What does it mean to “flash” a cell phone.
By reprogramming the network settings in your phone it may be possible to use a different carrier other than the one which your phone was originally designed for.
Why would I want to flash my phone?
- Cost-The most common reason for flashing a phone is to reduce your monthly access fees by selecting a lower cost carrier.
- Quality- These lower cost carriers often sell lower quality phones which also encourages users to acquire there phone from a different provider.
- Blacklists- Another reason that people choose to flash their phone is in order to circumvent a carrier “blacklist” which prevents one from accessing the phones native network. Blacklists are generated for different reasons and do not necessarily indicate that a phone is stolen although this is one of the criteria for being blacklisted. Other reasons for blacklisting include past due balances and insurance claims filed on the device.
Which cell phones can be flashed?
Network flashing is exclusive to phones which work on CDMA or Code-Division Multiple Access networks. If your phone comes from Verizon, Sprint, Metros PCS, Boost Mobile, Virgin, Cricket or any of a number of other carriers which are not GSM compatible then you will have a difficult time changing to a different provider. In most cases this will require “flashing” or reprogramming the software on your phone.
How is this different than unlocking a cell phone?
Flashing a cell phone programs its network settings to a specific carrier. If your phone has been flashed to Metro PCS for example that means you will only be able to use the Metro PCS network. If on the other hand you had an unlocked GSM phone then you would be able to choose from any GSM carrier that you wished to use. When you flash your CDMA phone you are limited to a single network until your phone is re-flashed again and once again only to a specific network.
Does flashing allow access to all of the phones features?
Not necessarily. In some cases you will only be able to use the talk and text features of your flashed phone. In other cases most features will be functional but not all of them. Often MMS or picture messaging may be an issue. You may also find that your flashed phone will have limitations when it comes to data speed since each carrier is different. Sometimes a 4G phone will operate at a very low data speed. When we say low we mean similar to Edge or dial up modem speed.
Will flashing my phone void the warranty?
In most cases the answer is yes. However it is possible to flash your phone back to it’s original settings assuming that it is still operational. Also it is unlikely that the flash will be apparent if the phone is completely inoperable. Check with the party performing this service and make sure that they can flash your phone back to factory settings if necessary.