When you are considering buying that next non-contract device, but still want to get the big name phone, here’s a bit of a secret – you might want to buy a Verizon Wireless device instead of your current carrier’s model. Yes, you read that correctly, the Verizon Wireless model. There are a few reasons for this, but first and foremost, all Verizon Wireless devices ship unlocked. Second, most Verizon phones ship with a global mode now. This enables the popular 850/900 2G/Voice bands for AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. They also include the 1900 MHz bands that are used for high speed data (HSPA+) and even a compatible LTE frequency for T-Mobile. Finally, there is a larger selection of MVNO’s available for Verizon devices since you not only have the GSM world bands in that device, but you also have the CDMA/LTE radios for Verizon as well.
Of course, if you are dead set on keeping your current network, check the bands that it uses before making this jump. When comparing network signal strength in the Seattle area between an Verizon Wireless HTC M8 and the M8 for T-Mobile, we found our T-Mobile signal was about 5% less powerful to our Verizon branded handset. This is probably due to the fact that T-Mobile uses AWS bands that are not active in the Verizon device, but it was not enough to change voice quality or impact our service level noticeably.
Verizon Wireless handsets usually cost about $50-100 more than some of their counterpart devices on other carriers, but the fact is that they do ship unlocked. If you are thinking about getting that new HTC One M9 or Samsung Galaxy S6, you might want to consider forking out a bit more so you can access those money saving networks down the road. Red Pocket Mobile, Page Plus and Total Wireless are all accepting BYOD Verizon Devices now, so it may just be a matter of time before your device of choice becomes active in their system and you can start saving cash on your bill every month.