The Best CDMA Network Carriers

We review the best plans for low-cost CDMA cell phone carriers

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The Best CDMA Network Carriers
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Most cell phone owners understand that not all phones work with all cell phone carriers. For example, if you're on the Verizon or Sprint network, then you likely can't bring your mobile phone to AT&T or T-Mobile and vice versa.

Why? Because the four major carrier networks use two different technologies - GSM and CDMA. While Verizon and Sprint utilize the CDMA network, AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM phone networks.

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However, just because you can't bring your CDMA phone to a GSM network carrier doesn't mean you're stuck choosing only from the big guys. There are lots of smaller CDMA phone carriers to consider switching to.

These lesser-known providers are called Mobile Virtual Network Operators, or MVNOs for short. MVNOs lease 4G LTE coverage from the major cellular networks, meaning that you'll receive solid service no matter what carrier you select.

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Why Choose an MVNO?

It's a good question and one that certainly needs to be addressed! Compared to the big four carriers - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile - these low-cost carriers offer cheap cell phone plans along with several other benefits:

  • Save money: Thanks to lower overhead and marketing costs, MVNOs are able to offer you much lower rates on your cell phone plans.
  • Customized plans: It's unfortunate, but the big guys mainly offer plans surrounding unlimited 4G LTE data. While that sounds fantastic on paper, customers tend to use less than 3GB of data per month, meaning they're paying an arm and a leg for data their not even taking full advantage of. Well, MVNOs are much more customer-centric; they let you pay for what you need, with no strings attached. In fact, several MVNOs offer build-your-own plans, so you can choose the minutes, texts, and data!
  • No contracts or credit checks: MVNOs are prepaid cell phone carriers, so if you are unhappy with the wireless carrier's service for any reason whatsoever, you can drop the service whenever you'd like. Even more tempting is that you'll never have to deal with a credit check or two-year commitment.
  • Keep your freedom: With bring your own phone programs offered by MVNOs, you can keep your phone without adding an extra $10 - $30 to your cell phone bill for phone financing. And that financing, after a year, tallies up to between $120 and $360.

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The Best Verizon MVNOs

The Verizon network touts the best coverage in the US (even though the difference between the carriers in terms of coverage is minimal), and the Verizon MVNOs offer great coverage without crazy prices. Here are just some of our top picks:

  • Twigby is a perfect choice for those who need little data (e.g. senior citizens). Plans are sorted by type - smartphone and basic phones - and range between Wifi only and 200 minutes to 4GB and unlimited minutes. Even more tempting is that all plans include free texting and feature a 50 percent off introductory rate for two months as well as a satisfaction guarantee. Twigby also emphasizes free overage protection, so you'll have complete control over your cell phone bill.
  • US Mobile is an MVNO that gives you free reign over your cell phone plans, so you can build your plan however you'd like. You can choose the minutes, texts, and data. US Mobile also offers an advantage to Super LTE network users - in other words, those who utilize Verizon's network, you'll have access to unlimited data plans.

The Best Sprint MVNOs

Sprint MVNOs utilize a solid mobile network, so you'll have no trouble with coverage, so long as you're not in a completely remote area.

You'll find below a list of CDMA phone carriers that run on Sprint's network.

  • Tello offers customizable plans for light, medium, and (potentially) heavy data users. With Tello, you can build your own custom plan or choose from any of the "ready-made" deals. Plans range from no data/no minutes to 10GB of high-speed data, unlimited minutes, or both. All plans include calls to Canada, Mexico, and China, free tethering and the ability to reconfigure or cancel your plan anytime you want.
  • TPO Mobile is an MVNO that donates 10 percent of your cell phone bill, as well as 25 percent of the company's profits, to charities and organizations in need. While TPO Mobile provides plenty of data for light to medium data users, heavy LTE data users should search elsewhere.

CDMA Carriers List

Verizon MVNOsSprint MVNOs
Affinity CellularBoom Mobile
Best CellularBoost Mobile
Boom! MobileCellNUVO
CredoCharge Mobile
DataxoomChit Chat Mobile
GreatCallExpo Mobile
Net10Good2GO Mobile
Page Plus CellularInfinium Wireless
Ready MobileKajeet
Red Pocket MobileNet10 Wireless
ROK MobileNetZero
Selectel WirelessGoogle Fi
SpeedTalk MobileReady Mobile
Straight TalkRed Pocket Mobile
Total WirelessRepublic Wireless
TracfoneStraight Talk
US MobileTelcel America
Verizon WirelessTello US
Zing PCSTempo Telecom
The People's Operator USA
Virgin Mobile USA

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If you have a preference for CDMA carriers but are tired of dealing with the prices charged by Sprint or Verizon, then you should certainly consider CDMA MVNOs, which only takes unlocked CDMA devices and a CDMA SIM card.

There are lots of CDMA carriers out there, with plans that are better suited for you rather than the carrier. Textnow, Twigby, US Mobile, and Tello are our highly recommended picks, but there are dozens more MVNOs out there for you to choose from.

So with that being said, you should take a moment to compare cheap cell phone plans to see how much you can really save each year.

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