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(6,219 posts)
Fri Dec 1, 2023, 12:44 PM Dec 2023

Question for cell phone enthsiasts

I need to replace my cell phone and found one I want to buy, but it turns out (surprise surprise) that it's cheaper online than at the T-Mobile store.

So, if I get it online, is it just a matter of switching the little card (with the phone info) to the new phone, or do I need to take it to a store so they can do whatever? I'm not worried about the apps or contact list, just about getting the phone to work. Any good links to info on this would be welcome.

12 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Question for cell phone enthsiasts (Original Post) grumpyduck Dec 2023 OP
As long as the phone is NOT a Verizon phone RainCaster Dec 2023 #1
Buy it Timewas Dec 2023 #2
got it all in a nutshell stopdiggin Dec 2023 #3
I am waiting on a new IPhone right now True Blue American Dec 2023 #6
How is Verizon different? vanlassie Dec 2023 #4
Differences Timewas Dec 2023 #5
no offense, but for some of us Kali Dec 2023 #7
Non taken Timewas Dec 2023 #8
Everyone keeps telling me I need a cellphone CountAllVotes Dec 2023 #9
On the surface, none of that sounds accurate. ManiacJoe Dec 2023 #10
the whys CountAllVotes Dec 2023 #11
That makes more sense. ManiacJoe Dec 2023 #12


(10,806 posts)
1. As long as the phone is NOT a Verizon phone
Fri Dec 1, 2023, 12:59 PM
Dec 2023

... you will be all right. The phone must be unlocked, or else it won't work either. Meet those two, and you're good to go.


(2,190 posts)
2. Buy it
Fri Dec 1, 2023, 01:01 PM
Dec 2023

I buy unlocked phones on line all the time. All you have to do is move the sim card to the new phone,the clue is "unlocked" which means it is not dedicated to any particular company.Just make sure it matches the company you wish to subscribe to. either GSM most T-mobile, or CDMA US cellular,Sprint a lot of newer phones are dual and can be used with either one.


(11,234 posts)
3. got it all in a nutshell
Fri Dec 1, 2023, 01:09 PM
Dec 2023

a) unlocked - b) running the system (GMA vs CDMA) that matches your carrier - c) slip in the sim card from the old phone

True Blue American

(17,981 posts)
6. I am waiting on a new IPhone right now
Fri Dec 1, 2023, 01:30 PM
Dec 2023

Spectrum customer service stinks at the branches. We ordered online.set next to each other.


(2,190 posts)
5. Differences
Fri Dec 1, 2023, 01:24 PM
Dec 2023

The data speed rate of GSM is 384 kbps using the EDGE data transmission technology. High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) has a data transfer speed of up to 42 Mbps. CDMA on the other hand has a data speed rate of 2 Mbps employing EVDO technology. This means that the speed rate of CDMA is higher than GSM's.Jun 24, 2022


(55,000 posts)
7. no offense, but for some of us
Fri Dec 1, 2023, 01:51 PM
Dec 2023

that may as well be in Russian or Chinese or some language from ancient times.


(2,190 posts)
8. Non taken
Fri Dec 1, 2023, 02:13 PM
Dec 2023

That is the raw description of the differences, it doesn't really fully describe the major difference that I see in them,that is that CDMA is more likely to give you a better connection in rural areas than GSM, at least in my rural area it does. Verizon,US Cellular and Sprint are CDMA and and around here on back roads they are much better. I can stand right beside someone with a CDMA phone and they can make calls while I don't even have a signal with a GSM phone. A lot of the newer phones will work with either system.


(20,863 posts)
9. Everyone keeps telling me I need a cellphone
Wed Dec 6, 2023, 12:25 AM
Dec 2023

Why do I need a cellphone?

I have Lifelife service on my landline phone for $11 a month.

I don't get very many calls.

It appears I will no longer have a car very soon and will have to use a type of transportation where you must provide 24 hrs. notice to be picked up and 24 hrs. notice to be taken home.

I was told I MUST have Verizon service. The cost of it runs into the thousand of dollars unless I give up my $11 a month Lifeline service, then it will be a 3-year contract and about $50 a month on top of it.

Any help at all is appreciated.

I have a laptop. Why is it not good enough?


(10,136 posts)
10. On the surface, none of that sounds accurate.
Wed Dec 6, 2023, 07:21 AM
Dec 2023

While it is possible that there is a company that requires 24 hr notice for reservations, I have no idea what company that would be. Assuming a city of reasonable size, there is always the city buses, official taxis, and taxi-like services of Uber and Lift. Apps on a smart phone make them easy to use, plus all have a website for computer access.

Normally there is no "must" for Verizon. Maybe Verizon has better service in your area, maybe not. All that billing info sounds odd without the details behind it.


(20,863 posts)
11. the whys
Wed Dec 6, 2023, 08:07 AM
Dec 2023

Where I live apparently Verizon is the only cellphone service that works.

They have a store about 25 miles from here and I have contacted then online. The prices online include a 3-year contract with prices being close to $50 a month.

Plus, I need to get one of their phones. Do you have to buy one from Verizon or can you buy it online at Walmart or on ebay? They seem cheaper at these places.

They don't have much of an Uber service here and taxis are scant and few.

There are a few local transit buses available and a service I qualify for called "Dial-a-Ride". It is for disabled people and the cost of that ranges from $3.00-$9.00 for a one-way trip.

I don't understand the difference between "locked" and "unlocked".

What would be the cheapest way for me to have one of these.

It would be useful at times I suppose as I'm trying to go it without much help at all.

The local phone line I have is from AT&T. When you call them to find out what services they have available you may end up on the phone for hours with only to be disconnected. Very frustrating.

Thanks for any ideas, etc.


(10,136 posts)
12. That makes more sense.
Sat Dec 9, 2023, 05:02 AM
Dec 2023

Yes, service availability is a real thing. Where my parents live, Verizon is the only available national provider. 8 miles to the south, ATT is also available.

$50 per month will probably get you unlimited calls and unlimited data. Cheaper options should be available, especially with third-party partners like Mint Mobile, for example. Purchasing the phone is easiest (and most expensively) from Verizon. You can get them elsewhere, like Best Buy or other electronics store. I would stay away from Ebay and other online-only places.

Assuming you have a broadband internet connection at home, you will not need unlimited data for the phone if you do most of your internet usage at home or at other places that have free wifi connections.

Yes, smaller cities and towns will have few ride options. Yes, Dial-a-Ride does has its scheduling rules.

Locked and unlocked refers to how strongly tied to the service provider you phone is. Locked means it will only work on your chosen provider (Verizon). Unlocked means it will work on all networks that your phone physically supports by the built-in radio frequencies. If you buy the phone from Verizon, it will be locked to Verizon until you have finished paying off the phone, assuming you pay for it using monthly payments instead of paying for it completely all up front.

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