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CDMA Carriers

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CDMA networks list in 2021

You may already know that not all phones work with all carriers, but that doesn't mean you are stuck with just choosing from the big guys.

The four main carriers use two different technologies; the GSM network and the CDMA network. AT&T and T-Mobile use the GSM network whereas Sprint and Verizon use CDMA.

This can mean that if you currently have a cell phone with Verizon or Sprint you may not be able to move your phone to a T-Mobile or AT&T carrier. But, don't panic! There are still plenty of ways that you can save money with a CDMA phone.

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With both CDMA and GSM phones you can still find cheap deals to suit your budget with one of the main networks MVNO's (Mobile Virtual Network Operators).

If you have a CDMA cell phone that is only a few years old, the chances are you will be able to use this across either network as most new phones run both CDMA and GSM.

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What is CDMA?

What does CDMA mean?

CDMA - Code Division Multiple Access - is used mainly across the US. This is one of the main differences between CDMA and GSM, as GSM is a technology used worldwide.

Both technologies fill in the gap when 4G is not available, to make sure you still have coverage.

Another main variation is that GSM phones use SIM cards. Phones using CDMA networks store information, like contacts, personal data on the phone directly rather than a removable SIM card. However, it's not as simple as that if your phone was made in the last couple of years! It may be harder to know if it is a CDMA phone as the latest phones now have SIM card slots and use the GSM network for 4G LTE coverage.

The best way to know if your phone is a CDMA phone is if you are currently using one of the main providers, Sprint or Verizon.

Even if you have an older CDMA phone, you may still be able to unlock your phone, giving you the freedom to save money with any carrier. If unlocking your phone is not available you don't have to stay stuck paying costly cell phone bills.

With deals available on refurbished phones or unlocked phones you can purchase a new phone for half the price or check out a large variety of MVNO's on Sprint or Verizon CDMA networks.

CDMA carrier comparison

TingT-Mobile0GB$10** $5 extra per GB
Reach MobileVerizon3GB$15** $15 Off for 3 Months
Xfinity MobileVerizonUnltd$45** Available to Xfinity Internet Customers
TwigbyVerizon0GB$6.50** 50% Off for 6 Months
US MobileVerizon12GB$20Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM

Best Verizon CDMA carrier

Reach Mobile - 8GB Data* $15 Off for 3 Months
8 GB4G data
$30*per month$45/mo
Powered by: VerizonVerizon

Verizon vs Reach Mobile Plan Comparison

Keep your Verizon phone, number & coverage: Save $465 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
VerizonVerizon 4G LTEUnltd*$80/mo$960/yr
Reach MobileVerizon 4G LTE8GB$45/mo$495/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$35/mo$465/yr

Best Sprint CDMA carrier

Tello - 4GB Data* Half Price for 3 Months
4 GB4G data
$9.50*per month$19/mo
Powered by: T-MobileT-Mobile

Sprint vs Tello Plan Comparison

Keep your Sprint phone, number & coverage: Save $520 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
SprintSprint 4G LTEUnltd*$60/mo$720/yr
TelloSprint 4G LTE4GB$19/mo$200/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$41/mo$520/yr

Which Carriers Are CDMA?

Verizon CDMA Network Carriers

Sprint CDMA Network Carriers

CDMA Carrier Benefits

  • Powered by the four major US networks: MVNO's provide wireless plans on the very same network as the big guys; Verizon and Sprint.
  • Save up to 50%: Get wireless rates up to half or more off the big guy's prices.
  • Customer Plans: You can choose from a range of plans designed to fit your needs and budget.
  • No Contracts: MVNO's give you the freedom to switch carriers anytime you want.
  • Keep your phone: The smaller carriers are typically bring your own phone (BYOP) so no need to change your device or your phone number.

CDMA Unlocked Phones

What does CDMA Unlocked Mean?

When you buy a phone from a carrier, they want to keep you as a customer, so it is normally locked to their network, meaning that you are not able to freely move to another carrier without their permission. At least not until you have paid the phone off or arranged for it to be unlocked.

A CDMA unlocked phone means that you are free to choose a cell phone plan from any provider across any network. There are some great budget-friendly bring your own phone plans available or you can choose from a range of MVNO's

Newer CDMA phones tend to be unlocked, due to also using GSM technology. So if you have a phone that is only a few years old it is likely to be unlocked giving you the chance to find a better cell phone plan.

If you have an older CDMA phone it quite possibly will not be able to be unlocked. If this is the case and you need to buy a new phone, why not buy a refurbished phone? At almost half the cost, find out why buying a refurbished phone is a great option!

Or have a look over some amazing deals on unlocked phones.

Even if your phone is locked to CDMA there are still plenty of ways to help you save money on your plan.

CDMA Unlocked Phone Benefits

  • Save 50% or more off retail: Get flagship smartphones in excellent condition for hundreds less than new.
  • It's great value for your dollar: New phone models usually only get minor upgrades from year to year. Keep your money, but get all the best features.
  • Retain your freedom: Buying your phone outright means you decide when to leave your carrier to find a cheaper cell phone plan.

GSM vs CDMA Carriers

Can I use a GSM phone on a CDMA Network?

Often people wonder if one is better than the other, but it comes down to personal preference.

Due to the ease of a SIM card, if you travel overseas a lot then GSM phones are more suitable, even better if you have an unlocked phone on GSM networks as you will be able to use a local SIM card while you are in that Country.

With the majority of newer phones - within the last few years - they are already unlocked as they run on both the CDMA and GSM networks. This means that you are free to choose a cell phone plan from any of the main carriers or their MVNO's.

GSM phones use a SIM card, which stores all of the phone's data; like contacts, personal data. This means it is easier to switch between carriers, but you may still need to get the phone unlocked from the carrier you purchased the phone from.

CDMA phones store the data directly onto the phone, which means it can be harder to change carriers, if at all.

If your GSM phone is unlocked then you should be able to choose between a CDMA or a GSM carrier.


Verizon and Sprint are the two main CDMA networks and the older CDMA phones will be locked to the network the phone was purchased with.

CDMA phones didn't used to have a SIM card slot meaning that each phone was built to work on that carrier's network and stored information on the phone directly, so if you have an older CDMA phone you may be required to buy a new phone to change provider.

When purchasing a phone it is better to look for an unlocked phone which will give you more freedom to switch providers whenever you need to save money.

But you don't have to worry! There are still some great ways to save money if you're looking for a better deal. You can check out the MVNO's that run on Sprint or Verizon's network, so you can get a low budget cell phone plan but the same great service.

If you want to have the freedom and start being in control of your phone plan, but your current phone is locked to a network, then have a look at these amazing deals on refurbished phones! You could save at least 50% off the retail price for a phone that still has most of the best and latest features.

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

CDMA Carriers FAQ's

Is Sprint CDMA?

Sprint operates on the CDMA network - Sprint unlocked phones may only work with CDMA carriers

Is Verizon CDMA?

Verizon operates on the CDMA network - Verizon unlocked phones may only work with CDMA carriers

Is T-Mobile CDMA?

T-Mobile operates on the GSM network - T-Mobile unlocked phones should work with CDMA carriers


AT&T operates on the GSM network - AT&T unlocked phones should work with CDMA carriers


Rob Webber
Rob Webber

Rob has 15+ years experience in the US and UK running price comparison sites for cell phone plans, smartphone deals, TV, and internet. He loves thinking outside of the box to build tools that empower consumers to make more informed decisions.

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