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GSM phones FAQ

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Last updated by Keith Beegan

Did you know that you can bring your phone to Ting when you create a new account? Well, of course you can. We want your new service to feel comfortable and familiar. Parting ways with your old carrier is a phenomenal idea, but we don't want you to part ways with your favorite phone as well. How would it survive with you?

Here's some frequently asked questions that customers in your shoes have had.

  1. How do I check if my GSM phone is compatible?
  2. Do I need a new SIM card if I want to use a compatible GSM phone on Ting?
  3. What if my phone is not compatible?
  4. Why is my phone not compatible?
  5. Do I need to unlock my phone?
  6. Can I use my CDMA phone on Ting's GSM network?
  7. Can I bring my phone number to Ting?
  8. Can I use my GSM phone while travelling outside the US?
  9. Can I use Wi-Fi Calling on my GSM phone?
  10. Is visual voicemail available on my GSM phone?
  11. Is caller ID available on my GSM phone?
  12. Can I have CDMA and GSM phones on the same Ting account?
  13. How do I activate my GSM phone on Ting?
  14. Can I use my SIM card in a different phone?
  15. Can I change the phone number on a GSM SIM card?
  16. What is a PUK code and what do I need it for?
  17. What does invalid SIM card mean?

How do I check if my GSM phone is compatible?

You can check your phone's compatibility on our website.

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Do I need a new SIM card if I want to use a compatible GSM phone on Ting?

Yes. You need a new GSM X1 SIM card if you're coming from AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon or any other carrier. The SIM card breaks into mini, micro, and nano sizes to suit all phones.

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What if my phone is not compatible?

Sorry about that. We've hit a bump in the road. Luckily, we have a couple of options for you:

  1. You can pick up a fully compatible phone from the Ting Shop
  2. Send a request to the Ting Personal Shopper team and they will help you find an inexpensive used phone online.

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Why is my phone not compatible?

There are a few reasons why a non-Ting phone may not work with Ting. It could be:

  • marked as lost or stolen.
  • built for a different carrier so its bands are not compatible with our network.
  • tied to an account with an outstanding balance with another carrier.
  • otherwise locked to another carrier.

We cannot say for sure which category you fall into so contacting your current carrier is the best next step.

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Do I need to unlock my phone?

Yes. If you check your phone and it shows as compatible, you still need to request an unlock code from your current carrier before bringing the phone to Ting. Ting cannot unlock non-Ting phones for customers.

Click on your carrier below for info on how to request an unlock code from them.

 

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Can I use my CDMA phone on Ting's GSM network?

You can check your phone's compatibility on our website.

Just so you know, CDMA and GSM are two types of cellular networks. In the US, Sprint®* and Verizon are CDMA, while AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM. Lots of newer phones, including all iPhone models since the 5S/5C and Nexus models, are dual-network and can be used on either.

Check out the differences between CDMA and GSM to decide which one would work best for you.

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Can I bring my phone number to Ting?

Check if your phone number is compatible and then start the transfer process.

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Can I use my GSM phone while travelling outside the US?

Lucky you travelling the world. You have two options when travelling abroad:

  1. Keep your Ting sim in the phone and use roaming services. We don't recommend this option because roaming surcharges apply when using voice, text or data.
  2. Pick up a local sim and pop it into your unlocked GSM phone. You will have a different phone number while travelling but you'll save a lot of money.

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Can I use Wi-Fi Calling on my GSM phone?

We offer Wi-Fi Calling on Ting for select iPhone, Android, Windows and BlackBerry models. Wi-Fi Calling allows you to use your Ting phone number and rely on Wi-Fi for enhanced reception.

Note: Wi-Fi calling rates are the same as our regular calling rates

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Is visual voicemail available on my GSM phone?

If you have an iPhone 5 or later and are able to update to iOS 10, you can get visual voicemail, though it can take up to 24 hours to enable once you've updated.

Visual voicemail is not directly supported on GSM Android, but there are a number of third party Apps in the Google Play store.

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Is caller ID available on my GSM phone?

Caller ID isn't currently available for GSM phones, but it will be down the road. This information will be updated as that changes.

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Can I have CDMA and GSM phones on the same Ting account?

Absolutely! On Ting, CDMA and GSM phones will coexist under a single account and will share a single pool of minutes, messages and data. At the end of the billing cycle, they will appear on a single monthly bill.

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How do I activate my GSM phone on Ting?

  1. Pick up a new GSM X1 SIM card.
  2. Set your phone up with a phone number.
  3. Activate your service.

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Can I use my SIM card in a different phone?

You can use your active GSM SIM card in any unlocked compatible phone as long as you intend to keep the same number. You cannot deactivate the sim card and reactivate it with a different number. Deactivated SIM cards cannot be used and you will need a new SIM card.

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Can I change the phone number on a GSM SIM card?

Yes and no.

Once you've activated a Ting GSM SIM card with a phone number we can help you:

  • reactivate it with the same number for a brief period of time if you deactivated it recently.

We can't:

  • transfer an existing number to a SIM card that's already active with another number.
  • reactivate a SIM card if you've transferred your number away from it.

If you activated your SIM with a new number to test out Ting's GSM service, but you want to transfer your actual number to Ting, you'll need to purchase a new SIM card.

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What is a PUK code and what do I need it for?

A PUK code is a number associated with your Ting GSM X1 SIM card that unlocks your SIM if it locks after several unsuccessful PIN entries.

The PUK code associated with your SIM is printed on the credit card sized card that you pop your Ting GSM X1 SIM card out of when you first receive it.

Currently, we cannot retrieve your PUK code for you, so please either hang on to the card or record your PUK code.

puk_code.jpg

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What does invalid SIM card mean?

If you insert your Ting SIM card in your phone and get a "Invalid SIM", "No SIM Card installed", "SIM Card Not Recognized", "Invalid Sim Detected" or "SIM from unknown source" error, you will need to contact your previous carrier and make sure the phone is not locked to their network. If it is locked, your previous carrier will need to provide you with an unlock code or steps to unlock it.

If you have verified with your previous carrier that the device is unlocked, please ensure the SIM card has been trimmed down to the correct size by using the adapter pieces provided and ensure the SIM card is inserted properly. Make sure it is inserted into the SIM card slot as opposed to the SD card slot.

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*Sprint is a trademark of Sprint.

Have more questions? Submit a request

Comments

  • Avatar
    Michael Keller

    Regarding #12, will we be able to go back-and-forth between CDMA and GSM at will and will there be a charge for making the switch?

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    Felipe S

    Hey Michael,

    You should be able to use the same device on GSM and CDMA, although not concurrently.  That would require 2 different numbers - one for each technology - and you would have to swap the SIM cards each time you want to change the network. Call forwarding via Ting or Google Voice should help redirect any incoming calls to either number/network so you don't miss any calls. We're still in the process of ironing out all the details and should have more as we approach our launch date.

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    Michael Keller

    Felipe, that wasn't my question. If I have a CDMA device, as I do now, and a separate GSM device, and I knew I would be traveling to an area where the GSM coverage was superior, could I swtich my number to my GSM device, then later upon returning home switch back to my CDMA device without incurring special charges?

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    Felipe S

    Hey Michael,

    Gotcha.  You were thinking about transferring the same number back and forth between two different devices, correct?

    You can transfer the number between two devices, although you would most likely need to port it back and forth between our two network partners for CDMA and GSM. Porting usually takes between 6-24 hours to complete, and that would most likely incur an additional line fee each time you port the number between the different networks. As such, you would most likely need to go through the activation process each time you put it back on the CDMA phone. We're still working out all the details, though, so that might change as we approach our GSM launch date.

    Our recommendation is to port it once if you'd rather keep the number on the GSM device, and then get another new number for CDMA.  You can use call forwarding either on Ting or Google Voice to forward calls back and forth between the two numbers/devices instead of going through that port process each time.  Again, things might change as we approach our launch date so stay tuned for that.

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    William Ward

    I'm thrilled to hear the news, although not sure I'm in a good area... I'm guessing from the coverage map you're using Tmobile GSM towers?  I say this because in Brunswick, ME both VZ and ATT seem to have good coverage, but your maps aligns with TMobile and seems very spotty.  Can you confirm?

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    Samantha C

    Hey there William, part of our agreement with this GSM carrier is that we can not confirm who the network provider is. 

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    Sri Kuntari Wijanarko

    for the GSM phone, will there be limitation/ Waiting period 1 year after launch before we can use with Ting -  like Sprint does for BYOD - I hope not.

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    Shaun Capaldo

    I was wondering this myself.  If not, it seems Sprint will have to remove the blackout to stay competitive.  Which means we are the ones who win, if they do.  I would like a little more clairification on devices though, particularly the One Plus One and the Huawei Honor 6.

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    Bruce Osborne

    I doubt there would be a waiting period. Generally unlocked GSM phones work on GSM networks if the phone has compatible frequencies and the correct. SIM.

    ATT has said they will lock the SIM on the new iPhone 6 phones to ATT, but you could get a new SIM to move to another network.

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    Samantha C

    Hey there Sri and Shaun, There will be no one year hold on the GSM network. If you have an unlocked compatible phone you will be able to activate it on Ting when ever you like.

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    Shaun Capaldo

    Thank you for the clear answer!  This really opens Ting up.

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    Christopher Clinton

    My wife is thinking about switching to Ting from T-Mobile when her parents go to Verizon. Will she be able to keep her GSM number when she switches to Ting?

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    Felipe S

    Hey Christopher, she should be able to keep the number, although we can't confirm that yet. Reach us out via a support request in a few more weeks and we'll look into that for you.

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    Bruce Osborne

    The article indicates tat number porting will initially be unavailable, but you can move a number from a Ting CDMA device to a Ting GSM device at launch.

    Does this mean the initial way to port would be to Ting CDMA and then to Ting GSM? I currently have some numbers on T-Mobile, but I have a free Ting CDMA device that could be used to assist with porting.

  • Avatar
    Justen Burdette

    Hi Bruce,

    We'll clarify that answer.  In that first question, we're referring to the initial invite-only beta when we mention that porting may not be available right away.  In the second question, we're referring to the general concept of being able to move from CDMA to GSM (or vice versa).  Both will be supported, it's just the timing around when the self-serve tools for each will become available that we're still finalizing.

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    Bruce Osborne

    Thanks.

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    Martin Hackle

    We all know Ting uses Sprint for the CDMA coverage; who will be the actual carrier for the GSM?  Most major carriers in my area have strong LTE coverage, but the map shows my GSM coverage would only be 2G on the Ting GSM.  A deal killer for switching, even though I could get way better phones quicker on GSM.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Ting has said they cannot announce that yet. Some people have made guesses based on the GSM coverage map and other information, but those are just guesses.

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    Mike Breaton

    Will the current CDMA SIM work in a GSM phone or will I have to purchase a new one

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    Bruce Osborne

    The SIMs are different.

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    Christopher Quicker

    What about devices with "dual SIM" cards?  There is a new company, BLU Products out of Miami, and since 2009, they've been schlepping quality inexpensive smart phones (both Android and Windows Phone 8.1) in Latin American countries, and is now available on Amazon, the one I'm eyeing is called the BLU WIN HD.  Under $200 bucks, and has dual SIM and expandable memory up to 64GB.  

    I currently have an Android device, Samsung Galaxy S4, and while the phone is cool, I don't enjoy the Android ecosystem, I prefer the Windows OS, just a preference.  With the ability to have 2 SIM cards give you the flexibility to make international calls using that particular country's SIM card for their local POP calling......Pretty slick actually ;)

  • Avatar
    Ting Help

    Hey there Christopher!  Lots of Blu models will work when we add our GSM network. An exact match for that name is proving hard to come by though - if you'd like some details, please send us an email with the model number, and we'll be happy to look into it for you!

  • Avatar
    Christopher Quicker

    Hey there Wendy ;)

     

    This is the link to Amazon, the BLU WIN HD is what it's called, and they somehow "cryptically keep the actual model number somehow hidden", but you can check it out here:

     

    http://www.amazon.com/5-Inch-Windows-Camera-Unlocked-Phones/dp/B00NQGFQ7C/ref=sr_1_1?s=wireless&ie=UTF8&qid=1421866178&sr=1-1&keywords=blu+win+hd

     

    I got to futz around with one in a Microsoft store a week ago, and it was a pretty cool device.  $179?  I'm THERE  ;)

  • Avatar
    Mike Breaton

    I was looking at the BLU Win HD myself and like what I see for the price. Normally $179, MS store has them for $149 ( http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/BLU-Win-HD---Unlocked/productID.306115600?icid=Windows_Phone_ModC_BLU_Win_HD). It seems to come in two versions - 510L and 510U (unlocked?). I don't think they do LTE, but I think the 510U does HSPA+.

     

     

  • Avatar
    Martin Hackle

    Based on coverage maps, lack of LTE wouldn't be an issue in most of my state. :(

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    Mike Breaton

    Does T-Mobile (Ting GSM) support HSDPA 850/1900?

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    Ting Help

    Hey Christopher and Mike - there's not quite enough information in that Amazon ad to see if it will be compatible.  There's information in this article on compatibility with our GSM network that may help!

  • Avatar
    Rebecca Baumgarten

    Will it matter what GSM carrier a phone was originally designed for, as far as coverage goes? 

  • Avatar
    Kenneth Chomic
  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne