I need help regarding buying an unlocked phone

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  1. GreatGranny

    GreatGranny New Member

    Hi, I am an old granny but enjoy my tech gadgets. I have won a gift certificate from Newegg and would like to get a new cell phone. Probably the Samsung Galaxy S4 when they become available.

    I am grandfathered in on the Verizon unlimited data plan and if I understand it correctly, I can keep the plan if purchase an unlocked phone.

    My questions are:
    Can I buy an unlocked phone elsewhere but use it on Verizon? And not lose the unlimited plan?

    I think maybe the phones on Newegg are maybe from Europe but if I make sure it says CDMA, will it work ok on Verizon?

    Also, I am not a heavy user of either voice or data. I checked my records and in the last 17 months I have gone over 2GB once, 1GB four times and all the other months have been under 1GB.

    I mostly use it for downloading podcasts and internet radio and Spotify. Am I being stupid and wasting money paying for the unlimited plan when a cheaper one would work fine for me?

    I was reading about Straight Talk plans but got confused. Verizon is just about the only carrier that covers my area and I am not sure they have it.

    I hope this isn't too many questions.

    Thank you for your help.

  2. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    Hello, and welcome to the forums. :)

    To answer your question, at this point in time, unlocked phones and Verizon tend not to play nice. Generally the only phones that fully work on Verizon are Verizon phones themselves due to the closed nature of CDMA networks. If you're going to want the GS4, then your best bet is to wait until the Verizon variant is released. If you want to keep your unlimited data, you will have to buy it at full retail. This will likely be around the $600 mark just like an unlocked phone, but it will be locked to Verizon's network. One common way around this is use the add-a-line trick if you currently have a family plan. If you have a single line account, then this isn't possible.

    Only you can decide if keeping unlimited data is worth it. Some people will tell you that it's very important no matter what, and others would say your usage doesn't require it. One important variable to consider is that Verizon plans to launch Voice over LTE later this year/early next year. When they do this, you phone will use LTE for voice/texting instead of the CDMA. No one knows at this point if this will count against your data or not. If it does, it will make unlimited a lot more valuable; if not then it makes no difference.

    As far as Straight Talk goes, they are an MVNO which essentially means they lease the other carriers' (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) towers. So you pay Straight Talk, but you use one of the main carriers towers for your service. They do have some phones that are compatible with Verizon, but the selection is quite small. Plus you don't have the ability to bring your own device like you would if you choose to run on AT&T or T-Mobile's towers. This this would mean no GS4.

    I hope I was helpful. :)
    GreatGranny and Rush like this.
  3. Rush

    Rush {<>}~{<>}

    Hi GreatGranny. :)

    Welcome to Android Forums. ;) It's a pleasure to welcome you onboard.
    I moved your thread to our Android Lounge area for some better responses.

    Here's hoping your stay here will be swell.
    P.s. The Galaxy S4 is one awesome device.
  4. GreatGranny

    GreatGranny New Member

    Thank you. I understand it better now. Just one more question, you said "Verizon plans to launch Voice over LTE later this year/early next year"

    Do you know if I buy the GS4 when it is available, will it still work when they launch the LTE voice or will I then have to get another phone? Can't afford to do this twice, should I wait and see?
  5. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    It in all likely won't support it, but Verizon isn't going to switch off their cdma towers the minute they activate LTE voice. So if you do upgrade, you would still be fine.
    GreatGranny likes this.

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