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Buying a Device for BYOD: Tips

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Last updated by Allan B

We strongly encourage you to use our BYOD compatibility checker to validate a device prior to purchasing. It’s the only way we can ensure 100% that the device is ready for activation with Ting.

If you're unable to get a device ESN/MEID/IMEI prior to purchasing, the tips in this article will help you purchase a device that will work on Ting.

 

First, Check Your Coverage

Ting offers service on two networks:  CDMA and GSM. These networks each use a different technology, which means that each has a completely different set of compatible devices.

Before you start shopping for devices, please check our coverage maps to see your coverage:

CDMA coverage map

GSM coverage map

This will tell you if you should be shopping for a CDMA device, a GSM device or either. Of course you can also purchase a dual-network device like the Nexus 6 and potentially use both networks.

CDMA Devices

1. Sprint-branded Device

Our CDMA service uses the Sprint®* network, so if that's the network that offers you the best coverage in your area, you should purchase a Sprint-branded device.

You can also use unlocked devices like the Nexus 5 and 6 and the unlocked iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on our CDMA network.

 

2. Passes a Sprint Financial Eligibility Check

If you're not able to get the ESN or MEID of the device you plan to purchase to validate it in our checker, then you need to confirm the following details to help make sure the device will pass a Sprint financial eligibility check:

  • The service agreement or ETF has been paid in full for a device on a postpaid account.
  • The device has been active for 12 consecutive months or longer if it was on a prepaid account, was purchased from a big box store or purchased from a Sprint retail store outright.

If you purchase a device from a third party and it fails financial eligibility check when you try to activate it with Ting, contact the seller right away so that you can arrange for a refund.

For more information on the financial eligibility of devices for our CDMA network, click here.

 

3. A "Clean" Device

If a seller doesn't describe the device they're selling as having a "clean" ESN or MEID, you should not buy it. A device that's called clean is generally an indicator that:

  • The device is not marked as lost or stolen.
  • The device is not attached to an account with an outstanding balance.

CDMA devices that don't have a clean ESN will be rejected right away when you try to bring them to Ting.

 

4. Non-Stock ROM or Flashed Devices

You should not purchase devices described as having been "flashed," "modded," or "running a non-stock ROM," because they may not function on the network at all.

In many cases, you'll be able to go through the online activation process only to find out later that the device will not actually function.

You may end up with a device that you can't use, that you also can't get refunded because your return window has closed while the device was going through the activation process.

 

5. Rooted or Jailbroken Devices

Unless you're quite technically savvy, you should avoid a rooted or jailbroken device. Rooting and/or jailbreaking can limit our ability to troubleshoot issues that might arise with your device down the road.

 

 

GSM Devices

1. Compatible with our GSM Network

While we can't disclose the name of our GSM network provider, if you spend some time in our Community Forums, you'll probably figure it out; devices made for that carrier are the best fit for our GSM network.

To know if the device you're hoping to purchase is compatible with our GSM network, check if the device specifications against the chart below:

 

2G + voice and text

 

3G

 

4G (LTE)

GSM/EDGE

UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+

LTE

GSM 1900MHz (PCS)

1700/2100MHz (AWS)

Band IV*

1700/2100MHz (AWS)

Band 4*

Usually the primary LTE band in markets where our GSM network partner offers LTE data

 

 

1900MHz (PCS)

Band 2

Usually supplementary, but may be the primary LTE band in select markets

 

 

700MHz

Band 12

Usually supplementary; still rarely used

Up to 128Kbps

Up to 21Mbps HSPA

Up to 42Mbps HSPA+

Up to 150Mbps

   

      *Note:  Within the industry you'll often see non-LTE bands written in Roman numerals rather than regular digits. We've listed them the same way here to make comparisons between our chart and your phone's specs a little easier.

For more detailed information on GSM device compatibility by carrier, click here.

 

2. An "Unlocked" Device

If you're trying to activate an AT&T or Verizon device on our GSM network, it will need to be unlocked by the previous carrier.

Devices coming from T-Mobile do not need to be unlocked to activate on Ting, but if you want to be able to use the device with other international SIM cards, then you'll need to make sure the device is unlocked at purchase or can be unlocked later.

IMPORTANT: Our checker can't determine a device's unlock status and Ting can't unlock GSM devices from other carriers.

 

3. A "Clean" Device

If a seller doesn't describe the device they're selling as having a "clean" ESN or IMEI you should not buy it. A device that's called clean is generally an indicator that:

  • The device is not marked as lost or stolen.
  • The device is not attached to an account with an outstanding balance.

GSM devices that don't have a clean ESN or IMEI may initially activate but will eventually be flagged for removal from the network.

 

4. Non-Stock ROM or Flashed Devices

You should not purchase devices described as having been "flashed," "modded," or "running a non-stock ROM," because they may not function on the network at all.

In many cases, you'll be able to go through the online activation process only to find out later that the device will not actually function.

You may end up with a device that you can't use, that you also can't get refunded because your return window has closed while the device was going through the activation process.

 

5. Rooted or Jailbroken Devices

Unless you're quite technically savvy, you should avoid a rooted or jailbroken device. Rooting and/or jailbreaking can limit our ability to troubleshoot issues that might arise with your device down the road.

 

*Sprint is a trademark of Sprint

Have more questions? Submit a request

Comments

  • Avatar
    Carla Diaz

    Does that mean that If I purchase a new phone (from Ebay) with a clean ESN ready to activate with SPRINT, I can bring it directly to TING and activate it with you?

  • Avatar
    Richard Everson

    "If you've already figured out which  BYOD-eligible device you want to purchase to bring over to Ting, there are still a few things to keep an eye on as you buy."

    https://help.ting.com/entries/26172228-FAQ-BYOD-or-Bring-Your-Own-Device#2

  • Avatar
    Peter Rudy

    Carla, the answer is basically yes if: the phone is a sprint registered phone, it's not blacklisted, if it is byod eligible and if it has a sprint or ting SIM card. Sprint LTE phones use a card that looks like a SIM card but does different functions. You can reuse them on purchased sprint phones. And buy new ones from ting.

  • Avatar
    Raymond Pregler

    I have been a customer of ting for a while & have 3 current phones now.  The 2 used phone I bought thru Glyde had bad batteries so I bought a new phone thru BoosT Mobile only to discover Ting will no longer activate because I did not buy thru you.  I can not afford anew phone & the used ones have not worked for me so I may have to leave Ting.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Raymond,

    Phones from Boost, Virgin Mobile and Sprint Prepaid were never officially supported for BYOD because these services are owned by Sprint and officially blocked.Some users were able to get some models to work, but that was not officially supported by Ting or Sprint.

    Sprint changed their rules a couple of weeks ago. Now, Virgin Mobile, Boost, and sprint Prepaid devices can be unlocked for other carriers after they have been on their services for over a year. This gives Sprint a change to recoup the phone subsidy.

    You can still bring phones to Ting CDMA not purchased through Ting, but Sprint;s financial checker that Ting mus use rejects many phones. At this point, it is best to get a phone for Ting GSM if you have good T-Mobile coverage n your area. Samt Ting rates, but better network partner. Any clean T-Mobile phone or unlocked GSM phone can be brought to Ting GSM.

  • Avatar
    Robyn Sumners

    Bruce,

    What is a "clean" T-Mobile phone? I currently have two Note 2's on Ting I purchased used from Swappa, now my husband wants a Note 3 or 4. Since the whole Sprint thing seems problematic, I'm looking into getting him a GSM Note 3 or 4, but there are many different model numbers and I am really confused. Any advice about model numbers and/or where to buy a Note 3 or 4? 

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    If a device has been reported as lost or stolen and is blacklisted, it is not "clean" and cannot be activated on any carrier.

    Some phones that are not "clean" are sole to be used for parts to repair other phones.

    The most compatible phones for Ting GSM would be T-Mobile phones. t-Mobile phones also can be locked to T_Mobile and still be brought to Ting GSM. This is only a good option f you have good T-Mobile coverage in your ares. T-Mobile's coverage map is currently more up to date than Ting's GSM map.

  • Avatar
    Robyn Sumners

    Thank you Bruce. Verifying "clean" status on used phones appears to be challenging part.

    Is it possible to buy a new phone directly from T-Mobile and use it on Ting?

     

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    I believe that should be possible as long as you buy it without T-Mobile service. You would also need to buy a Ting X1 SIM from Ting to use Ting GSM on that phone.

  • Avatar
    Robyn Sumners

    Got it, thanks again Bruce!

  • Avatar
    Peter Rudy

    Robyn:  I have purchased several used T Mobile devices to put on Ting GSM, so perhaps I can help.  First, there are several good places to check if a TMO device is black listed.  Swappa is one place.  It will show if the device is lost or stolen - blacklisted. It can also show if the device is under contract. THE BEST place to check for financial issues is the official T Mobile website.  Put the IMEI in there and it will tell you instantly if the TMO phone is still a financing contract.  Unlike the issue Ting is now having with Sprint, the TMO checker is perfect.    Verifying "no black list" and verifying "no financing agreement" on TMO phones is easy and accurate.   Do not let the Sprint -Ting fiasco scare you.  I have not heard of one situation where a phone passed the TMO financial checker but did not pass the TING GSM checker.    

    That said, the big is issue with used TMO phones is that TMO started the craze with phone financing:  buy a $600 for nothing down and $30 a  month.  Millions of TMO phones are financied.   Problem is, many of the morons that financed their TMO phones (sorry but true) think they can sell these phones after 5 months and not pay off TMO the remainder.  I had two CL deals fall through for that reason:  when the sellers gave me the IMEI, TMO website said it was still under a financing contract - and could not be hooked up until paid off.  AND only the original purchaser can pay it off.

     When I went back to the sellers, they freely admitted: HEY DUDE, Sure I still owe $400 but its my phone and i can sell it if i want  to."    Well, no they can't because no one will ever be able to use it. 

    Many of the used TMO deals out there for newer phones at cheap prices are financed phones that are not paid off.  The good news is, it's really easy and foolproof to find out about the status of TMO phones.  

    Personally, i do NOT think the TMO will sell you a new phone WITHOUT a service contract of some sort, at least for a month.  On the other hand, Amazon does sell TMO branded phones without a service contract, but at full retail price.   I am sure other places sell TMO branded phones without contracts.  I still have not issue buying TMO used phones on CL as long as the seller either gives me the IMEI first or we meet at a TMO store.  I have gotten some amazing deals.  

  • Avatar
    Robyn Sumners

    Thanks so much Peter, you've been very helpful!

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Waits

    I'm looking at getting this off Ebay....Sprint White/Silver Apple iPhone 5 16GB (Very Good) CLEAN ESN....what are the chances that it will be accepted with Ting?  It doesn't give any IMEI or any other information that I can use....

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Unfortunately, Ting has said in their blog that they estimate that 50% of the Sprint devices checked are failing and hey do not expect that to improve any time soon.

    Do you have good T-Mobile coverage? With Ting GSM you can bring a clean T-Mobile phone or other unlocked GSM phone and not have to deal with this Sprint mess.

    T-Mobile's coverage map is more up to date that Ting's current GSM map.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Waits

    Bruce, I currently have Verizon.  My other two Verizon phones switch over, but mine won't.  So I'm having to get a new one anyway.....

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Were you trying to switch the phones to Ting GSM? I know a few Verizon phones were able to move to Ting CDMA, but not many.

    If you were trying to move the phone to Ting GSM, perhaps Ting support could help, saving you from buying a new phone. Does your phone fail the Ting checker at https://ing.com/byod ? If so, what is the error?

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Waits

    This is the message I get...

    That device can't come to Ting right now.

    Currently, only used, inactive Sprint devices can come to Ting.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Waits

    My other two phones are samsungs and my phone is an Iphone 4...not sure if that matters

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Instead of Verizon, try choosing Elsewhere for the carrier.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    I just checked. The Verizon iPhone 4 would not be able o use Ting GSM. You do indeed need a new phone for Ting

    .I know an iPhone 5 works because my wife is using an iPhone 5 on Ting GSM that originally was used on Verizon.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Waits

    Thats what I'm getting is an Iphone 5 a Sprint one....

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Be careful it passes Ting's checker.

    A T-Mobile iPhone 5 would be a much safer bet if you have coverage.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Jennifer,

    I forgot about this. https://ting.com/trade

    Perhaps you can get some credit from Ting for your old phone.

  • Avatar
    James Hays

    is it possible to bring a new unlocked galaxy note 3 to ting? Or does it need to be a Sprint or Tmobile ready phone?    I plan to purchase it through bhpoto brand new and fully paid for.  My wife would also like to purchase a new iphone 5s through Apple and bring to ting.  Is this reasonable?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    James,

    If you have god T-Mobile coverage, a T-Mobile phone with a Ting X1 GSM SIM is recommended,

    Sprint changed their BYOD rules a couple of weeks ago and many phones are failing the new eligibility. check, even new phones.

     

  • Avatar
    Brian Frinzi

    I have a phone that I got from ting about a year ago. And it's an older phone that has worked wonderfully for me the last year.  But I've been pretty rough with it. So I need to get a new phone. I was checking the phones you have here on ting for sale, and a lot of them aren't really what I was looking for. So I am considering going onto amazon and buying a phone. How do I know for sure it will work with tings phone service?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Brian,

    Things have really changed in the past couple of weeks. Do you have good T-Mobile coverage in your area? If so, Ting GSM, is definitely the recommended path.

    Sprint recently changed the BYOD rules, requiring a phone to pass a new financial check. Half the phones people have tried to bring to Ting CDMA fail and cannot be brought over. See https://ting.com/blog/changes-to-the-byod-program-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

    If you must use Ting CDMA, i would only recommend a Nexus 5 or 6 purchased from Google Play or an unlocked iPhone 6 or 6 Plus purchased from Apple.You would need to call Ting to open a ticket to get it past the required Sprint checker.

    For Ting GSM, the bets phone would be a clean T-Mobile phone. It does not need to be unlocked. Other unlocked GSM phones, including many Verizon phones, can come but may not support all data speeds. See https://help.ting.com/entries/105240696-Can-I-Bring-My-GSM-Device-to-Ting-Compatibility-and-Unlocking-Guide

    Sorry for the long answer, but things are complicated now.

  • Avatar
    Brian Frinzi

    I just bought a refurbished Iphone 4s off of amazon that was guaranteed to be clean by the company selling it. I looked online for the lists of devices ting supports, and that one was there. Should I have any issues activating that on ting?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Brian,

    What was the former carrier of the phone? Are you trying to use the phone on ting CDMA (Sprint) or Ting GSM (T-Mobile)?

  • Avatar
    Brian Frinzi

    The former carrier is sprint I believe.

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