Verizon switching to GSM and LTE in Canada, Mexico and other countries for global roaming service

Verizon switching to GSM and LTE in Canada, Mexico and other countries for global roaming service
A leaked internal memo sent to Verizon locations today shows that Verizon is closing its CDMA service in Canada and Mexico and will switch to GSM and LTE service in those countries, and in other regions as well. According to the memo, the carrier's roaming service will improve with GSM, and Verizon will be able to offer expanded roaming capabilities in Mexico. The switch will also allow Verizon to offer roaming in 220 countries, and provide 4G LTE data speeds (depending on the device) where available.

After the CDMA service is retired, CDMA voice calls, texts and data services will no longer work in affected countries. No precise date is listed on the memo, although it does say that the switch will take place later this year. Those roaming in Canada will only be able to achieve 2G speeds on CDMA starting next month and until the CDMA service is retired in that country.

Verizon is making the switch in response to changes being made by global carriers. Many are retiring CDMA networks, forcing Verizon to make this change for its customers roaming in other countries.

Thanks for the tip!



1. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

AH! The beginning of the death of CDMA.....I wonder how long it will take them to make the switch here in the US....

2. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Good riddance, CDMA! The US being the US, with such an uncompetitive mobile market dominated by a duopoly, it'll still linger on, since efficiency and quality of service matter little when the consumer may be exploited with hefty charges.

3. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

I'm sure with Verizon, a couple years. They realize, if they do, we don't need to purchase handsets uniquely to them; we can all buy bargain price devices.

5. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

They will just go straight to VoLTE / LTE data. Notice how the change is only taking place in regions where VoLTE does not exist yet. Verizon does not offer native service in Mexico or Canada, they rely on roaming partners and they get more favorable rates when roaming on GSM than CDMA. CDMA voice and 3G data used by Verizon and Sprint in the U.S. Won't be phased out anytime soon, far too many consumers and M2M business customers rely on it and for M2M in particular, 2G and 3G data is usually more than enough, depending on application.

8. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Actually Verizon has commented many times in the past that their CDMA network is to go dark in 2021....Point being that LTE is a next gen GSM network, both are compatible to a point in the fact that if one were using VoLTE on a network backed by GSM then VoLTE can be dropped to GSM with out dropping the call...Where as an LTE/CDMA network there is no technical way to produce a handshake between LTE and CDMA, meaning when you lose VoLTE signal then you lose the call...While I understand that VZW is shooting for a pure LTE network I would think that they would convert some of their spectrum holdings in congested markets in order to keep the quality of service that their customers are accustom to...But that's just my thoughts on the subject...

9. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

While it was originally reported that Verizon would shut down the CDMA network in 2021, it was later updated that they would not have a definitive date due to how many customers still depend on it. It will be a slow gradual process once VoLTE is reliable enough nationwide which will take years.

16. andynaija

Posts: 1265; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

What's M2M?

17. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

M2M, if it is a Verizon reference, would be Mobile to Mobile.

19. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

I was referring to machine to machine (M2M) which is an industry wide term to connected business devices that are not phones, tablets or air cards. Devices like vending machines that accept credit cards, utility meters, connected cars, etc. It's what they now refer to as the Internet of Things where just about every machine (thing) is connected to the Internet. Sprint and Verizon have huge M2M businesses relying on 2G and 3G CDMA.

4. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

So what exactly is the difference between CDMA, GSM, and LTE?

6. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Different technologies, CDMA was developed by Qualcomm as a more secure alternative to GSM. GSM was already deployed globally and Many operators were not about to switch their entire networks to a different technology, as such, there are far fewer less CDMA providers making GSM the global standard. Additionally, GSM offers the convenience of being able to swap devices by SIM cards. That being said, many devices today include modems and radios that support a ton of technologies and bands which is why all new Sprint and Verizon LTE devices use a SIM card and can roam globally on GSM networks. As mentioned above, in the U.S. And many other countries this will not matter as most carriers are moving to all data LTE / VoLTE.

7. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I get it now :)

10. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Good CDMA sucks

13. vacillantfall

Posts: 13; Member since: Jun 17, 2015

Says CDMA sucks but Verizon is the biggest carrier in the U.S. and it runs off CDMA. Ok bro

14. TerryTerius unregistered

What does size have to do with anything? Are you arguing that Comcast is the best cable company in America? That Nike and Adidas make the best sneakers in the world? That Toyota makes the best cars? No. Size and quality of product or service are two completely different things.

20. justForTheRecord

Posts: 51; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

Actually many would argue that size begats quality ... or at least the ability to achieve quality product. As for Nike and Adidas, many would say they produce a quality product. And Toyota? Seriously. Honda and Toyota are like the benchmark in automotive quality. Oh, the car poll lovers may claim otherwise but in day-to-day rubber-hits-the-ground quality, it's still Honda and Toyota. Over the past 40+ years I've owned and driven nearly every make including a few you've never heard of. The two Honda Accord's in that collection were by far the most reliable and inexpensive to operate of the lot. My brother and parents had the same experience with their Toyota Camry's. My GM products have been the worst if anyone cares and that includes two Cadillacs, an Impala, and a NUMMI (I know, ironic, eh). Currently in the middle is my Suzuki XL-7; one of the most fun cars to drive ever but suffers from some idiotic design choices (cruise control position comes to mind) and extremely bad marketing decisions (eg, failing to acknowledge the very, very fragile air conditioning compressor) coupled with arrogant customer service is what sunk the line; not the actual vehicle as it has otherwise been great to own and operate. But now we digress ... LOL

11. Omarc07

Posts: 574; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

Gsm roaming already works on mexico with verizon it has for a few months ,i was in san ysidro still on the US side a few weeks ago my verizon work phone was switching back between "Verizon wireless" ,"Telcel " I still hadnt even crossed into TJ , Once i did i got verizon for a while then as i went in deeper it switched to Cdma roaming on Iusacell no more gsm TELCEL ,gsm roaming only worked close to the border and a bit in Hermosillo i was on iusacell cdma all the way to mexicali ,once i went to Hermosillo my Droid Turbo switched and stood on TELCEL 3G no lte only 3G ,on about phone it said it was on hspa+

15. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2267; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

GSM rules the world and Verizon is catching on..

18. tokuzumi

Posts: 1961; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I will welcome the death of CDMA. This will mean Verizon will be like a traditional GSM carrier, and I can buy unlocked phones, and use them on the network that offers me the best deal/coverage.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless