This guide will walk you through what to look for when purchasing a phone to use on the Solavei network.
If you already have a phone that you want to bring to Solavei, please see our Use Your Own Phone guide.
The Easy Way
The easiest way to buy a Solavei compatible phone is to go to a site that sells phones specifically configured for Solavei. Our partner, Quality One sells compatible devices at www.solaveiphonestore.com.
The next easiest way to find a phone that will work on the Solavei network is to look for an unlocked phone from one of the below GSM based carriers in the USA. You can also use this tool to ensure your phone is compatible Bring your own phone or buy a hot Solavei handset. The reason you need to look for an unlocked phone is that many phones are sold locked and will only work with the carrier they are locked to. Sprint and Verizon Wireless are CDMA based carriers, this means most of their phones will not work on the Solavei network.
Android devices and iPhones "Compatible With the T-Mobile Network in the USA”.
If you purchase an Android, iPhone or Windows phone compatible with the T-Mobile network in the USA, you will always be able to take advantage of all voice and text services as well as the full range of Data speeds (2G/3G/4G) available on the Solavei network. BlackBerry devices will be compatible with voice and text service but not with data/MMS service on our network.
AT&T Branded Android and iPhones
AT&T branded Android devices and iPhones will give full voice and text message functionality and will now give full 3G/4G data speeds in many parts of the country. To see if your calling area supports 3G/4G, check our iPhone and AT&T/International Phone - Solavei Coverage page for the current listing of covered cities. If your area is not listed, don't worry, we are adding areas all of the time and this page will be updated when new areas become available. Areas that are not on this list will get 2G data speeds on these phones.
Example Unlocked Phones That Work With Solavei
To view a sample of phones that are compatible with the full Solavei 3G/4G network head over to Popular Solavei Phones.
Additional Phone Purchasing Tips
If you decide to purchase a phone, make sure to check all of the below items before making a purchase.
- While shopping online, ensure that the description specifically states which mobile carrier the phone is from.
- The phone is listed as unlocked from the mobile carrier. If you purchase a locked phone, remember that it may cost extra to get it unlocked.
- Check if the device is New or Used. A New device is more likely to have a good battery and and be able to pick up a strong signal.
- Check that the seller is reputable and has a large number of positive reviews. Many major reputable online retailers sell unlocked Android smartphones.
- Check that your phone is not black listed (IMEI Blocked). Keep in mind this only works with phones originally purchased from T-Mobile and not necessarily third party T-Mobile stores.
The Phone I Purchased is Still Locked. Now What?
If you find that the phone you purchased is locked, you may still be able to get the unlock code from the original carrier the phone was sold through. If that does not work, you can search the internet for "unlock mobile phone" and you will find many sites that will sell you a code to unlock your phone.
Phones purchased as locked January 26th 2013 or later may only be able to be legally unlocked by the carrier who originally sold the phone.
Choosing a Phone with Technical Specifications
It is recommended that you read through the Solavei Phone Compatibility Advanced guide before proceeding with the below steps for choosing a new phone. Sprint and Verizon Wireless are CDMA based carriers and the vast majority of their phones will not work on the Solavei network. However, some of Verizon's newer smart phones (iPhone 5) are now sold unlocked on the GSM side of the device and could be usable on the Solavei network. If you want to purchase a phone based on technical specifications, it must be able to use the below frequencies on GSM. Please note that BlackBerry devices will not work on our network for data or MMS services.
Below are the GSM frequencies that are required for use on the Solavei network. Please note that there are 2 different sets of frequencies. The 2nd set will provide 2G only data speeds across most of the Solavei network with 3G speeds available in select cities. Both sets of frequencies will provide voice and text message abilities.
Optimal Frequency Set
A GSM phone must have all 4 of the below frequencies to utilize all available data speeds across the entire Solavei Network.
- 850 MHz
- 1900 MHz
- 1700 MHz
- 2100 MHz
Alternate Frequency Set
(Same Coverage as older iPhones)
A GSM phone at minimum must have both of the below frequencies to work on 2G data, with 3G data available in select cities.