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Can I switch from CDMA to GSM and back again?

Birk Binnard

Active member
Jun 27, 2014
My Nexus5 has a Sprint CDMA SIM card in it and works A-OK here in the USA. (My cell service is actually provided by Ting, but they use the Sprint network.)

Later this year I'll be spending some time in Italy (oh yummy!) and would like to swap out my CDMA SIM for an Italian GSM one. So - 2 questions:

1. What do I have to do to my Nexus 5 to get it to switch to GSM and work OK in Italy?

2. When I get back to the USA, what do I have to do to get the phone back on my normal CDMA network?


Retired Moderator
Feb 12, 2012
According to the specs I can find, the North American version should work in Italy (you may not get highest speed data, depending on the carrier). Put another carrier's micro-SIM card in the phone. If it asks for an unlock code, bring it to Verizon, explain that you're going out of the country for a while and would like it unlocked. They'll get you the unlock code. (They'll probably have to make a phone call to get it.) Put that code in and the phone should accept the card. It will now accept any SIM card. (Unlocking is permanent, even across updates and ROM flashing.)

When you get to Italy, buy service there - pre-pay if it's for a short time, or contract if it works out cheaper for the amount of time you'll be there. Put their SIM card into the phone (they'll probably want to do it), and you're in business.

When you get back to the US, remove the Italian card and put the Verizon card back in and you're back on Verizon. (If you have Verizon suspend your service while you're away - you should if it's going to be for more than a month - you'll have to call or visit them to have it turned back on.)

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