Most Verizon customers looking to switch to Cricket can use both voice and text services with minimal difficulty. Multimedia messages and Internet services are a more complex issue, with compatibility varying from one instance to another. While both Verizon and Cricket are separate and unaffiliated carriers, they make use of much of the same wireless technology to operate their networks.
Both Cricket and Verizon operate code division multiple access networks, meaning they use the same transmission equipment. This makes them more or less interchangeable for basic functions like phone calls and simple text messages, although more complex features like Internet require further configuration for compatibility.
4G LTE Coverage
Cricket also supports 4G LTE, the latest standard in CDMA transmission as of publication. While 4G LTE is not available in all Cricket coverage areas, supported areas should enable LTE compatible handsets to operate on the LTE network. LTE is primarily a data transmission medium, meaning support is only worthwhile with devices that will operate the Internet and other data-services after being flashed to Cricket.
Unlocking the Device
Unlocking a Verizon device for use on Cricket is a complicated process, requiring several important steps. The first step requires determining whether or not the phone has a Service Provider Code, and if so, changing the code to a neutral code. From here, the phone can be reprogrammed with a new Preferred Roaming List. At this point, it can be activated and programmed with the new phone number. You may also need to activate the phone's NAM programming by entering a special code to access other parts of the settings menu or by dialing a number specific to the new network. These steps are a generalization, as each individual handset will have its own nuances during the process. In most cases, locating a professional is the best way to ensure maximum compatibility with the new network.
Once the phone has been properly unlocked, reprogrammed and reactivated as a Cricket device, you will be able to test its compatibility by trying to use various features, including the Internet. Depending on the compatibility itself and/or the quality of the unlock, Internet access will vary. Available data network options in your Cricket coverage area may also limit Internet connectivity.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Compliance
Unlocking phones without the permission of your carrier may be a violation of the Digital Rights Millennium Copyright Act. As of 2012, cell phone unlocking is no longer excepted by the DMCA, although the practice is only an issue if the carrier issues a complaint. Many carriers can be persuaded to unlock the phone for you as long as suitable cause is provided for the procedure and your account is in good standing. If you can't gain this permission, proceeding with an unlock could be considered a crime and lead to legal consequences.