We are getting a ton of questions when it comes to unlocking a CDMA Network like Sprint or Verizon and it’s totally understandable. The term CDMA GSM Unlocked perfectly describes the outcome of a successful SIM Lock Removal on these Carriers.unlock an iPhone from a CDMA Network.
What’s the Difference between GSM and CDMA?
The average user is unaware that there are two major different network technologies used for iPhones. GSM and CDMA.
The is absolutely no reason to bore you with technical details since there is only one major difference you need to know.
GSM Networks use SIM cards while CDMA don’t.
This changes where the customer’s information is stored. GSM carriers place user information on a removable SIM card. CDMA Networks, store your information on the iPhone itself.
How to tell if an iPhone is GSM or CDMA
Most iPhones are GSM devices and it’s really easy to tell. As long as there is a SIM slot the iPhone supports GSM Networks. If there isn’t one then you are dealing with a CDMA iPhone. In recent years, this separation doesn’t exist anymore since even when an iPhone is manufactured for CDMA usage, it also comes with a SIM Tray.
GSM & CDMA Networks
Also, most Carriers are GSM. In fact, there are only a few CDMA networks around the world but the same cannot be said for the USA where we have a 50-50 situation.
AT&T, T-Mobile and all their MVNOs are GSM.
Sprint, Verizon and all their MVNOs are CDMA.
Of course, all networks’ primary aim, without exceptions, is to keep the iPhone locked in their services for as long as possible with the famous SIM lock.
What CDMA GSM Unlocked means?
The SIM lock is always applied to the iPhone by the Carrier and you won’t be able to use other networks unless it is removed.
Since an iPhone supports GSM and is unlocked, all you have to do is insert your SIM Card and it’s ready for use.
This is not the case with CDMA since they have complete control over the iPhone you purchased from them FOREVER. You can only change iPhones with your carrier’s permission, and a carrier doesn’t need to accept a specific iPhone in its network.
For example, if you are using a Sprint iPhone 8 but you want to upgrade to the iPhone XS Max, you’ll have to reach out to Sprint and ask them to transfer your service from the old phone, to the new one. If you didn’t buy the new iPhone from them, even when it’s already unlocked, they hold the right to reject the transfer and trust me, this is exactly what they will do.
Can I unlock a CDMA iPhone?
The answer is yes and this is where CDMA GSM Unlocked steps in.
For example, a Sprint Unlocked iPhone will use AT&T and T-Mobile SIM cards and the same goes for their MVNOs. If you want to use Verizon, then you still need Sprint’s and Verizon’s permission to do so.
However, I don’t think this can be a particular problem since 99% of the networks worldwide are GSM. Even the 50-50 CDMA-GSM share in the USA won’t be for long. Rumors have been going around that Verizon will become a GSM Network on January 1, 2020.