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.

1. 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. Submit an unlock request on AT&T.
  • 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.

    An Important 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.

2. Ignore the "foreign SIM card" warning

If you have a Verizon phone and you see a "foreign SIM" warning (aka: SIM is from an unknown source), but your phone is functioning normally on the Ting network, you can ignore this warning as this is normal on many phones coming from Verizon.

 

3. 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.

 

4. 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.

Note: If you have a Nexus 5 or 6 and the APN settings are not in the Mobile Networks menu, the following should work:

  1. Dial * # * # 4636 # * # *
  2. Tap Phone Information
  3. Scroll to Set preferred network type
  4. Tap the arrow icon to the right to open the network type menu
  5. Select LTE/GSM auto (PRL)
  6. Tap the back key until you get back to the home screen

The APN option should now be visible in the Mobile Networks menu.

 

5. 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 (mentioned in step 3 and 4 in the above link).

 

6. 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.

 

7. Firmware issues

Some phones coming from other carriers will have some firmware (custom carrier software) issues that cause trouble on our network. Some AT&T phones have trouble with MMS (picture messaging). Our MMS FAQ has more detailed information and tips. Some Verizon phones have trouble with voicemail. Our BYOD voicemail guide can help you here.

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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