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Verizon, Sprint or Alltel Phone Broken? Here are Some Replacement Options

Updated on May 17, 2013

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You Know the Story... is the same one to a different distorted tune each time. You dropped your phone. Your kid or friends kid decided to use it as a bath toy. Someone decided that it would make a good frisbee. The dog or cat used it as a chew toy. Either way, the end result is the same. Grief, cursing, tears, howling and gnashing of teeth. To make matters worse you didn't get the insurance (which isn't worth it by the way) or you aren't eligible for upgrade or you just don't want to sign another contract with that blankitty blank blank cellphone company.

Whatever the case or reason this article is designed to help you get a replacement easy.

Network Control

Sadly it isn't as easy to replace a Verizon, Alltel or Sprint phone as say an AT&T or T-mobile phone. With the latter two you just need an unlocked GSM phone or in the case of AT&T to get a GoPhone. With Verizon, Alltel and Sprint on the other hand you are dealing with a locked CDMA network. In non-nerdspeak that means that they have control over what phones work on their networks so you can only use an authorized phone. What this also means is that you have to know how to check potential replacement phones for being compatible with the network you are on.

Look for the Branding on the phone before you buy.
Look for the Branding on the phone before you buy.
Some manufactures make models of the same phone for multiple carriers.
Some manufactures make models of the same phone for multiple carriers.
Examples of this is the Blackberry Pearl, Curve or the Motorola Razr.
Examples of this is the Blackberry Pearl, Curve or the Motorola Razr.

What to Look For

Your first dead give away is if the phone is branded with the network logo. Once you have confirmed this you can then move to the next step which is to look for the ESN or MEID.

Under the battery of any phone is one of these two numbers (the Verizon iPhone has it in system info). Either the Electronic Serial Numbers (ESN) & Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID). The ESN is an older number of the two while the MEID is a newer number. Either way, once you have the number you can call your cell company's customer service and check to make sure it is clean. By clean I mean it was not reported lost or stolen. If either of those two are the case then the network will not allow the device to be used no matter what. If the seller refused to give you the ESN or MSID then don't bother to buy it.

Where to Find Replacements

The places you can buy are varied but here are some places to look.

Ebay - There are a lot of used and new options. Be sure you are not dealing with a person who is selling with a contract. Read everything on the page of the phone you are looking at. Check for ESN or MSID on the page. If not there request them.

Pawnshops - There are a lot of people who pawn their old phones they don't need or when money gets tight. Most if not all states require the seller to give their ID and address and have a required holding period before the phone is sold. All this equals rather safe for you since the ESN or MSID is likely to be clean. Still, check customer service to make sure they are clean.

Craig's List - Same as above. Get ESN or MSID and make sure they are clean. If they are, you are golden.

Just a Warning

Don't get your hopes up. If you want a smart phone like an Android, iPhone or Blackberry you are going to pay a lot. If you get a non-smartphone on Verizon or Alltel and you normally have a smartphone, please be warned you may not be able to retain any unlimited data plan you had before. If this is the case and it is worth it to you it would be best to stick with a smartphone. Otherwise be aware that you are likely to be getting a limited data when you next get a smartphone.


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