Instant Answers/Community Forums/Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

[How-To] Activate a Nexus S 4G on Ting w/o a "Donor Phone"

Varun Nangia
posted this on December 22, 2012 14:22

Looks like it's officially supported now: https://ting.com/blog/device-update-windows-phone-8-device-sale-nex... ... go read there!

So you have a Nexus S 4G and you want to bring it to Ting. Here's how I did it through the BYOSD program, without needing a donor phone (ala https://help.ting.com/entries/21256192-nexus-s-on-ting-working ). This is because the Nexus S 4G has been added to the whitelist, possibly in the last two days or so. You'll need:

  • A Nexus S 4G with a clean ESN
  • Your phone's decimal MEID (under the battery, or on the bottom of the box)
  • Your phone's MSL (which you'll get through Ting)
  • Some patience (about 12 hours worth).
  • Edit: And you need to meet the other requirements of the BYOD program (inactive Sprint account, etc.)

Here's what I did:

  1. Charge your Nexus S 4G to at least 50 percent. Turn it on and update it to the latest version of Android (currently, 4.1.2). You may need to create a Google account, and connect it to your local Wifi network in order to do so.
  2. Go to http://www.ting.com/byod and select the Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch as the phone you're bringing over. Complete the six step wizard, entering the decimal (not hexadecimal) MEID when prompted.
  3. At the end of the wizard you will receive an error in a red box at the top that says "device activation in progress". This is normal. Call or email Ting support and tell them you need the MSL for your phone while you wait. Write that down and close out of Ting for now.
  4. You can check the status of the device in your Dashboard --> Devices section - it should say either "pending" or "not yet activated".
  5. After about 12 hours (I waited overnight), log back into the Dashboard --> Devices section, and click "activate now". Skip to the last step, 6, by clicking the appropriate box at the top. Click the "Activate" or "Confirm" button near the bottom to continue and you should receive the "Congratulations" screen and welcome email from Ting. If you don't, wait another hour or so to try again.
  6. Go to your phone's settings, and under "About phone", tap "Sprint system updates". Tap "Update PRL" (and wait for it to complete) and then "Update Profile" (and again wait for it to complete). Open a browser and wait for the final PRL configuration. Then restart your phone.
  7. At this point, 3G data, SMS and voice should be working. If it isn't repeat step 6.
  8. Go into your phone's settings, click "More..." under Wireless & Networks, tap 4G settings, and tap the 4G check box to ensure the WiMax radio is on. Exit back to home.
  9. Go to the dialer and enter *#*#3282#*#* (*#*#DATA#*#*).
  10. Touch Edit and enter the MSL you got from Ting in step 3 above. Tap "Others" and then tap "MMSC URL". Tap "mmsc", and replace the existing with "http://mms.plspictures.com" (minus the quotes). Click OK when done.
  11. Press back three times to get back to the "Data Programming" menu. This time, press "View".
  12. Tap WiMax and enter your MSL from step 3 above.
  13. Tap Realm, and then press the physical "Menu" button (second from the left, between back and search). Tap "WRITE Rlm" and enter "mvno102.sprintpcs.com" (minus the quotes). Click OK and back out to the home.
  14. Reboot the phone and give it a few minutes to settle down.
  15. At this point of time, you should have working voice, SMS and MMS, 3G data and 4G data. A good way to test that your 4G radio is working is to make a call and open the browser at the same time: if you can load a page while you are on a call, your WiMax radio is working; if not, redo step 9 and 11-13 above.

I hope this helps someone. I know a lot of us who share the desire for a truly revolutionary cellular service, like Ting, are also those who enjoy getting our unadulterated Android direct from Google and I am grateful to Ting for having worked with Google and Sprint for making Nexus on Ting possible.

I'll try to help as much as I can, but please note that I'm also a n00b to Ting.

 

Comments

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Paul Stevens

Thanks a ton Man...I am now letting it activate itself. I really am hoping this works as all I need is the 100 mins and 100 MB in the plan. This is looking really nice as I already had a good esn Nexus S 4g!

December 24, 2012 16:51
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Joe Mendez
Ting Army

@Varun,
YES!  Thank you for posting the info above.  Very helpful!
I will be bringing over a Nexus S 4G from Sprint to Ting on 12/26.

So happy that we are able to BYOD over such a sweet device!

Cheers! 

December 24, 2012 17:55
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peter grimes

@Varun - thanks for writing this up.  Your procedure is exactly what I had to do in order to get my Nexus S working.  I have not yet gone the next step and activated 4g service, but I'll use your method.

December 24, 2012 22:23
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guillermo azurdia

Quick question! Pardon my newbie-ness, but in the step when you call Ting and ask for your phone's MSL, it wasn't clear to me which phone's MSL you ask for. Is it The new Nexus's MSL, or my current phone's (Optimus S) MSL? Once again, sorry for the newbie question. Also, if it is the Nexus's MSL, how would they have that info?

December 25, 2012 17:21
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peter grimes

@guillermo:

I believe it will be the new phone - the Nexus - that has already been activated on the Ting network. "MSL" means Master Security Lock. Once you have this pass code, you can change the settings as described by Varun above. 

 

II'm wrong on any of this, im

December 25, 2012 17:28
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peter grimes

Edit to add:

If I'm wrong on any of this I hope someone corrects me, but this is my layman's understanding. 

December 25, 2012 17:31
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guillermo azurdia

Just to add some resolution to my dumb question: I just finished the process, and when you have the phone and MSL in hand, it's super easy. Thanks for outlining this, Varun, and thanks for helping, Peter. 

December 27, 2012 13:36
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Varun Nangia

Yeah, sorry I missed this question earlier. The answer is always the MSL of the device you're bringing to Ting (in this case, the Nexus S).

December 27, 2012 22:02
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Susan DeMiglio

I have a dumb question but is phone, Nexus S 4G, different from a Verizon Galaxy Nexus? Thanks!

December 28, 2012 10:55
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Varun Nangia

Hi Susan, yes, the Nexus S 4G and the Galaxy Nexus are different phones - the Nexus S 4G is an older generation phone than the Galaxy Nexus (which is currently available on Verizon). This is a pretty good comparison: http://smartphones.techcrunch.com/compare/108-171/Samsung-Nexus-S-4....

Sorry for the confusion - I know there is an incorrect thread started by someone named Jose Cerna that incorrectly calls this phone, the Nexus S 4G, the "Galaxy Nexus S 4G", and he has not corrected it despite several requests to do so.

December 28, 2012 11:02
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peter grimes

Hi Susan,

 

The Galaxy Nexus is not the same phone as the Nexus S 4G.  It is a newer model:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Android_devices#Samsung

use ctrl+f to search for the word 'nexus' and you will see the Nexus S 4G listed as a separate entry from Galaxy Nexus

 

These names are very confusing, indeed.

December 28, 2012 11:04
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Susan DeMiglio

Ok! Thanks very much!

December 28, 2012 11:07
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peter grimes

Ok, I finally got around to trying to activate the 4g WiMax service on my Nexus S 4G.  I did steps 9-14 as directed, but I still don't have 4G service working.

 

I'm in NYC, and when I check the map for my location on Sprint's website I should be covered.  When I go into the DATA viewing menus, both the changes I made are displayed correctly: mms.plspictures.com & mvno102.sprintpcs.com

And thoughts?

Any other fields I should look at for odd entries?


My 3g stuff is working fine, even after making the above changes.

December 30, 2012 11:12
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Varun Nangia

Truthfully, I've found the NS to be touchy about WiMax. At home in a DC suburb 200ft from an antenna, I don't have service, but at work downtown, 500ft away from the closest antenna, completely fine. Let me spend some time checking my configuration...

December 30, 2012 12:53
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peter grimes
I looked through a lot of the entries in those DATA menus, but I'm not sure what I'm looking at to be quite honest. One thing that stood out to me is the entry for EADS Name. Mine is 0. But again, I have no idea what that means. All the other entries have strings of IP style numbers or binary values and other computery stuff.
December 30, 2012 13:06
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Varun Nangia

Can you type *#*#DEBUG#*#* into the dialer, tap WiMax DM and tell me what the WIMAX_STATE is?

December 30, 2012 13:21
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peter grimes
I got into the debug menu as you described. state=disconnected However, I should mention that when I tried to activate 4g earlier today, at a different location, the phone did indeed connect based on the system settings menu dialogue. I *think* it even showed me an IP address. Where I am now it's not finding 4g when I ask it to scan the network. I can try again when I get home and tell you if the state in the debug menu is different from the state in the 4g settings screen .
December 30, 2012 13:30
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Varun Nangia

Sorry to hear... I'm not sure what's different between your NS4G and mine, but we may need to wait (not very long, hopefully) to get some help from Ting support. :-/

December 30, 2012 13:42
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peter grimes
Oops. I had the WiFi card active for my DEBUG session. Disregard. I turned off WiFi, made sure 4g was on, and the did the DEBUG as requested. State was either Active or Connected, can't recall. Also Signal Quality was 24dB, Signal Strength was -74dB
December 30, 2012 13:45
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Blake Bickerstaff

Not sure if anyone knows this or not, but would this same process work if I have CM10 on my NS4G? Thank you :)

December 30, 2012 13:55
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Varun Nangia

I don't see why not - I think the AOSP-based dialers all use the same setup. In fact, you might get 4G working more reliably, since there were a bunch of patches for the Crespo4G that Sprint never pushed out, but were in AOSP and thus in CM10.

December 30, 2012 14:01
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Blake Bickerstaff

Varun, wow, thanks for the quick reply :) I'm going to do this tomorrow most likely and I'll post about my experience here. :)

Blake (Maitland, FL)

December 30, 2012 14:06
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Varun Nangia

No problems, but given that it takes time for the device to go active, you may just want to start tonight so that you're ready to complete the steps tomorrow. Good luck!

December 30, 2012 17:32
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peter grimes
OK, WiMAX is working now. I don't know why, but it is. Bizarre.
December 30, 2012 20:36
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Varun Nangia

Magic!!

Yeah, it's a moody piece of equipment this, but it is Nexus. If I had the $400+ to spare, I'd get the LTE Galaxy Nexus, but ... maybe later.

December 30, 2012 20:40
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Casey Bird
Varun, Why "select the Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch"? Why not just select "Not Listed" under the "Choose Manufacturer" field and then put in your ESN/MEID? Casey
December 31, 2012 09:09
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Varun Nangia
Hi Casey, the Sprint GS2 seemed closest in configuration to the Nexus S to me based on my research. I therefore was able to more or less apply the steps in the GS2 how-to when I did need to set the device up; I think the only difference was how to get into the data programming menu and that there was a separate Sprint system update section. I don't see why
December 31, 2012 09:19
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Varun Nangia

Sorry, am on a phone right now and can't see how to edit the reply above. 

I don't see any reason why using Not Listed wouldn't work. Give it a shot!

December 31, 2012 09:21
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peter grimes
@Casey, I selected Not Listed and it worked fine.
December 31, 2012 12:22
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B P

I recently BYO(S)D'd a Sprint Nexus S 4g that I got used from Cowboom.  It works great as a phone including its 3g connection.  I haven't gone through the wi-max steps yet, but my main concerns is that the wifi hotspot feature does not work.  Activating it merely kills the mobile data connection, and while devices connect to the Nexus S via the hotspot feature, neither the Nexus S nor the phones connected to it can connect to a mobile data network.  Is anyone else having this problem?  Any solutions?

January 02, 2013 20:36
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Joe Mendez
Ting Army

@BP,
Good catch!
I recently also BOYD'd the same device (Nexus S 4G) and I get the same symptoms.
3G works great.  Then turn on WiFi Hotspot and the 3G data dies.

Will wait to hear what others recommend.
Thanks! 

January 02, 2013 22:53
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B P

FWIW I did previously raise the issue with Ting, and they said it was a device-level issue and that the hotspot feature should work.  I noted to them that the website device option to allow other devices to tether to the phone was not available, as it is for certain other devices.  They recommended a factory reset and provided instructions (and my MSL).  I pasted their full response below.

When I received the phone it was still at 2.2 or 2.3, and I upgraded it to Jellybean after activating it with Ting.  This sequence, and the fact that you are also having the same trouble, suggests to me that a factory reset is probably not needed and that the issue may not be (only) at the device level.  Please let me know if you do try a factory reset--I'm a fan of your work in the Ting Army.

Isabel from Ting's response was as follows:

"The availability of the option to hotspot appears on the account level depending on the availability of it on the device itself. While the Nexus should have the ability to hotspot, the fact that it's not appearing and you're not able to do so indicates an issue at the device level. You might try doing a factory reset on the phone; if there weren't any irreversible modifications made to the OS before you purchased it, a factory reset should bring the feature back online. If it doesn't however, it's because the OS has been modified." (I'm unaware of any OS modifications made to my phone--everything appears to be stock).

January 03, 2013 10:54
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Joe Mendez
Ting Army

@BP, that is a good observation.
I am the original owner of my Nexus S 4G and know for fact that it has never been rooted or tampered with.
You are correct in that the "Allow other devices to tether to this device" setting is NOT available for the Nexus S 4G, but is available for the Evo 4G.
It seems odd to me that the setting is present for one phone and not for the other.  However, they both have the tethering functionality.

At this point, the only option may be to root the phone and install the "WiFi Tether" app.
Let's see what others say.

January 03, 2013 11:18
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Jon Van Duinen

I tried this and when i enter the esn I get a message that the the device is not applicable for the byod program.  any ideas?

I tried picking the epic 4g touch and "other" but no luck.

January 05, 2013 11:52
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peter grimes

@JVD - 

Are you certain your phone had been activated on the Sprint network before?  If the phone was signed to a different carrier - like AT&T, Verizon, or MetroPCS, then you won't be able to bring the phone over to Ting without a donor phone.

January 05, 2013 12:13
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Jon Van Duinen

I got it off swappa so the esn should be good.  It is a sprint device.

January 05, 2013 12:56
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Monte Shen
Ting

@JVD You could email: help@ting.com the ESN number and we can check this for you.

January 05, 2013 13:11
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Blake Bickerstaff

Varun, thank you again for posting this. I now have my Nexus S 4G working on Ting. The only things I can't get to work yet is tethering and Google Voice integration (not sure if it's even possible), but I'll hopefully figure that out soon enough.

Btw, I have CM9 on my phone (4.0.4 / 9.0.0-RC2-crespo4g). Not sure if that's causing any of the problems I'm experiencing as I know you said in your tutorial I should have 4.1.2 installed. I went with CM9 because CM10 runs really slow on my NS4G.

Also, just fyi, I only have to do up to step 6 on your tutorial to get Phone service, SMS, MMS, 3G, & 4G data working.

Blake (Orlando, FL)

January 12, 2013 00:19
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Varun Nangia

FWIW, I hazily remember that Sprint pushed out an update (2.3.6? 2.3.7?) that disabled tethering without their special plans. My assumption is that this is what's blocking it. Perhaps Ting has someone who can go in and manually mark the account as being able to access tethering? I'm not sure how it would be done honestly - I bought WiFi Tether a long, long time ago, and haven't even thought about the built-in netd since. I also have a FreedomPop hotspot from a cousin of Ting's on Sprint and haven't really used tethering on the phone.

January 12, 2013 01:03
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Blake Bickerstaff

Gotcha, yeah I'll give them a call and see if I can get that working too :P Thanks man :) 

January 12, 2013 12:23
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Bruce Osborne
Ting Army

Tethering should work if it is enabled on your dashboard. I have a Sprint Samsung Epic 4G that was BYOD in early alpha.

I can confirm that tethering did not work on Sprint without their special plan. After I brought the phone to Ting, I just had to allow tethering in the dashboard device settings. Tethering on Ting using the stock Sprint Hotspot app now works.

January 12, 2013 14:33
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Varun Nangia

Why, there it is. Thanks Bruce!

Tethering works for me now folks!

January 12, 2013 14:37
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Blake Bickerstaff

Tethering now works for me using the Wi-Fi Tether app with the following settings: "Google Nexus S 4G" and "Netd-Ndc (master). :)

January 17, 2013 22:05
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Varun Nangia

Blake, did you try the option to activate tethering through the device settings in the dashboard (https://ting.com/account/devices, select your device)?

Does that not work for you?

January 17, 2013 22:08
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Blake Bickerstaff

Varun, it's working now! The other day when I tested Android-stock tethering it didn't work even though I had the Ting tethering checkbox checked. But now it works! So I can tether with Android-stock tethering feature now! Loving it!

January 17, 2013 22:57
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B P

Varun--that is interesting.  That tethering checkbox did not exist for the device a few weeks ago (ref my Jan 3 comment), but now it has magically appeared--and I just checked it.  I'm looking forward to testing my stock Nexus S tethering functionality later on!

January 18, 2013 11:07
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Varun Nangia

I think the rollout is slowly happening and I'm not 100 percent sure that all functionality is working. For example, I've been issued a new number that is the recipient of a lot of spam text messages, which is driving up my bill, even though I bought this to keep as an emergency use phone (Sprint's network has so far *knocks on wood* proven to be more reliable here in the DC suburbs than AT&T and Verizon's network). I've unchecked the "receive calls" and "receive text messages" check boxes, but I'm still getting these messages. Might just ask for a new number.

January 18, 2013 11:13