BlackBerry KEY2 and Verizon Wireless

Carrier and Model

This is a very unique accomplishment. I’ve hoped for this moment for a very long time and now that it has happened I am very happy and pleased. The BlackBerry KEY2 (BBF100-2) is fully compatible with Verizon Wireless. I am referring to voice, text, and LTE data. Also HD voice (in fact, only HD voice because the phone has no CDMA capability).

Please note, I am NOT referring to the BlackBerry KEY2 LE. See screenshot to the left. I am referring to the original BlackBerry KEY2, retail cost $650 USD.

BlackBerry BBF100-2 specifications:

When this phone was launched in Q2 2018, it was advertised as specifically not compatible with Verizon Wireless. I tried this myself and indeed placing a VZW SIM card in the phone said “Invalid SIM” and nothing worked. Then in Q1 2019 due to other events I tried a VZW SIM card in the phone again and this time it identified as “Verizon Wireless LTE”. The correct phone number populated and incoming/outgoing phone calls worked flawlessly on HD voice. I was able to brows the Internet and conduct a speed test. I assume that VZW has allowed more LTE bands to communicate on their network, which falls in the compatibility of this device. GSM Arena lists the capability of the BBF100-2 as LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 20, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66. I don’t know what VZW utilizes, but it must include some of these bands.

Unfortunately SMS (text messages) did not successfully test. I was able to send outgoing SMS messages but I could not receive incoming SMS messages. After many hours of troubleshooting, I finally received the definitive answer:

This device is not supported and will not be supported by the Verizon Wireless network. It is not compatible with our network.

VZW Tier 2 Support

I knew the solution was to add the SFO code 83856. This code provisions the network to accept a “CDMA-less device” and allow SMS messages to be received. VZW support could not add this SFO code to my account. I tried multiple times with multiple calls. Every one failed. I stumbled upon the solution randomly thinking about my issue. I borrowed a friends BlackBerry KEY2 LE (BBE100-5), put in my VZW SIM card, called VZW support, added SFO code 83856, then put my VZW SIM card back in my BlackBerry KEY2 (BBF100-2). As of that moment, all incoming SMS messages were successfully received from all tests on all networks.

Now that I posses the knowledge of how to get this phone to operate 100% on Verizon Wireless, it does not seem very difficult, yet it took me almost 3 weeks to become successful. You do have to find a donor BBE100-5 though. Best Buy will not allow you to use an in-store demo (I tried this). I am very frustrated that VZW told me the device is “not compatible” yet it obviously is compatible. I feel like I was lied to. I want to complain to Verizon Wireless management about this discrepancy.

Update: August 25, 2020
I wanted to report that if you decide to change from the KEY2 to another phone and remain on Verizon Wireless, you will need to specifically call Customer Support and request the specific SFO code be removed from your line, otherwise you will not be able to send/receive SMS messages. Speaking from experience!

13 thoughts on “BlackBerry KEY2 and Verizon Wireless”

  1. Thanks for going through the effort to try this, and bonus on actually getting positive results!

  2. Have any improvements been made that would allow this phone to be used on Verizon without the manipulation? I am a novice and unfortunately need it to “plug and play” on Verizon.
    Thank you for your efforts.

    1. I’d contact Verizon directly – looks like unless you have a friend with a BlackBerry (BBE100-5, or similar), you might be out of luck.

  3. Apologies for bringing this back from the died but I’m looking to upgrade to my Key1 to a Key2. Would inserting a KEY1 sim on a Key2 work for sms? How about using a 3rd party app such as TEXTRA?

    Thank you in advance.

      1. Thank you for the reply back. One last thing, is the Key2 international unlock the same as regular Key2 unlocked?

  4. I currently have the Key2 LE on Verizon. I’m thinking about getting a Key2. Will my SIM already have the SFO code 83856, or do I need to call and have Verizon add it?

    1. Hi Liz. I am mostly sure that the SFO code is already added for Key2 LE customers. But you can always call and speak with Advanced Technical Support to make sure. I’m sure the customer service rep will be slightly confused why you are asking for it. But I assure you, it works. Make sure you test heavily! But in the more than 1 year I had the KEY2 on VZW, I never missed an SMS/MMS message. Verizon customer support: 800-922-0204. Good luck!

  5. my LGvn250 is starting to fade out . Is there any other phones out there with a physica keyboard and will work on the current verizon system ? (they won’t let me activate a brand new vn250 that i have )
    as you can see I don’t want/need a smart phone .

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