If you’re looking to switch phone carriers to save some money, get better coverage, or to join a plan with other family members, you may be worried about having to buy a new phone to go with your new network. The good news is, you can likely put that worry to rest. If your current phone is compatible with the network you want to switch to, and if it’s “unlocked” from your current carrier, you can easily bring your own phone to a new network.
Here’s how to switch phone carriers and keep your phone.
- Check to see if your phone will work on the new network.
Most cellular networks will have information on their websites about which phones are compatible with their service. A quick way to tell if your phone can come with you is to check whether it has a SIM card. If it does, you can most likely take it to any network. A store representative can show you how to remove a SIM card from your phone, or you can try it on your own using a bent paperclip to release the SIM card tray. Phones without a SIM card are called CDMA phones, and switching these devices to a new carrier may be more difficult. Learn more about SIM cards and CDMA phones.
If you are moving to Xfinity Mobile and have an iPhone, you can “BYOD,” or bring your own device.
- Determine whether your phone is unlocked.
No matter which type of phone you have, it may be locked to your carrier, which means it won’t work with another carrier until it’s unlocked. While carriers are now legally required to unlock phones, they can keep them locked until you’ve paid off your phone. So, if you bought and paid for your phone through your carrier it can be unlocked, but if you have one that’s not yet paid off, you’ll need to fork over the rest of the cash before you can switch. (Keep in mind that you may also have to pay your current network an early termination fee.)
Your new carrier will be able to help you determine your phone’s status (pop into an Xfinity store to have someone help you). However, you’ll have to contact your current carrier to unlock it.
- Connect to your new network.
Once your phone is unlocked and you know it’s compatible with your new carrier, it’s easy to switch. If your phone has a SIM card, remove the old card and insert one from your new carrier. Follow the steps on your phone to set it up. If you don’t have a SIM card, you’ll most likely need to take it to a store or call customer support to go through the steps needed to switch.
You’ll need to reset your phone to its factory settings in order to erase all of your original carrier’s settings, so be sure to make a backup of your phone that you can use to restore your phone later.
Now you can keep the trusty device you love and get started with a new plan of your choice. Check out these new mobile plans to find one that’s right for you.