How to Switch an iPhone from Verizon to AT&T

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by epirnik, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. epirnik macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2012

    This is my first time posting. Hope someone might be able to offer some insights into what I think is a simple question.

    I received an old iPhone 4 from a family member who had lost theres, purchased a new one, and then found the old phone about a month later.

    This old phone was on the Verizon network however, I am an AT&T customer.

    Can someone tell me what the process would be to switch the phone from Verizon service to my AT&T account? Is this something I can do on my own or do I have to go into an Apple Store and may a small fee?

    Many thanks,
  2. braddick macrumors 68040


    Jun 28, 2009
    Encinitas, CA
    I think the only way is to sell the Verizon iPhone and purchase an AT&T with the proceeds.
    Verizon iPhones can also be flashed with Cricket.
  3. epirnik thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2012
    Switching Phones

    So the phones have inherent programming or hardware that is specific to the service provider? Sheesh, that just sounds silly (not doubting you, just think it's rather obtuse). I would have thought that the phone funtioned like any other piece of hardware - and that either ATT or Verizon could be used with it.


  4. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    iPhone 4 had either specific GSM celluar transceiver (for ATT) or a CDMA cellular transceiver (for Verizon). The hardware circuits are different and specific in each. When iPhone 4 was originally created, it was ATT only, GSM was all that was necessary.

    You can transfer a GSM/ATT iPhone4 to TMobile, but due to frequency compatibility limitations, you'll be restricted to EDGE.

    The iPhone 4S has a cellular transceiver that can do both GSM and CDMA and more frequency bands, and can in theory jump carriers. This is a relatively new capability in general, market-wide.
  5. Kyotoma macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2010
    Carnegie and Ontario
    Even if the iPhone 4 could theoretically do this(the iPhone 4S definitely can), each US carrier(and some but not all foreign carriers) reserves their right to lock the iPhone that they sell to their network and their network only.
  6. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    To my knowledge, even though the *hardware* on the Verizon iPhone 4S is capable of communicating with CDMA2000 (Verizon) and UMTS networks (AT&T)....

    The radio firmware loaded onto the Verizon variant does not. I am not 100% certain of this, but I think it would take more than a simple carrier unlock. You should check the jailbreaking forums for better information.
  7. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    It's like asking if the DSL modem your uncle gave you could be used with your Comcast cable internet. Sure, to the end user, it has the same functionality, but the inherent tech behind it is different.
  8. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Specs can always be found at:

    Note that the GSM and CDMA versions support different network techs and different bands.

    Assuming that "any piece of hardware" works on both carriers is silly. Some devices support both carriers, some do not. Specs are always available from the manufacturers' sites. Do not operate on assumption.

    OP is asking about the 4, not the 4s.
  9. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    The 4s can do this but do to legal reasons is locked to Verizon's CDMA network. If it was purchased from an apple store and is unlocked then it might work.

    Unfortunately the tech in the op's 4 does not support this so it won't work even if it was allowed by the network.

    Only options are to sell it and get an AT&T iPhone like mentioned or even trade someone. Or switch to Verizon who has amazing coverage but has fairly slow 3G data speeds.

    I have Verizon but if you are happy with AT&T data coverage in the area you use the phone I'd stick with them.

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