Getting the Verizon Droid 2 Global working on USA GSM Networks

So, you got yourself a Verizon Droid 2 Global. Perhaps you had ideas of using it with both Verizon and another GSM provider, maybe one for voice  and one for data. Or maybe you just got a cool phone heap and want to use it with someone who is not Verizon. Either way, you have a problem. Because despite the specs showing that the phone has radios for GSM providers in the US (2G on T-Mobile’s network and 3G on AT&T), Verizon had the phone locked down so that you can only use it with their service within the United States. So what to do? Well, it turns out that a hack was found for the original phone firmware (software/drivers/etc) that the original D2G was released with.

So, provided that the phone is unlocked, all we need to do is restore the phone back to that firmware version, perform an update to install the hack, then get on your favorite GSM provider’s network. Sounds simple right. . . well, not quite. There are a few more steps in-between all that which are summarized here:

  1. Network Unlock the D2G.
  2. Using a special program, restore original firmware.
  3. Reboot phone and gain root access then install superuser program.
  4. Install bootstrap recovery program, then boot to recovery mode.
  5. Install hacked radio firmware file, then reboot phone.
  6. Switch phone to GSM/UMTS mode to use on USA GSM provider.

I will provide more details and files to perform all of the above steps as well as some extra tips. Like how to disable bootstrap recovery once you are done and how to use the phone if it starts up in activation mode without having to actually activate it with Verizon. So, without further ado, let’s begin.

0. Download and extract this file to a folder somewhere convenient (like your desktop). You will need an sdcard with which to load the following files: z4root.apk, bootstrapRecovery.apk, superuser.apk, and radio_update.zip. Just copy them to the root of the sdcard. What this means is that when you connect the card to your computer (either by itself or through the phone), if the card comes up as D:, you open D: and place the files right there. Not in any other folder on the card or any folders you create. Once done, install sdcard in phone (if not already there). You will also need a USB cable for the phone.

1.  Network Unlock your D2G. Easy if you already have a Verizon account. If not, I suggest buying a phone that has already been unlocked. You can take your chances with online unlocking services, but in that case I suggest doing your homework and making sure they state definitively that your phone is supported by their unlock process. Put the SIM card in the phone (if SIM not already installed).

2. Install the Motorola drivers from the provided files. You may need to reboot your computer. Install the RSDLite application. Turn on the phone.

3. Connect the phone to your computer via USB. Wait for any driver detection and installation process to complete. Turn on debugging by going to Settings->Applications->Development-> Check Debugging Mode.Wait for any further driver detection process to complete once you’ve enable debugging.

4. Launch the RSDLite application. If the drivers installed properly, you will see some text in the Devices window (identifying your phone). Select the SBF file (browse to the folder you downloaded and select the D2G29SBF file. Hit Start . Wait for it to finish. This will take a while. Device will switch to bootloader and begin the flashing process and will reboot when it is complete.

5. Once RDSLite says successfully complete, disconnect the phone via USB. The phone should have been rebooted automatically during this process.

6. From the home screen, access settings. If you can’t get to the home screen because you’re at the Android Welcome screen and it wants you to activate the phone with Verizon, then do the following:

  • Tap each corner of the screen in this order from the Android Welcome screen.
  • Top left
  • Top right
  • Bottom right just below the android
  • Bottom left just below the android
  • You may need to repeat a couple times to get the touches in the right place.

Ok, so, from home screen, access settings.

7. Select Applications ->  Check the unknown sources box. This allows us to install applications from places other than the Android Market (like our sd card for example).

8. Goto home screen, open the applications launcher, and launch the Files application.

9. Browse to the sdcard folder. Open that, then click on z4root. This will open a dialog and ask you if you want to install it. Do so. Once installed, the dialog will ask you if you want to run the program, run it. This may take up to a couple minutes to successfully complete. If it says it is unsuccessful, goto home, the applications launcher, tap z4root to run it again until successful (though should work the first or second time).

10. Launch Files, browse to sdcard folder, click on superuser. Install it, then run it.

11. Launch Files, browse to sdcard folder, click on bootstrapRecovery. Install it, then run it. Click on bootstrap recovery. Power off your phone, turn it back on.

12. When it comes on, it will automatically enter recovery mode. You use the volume keyes to navigate up and down and the camera key to select. Navigate to update via sdcard and select it. Navigate to radio_update.zip and select it. Navigate to confirm update and select. Wait for process to complete, then Navigate menu to get to reboot phone and select.

13. After your phone reboots, from the home screen, goto Settings -> Wireless and Networks -> Mobile Networks -> Network Type and select GSM/UMTS.

14. Your phone will register on the GSM network identified by your SIM and you can now make calls to your heart’s content. If you are using AT&T or T-Mobile, your internet settings will be configured automatically for data access should your plan include this. If you are using an MVNO like ATT GoPhone or StraightTalk Wireless, you will need to configure the APN using their provided settings.

15. To disable the bootstrap recovery, launch the application, then click on recovery. Reboot your phone. If it doesn’t enter recovery, then you’re fine and can uninstall the app once the one reboots. If it does enter recovery, navigate to reboot and try again.

16. You can uninstall unneeded apps (bootstrap recovery and z4root) by going to Settings -> Applications -> Manage Applications. Select the app, then tap uninstall.

So, things to know about your phone:

  • Never update the firmware – that breaks the hack and you’ll need to do all this over again.
  • Whenever the SIM card is removed, the phone will default to CDMA mode. When a SIM card is replaced, the phone will default to Global Mode. You will need to remember to switch it back to GSM/UMTS.
  • It will configure APN settings (data networks) from a major GSM service provider automatically. If using an MVNO (a service provider whose network actually runs on one of the majors), you will need to manually configure this to get data to work.

Device will switch to bootloader and begin the flashing process and will reboot when it is complete.

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    • mykehf
    • May 25th, 2012

    I actully admire your vast knowldege on the tech issue am a totally lost am jus wonderring if there is a simple way to do this even for a fee i defenitelly will pay to get the phone working its sim unlocked already

    • This is the simple way. Email me at mr.wee.thomas at gmail dot com and we can talk in detail about getting your phone taken care of.

    • kim
    • June 21st, 2012

    Hi – this is amazing and so useful – and am also lost. I have a dumb question which is we live outside of the US and actually bought these phones without understanding the carrier lock. If I go through this procedure will it have any impact on my ability to use my phone abroad again? Thank you

    • Hi, the phone is actually not locked for use abroad. It is only locked for use with US carriers. So this unlock only affects that part of the baseband. You will still be able to use it abroad.

    • Kumar
    • June 21st, 2012

    Dear Wee, Thanks for the detailed article. I have a D2G which was rooted. So do i need to take care of anything or i could just follow the steps ?

    • The most important thing that needs to be taken care of beforehand is having the phone unlocked. Once that is done, you can follow the steps. Since you’d need to restore to the original factory firmware, you’d likely lose root and need to re-root – but all of that is already in the steps outlined for the unlock process.

  1. Thanks for your comment, however I do disagree. Thanks for reading my post 🙂

    • I’m not sure I understand what you mean. My comment wasn’t saying how I feel people should respond but how I personally respond and why I feel inadequate about it and asking for advice on how I can change that.

    • Canyon
    • August 2nd, 2012

    the program RSL keeps locking up my system im running windows 7 quad core 6 gig of ram i tryed running it with XP service pack 3 please help

    • Canyon
    • August 3rd, 2012

    well i got RSD to work but now the phone wont load up i flashed it with the newest RSD and used the sbf file you provided does it matter if i use 2.4.30 or newer or does it have to be 2.4.29

    • wong
    • January 30th, 2013

    So wonderful of you to post this as I am having this problem now but it’s too complicated for me. Before I switch to TMobile, I got the unlock code from VZN and had the TMobile staff to unlock the phone. She then put in her TMobile card and called someone. The VZN D2G works with TMobile card…I went back after my contract is up and she put in the $30 prepaid card and port my number. The D2G works the 1st day but not on the 2nd day. The screen shows Verizon Wireless… I went back to TMobile and they told me VZN lock my phone. I called VZN and they said my phone is unlock in their system. I would pay a fee if you can tell me where I can find one.

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