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CDMA Hands Free Activation


Last updated by Isabel M

What is Hands Free Activation?

After you've activated your phone with a number, the device needs to sync with the network. This syncing is what we refer to as Hands Free Activation.

In addition to syncing your phone with the network, Hands Free Activation downloads information that's necessary to get your phone making and receiving phone calls and text messages, and accessing data.

Any phone that’s newly purchased from Ting will attempt to complete a Hands Free Activation the first time you boot it up, as well as on each subsequent restart until the activation has completed.

How do I complete a Hands Free Activation?

If the Hands Free activation doesn't start automatically once you've assigned a number to your phone, you'll need to restart it, and the activation will begin automatically within a minute or two.

You can tell that your phone is attempting a Hands Free Activation if a message pops up on your screen saying something like, "Hands Free Activation. Contacting network, please wait..."

What if my Hands Free Activation keeps failing?

  1. If you had a temporary number on your phone and just transferred or ported another number to the phone, confirm steps 2 - 5 and then click here.
  2. Go the Device Settings tab on your Ting account, click on the phone you're trying to activate and make sure that "Can access the Internet" is checked.
  3. Make sure that data is enabled on your actual phone. This will generally be listed as Mobile Data,  Data enabled or 3G Data in the Settings of your phone.
  4. Make sure Wi-Fi is disabled on your phone. The phone needs to connect to the data network to get activated. If you have an LTE device or an iPhone, you may be able to activate over a Wi-Fi network, but if you're having trouble try enabling data and disabling Wi-Fi.
  5. Check that you have 2-4 bars.
  6. Restart your phone. It should go into a Hands Free Activation when it restarts.

When I restart my phone, it doesn't even try to activate. What should I do?

  1. Confirm that the ESN/MEID of the phone in your hand is the same as that of the one you've activated online. Your MEID will be listed on your phone's Device Settings page online under the picture of the phone; match it up with the MEID Dec or Hex number in the back of your phone under the battery or in the About Phone or Status in the phone's settings.
  2. If you have an LTE device, confirm that the ICCID listed for the phone in your Device Settings online is correct as well.
  3. If you've got the right phone, then run a carrier reset or number wipe. It's likely that your phone has an old number on it and needs to have its phone number and other carrier information reset.

If you're having trouble finding the MEID or ICCID in your phone, click on one of the links below to get help (these articles will show you where your ICCID is as well):

Find My Android Phone MEID

Find My iOS Device MEID

Find My Windows Phone MEID


If you have any other questions about activating your phone over the network, you can find more info here.

Have more questions? Submit a request


  • Avatar
    Paul Schlosser

    Our HTC EVOs kept not activating.  I took out the batteries to check the ESN numbers, which were correct.  When I put the battery back in and re-started them, *then* the hands free activation started.  So I think it needed the battery pull to do the full restart.

  • Avatar
    Samantha C

    Hey Paul, Thanks for sharing! Sometimes all a phone needs are some words of encouragement and a battery pull. 

  • Avatar
    Julie Anslow

    Thank you, Paul! That did the trick!

  • Avatar
    Dino Benvenuti

    keep getting error 131. any one else?  

  • Avatar
    Samantha C

    Hey there Dino, looks like you have been working with Paraic and Mike on this issue. I will leave you in their capable hands. 

  • Avatar
    Tim Brokaw

    my Samsung Epic D700 just keeps telling me invalid lock code.

  • Avatar
    Laura Bierly

    This page was wonderfully helpful! Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Courtney W

    Hi Tim,

    We've sent you an e-mail to help troubleshoot the invalid lock code with your BYOD Samsung Epic D700. 

  • Avatar
    nancy kubbany

    we have an lg rumor that will not activate et i will try the removing battery! Great idea. I enabled internet


  • Avatar
    nancy kubbany

    I receive error  message "could not load webpage (code-1289) Any ideas would be awesome! ty :)

  • Avatar
    nancy kubbany

    Something new; I received a message to call 877 877 8443 to resolve issue and it was virgin mobile, yet, I have never used this service.

  • Avatar
    Courtney W

    Hi Nancy,

    It sounds like you may be using a Virgin mobile phone. I've sent you an e-mail with some information. :)

    All the best.

  • Avatar
    Marco Hemken

    Friendly piece of feedback:

    I was trying to activate my new HTC One, and it kept popping up this Hands Free window. I thought, Hands Free? I didn't even ask it to do anything. So I kept quitting out of that window and looking for a button to activate my phone. There is an 'activate this device' button. And when I pressed it, it didn't do anything. I was thoroughly confused.

    "Hands Free" sounds like I'm trying to make a phone call with no hands.

    "Activate this device" sounds like I'm trying to activate this device.

    I went online and after 30 minutes I figured out how to activate my phone.

    Customer experience FYI.

  • Avatar
    Brennan V

    Thanks for the feedback Marco. Appreciate it.

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    Carnell Daniels

    I'm having trouble with my carrier reset for my Galaxy S2. Plz Help

  • Avatar
    Siham M

    Hey Carnell,

    I'll send over a help request where we can further discuss the issues you're having. Keep an eye out for an email shortly.

  • Avatar
    Rick Rood

    I also had to do a battery lift for my EVO.

  • Avatar

    Worked like a charm! Props! 

  • Avatar

    Worked like a charm! Props! 

  • Avatar
    Alfredo Kemm

    Received refurb'd galaxy SII today.  Cycles thru activation process but won't activate and nothing changes with a carrier reset/number wipe.  So far, really not impressed with the Ting setup process.

  • Avatar
    Paraic O

    Hey Alfredo,

    The activation requires that you do all of this over the Data network. If you do not have data access, or if the WiFi is turned on and connected it will cycle through the activation process. That being said I want you to follow the directions below:

    Please note that you will find the MSL and the MSID on the Device Settings page on your account.

    Please disconnect WiFi and enable Mobile Data

    1. Open dial pad and enter: # # MSL # 
    2. Tap Edit 
    3. Tap "Touch Here"
    4. Enter your cell phone number 
    5. Hit Enter 
    6. Tap "Touch Here"
    7. Enter your MSID
    8. Hit Enter
    9. Tap Done

      If phone does not reboot on its own, reboot it now.

      Update Profile after device reboots.

    10. Open Settings

      **2. Select 
      System Updates* (in some models, please go to About Phone -> System Updates*)

    11. Select **Update Profile

      **4. After update is complete, reboot phone

    If this does not help please get in touch with customer service.

  • Avatar
    Alfredo Kemm


    Thanks for the help.  I let my fon sit for a few hours and found that the activation processes had eventually worked.  Wifi had been turned off during my attempts at activation and I had 4g connectivity.  When i picked it up to try again a few hours later, the PRL and Profile updates successfully cycled through fairly quickly, whereas previously they seemed to be in endless loops.  I checked the phone number and it was updated to the correct number.  Somehow activation happened while i wasn't paying attention.

    Thanks again.

  • Avatar
    hunt kevin

    I have a GS3 and have a new account with a new number and my hands free activation keeps failing. What do?

  • Avatar
    Renny M

    Hi Kevin,

    I see that you have sent in a help request and Jessica is helping you activate your device. You are in great hands!

  • Avatar
    Josh Escobar

    good job Ting keep up the good work!

  • Avatar
    lisa fisher

    my htc evo keeps telling me invalid password



  • Avatar
    Samantha C

    Hey Lisa, I see you sent in a help request as well. Alex has jumped on that request for you, he will be able to point you in the right direction. 

  • Avatar
    Dang Griffith

    FYI, the link at the top of this page (in the Top Questions section) doesn't work at the moment.

  • Avatar
    Marty M

    Hi Dang.  Sorry about the link - we'll get that fixed.  Try using this link instead.

  • Avatar
    Greg Winter

    Having lots of issues reactivating my SG3 it was working previously then sent it in for screen repair and can't seem to find the network, then tried to switch back to my previous phone just to make some phone calls.. also no luck.

    I have gone through all the posted steps and but i notice i can't actually get to the screen to wipe my phone number from the device.... it just resets instead of asking me for the MSL number. I really need to get this working cause now I am phone less, any advice would be appreciated. Cant call customer service cause... no phone...

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