How to Flash a Cell Phone to Another Carrier

By Michaele Curtis

Code division multiple access (CDMA) mobile carriers include Sprint PCS, Verizon and Cricket Wireless. When you switch a mobile phone associated with one of these carriers to another CDMA carrier, it's called flashing the phone. Flashing the phone involves removing the current programming and installing the programming for the new CDMA network using specialized software.

Things You'll Need

  • USB cable
  • Flashing software

Step 1

Backup your phone using your mobile carrier’s mobile backup system. Login to your mobile provider’s website. Open the Backup application and follow the screen prompts to make a backup file of your phone’s contacts. Open the Export application and follow the screen prompts to save the file on your computer’s hard drive.

Step 2

Contact the CDMA mobile carrier that you want to flash your cell phone to and verify that your cell phone is compatible with their network.

Step 3

Download the flashing software and instructions for your cell phone from an online retailer that specializes in flashing mobile phones. Connect your cell phone to your computer with the USB cable that came with your mobile purchase. Follow the detailed instructions that came with your flashing software. Disconnect your cell phone from your computer when you receive the confirmation message that tells you that the process is done.

Step 4

Take your cell phone to your new CDMA mobile carrier. Explain that you have flashed the phone but need to activate it on their network. Pay any fees associated with activating and setting up a new account.

Step 5

Login to your new mobile provider’s website. Navigate to "import contacts" function. Follow the screen prompts, making sure to choose the backup file you created in Step 1.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some CDMA mobile carriers will flash your cell phone over to their mobile network themselves. Ask your local mobile carrier store if they are willing to use the flashing software on your cell phone and how much they charge.
  • When you flash a cell phone over to a new CDMA network, you are often unable to use any features other than the voice and text messaging features. For more specific information on the limitations of your cell phone on a new CDMA network, contact your new mobile carrier.