This means that matching LTE frequency band classes is the best way to know if a device you're buying is compatible with the network you use. For Verizon, you need to make sure the phone you are purchasing supports any of these three LTE band classes: Sprint supports one band class that is common to Verizon: One thing to note here is that wireless operators use a mix of radio frequencies to build their networks. And depending on which markets they own specific frequency licenses and how they are building their networks, they may not use the same frequency bands ubiquitously across their network.
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What this means for consumers is that if all the bands don't match up exactly, which they do not for any of the major wireless carriers, there is a chance that a device made specifically for one carrier may not work optimally on another carrier. This issue may soon go away as device makers include more frequency bands in all the devices they make.
This has already begun happening with devices from Apple, Samsung and Motorola, which are building devices that can be used across multiple carriers. But for now, it's something to consider when shopping for a new unlocked phone. It's still important to read the specs to make sure the bands match up to the carrier. Getting an unlocked phone that wasn't specifically made to work with Verizon on its network is tricky.
There are a few exceptions.
And some of those are the phones that Verizon has already certified to be used on its network. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the Nexus 6 can be purchased unlocked and used on Verizon. Unfortunately, many of the low-cost devices from China won't work on Verizon, not just because they aren't "certified" by Verizon, but because the technology is not compatible. The LTE issue becomes a bit trickier in Europe since wireless carriers there support different frequency band classes than operators in the U.
The best way to know for certain is to compare the specs.
T-Mobile provides a tool on its website that allows you to type in the serial number of your device to double check. If you plan to stick with Verizon as your service provider, I suggest just getting a smartphone made for Verizon. This doesn't mean you have to purchase it from Verizon.
You can still get a used or refurbished phone that was made for Verizon. You will be able to save some money if you do that.
It's a win-win for you. Ask Maggie is an advice column that answers readers' wireless and broadband questions. If you have a question, I'd love to hear from you. Please send me an e-mail at maggie dot reardon at cbs dot com. And please put "Ask Maggie" in the subject header. You can also follow me on Facebook on my Ask Maggie page. How to watch the Galaxy S10 launch: Samsung is expected to unveil several Galaxy models Feb. Mobile World Congress Complete coverage from the world's biggest phone show. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic.
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