PRLIf you're on Sprint or Verizon, or another CDMA-based network, you might have heard the term PRL thrown around once or twice. It stands for Preferred Roaming List, and it's basically a way of telling your phone phone where to look for a signal so that you get faster, better connections. Technically, it tells your phone which frequencies to scan and in which order.

Do you need to keep it updated? Sure. Sometimes it's an option in your settings; or you can do it via a phone call. Is it something to lose sleep over? Nah. But knowing is half the battle.

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What's a PRL?

23 Comments

I think that its worth noting that it not a roaming list but a "preferred" roaming list. Preferred by whom? Nobody asked for my preferences. Its the priority list your carrier wants you to use, correct?

And if my carrier has an agreement to share towers with another carrier are those towers in the list? If so, what if the two carriers dissolve their agreement? Wouldn't an older list benefit me?

I'm not saying I know any of these answers. I would like to know more about PRL's and wish there was a site that would break down the lists with additions/deletions from one list to another.

Just a word of advice... DO NOT update your PRL if you're roaming. It will cause serious issues that usually can't be fixed. Don't go by the roaming indicator. Call you're carrier if you're unsure.

It would be nice if the PRL update actually worked like it is supposed to on Sprint. Unfortunately at least for us Epic 4g owners it has been broken since Eclair 2.1 (DI18), Froyo EB13/EC05 and it doesn't matter if your unrooted or rooted. Sometimes it actually works and updates but most of the time it errors out..

i have an epic on sprint and i dont have any issues updating my prl. ive done it about once a month and never an issue

Not so much aren't supposed to, more like it doesn't work that way. Well you can try but the call will end instantly. CDMA/LTE chip doesn't work the same way the 3G phones do. Essentially it updates automatically now.

LTE has a SIM card and is more like GSM than CDMA. GSM tech pushes the roaming info to you automatically. I've got an AT&T phone and have never had to manually update this stuff.

I love this ignorant argument. Exactly how? Other than data speeds CDMA has many important advantages... Superior voice quality, proper cell tower handoff, larger total tower connections, better encryption (GSM has been hacked several times), higher bandwidth, and less radiation to name a few...

Too bad Global Sh*ts Mobile is older than CDMA. And if it wasn't for a variant of CDMA, you wouldn't have your GSM 3G. Since GSM itself is technically incapable of 3G.
Also, GSM has something like a PRL too. Its just that it is auto-updated and you have no option to update it yourself.

whoever wrote this article needs to go back to 101. PRL has nothing to do with speed or connections. All it is is a list of towers from cheapest to roam on to most expensive for your CDMA carrier. I am an engineer at sprint so yeah I deal with this EVERY day.

Can you shed some light on what's going on with Sprint's network lately? I've seen more 1x in my area and a couple other cities (travel a lot) in the last two weeks than I've ever seen since becoming a customer.

as a former sprint employee I have seen the prl improve the tower to cell and back ping.
So it has improved the cell phone actually receiving a call ( not call quality, but more of "I missed a call and got a voicemail when my phone did not even ring") this was at least 6 years ago so i can't say that it is not the same as today's standard.
so it is not actually that it lets your phone roam better, from what I have seen.

and to reiterate, it was never done while the cell phone roamed but I applied it while the customers phone was on "sprint only" network.

Like somebody else said, the PRL has nothing to do with the speed of your connection. All it does is tell your phone what network to connect to if you go into roaming. A update to the PRL either means your carrier has a new agreement to roam where there wasn't roaming before or your carrier got a better deal on another network where there is currently roaming and now they want you to use the new network vs. the old one. It does nothing to your home network.