Phone Plans

Is MetroPCS CDMA? How the CDMA Shutdown Affects MetroPCS Users

Kyle Reyes
March 20, 2023

The last CDMA network has just shut down recently. This is not out of the blue because CDMA is an older form of wireless network. Networks have almost entirely switched to GSM phones, and many carriers are phasing out their old CDMA models. 

If you have a CDMA phone, it no longer works on MetroPCS. You can either trade in your old phone, pick a new one, and stay with MetroPCS or jump over to a new network. 

There are a lot of affordable GSM phones where you can spend less than $100 on a new smartphone, albeit without a lot of bells and whistles added on the top. 

This article will discuss your options as a MetroPCS CDMA user, some great plans for users looking to switch, and your options at MetroPCS. 

Trade in Your Old Phone

If your CDMA phone has just stopped working with MetroPCS and you want to stay with them, you must trade in your old phone for a new compatible one. You can buy an unlocked phone online, but we recommend perusing the MetroPCS store to take advantage of their trade-in program and save some money. Their program offers anywhere from $32 to $300 in store credit, depending on your phone model and condition. 

New Customers

If you move to a new carrier, you can find another trade-in deal to get some money back on your new phone from their store. There are many great new customer deals out there if you have the wherewithal to search for them. A word of caution, however: don’t let a great new-customer deal serve as the main reason you switch to a particular carrier. They are a great incentive, but since it is a one-off bit of savings, you risk locking yourself into a contract you don’t want or features you don’t need. 

We’ll cover some great plans later in this article, and if they are part of a different carrier, you might get some trade-in deals or other new customer deals. Phone companies love new customers and offer nice incentives to sweeten the deal. As we said, they should not be the main reason you decide on a carrier, but they serve as a fair tiebreaker if you are stuck between two providers. 

Switch to a New Carrier

If you’re ready to leave MetroPCS, there are some steps to take to ensure you make the most of your switch. The switch to almost every new carrier lets you keep your old device, which is ideal for one you hope to use for a while. There are loads of amazing carriers with great plans out there, and we are certain that one will fit the bill. 

Just about every phone plan in the United States works with GSM devices. Now is the time to think about what kind of plan you want. You are switching from MetroPCS, an MVNO with many great options. Are you satisfied with the suite of plans at MetroPCS, or do you want something more? You can switch to a major wireless provider if that is the case. Are you happy with the kinds of plans that MVNOs offer? There are plenty of great options out there! Before we jump into some of the best CDMA plans in 2023, let’s touch on the steps to take so you don’t run into any unnecessary trouble when switching to a new carrier. 

How to Ensure a Smooth Transition to a New Service Provider

Check your phone’s eligibility with the new provider before you switch. That process is generally easy to find on a carrier’s website. Input your phone’s IMEI number, and you’re good to go. When you have figured out your new carrier and have a phone plan in mind, it is time to start the process. Have your current account information on hand when you purchase your new plan. If you bring your phone, have your phone’s ESN and IMEI numbers on hand. Your new provider may ask for other information as you go through this process, and once you go through the first steps with them, they should handle the rest. Your new carrier contacts your old carrier and starts changing your plan while keeping your number. 

You do want to keep your number, right? If not, you are making a new account and don’t have to worry about this! Keeping your old number is nice to keep your contacts and other information associated with that account. As a note, there is a day or so when your phone is offline during the switching process, so block out some time when you can be radio silent without much issue or purchase a cheap prepaid phone with a handful of minutes in case of an emergency. 

Unlocking Your Phone

The major complication that arises when switching carriers is a locked phone. When your phone is locked, you cannot transfer it to another carrier. There are a few specific requirements for unlocking your phone, but a lot of it is pretty standard and if you’ve paid off your phone and been a customer for at least a few months your phone is likely already unlocked. 

To check, go into your settings and, if you have an iPhone, go to cellular and cellular data. If you see “Cellular Data Options,'' then your phone is unlocked. For Android phones, go to settings and mobile networks. If you see network operators, then your phone is unlocked!  

If you don’t see that, then, unfortunately, your phone is probably locked, meaning you can’t transfer that phone to the new carrier at this time. There are some carriers who won’t unlock your phone unless you ask, but that process should be relatively easy. The specifics vary slightly from carrier to carrier, but it all boils down to meeting specific requirements and submitting a request online or in-store. For instance, Verizon unlocks paid-off phones after 60 days. The basic criteria are: 

  • You’ve had your phone for a few months
  • It is completely paid off
  • It was purchased from your current carrier. 

You can search for carrier-specific requirements to make sure you’re good to go or you can talk to a representative to see if there’s something that you still need before you can unlock your phone. 

Unfortunately, if you are set on keeping your phone, you might have to wait a few months if it’s not eligible to be unlocked. If that’s the case, you have to wait until you hit the last of those requirements or get a new phone with your new provider. 

Once you decide to switch to a new carrier, it is imperative to research what plan works best for you. There is no “best” phone plan, rather there are a lot of great options, and depending on what you want — the best phone plan for you. 

Best Phone Plans in 2023

There are lots of amazing phone plans out there ripe for the taking. Once you know what you need out of a plan you can narrow your search to plans at that price point and ones that give you exactly what you need. 

Twigby’s 4 GB Plan

Quick Facts: 

  • $20 a month
  • Unlimited talk and text 
  • 4 GB high-speed data. 
  • No contract 
  • Runs on Verizon’s network

For $20 a month, Twigby’s phone plan offers unlimited calling and texting with 4 GB of high-speed data. This plan is excellent for users who don’t use a lot of data. Twigby’s 4 GB phone plan or one of their other well-priced plans lets you save a ton on your wireless bill. Low-data plans are always cheaper than their unlimited alternatives. 

This plan is designed for users who don’t use their phones a lot, or users who don’t use their phones much outside of WiFi zones. This is our cheapest plan on this list, and while you can get a cheaper monthly plan we like the 4 GBs of high-speed data and their suite of other plans if you want more or fewer data each month. If this doesn't float your boat but it is close to what you are looking for, there are so many low-cost MVNO plans around this price point. These low-data plans are great for people who work from home, college students, and other people who use their phones in WiFi zones throughout the day. 

Visible Wireless Unlimited Plan

Quick Facts: 

  • $30 or $45 a month
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • 25 MB high-speed data
  • No contract 
  • Runs on AT&T network

Visible has two plans, each with unlimited talk, text, and data. Visible Wireless phone plans are spectacular and it is one of our favorite MVNOs for people who use a lot of data. They have two unlimited plans.

  • $30 per month for Unlimited
  • $45 per month for Unlimited plus

The major downside to Visible Wireless is that they don’t have any cheaper plans, but $30 for a true unlimited plan is amazing. Smartphones chew through data. So much stuff goes on in the background, and streaming uses a ton of data on top of that. If you have a limited data plan and use your phone on a mobile network you must be very careful lest you go over your data allotment. That is no problem at Visible Wireless. 

Unreal Mobile’s 50 GB Plan

Quick Facts: 

  • $60/$50/$45 a month
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • 50 GB high-speed data
  • Contract optional
  • Runs on T-Mobile and  AT&T’s network

Unreal Mobile has a tremendous list of plans, but we want to highlight their 50 GB plan on this list. This is one of the largest limited-data plans out there. Things are getting more and more data-heavy, and a 50 GB pool offers a ton of leeway in how much you are able to use your data each month. Unreal Mobile has discounts when you purchase multiple months of their plan at once, making it a more reasonable cost for what you receive. 

Twelve is on the lower end, but the nice thing about this plan is the discounts that come in when you take a contract. Going month by month is $60, taking three months at a time brings it down to $50 a month, and taking a year at a time brings it down even further to $45 a month. 

The $10-a-month savings when getting three months at a time is awesome. If you know you need a lot of data, this is worse than Visible Wireless plans in almost every way. The saving grace for Unreal Mobile is that they have a lot of plans at lower price points than anything Visible Wireless can offer. You can switch from this one to a lower plan and start raking in those MVNO savings if you 

T-Mobile Essentials

Quick Facts: 

  • $60 a month
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • 50 GB premium data
  • No contract 
  • Runs on T-Mobile’s network

Our next plan is T-Mobile Essentials. This plan comes with a fantastic list of benefits at its price point. We have a lot of MVNOs on this list, and the big downside to them is data deprioritization. If you are in a high-traffic area, your data will get slowed down to make way for the major wireless customers. With T-Mobile Essentials, you get to enjoy that premium data for 50 GBs which will never be slowed down and then you’ll have unlimited high-speed data that’s only slowed down if there is an excessive amount of traffic in your area. 

Another big benefit of switching to a major network is that they often have a great new customer deal waiting. Use whatever you can find to optimize your new cell phone plan. 

Your phone plan should let you use your phone as much as you want. Find the perfect plan with Really’s comparison tool

MetroPCS Plan Breakdown

MetroPCS has a variety of plans. The MetroPCS cell phone plans are two unlimited  phone plans and two limited phone plans. Their cheapest plan is $25 a month for a single line and no data which is not as cheap as we want, but let’s jump into the plans they offer and what’s great about each one of them. 

No data for $25 a month

This plan is nice for MetroPCS users who want to save some extra money each month, but it is not priced competitively with other MVNO options on the market. No data plans with unlimited talk and text are often found under $10 a month, and you can check out low-cost cell phone plans on the market for some great plans around this price point. 

5 GB high-speed data for $30 a month

Their next tier comes in at $30 a month and offers 5 GB of high-speed data along with unlimited talk and text. This is a nice and affordable way to get some high-speed data without going unlimited, but at the same price point as the Visible Wireless unlimited plan, we’d have a hard time recommending this over the other options on the market. Let’s take a look at their unlimited plans. 

Three tiers of unlimited high-speed data for $40/$50/$60 a month

Their unlimited high-speed data plans are where their price points shine. The higher tiers come with a variety of extra benefits, like: 

  • High-speed hotspot data
  • International texting
  • Cloud storage

Those are nice, but the unlimited high-speed data is the main draw of these plans. Forty dollars a month is very affordable when it comes to unlimited high-speed data and is at a price point much lower than major wireless networks. With this plan, you enjoy T-Mobile’s strong network whenever you wish. Most “unlimited” MVNO plans offer a limited amount of high-speed data before slowing their customers down, making them much more like limited data plans. These are excellent plans for MetroPCS customers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

To wrap things up, we have a few frequently asked questions around “is MetroPCS CDMA?” We hope that this article has answered your questions on this subject and assisted you in the best way to proceed regarding any device you have on MetroPCS’s service. 

Is MetroPCS CDMA or GSM 2023?

MetroPCS is GSM. You can bring any unlocked GSM phone to hop on Metro’s network. 

Is MetroPCS GSM or LTE?

Metro uses T-Mobile’s GSM network. Your phone is almost certainly compatible with MetroPCS as long as it is a GSM device. 

What type of network is MetroPCS?

Metro is on T-Mobile’s network, America’s largest 5G network. While 5G networks remain in development, customers enjoy high-speed 4G LTE coverage over almost all of the United States.

How do I know if my SIM card is CDMA?

In the About or Status page (depending on whether you have an iOS or Android device) look for a MEID, ESN, or IMEI number. If it is an IMEI number it uses GSM, if it has one of the other two then it is a CDMA device.

Kyle Reyes
Kyles Reyes is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in the wireless industry, phone plan comparisons & advice.