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I'm looking around at buying a Samsung Galaxy S5, and learning quite a bit about what GSM and CDMA are while I'm at it. In that respect though, I have no idea what Virgin Mobile is, though I know Sprint is CDMA, and the Galaxy S series, from what I understand, seems to be GSM. Virgin sells them, though, so I assume getting an S5 will be fine. I'm just wondering which one, locked or unlocked, will provide me with the easiest process when setting up the S5- or whether there'll be a difference.

I did read from Virgin's help site: "Your non-Virgin Mobile phone needs to be unlocked to work on the Virgin Mobile network."
Not sure how relevant it is.
(From the last question in the Get Started section, about halfway down the page)
http://www.virginmobile.ca/en/support/sim.html?province=ON&geoResult=failed

  • Unlocked would overall be better except in cases of your phone getting stolen, but whether a device is locked or unlocked will not affect how easy it is to setup. – user161117 Jun 8 '17 at 23:27
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    @beeshyams It's not asking for a product recommendation though: it's asking a specific question about one specific feature. – Dan Hulme Jun 9 '17 at 8:27
  • @DanHulme yep, retracted vote – beeshyams Jun 9 '17 at 8:33
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I'm just wondering which one, locked or unlocked, will provide me with the easiest process when setting up the S5- or whether there'll be a difference.

If you're buying the phone from the same carrier that you will be using the phone with, there's no difference to you. The only thing that makes set-up hard is if you buy a locked phone from one carrier to use with a different carrier: in that case you need to unlock it first.

Unlocked phones do have a slightly higher resale value, because the next user can use them with any carrier without having to get them unlocked. Unlocking a phone from the carrier typically costs in the region of US$10, and you can do it officially (by paying the carrier a fee) or unofficially (in an independent repair shop, or through a third-party website).

There's no advantage to the user of having a locked phone.


To avoid confusion: note that this carrier lock is completely unrelated to the PIN or pattern you use to unlock your phone. It's also completely unrelated to having a locked bootloader. Those are three separate concepts; they just have similar names.

  • So I called Virgin Mobile today, and I don't know whether the CDMA/GSM thing matters, but they can't do anything with a phone locked by Sprint, which I guess should have been my original question. Note: I did try calling VM before buying this phone, with little success, as they seemed to have limited understanding of what I was trying to ask- they kept telling me they could only sell me the phones on their site. Not sure what to mark as answer here. – Casspers Jun 16 '17 at 21:21

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