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

Looks like it's officially supported now: https://ting.com/blog/device-update-windows-phone-8-device-sale-nexus-s-and-more/ ... 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.

Varun Nangia

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47 answers

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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!

Paul Stevens
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@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! 

Joe Mendez
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@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.

peter grimes
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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?

guillermo azurdia
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@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

peter grimes
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Edit to add:

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

peter grimes
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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. 

guillermo azurdia
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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).

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

Rick DeMiglio
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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-4G-vs-Samsung-Galaxy-Nexus.

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.

Varun Nangia
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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.

peter grimes
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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...

Varun Nangia
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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.

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

Varun Nangia
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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 .

peter grimes
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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. :-/

Varun Nangia
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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

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

Blake Bickerstaff
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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.

Varun Nangia
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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)

Blake Bickerstaff
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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!

Varun Nangia
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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.

Varun Nangia
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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

Casey Bird
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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

Varun Nangia
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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!

Varun Nangia
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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?

B P