Ask Sourcely: What Is Phone Flashing?


You’ve heard the word, but what does “flashing” mean exactly?

(And we’re not talking about the kind of “flashing” you might encounter on the subway.)

Flashing a cell phone means reprogramming it to work with a carrier other than its intended provider. This sounds a lot like unlocking, but flashing is actually quite different.

The Pros and Cons of Phone Flashing

How different? About as different as the two main cellular technologies: GSM and CDMA.

Unlocking applies to GSM phones only. The process entails getting a code that “unlocks” the SIM card slot and lets you put in a different provider’s SIM card.

CDMA phones, on the other hand, require flashing. And this means essentially hacking into the phone. This means too that if you wish to go back to the original carrier, it will be difficult, if not impossible. And there’s a good chance too that your phone may lose certain features or respond negatively to certain software updates.

Yet flashing also allows you to reduce your phone bill through a no-contract service. That’s why many customers opt to flash their phones; the benefits far outweigh the risks.

So next time a customer asks you the difference between flashing and unlocking, make sure to list both the benefits and the risks of doing so. You’ll have a happier customer–and a happy customer, as we know, if often a repeat customer.

Got more industry questions? Then contact us today.




Nima Jacob Nojoumi

Teen Entrepreneur. Former adviser @GoDaddy. Founder at House of Genius AZ @HofGAZ. Co-Founder & CEO @GetSourcely. Teamwork makes the dream work.