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CDMA SIM Unlock

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Last updated by Isabel M

International SIM Unlock for Travel

If you have a CDMA device on Ting and you're going to be traveling internationally in an area where a GSM network is used, follow the steps below to make an international SIM unlock request.

As we are currently unable to offer International roaming on the CDMA network the purpose of this unlock is to allow you to use a SIM card from another carrier. This means finding and purchasing service outside of Ting, and using a completely different phone number than your Ting number.

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 this article 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:

I. 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.

II. 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.

  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 click here.

 

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
  • HTC One M9
  • LG G Flex2
  • LG G4
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

If you have 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've brought an unlocked version of the device to Ting, then you don't need to do anything.

If you've 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.

 

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 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 have 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've 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 unlocked for international use, click here for more information and here for the 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.

 

Have more questions? Submit a request

Comments

  • Avatar
    baby gal

    Great... Even i got my phone unlocked using unlock code that was purchased from a vendor online called <link removed> for international use.This is one way around of unlocking using such code

  • Avatar
    Evan Green

    Hi, i just want to make sure i'm 100% clear on the details here. i have TIng, and use a samsung galaxy note 3. i'll be travelling to London... i can request an international SIM unlock, and pending approval, have my current phone unlocked, and just buy a SIM card while i'm in London to use in my Samsung, and it should work? 

    (i've never traveled internationally before, just want to make sure i have all my ducks in a row before heading over there!)

  • Avatar
    Renny M

    Hi Evan,

    You are correct! Keep in mind that you should allow at least  3-4 business days for your device to be unlocked. Contact our support team once you are ready to start the process.

  • Avatar
    Afram Kirmiz

    Hi Ting!  My LG G2 international SIM unlock was done super quick--within a couple hours of requesting, I was very surprised at how quick it was.  I have yet to travel though, so I haven't verified it yet.  But I'm curious about this bit of news I came across: 

    http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/22/sprint-us-unlock-in-2015/

     Allegedly Sprint is going to start allowing domestic SIM unlocking in 2015.  Can Ting comment on this?  i.e., has anyone there heard about this?  If so, I assume any compatible device could be unlocked, assuming it has a clean MSL, would work.  Is it proper to assume the same devices that are able to be international unlocked could also be domestic unlocked?  Not that I plan to leave Ting, but it would be nice to have the ability of an unlocked phone should it be convenient (and also, the resale value of phones are much better when not CDMA-locked in the US).

  • Avatar
    Brennan V

    Hey Afram!  

    We definitely have heard. It'll be important for us to see the details of how the process will work (since we're ultimately dependent on the rules that the big carriers and the industry roll out), but we're hopeful. The unfortunate thing is that it appears the new rules will only apply to devices that go on sale after February 2015. Essentially, that means any current device now will only be able to be unlocked for international roaming (as opposed to domestic use). Still, we're mostly speculating at this point, but our fingers are crossed that the process is clean cut and clear. We think domestic unlocking should have a low barrier of entry and be customer friendly for both new and existing Ting customers.

  • Avatar
    Afram Kirmiz

    Thanks for the response!

    Oh, that's disappointing, I didn't understand from the story that the policy is only for devices sold after feb 2015 vs. unlocking can be accomplished on any device after feb 2015.  Oh well... Thanks guys!

  • Avatar
    Yuexin Cao

    If I buy motox and get sim unlocked, can I use it abroad for txt data and call? Any country?

  • Avatar
    Yuexin Cao

    Does HTC M7 ever going to have data available in Asian countries?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Ting only has voice roaming service in countries that have CDMA carrier partners.See https://ting.com/outside_usa for their surcharge rates (inaddition to the normal usage rate).

    If the phone is SIM unlocked, you will be limited to the capabilities of the device, I assume. I have traveled to Canada with several Ting devices without issue as long as the dashboard device settings and the phone settings were set to allow International roaming.

  • Avatar
    Felipe S

    Hey Yuexin.  Like Bruce said, check our international roaming coverage if you plan to use your Ting number there to check the services we have available. Also, make sure you turn international calling on under the account and update your phone's PRL before leaving.  .If using an international SIM card instead, your coverage will depend on what the other network can provide.

  • Avatar
    David K

    OK, total rookie here, so bear with me.  I have several phones on my account:  two iPhone 5, two iPhone 4s, and a Galaxy S3.  Am traveling to Europe in two months (Spain and France) and need cell coverage for two phones--more would not be bad, but two is adequate.  It looks like I can get an international SIM card--OneSimCard is where I have looked, but I am sure there are others--that can get me on the GSM networks of these countries.  

    So, I would need to unlock two (or more) of my phones for international use.  Since I don't see the Galaxy S3 on the list above, that leaves the iPhones as my choice.  The instructions are to contact Ting at least a week prior to departure and request an unlock--any reason I can't request this now?  What is the harm in requesting the unlock if I don't use it until late July?

    At that point, all I need to do is pop in the OneSimCard (or equivalent) into the devices when I get to Europe and restart the phone?  Sounds pretty easy...

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    David,

    Requesting a SIM unlock now *is* requesting it at least two weeks in advance.

    I am not sure how using the unlocked SIM slot works. The first post here appears to have some general guidelines. A call to Ting support should get you more details.

  • Avatar
    David K

    Yes, Bruce, I understand this *is* at least one week in advance.  I guess my question is if there is any harm in doing so.  In other words, why not request all my eligible phones be unlocked internationally the moment I get them, even if I am not planning on traveling, just so if I have a surprise trip and don't have time to plan, I'm all set.  Is there any downside to doing this, other than just the time it takes?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Good question, A quick call or email to Ting support will get their official answer, unless another user has done this.

  • Avatar
    Renny M

    Hi David,

    There really isn't a downside to unlocking your device's GSM SIM slot before you actually plan on using it with international SIM cards. Contact our support team if you need any help!

  • Avatar
    adrienne dellinger

    Hi there,

    I just got back in the country and popped in my Ting SIM card, but nothing seems to be happening. Are there steps I need to take to reactivate my Ting SIM card now that I'm back in the US? Thanks!!!

  • Avatar
    Felipe S

    Hey Adrienne,

    If you used the phone with an international GSM carrier, the phone's network settings have been changed and you should go through the activation process to have your phone reactivate with us. If you still have trouble having it connect, submit a support request and we'll look into that for you.

  • Avatar
    Tyrel Haveman

    I have a Nexus 5, which supposedly doesn't require unlocking, but I'm unable to locate the "UICC Unlock" setting mentioned in Step 4 (which is the step I'm supposed to start on with a Nexus 5).

  • Avatar
    Edith moran

    Is it free to get it unlocked 

     

  • Avatar
    Ting Help

    Hi Edith, there is no charge for this.

  • Avatar
    Harish Munshi

    has anyone had any luck with getting their phone unlocked? 

  • Avatar
    Afram Kirmiz

    Harish~

    My LG G2 was given the UICC unlock, and it took less than a day.  That being said, I haven't yet traveled internationally to see if the unlock worked.  But there was no hassle from Sprint, and after a profile/PRL update, the UICC unlock notification was shown.

  • Avatar
    Harish Munshi

    good to hear about the successful unlocks. Unfortunately mine was turned down for some reasons, and worst part is that they didn't give any reasons as to why. I called ting and they said sprint either accepts or denies, they don't provide reasons. I have switched back to ringplus, because it's much cheaper for me. 

  • Avatar
    David K

    I've tried unlocking every "eligible" phone I have ever had.  I wrote "eligible" because some (like the Galaxy S3) are not eligible (for reasons that I don't know), but others (like the iPhone) seem to be eligible.  And my luck with getting them unlocked is about 60%.  I have used them overseas--was in Spain, France, and also Morocco this summer--using a prepaid international SIM card and they worked just fine.  I've spoken with Ting about the rhyme/reason on which phones get the "blessing" to be unlocked, and they have responded they have no say in the matter--it is purely up to Sprint.  As far as I can tell, there is no logic behind their decision, either.  Unfortunately, once they turn the request down, there is nothing more you can do...

  • Avatar
    Harish Munshi

    I heard the same. If the first request is turned down, then that will override all the requests made after that. 

  • Avatar
    Michael Gallan

    I'll be visiting Japan this summer and am trying to figure out if my Sprint iPhone 5 (A1429) can be used there.  My hope is to buy a prepaid Japanese data-only SIM.  One site lists an unlocked "iPhone 5 model A1429 (GSM)" as being compatible.  I've read the Sprint iPhone 5 is both CDMA and GSM capable with the GSM portion locked.  Is this correct?  If I can get Sprint to unlock my phone for international use, will it be functionally equivalent to a GSM A1429?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Michael,

    Call or email Ting support to open a  ticket and get an official answer for this device-specific question.

  • Avatar
    Lisa Koch

    I had no problem getting unlocked (thanks Ting!), but once I got to Italy and popped in the Vodafone card for my two weeks there, it wanted me to basically wipe/restart my iPhone fresh, which I wasnt really prepared for, so I didn't do it.  I didn't want to have to re-download all my apps and maps and books etc while in Italy.  That was a little bit of a bummer, I was under the impression that sim swapping was pretty straight forward, but I had no previous experience with it.

  • Avatar
    JC Ferguson

    Hi, I have an iPhone 6 purchased from apple directly.  wish to use it in canada as well as the US.  If i buy a sprint SIM card here  https://ting.com/shop/nanoC3 , do i need to unlock when travelling or should it Just Work(tm) ?

     

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    JC,

    Are you planning on roaming to Canada with Ting or purchasing a SIM up in Canada? If you purchased a Sprint iPhone 6 ( as opposed to an unlocked iPhone 6) it would need to be unlocked by Sprint to use an International SIM.

    Rates for roaming to Canada wit TIng are quite reasonable. Ting roams on Bell & Telus networks. Surcharges are $.15 per minute for voice and $.50 per minute for data. here is no surcharge for text.

    When I go to Canada. I use voice & text and turn off data, only using Wi-Fi on the hotel. BTW, when crossing the boarder, you will get a couple of texts warming you of Sprint's International roaming rates. You can safely ignore them.

    Ting's International roaming rates are at https://ting.com/outside_usa

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