AT&T and Verizon are two of the three largest telecommunications conglomerates and carrier companies in the U.S. (T-Mobile being the third). They attract millions of customers from all over the country with their phone, wireless, TV, and internet services, flexible service plans, a large selection of mobile devices and accessories, frequent special deals, and nationwide networks.
Both carriers offer similar services and devices and both have a large network infrastructure. Nonetheless, Verizon has a larger 4G coverage (it covers 70% of the territory, while AT&T’s network covers 68%) and AT&T has a larger 5G coverage (covering 29% of the territory, compared to Verizon’s 12%). Moreover, AT&T offers higher data caps and slightly lower prices, while Verizon provides higher data speeds.
In this article, we will answer this simple question: ‘Can I use an AT&T phone on Verizon?’, which is a particularly important topic for those who have an AT&T device and wish to switch to Verizon and use it there.
Can You Use an AT&T Phone on Verizon
There is no simple answer to this question. Whether or not you can use an AT&T phone on Verizon depends mostly on the phone type and model that you have. Certain AT&T phones are compatible with Verizon, while others aren’t.
Both companies use their own networks and these two networks, while similarly large, have one important distinction. AT&T’s network uses GSM (Global System for Mobiles) cellular technology or phone band (like T-Mobile), while Verizon uses CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) network technology or phone band. As such, traditionally, AT&T would sell mobile devices that can only connect to GSM networks.
However, many newer phones have LTE connectivity. LTE networks are more advanced types of both GSM and CDMA networks. As such, they present a neutral ground between these two types of networks. LTE networks also offer faster download speeds, fewer dropped calls, and VoLTE calls.
Therefore, if you have an old traditional AT&T device that supports only GSM networks, it is probably not compatible with Verizon. However, if you have a more contemporary LTE phone, it is likely to work well with Verizon’s services.
If you have no idea if your phone has GSM or LTE connectivity, there is an online tool that will help you know for sure if you can use an AT&T phone on Verizon.
How to Use an AT&T Phone on Verizon
If you have an AT&T phone that still works well and fits your need and you wish to bring it to Verizon, here is a step-by-step guide that will tell you how to use an AT&T phone on Verizon:
- Step 1: Make sure that Verizon is the right carrier for you. Compared to AT&T, Verizon has a larger coverage area, however, its coverage is only relevant in your area. Make sure to visit verizon.com/coverage-map and check Verizon’s coverage in all the locations where you spend time. Type in the address or location and the system will tell you if the signal is strong there and which network speeds are available. In addition, check Verizon’s plan offers and special deals and make sure to find a service that perfectly fits your needs. Moreover, check the company’s terms and conditions at verizon.com/about/terms-conditions/overview.
- Step 2: If you are certain you wish to switch to Verizon and take your phone with you, you should check if your AT&T phone is carrier-unlocked. Why? Well, because only carrier-unlocked phones can be compatible with Verizon. If the device is locked to another carrier’s network, it means that it can only connect to that network, regardless of whether or not it’s compatible otherwise. Learn more about unlocking your phone in the next two sections.
- Step 3: Check your phone’s compatibility with Verizon to make sure that it will work well with Verizon’s network and services. See how to do so in the section ‘How to Know if Your AT&T Device is Compatible With Verizon’ below.
- Step 4: If your phone is compatible, inform Verizon about which phone you are bringing and if you wish to keep your number. You can do so at verizon.com/bring-your-own-device by following the steps described in the section ‘How to Know if Your AT&T Device is Compatible With Verizon’ below.
- Step 5: Once your phone is registered and your free SIM card added to your cart, you can continue to select one of Verizon’s Unlimited plans or add a new line to an existing plan.
- Step 6: You can then activate your phone with eSIM or get a SIM card in the mail by placing the order. Once you activate your eSIM or physical SIM card (which can be activated after you receive it via mail), you are officially a Verizon customer that can enjoy Verizon’s services on your AT&T phone.
Is AT&T Phone Unlocked?
AT&T phones (devices purchased directly from AT&T) are locked to AT&T’s network and services. Many carriers (including Verizon) have the practice of locking their phones. This is a kind of security system that helps the company ensure that the customer will continue to use its services long after they purchase its device. So, unfortunately, the answer is no – AT&T phones are not unlocked. However, there is a very quick and simple way to unlock them. And, as mentioned before, you must unlock your AT&T phone before you can bring it to Verizon.
How to Unlock AT&T Phone
AT&T has a relatively simple unlocking process.
First, you must ensure that you meet the requirement to unlock your device:
- Your phone must be an original AT&T phone that isn’t active on another AT&T account.
- It’s an AT&T Prepaid phone with six months of service on the AT&T network.
- Your device is paid off in full or has a paid-off installment plan.
- It doesn’t have a past-due account balance.
- It wasn’t reported as stolen, lost, or associated with fraudulent activity.
If you meet the requirements, you can submit an unlock request. To do so:
- Visit att.com/deviceunlock.
- Press ‘Submit an unlock request’.
- Follow the on-screen prompts to provide certain information (including your phone number and your phone’s IMEI number). Press ‘Next’ at the end of each page, and finally, submit the request.
AT&T may take a few hours or even days to process the request. If you don’t hear back from the company anytime soon, you can:
- Go to att.com/deviceunlock.
- Press ‘Check your unlock request status’.
- Enter your phone’s IMEI number and unlock request number (both can be found in the confirmation email that you received after submitting the unlock request), and press ‘Submit’.
- The system will reveal your unlock request status.
How to Know if Your AT&T Device is Compatible With Verizon
To know for sure whether or not your phone is compatible with Verizon’s services, follow these simple steps:
- Visit verizon.com/bring-your-own-device.
- Choose the device type that you wish to bring (in this case, choose ‘Phones’).
- Enter your phone’s Make and Model and choose the carrier the device was purchased from. Check if you wish to activate the device today and skip waiting for a physical SIM if the option is presented. As ‘AT&T’ is not one of the listed carriers and if you have purchased the device directly from AT&T, you must choose ‘Other’ under the carrier. If you do so, you will be asked to provide your phone’s ID (IMEI) number.
- If you don’t know the make and model, you can press ‘I don’t know my make and model’ and you will be redirected to a page where you will get instructions on how to find your phone’s ID (IMEI) number and type it in.
- Once you type in either the make and model and carrier or your phone’s ID, the system will tell you if your device will work on Verizon’s network.
- If you only wished to check your phone’s compatibility, you can stop here. However, if you wish to place an order, you can press ‘Continue’, enter your ZIP code, and start building your order.
What to Do if You Bought a Phone From AT&T That Doesn’t Work With Verizon?
If your AT&T phone turns out not to be compatible with Verizon, you have the following options:
- You can switch to Verizon anyway but buy another phone instead. You can buy another phone from Verizon (this is the safest bet) or buy an unlocked device that is surely compatible with Verizon from another retailer, such as Amazon or Best Buy. If you decide to buy a new phone from Verizon, make sure to check its special deals and financing options.
- You can continue to use your AT&T phone with AT&T’s services.
- You can take your AT&T phone and instead of switching to Verizon switch to another carrier or MVNO whose services are compatible with your device.
Can You Use My AT&T Phone With Another Carrier?
There are many carriers and MVNOs throughout the country. If your AT&T phone isn’t compatible with Verizon, it is surely compatible with many other carriers. So, with which other carriers can you use your AT&T phone? Well, the answer depends on the carrier. Your best option is always to visit the carrier’s website, find its ‘Bring Your Own Phone’ page, and check your phone’s compatibility with the provider’s services there. Alternatively, you can check it by contacting the company’s customer support service.
However, your GSM AT&T phone should work on AT&T and all its MVNOs and T-Mobile and all its MVNOs.
What to Consider Before Buying an AT&T Phone to Be Used on Verizon?
If you haven’t bought your AT&T phone yet but you are already planning to use it on Verizon’s services, our advice is to:
- Make sure you buy an LTE device that will work on Verizon’s network.
- Check the device’s compatibility with Verizon in advance.
- Or don’t buy the device at AT&T in the first place. Instead, buy an unlocked phone from an impartial vendor or a Verizon original device.
List of AT&T Phones That You Can Use on Verizon?
The list of all AT&T phones depends on which phones AT&T currently offers in the first place and which devices it used to offer.
If you already have an AT&T phone, you can check your phone’s compatibility with Verizon by following the steps outlined in the section ‘How to Know if Your AT&T Device is Compatible With Verizon’ above.
If you don’t have an AT&T phone yet but you are planning to buy one, you can visit att.com/buy/phones and check out all the phones that have LTE connectivity. These phones should be able to work well with Verizon.
AT&T phones that should work well with Verizon include Samsung Galaxy S7 and later, Apple iPhone 6 and later, Motorola Moto G4/E4 and later, OnePlus 8 and later, and Google Pixel phones.
What to Do if You Want to Switch From AT&T to Verizon?
If you are ready to switch from AT&T to Verizon, you can do so by following these steps:
- Unlock your AT&T phone.
- Check your phone’s compatibility with Verizon.
- Switch at the right time – a few days before the end of your monthly data cycle and when your AT&T contract is up (to avoid early termination fees).
- Go to verizon.com/bring-your-own-device and follow the on-screen prompts to choose the device, and the plan, and to transfer your phone number. You can also transfer your number at verizon.com/switch-to-verizon.
- Once you have completed your order, chosen a plan, transfer your number (optional), and activated your Verizon SIM card, you have successfully finished the switch!
The details of these steps are described in the previous sections.
Can I Keep My AT&T Number on Verizon Network?
Yes. You can transfer your AT&T number to Verizon when you make the switch.
How to Check if Your AT&T Phone is Already Unlocked?
Sometimes carriers unlock phones on their own after a while. To check if your device is unlocked, you can simply put another carrier’s SIM card into the device and try using it. If you have service, your phone is unlocked.
Can You Put a Verizon SIM Card in an AT&T Phone?
Yes, however, it will only work if the phone is compatible with Verizon and activated on a Verizon plan.
Can My Non-LTE AT&T Phone Work on Verizon?
Most likely no. You will need an LTE phone.