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How to switch to Verizon: Everything you need to know to make the jump

Joe Supan

Aug 21, 2020 — 6 min read

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There are a lot of benefits to making the switch to Verizon. You’ll get access to arguably the nation’s best wireless network, excellent deals on new phones and extra perks like Disney Plus and Apple Music subscriptions. Luckily, making the jump to a new wireless carrier is relatively painless. We’ll walk you through unlocking your old phone, getting the best deals on a new phone and transferring your old number to your new carrier. 

Bring your own phone

If you want to keep your current phone when you switch, you’ll have to make sure that it’s compatible with Verizon’s network. Wireless carriers run on two types of cellular networks: Verizon and Sprint use CDMA, while AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. Some older devices only work with the network they were purchased on, but most newer phones can be used across all four carriers. Fortunately, you can use Verizon’s lookup tool to quickly find out if you’ll be able to bring your phone over. 

How to unlock your phone

If your phone is compatible with Verizon’s network, you’ll then need to unlock it before you switch to Verizon. The process for this depends on which carrier you’re switching from, but it’s usually pretty straightforward.

  • AT&T: Go to att.com/deviceunlock and follow the “Unlock your device” instructions. You’ll need to fill out some online forms, but your device will generally be unlocked within two business days. 
  • T-Mobile: Many Android devices on T-Mobile come with an app called “Device Unlock” pre-installed. You can find it in My apps & games > Installed. If you don’t have the app installed on your phone, you’ll have to call customer service (800.937.8997) to ask for an unlock. 
  • Sprint: You’ll have to call Sprint customer care directly at 888.211.4727 to unlock your phone. Sprint says the process can take up to two business days. 

If you bought your phone directly from the manufacturer — an iPhone at the Apple Store, for instance — it’s likely already unlocked. Here’s how unlock your phone from the major carriers:

Pay off the balance on your phone

No matter what carrier you’re switching from, you’ll always have to pay off your phone in full before unlocking it. In most cases, you’ll also need to have been active on the network for around 40-50 days before switching to another company.

Activate your phone on Verizon’s network

Once you’ve successfully unlocked your phone from your old network, you’ll need to activate it with Verizon. Simply request a free SIM card from Verizon. Once it arrives, you can activate the phone online. Just make sure you don’t cancel your old service before the process is complete.  

Verizon deals for new customers

Most cellphone companies reserve their best deals for new customers, and Verizon is no exception. You can get some incredible discounts on new phones when you switch, including entirely free iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones. Here are some of Verizon’s best phone deals going right now.

Free iPhone 11 Pro with trade-in

You’ll have to check a lot of boxes to get this phone entirely free through Verizon, but the savings can add up to $1,000. Here’s everything you need to do:

  • $350 credited your account when you open a new Above, Beyond, Do, Play or Get Unlimited line
  • $150 gift card when you purchase any smartphone over $550 with monthly payments. Enter promo code COMEONOVER150 at checkout.
  • Up to $850 credit when you add an iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max and trade in an eligible phone

Free iPhone SE (2020)

This Verizon iPhone deal is a lot simpler than the one above. All you need to do is open an unlimited line with Verizon, and you get an iPhone SE for free — a $400 value. There is a slight catch. The “free phone” is applied as promo credits over 24 months, so if you want to leave Verizon before then, you’ll have to pay the remainder of your balance. 

Buy one Galaxy Note20 5G, get one free

Like the other deals listed here, you’ll need to open a new unlimited line to take advantage of this deal. Verizon will credit your account $1,000 on Above, Beyond, Do, Play or Get Unlimited plans, and $500 off other unlimited plans. This deal can also be applied to other Note20 5G series or S20 series phones. 

Get $450 when you bring your own device

This online-only deal gets you a $450 gift card when you port your number from any wireless carrier and activate your own smartphone. The gift card can then be used in Verizon’s stores, or simply to pay your monthly bill. Unfortunately, it’s only available to customers who switch to Verizon’s Get More Unlimited plan — the most expensive plan it offers at $90/mo. for one line.

Transfer your number to Verizon

Whether you bring your current phone or buy a new one, you’ll probably want to keep your phone number when you switch to Verizon. In most cases, the process is incredibly simple. 

“There’s no charge from Verizon to transfer your number, and your old phone will continue to work during the transfer process.”

Verizon Wirelss

“There’s no charge from Verizon to transfer your number, and your old phone will continue to work during the transfer process.”

The government actually mandates that wireless companies allow customers to take their phone numbers with them when they switch carriers, but there are some limitations due to geography or service area coverage. You can check if your number is eligible on Verizon’s transfer page.     

You’ll just need to make sure your phone (new or old) is unlocked with Verizon’s network and has a Verizon SIM card before you transfer your number. Then, just call Verizon at 800.922.0204 to get the process started. It typically takes just four to 24 business hours to complete.

Which Verizon plan should you switch to?

Verizon’s plans are the most expensive of any wireless carrier on average, but you get some wonderful perks for that higher price. All of its plans include subscriptions to Apple Music and Disney Plus, a $17/mo. value on its own. 

The “Premium Data” included with most of its unlimited plans simply means that Verizon won’t throttle your speeds during busy times until you’ve hit these limits. The Start Unlimited plan doesn’t come with any Premium Data, so customers  “may temporarily experience slower data in times of congestion.” 

Should you switch to Verizon?

Verizon is usually regarded as the wireless carrier with the fastest and most reliable coverage, but this is highly dependent on where you live. It’s worth taking a look at Verizon’s coverage map before you switch to make sure you’re in a well-covered area, but in general, you can expect great cell and data connection. Verizon is also the current leader in 5G, with speeds five times that of the next closest carrier. 

But you’ll pay a little more for that speed. Verizon’s plans are the most expensive on average, and its prices for new phones are also on the high side. If you’re looking to get the best deals when you switch, we recommend AT&T.

Joe Supan

Written by:

Joe Supan

Sr. Staff Writer

Joe oversees all things wireless and streaming for Allconnect, from music services to live TV sites. His streaming service reviews are among the most popular articles on the entire site. … Read more