GSM Android activation tips and tricks

With so many different Android phones on the market, activating on Ting's GSM network can sometimes be tricky. Not to worry, here are some handy tips that should make it easier.

Make sure your phone is unlocked

If you're getting any of the following errors: "network lock," "network unlock pin," "unsupported sim" or anything similar, this indicates that your phone likely still needs to be unlocked from the original carrier.

  • If your phone came from a third-party source (Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Swappa, Glyde, a friend, etc.), then it will be up to that source to provide information on where the phone originated, which carrier it might have come from, and therefore, if/how it needs to be unlocked.
  • AT&T phones must be unlocked before they will work on Ting.
  • Sprint phones that can work on the GSM network will also need to be unlocked. Check Sprint's unlocking policy for a list of phones that are eligible for a Domestic SIM Unlock.
    Note about Sprint MSL Unlocking: Phones that are eligible for an MSL unlock will have much lower levels of compatibility with our GSM network. If you have a phone that can only be MSL unlocked, we recommend you use it on our CDMA network or find a different phone to use on our GSM network.

Ignore the "foreign SIM card" warning

If you have a Verizon phone and you see a "foreign SIM" warning, but your phone is functioning normally on the Ting network, you can ignore this warning. This error is normal on many phones coming from Verizon and just means that the SIM card is from a different provider. 

Make sure your SIM card is installed correctly

On most phones, the SIM card can only be installed one way, with the gold part facing the guts of the phone and the cut off the corner of the sim card matching with the cut off the corner of the tray. But on a small number of phones, the SIM card can be installed incorrectly.

If your phone's SIM card can be installed in more than one way, try flipping it. If you're still stuck, check out Youtube, they have some great "how-to" videos for inserting sim cards.

Find your APN settings

APN settings are in a variety of menu locations and differ by manufacturer. We have a Ting activation guide to help you find APN settings on your phone.

Set two separate APN profiles

If you've set up one APN profile as per our activation directions, reset your APN to defaults and then try setting two separate profiles.

Set only the APN name to start

If you're unable to save the APN settings when you enter all the information, try setting only the name and the APN fields to begin.

If you are able to save the name and APN fields, then you can go back into the setting and enter the remaining details that are shown above, in either the combined or separated APN profiles.

When viewing the APN settings you may not see all of the items that you've set but if data, MMS and tethering are all working then the settings are holding.

Factory Reset

This step in troubleshooting your GSM activation should be saved for the last resort step, as it will erase all of the contents of the phone aside from the software that came with the phone, including personal data like pictures, contacts, and text messages. It is very important that you backup your phone before proceeding to complete a Factory Reset on the device.

Since there are a lot of different devices out there, please refer to the manufacturer's website for Factory Reset instructions for your specific device.

Firmware issues

Some phones coming from other carriers will have some firmware—like custom carrier software—issues that cause trouble on our network. If you run into trouble, you can also look for some third-party messaging and voicemail apps which are usually available for free on the Play Store.

If you're still having trouble, please get in touch. We'll do our best to get your phones up and running or at least figure out what's getting in the way.

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