.com and he'll find a list of countries and cellphone providers in those countries that offer SIMS, how much they are, and where he can get them. But he'll also want to know if his phone supports the traffic where he's going. Verizon was CDMA up until lately, when they transitioned to LTE world phone models. That means they have SIM cards.

How can I move my old cell phone to a new carrier?

Apple iPhone 6

Episode 1188

Kris from Merced, CA

Kris would like to move her iPhone 4 from AT&T to Verizon. Leo says she can't. The phones are the same model, but the iPhone 4 on AT&T has a GSM radio, and the Verizon model uses CDMA. She could get it unlocked and use it on T-Mobile, though. But to go from AT&T to Verizon, she'll need an iPhone 5 or above. In fact, if she can go to Verizon and say she wants to leave AT&T. Verizon actually sells an unlocked iPhone due to a consent decree with the federal government. And then she could use it on any carrier.

Why can't I use my old iPhone 4S on Verizon?

Apple iPhone 4S

Episode 1146

Sharon from San Diego, CA

Sharon has a Verizon cellphone but wants to get her old AT&T iPhone 4S added to the plan. Verizon said they can't add that phone to their network, though. Leo says back then, AT&T and Verizon phones only worked with either GSM or CDMA technology. If the phone was newer, like an iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, she could do it because they are called "world phones." She may need to unlock it. But the 4S predates the era of iPhone world phones, and it won't work.

What phones support multiple cellphone carriers?

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Episode 1132

Mike from Corona, CA

Mike would like to have a cellphone that he can use over multiple carriers. Leo says that while everyone is moving to LTE and Voice Over LTE, we're not there yet. Half the phones are CDMA, the other are GSM. Verizon has a SIM card for modern LTE supported phones that will work over any network except Sprint. And the phones are unlocked by FCC mandate. So that's probably Mike's best bet.

Why can't I talk and browse the web simultaneously on Sprint?

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Episode 1127

Rick from Kansas City, MO

Rick says that he hears that with Sprint, if they upgrade to the new iPhone, they won't be able to talk and surf at the same time. Leo says that he can on AT&T and Verizon, though. Verizon moved over to Voice Over LTE and Leo thought Sprint was moving that way too, but apparently they haven't. T-Mobile will also work. Any GSM network will do it, and Leo suspects that Sprint will eventually go that way.

Can I use a Verizon phone on T-Mobile?

Apple iPhone 4

Episode 1119

Steve from Glendora, CA

Steve was gifted an iPhone 4 and the carrier is verizon, while his carrier is T-Mobile. Leo says Steve can't use it because the iPhone 4 is a CDMA phone while T-Mobile uses GSM. So it's essentially apples and oranges. It's just not compatible. The new iPhones though are "world phones" and can use various SIMs. Leo says that's where it's going, especially for Verizon because they were ordered by a judge to stop locking their phones to a carrier.