How To: Improve Data Speeds by Changing PRLs on Your Samsung Galaxy S3 for Sprint and Verizon

Improve Data Speeds by Changing PRLs on Your Samsung Galaxy S3 for Sprint and Verizon

PRL, or Preferred Roaming List, basically tells your phone which towers to connect to first. Changing PRLs can improve reception and data speeds, and in some cases even give you access to corporate/test towers.

Because PRLs only operate on CDMA networks, this method only applies to Sprint and Verizon (ATT and T-mobile utilize GSM networks).

How to Change PRLs on the GS3 (Sprint Users ONLY)

Luckily for Sprint users, the method to change your PRL is very easy. All you need is a PRL file (a list at the end of this article explains them all).

  1. Download the PRL zip you want to use and extract the file. This will leave you with a ".prl" file.
  2. Place this file into the root of your internal SD card.
  1. Rename the file "TEST.prl".
  2. Unplug your phone and turn off WiFi and Data.
  1. Now, go to your Dialer and type ##DATA# (##3282#). This will take you to the hidden "Data Programming" menu. Go ahead and hit "View".
  1. Now click on "PRL Write". Your device will reboot. When you are back up, turn on Data (and WiFi if you'd like).

That's all there is to it for Sprint. But that was really easy, so let's do it the SoftModder way and expand our knowledge base of GS3 tools.

How to Change PRLs on the GS3 (Any CDMA Network)

Sprint and Verizon users, as well as smaller CDMA networks (i.e. Boost) can use the DFS CDMA Tool.

What You Will Need

  • A PRL file, just like before.
  • The [http://www.cdmatool.com/Demo/ DFS CDMA Tool (click on the "Download" button on the top-right).
  • Your MSL number (Sprint) or SPC number (Verizon, this is usually "oooooo").

Obtaining your MSL/SPC number is as easy as calling up your carrier and asking for it. They will freely give it to you. Other options include using the MSL Finder app. If that does not work, you are probably on Jelly Bean, so you will need to make a quick call to your carrier.

Step 1: Enable Use of DFS CDMA Tool

The use of this tool requires a non-standard USB connection (i.e. Download Mode, or just DM).

  • Open the Dialer and type in ##DIAG# (##3424#).
  • Click on "Qualcomm USB Settings" and select "DM + Modem + ADB" then press "OK".
  • Plug your device into your PC and go to Device Manager.
  • Locate "SAMSUNG Mobile USB Serial Port" and remember the COM number (in this case, COM5).

Step 2: Load Device into DFS CDMA Tool

Open DFS CDMA Tool. If you are using the Demo version, there will be a small countdown and the app will launch.

  • In the upper left-hand corner, hit the "Ports" button and select the port you found in Device Manger.
  • Double-click the port, and double-click it on the bottom to load your device into the software.
  • Enter your MSL/SPC number where it says "SPC" and hit the blue arrow. You should see the log show "Device Unlocked".

Step 3: Write New PRL

  • Hit the programming tab, then the NAM sub tab.
  • On the right-side, load the PRL that you want, then hit "Write".
  • Disconnect your device, go back to Step 1 and put your device back to "MTP + ADB". Back out of the menu and reboot your device.

Confirming PRL Change

Go to Settings -> About Device -> Status. Scroll down to "PRL" and confirm that it has been changed.

Differences in PRLs

  • 25xxx = Residential acct - LTE/800SMR
  • 24xxx = Business acct (some 3G roaming added) - LTE/800SMR
  • 55xxx = Residential acct - worldphone LTE/800SMR
  • 56xxx = Corporate acct (VZW 3G roaming) - worldphone LTE/800SMR
  • 16xxx = Corporate acct (VZW 3G roaming) - LTE/800SMR
  • 11xxx = Corporate acct (VZW 3G roaming) - no LTE/no 800SMR
  • 12xxx = Corporate acct (VZW 3G roaming) - no LTE/low priority 800SMR
  • 60xxx = Residential acct - no LTE/no 800SMR
  • 21xxx = Residential acct - no LTE/low priority 800SMR
  • Modded_VZW_PRLS - ONLY roaming (be careful, using these PRL's will mean that you will always be roaming)

Play around with various PRLs. Some people report getting the best service on very old PRLs, so really, your mileage may vary.

How to Revert Back

  • Sprint users, simply go to the Dialer and type ##72786#.
  • Verizon users, go to the Dialer and type **228.

Feel free to comment with any questions, concerns and tips!

Cover image from Android Headlines

22 Comments

In step #1, it says that the a PRL file list is at the end of the article. Someone help me: I can not find it!

How do I know which one to download?

what is the file i want for sprint Galaxy s3.

There are several you can try. I am on 56012 (in the 56XXX file) and it's been great.

I can't see a Prl write option after entering the ##data# there's only a limited number of things to click on. Any help? Does the phone have to be rooted?

No, it doesn't have to be rooted, but it is possible that your carrier removed the option. Remember, the "easy" way to do it will only work with Sprint as far as I know.

The latest (leaked) Sprint version removed this feature, and I don't think Verizon had it to begin with.

You can always use the CDMA Tool. Also, if you are rooted, I have something you can flash to get the option back, but only if you have Sprint.

Tried this on my Sprint G3 and that option (PRL write) is not listed anymore.....

The latest update from Sprint (MB1), removed this feature, I suppose that don't like that we can change PRL's on the fly.

Go ahead and flash this. It will restore the "PRL Write" feature.

can i use this for a sprint galaxy note 2 ?

How would I do this on a Samsung s4? Would I have to root?

Yes you would need to be rooted, but you would also need a few other mods that aren't available yet.

I have a Verizon S3 rooted and currently running on an ATT tower since I unlocked. Will I be able to get a stronger signal to where I am not just on Edge data speed all the time? And which process would I be able to do?

ATT doesn't use PRLs, so I assume you are doing this with a SIM card. That's really the only way to utilize ATT, this article is for changing PRLs which can only be done with CDMA providers (Sprint, Verizon, Boost, etc.)

Russell G, could you or anyone else on this site PLEASE help me with unlocking my Verizon S3? I see you said "Since I Unlocked" Could you can tell me or send me the info on how or what you did to unlock yours. I am currently using my S3 on a prepay (Straight Talk) and cant get higher than "Edge" for data speeds because it is sim locked. Long story short we had to terminate our service with Ver. do to the outragous bill and needed to have service do to my wife being pregnant, so any help to do this would be greatly appriciated. Where we live doesnt have internet except dial up however we are in a strong LTE / 4g on all carriers area. Thanks in Advance and hope you or anyone else could help us out. We would be tramendously greatful

what do you mean in the root of internal sd card. and does step one work for boost

Your mileage may vary with Boost, so make sure you have a current backup.

What I mean when I say "root of the SD card" and that you place the file in the upper most directory. On a Windows machine, when you plug your device in, this will be the folder that says "Phone".

will this work with US cellular since they're CDMA?

##3282# nor ##72786# do anything in terms of advancing on to a menu. I am using a Carbon 4.3 ROM on a GS3 from Sprint and have been unsuccessful in updating my PRL for over a week. I need some serious help here.

I have my MSL# and the required software, but can't get my phone's data menu to pop up.

Please help!

Will this work on a S4? Imm using Carbon ROM 4.3? It looks like they are using an old PRL 55015

WAY TO GO ...

Can you please tell us how to get the SPC or MSL ?

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