Don't buy unlocked OnePlus 8 and Pro to activate on Verizon 5G
As usual with each and every new OnePlus model, ever since they started selling in the US, it would be wise not to get the unlocked model, and try to activate it on legacy CDMA carriers like Verizon or Sprint.
Today's buyers on the unlocked OnePlus 8 have even more incentives to do so, because the unlocked version is a full Benjamin cheaper than the Verizon carrier model. Those $100 in savings come with strings attached, though, and by strings we mean you are likely to miss some, ahem, text messages and the like.
Does Verizon support the unlocked OnePlus 8 or Pro?
It should and OnePlus claims it does, but there are plenty of caveats and misunderstanding in the first few weeks after launching a new OnePlus phone, and that has been going on for at least two years now.
Pro:Here's the fine print on Verizon's network support for the unlocked OnePlus 8 or
How to activate your unlocked OnePlus 8 or Pro on Verizon
If you simply take the Verizon SIM card out of your old phone and put it in the new OnePlus, your account will often default to marking it as a CDMA device, even though that standard is now obsolete. Since the network side and the billing side of Verizon's accounts are often out of sync, the network will register your OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro, but you won't be able to use its features fully unless something is done on the billing side.
1. Call Verizon and tell them you want to activate your OnePlus 8-series on your account.
2. If the rep knows what to do, there is no further action you need to take.
3. If the Verizon customer service is unaware for some reason, tell them to checkbox the "CDMA-less" option for your account.
4. If there isn't a CDMA-less checkmark, they need to run a sync of the network and billing accounts, so that there is a a non-CDMA gear option to check.
Long story short, the OnePlus 8 model at the manufacturer's website is cheaper than Verizon's with $100 for a reason. The Verizon version supports the carrier's 5G mmWave bands, and these need deliberate request from the phone maker and carrier to the modem maker to unleash the respective frequency filters, and to supply a bunch more antennas to place inside the phone.
This not only raises the cost of components that go into a 5G mmWave phone, but requires more testing and certification, increasing the price even further. For that reason, the unlocked OnePlus 8 wouldn't support Verizon or AT&T's 5G connectivity even if you manage to register it on their networks, as the Verizon-exclusive model has mmWave modem built in.
If history is any indication, the situation with the CDMA-less check on Verizon will improve in the first few weeks after the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro release, so you will be able to get text messages and the like on your unlocked OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro if you bring them to Verizon. If you want full 5G network compatibility, though, you'd have to get the Verizon model that launches April 29.