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

Episode 1188

Kris from Merced, CA
Apple iPhone 6

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.

How can I use my phone in Europe?

Andre from Burbank, CA

Episode 1161

Andre is taking his wife on a trip overseas and he wants to use his phone to post to Instagram and other social networks. Leo says that data oversees is a huge and expensive topic because people are wired everywhere, even when they travel. But he won't want to roam in another country because data roaming in obscenely expensive. The first thing he'll want to do it disable data roaming. He'd be surprised how many people come home to a data bill in the thousands and they hardly even used data.

Will Verizon unlock my cell phone?

Episode 1147

Jerry from Alta Dena, CA

Jerry has a cell phone and he's traveling out of the country. He's out of his contract. Can he get it unlocked? Leo says yes, he can just go to Verizon and ask them politely. They are supposed to do it, and AT&T does this for its customers too. Verizon is under a consent decree not to lock their phones, so they should unlock it. Then he can put a local SIM card in when he gets to his destination.

How do I unlock my Android phone?

Bob from Hermosa Beach, CA

Episode 1075

Bob has an LG Android phone through MetroPCS and he would like to unlock it. Leo says it isn't something he'd want to try himself, nor should he take advantage of offers on the Internet to unlock it. What Leo would recommend is contacting his carrier and ask if they will unlock it. He should tell them he's planning on traveling overseas and would like to unlock it to take advantage of purchasing a local sim to make phone calls. If he's past his two year commitment, they should be willing to do it. In fact, the chatroom says that MetroPCS will unlock it after three months.

How can I unlock my Droid to change carriers?

Joe from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1057

Joe has five late model Motorola Droid phones with Verizon, but he wants to change carriers. Leo says that Motorola Droids only work on Verizon. If he unlocks them, he could take them over to Sprint, and maybe AT&T or T-Mobile if the frequencies are supported. He'll have to get the SIM slot unlocked. He should tell them he's going overseas and needs it unlocked to get a local SIM. PadreSJ says a DROID MAXX can support an AT&T SIM Card, so if he has a friend who has one, he could try it.

How can I get an iPhone unlocked to work on Straight Talk?

Carol from San Diego, CA

Episode 1040

Carol bought an AT&T phone but can't unlock it without a phone number to use it on Straight Talk. Leo says it's not likely that she'll be able to get AT&T to unlock it. Leo said that Carol bought it at the subsidized price, so she'll have to go with AT&T for two years. Unless it's a used iPhone, in which case Leo says that Carol can get it unlocked. If she's an AT&T customer in good standing, she can. But since Carol isn't, then she'll have to go to with AT&T Straight Talk in order to use it.

How can I use my iPhone overseas?

Episode 1007

Bob from Santa Barbara, CA
iPhone 5

Bob's wife is traveling to Italy on vacation and wants to know if she should bring her iPhone. Leo says that she could pay for an international data roaming plan. They're not cheap and the data caps are small, not to mention the cell call charges.

Another way is to turn off data roaming. She won't have data unless she has Wi-Fi access, like at her hotel. Some apps, like Google Maps, would allow her to cache data while away from Wi-Fi.