Last updated by Allan B
CDMA and GSM networks are two types of cellular phone networks and generally if you have a device made for one, it can't be used on the other.
In the US, Sprint®* and Verizon run on CDMA networks while AT&T and T-Mobile run on GSM networks. Ting runs on both.
There are slight differences in coverage depending on which network you choose to use. Our CDMA network has a larger footprint in rural areas so if this is a factor for you CDMA may be the network for you. In larger cities both networks are pretty close to equal. The best way to know for sure, though, is to check our coverage maps. Click here and select GSM coverage map or CDMA coverage map to see what kind of service you can expect. You can also select Let your device decide if you've already got a device and want to know which network it's compatible with.
No matter which network you choose though, you'll have access to voice text, and data (including LTE where available) while using native coverage, but only voice and text when roaming.
International roaming is available for GSM but not for CDMA devices. However if you have a CDMA device, there are still options.
Just about any unlocked GSM device can be used on our GSM network with varying levels of compatibility, but for a device to work optimally on our CDMA network, it's currently best that it's a Sprint-branded device, with a few exceptions, particularly certain iPhone models. If you have great coverage on both of our networks and want some help figuring out what kind of devices can come to Ting, click the links below:
Of course you can also just head over to ting.com/shop and purchase a device directly from us. You're guaranteed that it will be completely compatible with at least one of our networks, if not both.
What's the Same
Your Ting Account
On Ting, CDMA and GSM devices coexist under a single account and share a single pool of minutes, messages and megabytes. At the end of the billing cycle, they appear on a single monthly bill.
Plus, wherever we have both native Ting CDMA and GSM network coverage (and phone numbers available), you can move your number from a CDMA device to a compatible GSM SIM/device or vice versa.
On all domestic services, Ting service costs the same whether you're using the CDMA or the GSM network. You pay the same $6 plus taxes for each active line/device on your account, regardless of whether it's a CDMA or a GSM line.
Pros of CDMA Network
Device compatibility is easier to figure out - With very few exceptions, as long as your CDMA device can make the leap to Ting, then you can expect it to have all of its functionality (voice, text, 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE data, tethering etc). GSM devices are a little trickier and you will need to be aware of what kind of data is supported for your device. A device may be compatible with Ting on the GSM network but not with full functionality. Our compatibility checker will let you know what kind of functionality to expect and you’ll need to decide if that works for you.
More coverage - Currently Ting on the CDMA network covers more area, especially in rural areas, so the chances are higher that you'll be able to get coverage on the CDMA network than on the GSM network.
The bottom line: If you want easy compatibility and you don’t live near a major city, then CDMA is probably the way to go.
Pros of the GSM Network
Better resale value - The resale value of GSM devices is generally higher because more people will pay for a phone that they have more chance of being able to unlock and take to another carrier.
Easier switching between carriers - Most GSM devices can be moved from one carrier to another, assuming they are unlocked and support the required bands. While that capability has been opened up for CDMA devices, it's more difficult to do.
Easier switching between devices - In many cases moving from one device to another simply means moving a SIM card from one device to another. If the two devices take different size SIM cards, you can use the adapter that comes with the Ting GSM X1 SIM, purchase an adapter elsewhere or simply order a new SIM card; we can then move your number to the new SIM card.
International roaming options - While we have always recommended using your unlocked device with a local SIM card when you travel, if international roaming is important to you, then GSM will be the better choice for you with Ting. International roaming is supported for GSM devices but not CDMA devices on Ting.
The bottom line: Assuming there’s solid GSM network coverage in your area, if you want to switch phones often, or even use imported phones (though with limited compatibility), and you want more freedom to move between carriers, then Ting on the GSM network may be the choice for you.