Whether you're bringing a phone that you already love to Ting, or are looking to purchase a new one, we strongly encourage you to try and get the ESN, MEID or IMEI of the phone and use our compatibility checker to validate it before starting. It’s the only way we can ensure 100% that it is compatible with Ting and will also link to the specific Ting SIM card that you need.
The ESN/MEID/IMEI is a number that is unique to each phone. On many phones, this number can be located by entering the code *#06# on the dial pad of the phone. If the phone has a removable battery, the number is often printed on a label in the battery compartment.
If you're unable to get the ESN, MEID or IMEI before purchasing a phone, this article will help you buy one that is compatible with Ting.
Ting offers service on two networks—CDMA and GSM. These networks each use a different technology, which means that each has a different set of compatible devices, a separate coverage area, and sometimes you can only bring your phone number to one network.
Before you start shopping for a phone, please check our coverage maps to see which coverage works best for you. We recommend looking up a few areas, like your home, work, and school, where you'll travel frequently.
We recommend checking your phone number as there are sometimes limitations to being able to move your phone number from your old carrier to Ting.
If a seller doesn't describe the phone they're selling as having a "clean" ESN or MEID; you should not buy it. A phone that's called clean is generally an indicator that:
- The phone is not marked as lost or stolen.
- The phone is not attached to an account with an outstanding balance.
CDMA phones that don't have a clean ESN will be rejected right away when you try to bring them to Ting. GSM phones that don't have a clean ESN or IMEI may activate but will eventually be flagged for removal.
Non-stock ROM or flashed phones
You should not purchase phones described as having been "flashed," "modded," or "running a non-stock ROM," because they may not function on the network at all.
Since this process can take time to determine, you may end up with a phone that you can't use, or only partially can be used, you also can't get refunded because your return window has closed while the phone was going through the activation process.
Rooted or jailbroken phones
Unless you're quite technically savvy, you should avoid a rooted or jailbroken phone. Rooting or jailbreaking limits our ability to troubleshoot issues that might arise with your phone down the road.
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 phone.
You can also use unlocked multi-network phones on our CDMA network. A lot of manufacturers are moving towards multi-network phones, like Apple iPhones, Samsung Galaxy, and Motorola X, as they offer the customer more versatility.
Ensure it passes a Sprint financial eligibility check
If you're not able to get the ESN or MEID of the phone you plan to purchase to validate it in our checker, then you need to confirm the following details to help make sure the phone will pass a Sprint financial eligibility check:
- The service agreement or ETF has been paid in full for a phone on a postpaid account.
- The phone 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 phone from a third party, and it fails the financial eligibility check when you try to activate it with Ting, contact the seller right away so that you can arrange for a refund.
Our checker cannot determine a phone's unlock status, and Ting cannot unlock CDMA phones from other carriers.
*Sprint is a trademark of Sprint
If you're trying to activate on our GSM network, your phone will need to be unlocked by the previous carrier or be a carrier free phone when you purchase it.
Although phones coming from T-Mobile do not need to be unlocked to activate on Ting, ensuring that you've unlocked your phone before changing service help ensure that you have the freedom to move the phone to any network, including traveling internationally.
Our checker cannot determine a phone's unlock status, and Ting cannot unlock GSM phones from other carriers.
GSM network compatibility
GSM phones offer more freedom and variety than CDMA ones. Any unlocked GSM phone can be brought over to Ting.
Generally speaking, T-Mobile branded phones work best on our network, with AT&T phones being a great second choice. Verizon phones are typically designed for a CDMA network and have the most issues unless the phone was developed as a multi-network phone.
We strongly recommend using our compatibility checker to confirm that your GSM phone will work with our GSM network. If you can't use our checker, or if you like to know some of the technical details, we have the chart below with our network specifications.
Type of service
2G - Voice and Text
1700/2100 MHz Band 4
1900 Mhz Band 2
700 MHz Band 12