Tracfone GSM Vs. CDMA Phones

What is the Difference Between GSM and CDMA Tracfones?

Welcome to TracfoneReviewer! This post was originally published in 2013 but updated Sept 20th 2017.

gsm vs cdma how to
Tracfone GSM vs CDMA Guide
Tracfone Wireless is a low cost, prepaid cell phone service provider that uses other major cell service towers from Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and others to provide service.

Tracfone offers two general types of phones - CDMA and GSM. But what is the difference, and how can you tell which one you have, and which one you should get? Get those questions and more answered right here!

What Are GSM and CDMA Cell Phones?

Let's start by giving a little more information about GSM and CDMA:

GSM, which stands for Global System for Mobile communication, is the more popular cell phone standard worldwide, but not as much here in the United States. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM networks for all their cell phone service, and Tracfone cell phones that use GSM run off of one of those two major carriers (mostly AT&T).

CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access and is less popular world wide, but more popular in America. It is used by Sprint and Verizon for their cell phone service, and any Tracfone devices that use CDMA typically run off of Verizon..

So, GSM or CDMA cell phones are simply cell phones that run on one of those two networks.

For more general details on the differences between GSM and CDMA networks visit GSM vs CDMA on Diffen

How to Tell If You Have a GSM or CDMA Tracfone:

GSM vs CDMA tracfone cell phones
LG 505C (CDMA)
This is a common question with Tracfone users that has a very simple answer.

For Older Tracfone Devices:
If your cell phone ends with a 'C' it uses the CDMA Network. An example is the LG 505C. Notice the 'C' at the end of the name. All Tracfone mobile devices that end with "C' use either Verizon or sometimes other  CDMA networks.

If your cell phone ends with a 'G' it used the GSM Network. An example is the LG 840G. All Tracfone cell phones that end with this 'G' use the GSM network, which is either T-Mobile or AT&T. GSM phones have been very popular with Tracfone, but recently there has been a wave of Android smartphones for Tracfone and they all use Verizon CDMA service.

For Newer Smartphones:
Tracfone has also started using 'VL' at the end of some of their smartphones, which indicates it is Verizon - LTE. The Samsung Galaxy Luna Pro (S327VL) is an example.

Some Tracfone GSM smartphones also use 'AL' or 'BL' to indicate LTE service with either AT&T or T-Mobile.

Check your SIM Number:
Another way to check what carrier you are using is to check your SIM number and compare the first 6 numbers with those below:
890141 + AT&T (GSM)
890126 + T-Mobile (GSM)
891480 + Verizon (CDMA)

On most smartphones you can find the SIM number on the SIM card, or with the packaging. Here is a tutorial from Tracfone that walks through finding and checking your SIM card number.

For more on these smartphones, visit our Cell Phone Reviews page where we have a full list including all of the recent Android smartphones.

Should I Buy a GSM or CDMA Tracfone?

This is also a question we get here at TracfoneReviewer quite often. Many people are unsure which type of phone to get, those ending with 'C' or 'G'?

Here is what it comes down to: As mentioned above, Tracfone cell phones ending with 'C' or 'VL' use the CDMA networks of Verizon and phones ending in 'G' or 'AL'/'BL' use AT&T and T-Mobile. Thus, you should get the phone that will use the network that has the best coverage in your area.

This may take a little research to discover, you may want to talk with friends or look up information online, but when you have found which major cell phone provider works best in your area, use the cell phone from Tracfone that will use that network.

Many cities have either GSM or CDMA as the more dominant provider for a variety of reasons, so be sure to find out which will work better. You can go on the Tracfone website and shop for cell phones there, where they will ask for your zip and determine which type of phone you should get.

Many of the Android smartphones Tracfone has released use CDMA (Verizon) cell service. There are a few that also use GSM service. Check before you buy that you are getting the right one for your area.

In some cases, Tracfone may indicate that only GSM or CDMA works in your area, but in reality both may work..

And remember, you can always buy an unlocked smartphone and bring it to Tracfones BYOP program using either CDMA or GSM service. The Moto G5 Plus is compatible with both GSM and CDMA.

In the end, do a little research and you should find which type of phone will work best in your area.

Tracfone Cell Phones for GSM and CDMA Networks

Tracfone cell phones use either GSM or CDMA. Below we will share a list of cell phones from Tracfone organized by which type of network they use. This list does not include all of Tracfone's devices, but many of the most popular ones with newer devices listed first.

Additionally, you can visit the Tracfone website and go to 'Shop' and they will ask for your ZIP code, and then show you currently available phones for your area.

GSM phones - AT&T and T-Mobile
(Limited Android smartphones use GSM)
ZTE ZFIVE 2 (Available on Tracfone website)
LG Rebel
LG Sunset
LG 306G
Motorola EX431G
Samsung S425G
LG 840G
LG 530G
LG 500G
Samsung S390G
LG 440G

CDMA phones - Verizon and Sprint
(Most Android smartphones use CDMA)
LG Fiesta
Samsung Galaxy Luna Pro
Samsung Galaxy Sky Pro
ZTE ZFIVE
Samsung Galaxy Centura
Huawei Glory
ZTE Valet
LG Optimus Dynamic
LG Optimus Dynamic II
LG 505C
Samsung R455C
LG 501C
LG 290C

Tracfone allows users to bring GSM or CDMA smartphones (usually unlocked) to use with their BYOP 4G LTE service. Visit our Tracfone BYOP page to learn more.

There are many more cell phone options from Tracfone besides these, but this is just a sample of cell phones categorized by which network they use.

Take a look at our Latest Tracfone Cell Phones List for 2017 to keep up with the newest releases.

You may also find our recent posts, Top 3 LG Phones from Tracfone and the Best Tracfone Prepaid Cell Phone interesting and useful in finding a cell phone.

We hope this helped to answer questions, and ifyou have any more, just ask them in the comments. Share this with others who also might find it beneficial!

EDIT: For those who might be looking for zip codes that will allow you to shop for CDMA cell phones on the Tracfone website, here is one that worked: 89301 - Ely, NV.

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