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CDMA SIM unlock

Last updated by Giselle Russell

International SIM unlock for travel

Domestic SIM unlock

International SIM unlock for travel

If you are going to be traveling internationally with us but do not want to pay the roaming fees, this will be the option for you. The international SIM unlock will allow your CDMA LTE capable device to accept international SIMs while out of the country.

Note:  Virtually all GSM devices can be unlocked for international use and you simply need to swap out your Ting SIM card when you get to your destination. If your device is not unlocked, you'll need to contact the original carrier (T-Mobile, AT&T, MetroPCS, Straight Talk, Brightspot, etc.) to complete the unlock process before you travel abroad. Although we can help you request a CDMA international unlock on behalf of our customers, we cannot do so for GSM devices.

 

1. Check if you have an eligible device

  • Does your device get LTE data?
  • Does it have a removable SIM card?
  • Is it active on Ting?

If you've answered yes to all three of these questions then your device can probably be unlocked for international use and you should follow the steps below to submit a request.

If you answered no to either of the first two questions, then your device can't be unlocked for international use but that doesn't mean you don't have other options. Check out our article on international coverage for other ways to keep in touch while you travel.

2. Get in touch

We can immediately request a SIM Unlock but please get in touch a few days before leaving to ensure the device is then prepared to travel, following the steps below based on whether it is Android/iPhone/Windows. If you have multiple devices on your account, make sure to let us know which device you're looking to have unlocked.

If you purchased the device unlocked from the manufacturer then its likely already good to go, but we do suggest getting in touch to confirm

If you've had your device unlocked before you don't need to request this again. It's good to go and you can skip to step 3. 

 

3a. Get your Android phone ready to travel

Once we've confirmed your device is unlocked for international use, you'll want to do the following on your device with your Ting SIM card still installed:

Unlock UICC card

  1. Enable data on your phone
  2. Tap Apps
  3. Settings
  4. System Updates (on some Samsung devices this will be on the More tab)
  5. UICC Unlock
  6. Follow the onscreen prompts

Going through this process should trigger a PRL and/or profile update automatically, but if it doesn't make sure to run these two updates on your phone. They are found in the same System Updates menu. It also doesn't hurt to run these updates again close to your travel date.

If your phone doesn't have the UICC Unlock option, then you just need to run a PRL and profile update after you get your notification email and before leaving the country.

Update network mode

The process of changing your Network Mode will vary slightly from phone to phone, but we've listed the most common pathway below.

  1. Tap Apps
  2. Settings
  3. More Networks
  4. Mobile Networks
  5. Network Mode
  6. Select GSM/UMTS mode (Global mode on a Nexus 5)
  7. Phone will reboot

3b. Get your iPhone ready to travel

Once we've confirmed your device is unlocked for international use, follow the steps for your device with your Ting SIM card still installed.

iPhone 4 and 5:

  1. Connect to a Wi-Fi network
  2. Tap the phone app
  3. Dial # # 873283 #
  4. Tap Call
  5. Starting Service Update message will appear - tap OK
  6. If update is successful Service Update Complete message will appear after about a minute - tap OK

iPhone 5c / 5s / 6 / 6 Plus:

Note:  It is significantly faster to back up and restore through iTunes than through the cloud. Please follow our Apple reset guide if you are not familiar with the process.

  1. Back up your iPhone
  2. Erase your iPhone
  3. Restore your iPhone from the backup you just made

3c. Get your Windows phone ready to travel

Once we've confirmed your device is unlocked for international use, you'll want to do the following on your device with your Ting SIM card still installed:

  1. Enable data on your phone
  2. Go to the menu
  3. Settings
  4. Network Profile Update
  5. Update Profile
  6. Done
  7. Reboot your phone

4. Install your temporary SIM card

When you get to your destination pop out your Ting SIM card and pop in your temporary one. Your phone will go through the process of connecting to the GSM network. Then start dialing!

5. When you get back

  1. Reinstall your Ting SIM card.
  2. Change your network setting to Automatic, LTE or LTE/CDMA.
  3. Run a carrier reset followed by a PRL update on CDMA devices.
  4. If you're still having trouble getting service, back up your phone and run a factory reset. It's not uncommon for CDMA devices to need a factory reset after using a foreign SIM card.
  5. If you still don't have service, get in touch so we can help you out.

What happens to my Ting service while my phone is unlocked?

Nothing. You continue paying your $6 monthly device fee while you're away which holds your Ting CDMA phone number. Your phone is never deactivated with Ting; you're simply using another phone number that's associated with the foreign SIM card when you're traveling.

 

Domestic SIM unlock

Your CDMA Sprint®*-branded device may be able to be unlocked for domestic use.

Note:  If you are successfully using your GSM device on the Ting network, then it has been unlocked for domestic use. For more information about unlocking guidelines for GSM devices check out our compatibility and unlocking guide.

Domestic SIM unlock

Domestic SIM unlock (DSU) is the process of having a Sprint-branded device unlocked for domestic use. This allows you to take your device to any carrier.

The following devices are eligible for DSU:

  • Apple iPhone 5c
  • Apple iPhone 5s
  • Apple iPhone 6
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
  • Apple iPhone 6s
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
  • Apple iPhone SE
  • Apple iPhone 7
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
  • HTC One M9
  • LG G Flex2
  • LG G4
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 5

If you brought one of these devices to Ting and you'd like to have it unlocked for domestic use, contact Sprint or the specific carrier that you purchased it through. If you brought an unlocked version of the device to Ting, then you don't need to do anything.

If you brought one of these Sprint-branded devices to Ting and you don't want to take it to any other carrier, then you don't need to have it unlocked either.

For more information please check out Sprints policy.

MSL unlock

MSL unlock is when you use your device's Master Subsidy Lock number to unlock programming menus so that you can try to get your phone to work on other networks. This is not a process Ting reps can help you with since it generally involves rooting your device.

It's important to note that CDMA devices that can be theoretically unlocked may not work properly (or at all) with other carriers.

The following devices are eligible for MSL Unlock:

  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 5
  • Samsung Galaxy S3
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport
  • Samsung Note 3
  • Samsung Edge
  • LG G3
  • LG Flex
  • HTC One

If you brought one of these devices to Ting and you'd like to have it unlocked for domestic use, contact Sprint or the specific carrier that you purchased it through to have it unlocked.

If you brought one of these Sprint branded devices to Ting and you don't want to take it to any other carrier, then you don't need to have it unlocked either.

 

Devices sold by Ting and GSM devices

Currently, we do not have the ability to unlock devices that we have sold.

GSM devices that have been brought to Ting are generally already unlocked for domestic use. If you're looking to use your GSM device for international roaming we have some options regarding international coverage. If you decide to roam internationally using Ting service please ensure you check out our international roaming rates

 

Carrier unlocking guidelines

Major carriers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular) have made a voluntary commitment to work towards making domestic unlocking the norm in the industry. The principles of the commitment are:

  1. Disclosure - Unlocking policies will be made clear and accessible online.
  2. Postpaid Unlocking Policy - Customers with an account in good standing, with a completed contract (or who have paid their ETF) and who have an eligible device, can have it unlocked without any hassle.
  3. Prepaid Unlocking Policy - Prepaid phones can be unlocked a year after initial activation.
  4. Notice - If a device is locked, the customer will either be informed when it's eligible for unlocking or it will be unlocked automatically. Prepaid customers will be given notice of unlocking policies at the point of sale, when their device becomes eligible for unlocking or via clear policies on the carrier's website. Non-customers or former customers will be able to have their device unlocked for a fee.
  5. Response Time - Within two business days, unlock requests should either be fulfilled or sent on to an OEM for completion OR a response should be sent to the customer letting them know why more time is needed to unlock the device or why the device doesn't qualify for unlocking.
  6. Deployed Personnel Unlocking Policy - Upon provision of deployment papers, military personnel who are customers in good standing will have their phones unlocked.

In addition to these principles, our network partner has committed to ensuring that, as much as possible, devices launched on or after February 11, 2015 will all be capable of being unlocked for domestic use or eligible for DSU.

 

Keep in mind...

While major carriers have committed to making domestic unlocking the industry norm, this does not mean that all devices can be unlocked.

Many CDMA devices that can be theoretically unlocked cannot be used effectively on other networks because they weren't built to do so. Complete functionality is not a guarantee and in some cases the technical mechanisms to unlock these devices for domestic use do not exist or haven't been implemented.

 

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