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Can I Bring My GSM Device to Ting? Compatibility and Unlocking Guide

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Last updated by Isabel M

If you're hoping to bring a GSM device to Ting, this guide will help you figure out if it's generally compatible. To be absolutely sure about your specific device though, you'll want to check its IMEI on our compatibility checker.

For general information on the Ting GSM network, click here.

GSM Device Compatibility

For a simple answer to that question, check out the carrier-specific information below. If you'd like to know the nitty, gritty, geeky stuff though, read on.

There's a good possibility you'll be able to bring your device to Ting but there are a few different things to look for if you're digging through phone specs.

When checking the specs of the phone you want to bring to Ting, you'll want to check which bands it supports and compare that information to the table below to see what level of compatibility it has with Ting on the GSM network.

 

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 example, if you have the supported GSM version of the iPhone 5c (model A1532), its cellular/wireless specs are:

  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)

Since the phone supports the 1900MHz band for GSM/EDGE you'll get 2G data, voice and text.

Since the phone supports the 1700/2100MHz (AWS) band for UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA, you'll get 3G data.

And finally since the phone supports Band 4 for LTE, you'll get LTE data where available.

Of course the easiest way to check a specific device is by using our compatibility checker, or you can look at the more general compatibility information by carrier below.



A Note About LTE Bands

In most markets where our GSM network partner offers LTE service, they do so primarily on band 4, with bands 2 and 12 acting as back up. However, in a few markets (e.g. Cincinnati, OH) LTE data is only offered on band 2 and in some rare cases, only on band 12.

If you're purchasing a device you should note that:

  • Band 4 - Good. You get LTE data in most markets.
  • Bands 2 and 4 - Great. You get LTE data in almost all markets.
  • Bands 2, 4 and 12 - Best. You get LTE data in every market and you are prepared for the future of the network.

To determine if LTE is on band 2 or 12 in your area, check our coverage map. If you see the note like the one pictured below on the map, then LTE data in your area is only offered on band 2 or 12. Click the "View Here" link to see compatible devices.

A Note About LTE Bands




Compatibility by Carrier

AT&T Devices

Many AT&T smartphones will work on the Ting GSM network, but run your IMEI through our compatibility checker to confirm your specific devic.

You'll need to have AT&T unlock your device before porting out your numbers or canceling your account.

You can start the process of getting your AT&T device unlocked here.

Note:  Some devices have been modified by their original carrier to hide or disallow changes to some or all APN settings, even after the phone has been unlocked. These devices may not be fully functional on the network of our GSM partner. Some customers choose to successfully modify the ROM of the devices to restore full functionality, but because of the risks of modifying your device, we are unable to provide assistance with rooting or alternative ROMs.

 

T-Mobile Devices

Just about any device sold for T-Mobile should be ready to go on the Ting GSM network.

You'll need to make sure the device has no outstanding balance or financing owed on it.

If your device is locked, you may want to have it unlocked by T-Mobile before porting your number or canceling your account, however, unlocking a T-Mobile device is not required.

 

Verizon Devices

Most Verizon devices that meet the following criteria will work on the Ting GSM network:

  • smartphone
  • LTE-capable
  • released on or after September 2012

Smartphones from Verizon that meet these criteria will likely be automatically unlocked for domestic use on other carriers and should be ready to go for use on the Ting GSM network. However, the level of compatibility will vary pretty widely.

That means some devices, like the iPhone 5 for example, will be mostly compatible with Ting but won't get LTE service on our GSM network. On the other hand, Verizon iPhone 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus should have full compatibility with the Ting GSM network.

To know for sure which services you'll have, you'll want to check your device's IMEI in our compatibility checker.

Note:  Some devices have been modified by their original carrier to hide or disallow changes to some or all APN settings, even after the phone has been unlocked. These devices may not be fully functional on the network of our GSM partner. Some customers choose to successfully modify the ROM of the devices to restore full functionality, but because of the risks of modifying your device, we are unable to provide assistance with rooting or alternative ROMs.

 

Sprint®* Devices

If you have a Nexus 5 or Nexus 6, it should work on the Ting GSM network and they do not need to be unlocked.

Any other Sprint®* devices can be used on our CDMA network.





Other Compatibility Criteria

Unlocked iPhone Devices from Apple

The answer is generally yes for any device since (and including) the iPhone 5c and 5s. Earlier models have varying levels of compatibility with the Ting GSM network and in those cases you'll want to check your device's IMEI using our compatibility checker.

 

Devices from Big Box Stores and Other Retailers

If you purchase a GSM device at Best Buy, WalMart or some other retailer it's probably made to run on one of the major networks. Refer to the corresponding carrier compatibility and unlocking information above to figure out if you can use your device on the Ting GSM network. If the phone isn't for one of the carriers listed above, you'll need to check that IMEI first.

 

Devices from Third-Party Carrier (MVNOs)

If you're using a device activated with an MVNO, refer to the corresponding major carrier above for compatibility information. If you're not sure of which network your MVNO uses, get in touch with them to find out.

For unlocking information, you'll need to contact your MVNO directly.

 

Feature or Non-Smart Phones

The carrier information above still applies and our compatibility checker will tell you even more. However, for some features phones our checker may indicate that the phone will get 2G data when it will actually only get voice and text. That's because these phones have hard coded data settings that can't be updated after activation in order to make them fully compatible with our GSM offering. You'll need to try an activated SIM card in the phone to know for sure.

 





More GSM Information

If you're still not sure if Ting on GSM is right for you, check out this article.

Ting on CDMA or GSM:  Which network is right for me?

Have more questions about GSM devices on Ting?

FAQ: GSM Devices on Ting

Need to check on the compatibility of a GSM device that you already own?

Device Compatibility Checker

Want to know about GSM iPhones on Ting?

GSM iPhone FAQ

Have questions about bringing your GSM device to Ting?

GSM BYOD:  Supported Devices & FAQ

Need help getting your GSM device activated on Ting?

Completing Your Activation

 

*Sprint is a trademark of Sprint

Have more questions? Submit a request

Comments

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    Donner - Here is a link to Verizons unlock policy.  http://www.verizonwireless.com/aboutus/commitment/safety-security/device-unlocking-policy.html  If you have a 4G LTE phone, they say they dont lock it.

  • Avatar
    Donner Castro

    Thank you so much! It looks like I'm ready to go. Your move Ting! :)

  • Avatar
    Ken Poole

    Will I be able to bring my Netgear Zing I bought from ting last year to gsm? or will there be a different hotspot that is GSM ready that I can buy?

  • Avatar
    Ting Help

    Hey Ken!  The Zing you have will not be compatible with the upcoming GSM network.  There will be lots of options for hotspots - if you have a question about a device you want to activate on the new network, please send us an email with the details.

  • Avatar
    Ken Poole

    was afraid of that ... since I do not see a need for one till mid-late summer i will wait to see what becomes available in your store :-)

  • Avatar
    Erin Crouch

    Newbie question.  If I put in a Ting Sim in my Verizon Samsung Galaxy s4 phone and take out the verizon sim, at a later date can I switch them out?  I am currently under contract and want to give ting a try (ordered my beta sim today) but I don't want to prevent going back to verizon with the same phone/sim.  Thanks

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Erin,

    If you are still under contract, your phone is likely locked to Verizon's network.

    Even if it were unlocked,in actual practice switching between carriers may not be easy, especially between a CDMA carrier (Verizon) & a GSM carrier (Ting GSM) I do not know about the S4 specifically, but many people have had issues moving the Nexus 5 between GSM & Sprint (CDMA).

     

  • Avatar
    Justen Burdette

    Most Verizon LTE devices released since late 2012 or early 2013 are shipped unlocked.  They only get "blacklisted" if you leave Verizon with an outstanding balance owed on the device that gets written off.  We haven't tested an S4 from Verizon, but if you run it through the compatibility checker at ting.com/byod, you should get a good idea of how well it is capable of working on Ting GSM (depending on coverage in your area).

  • Avatar
    Erin Crouch

    I ran it through the checker and it said it should be fine with 2g and 4GLTE.   I just wanted to try my phone with Ting before I got out of the contract. 

    I already have another phone with you. 

  • Avatar
    Ryan Boyle

    I got my Ting GSM sim in the mail, how can I activate it?! :)

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    I do not believe they can be activated yet, but I am sure Ting is working on the process to smoothly activate them. This is a big undertaking for Ting. They are exploring the strange new world of GSM.

  • Avatar
    Paul Springer

    I ran though your phone checker my Galaxy S3. It says, Good News, GSM will support it in February. But I have a rooted phone. The S3 supports both CDMA and GSM on multiple bands. I don't mind waiting for February, but I'm not sure you are correct. I have the following preferred network types:

    LTE/CDMA/EvDo/GSM/WCDMA

    LTE/GSM/WCDMA

    LTE/CDMA/EvDO

    CDMA/EvDo auto

    GSM/WCDMA AUTO

    WCDMA only

    GSM only

    GSM/WCDMA preferred

    Thanks,

    Paul

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Paul,

    What model Galaxy S3 do you have? There are 3 US CDMA models. 

    Crisket, US Celular, Metro-PCS use model SCH-R530. This phone should get 2G & 4G LTE service.

    The Sprint model SCH-I535, should get 2G only.

    The  Verizon model SCH-S960L, should get 2G only.

    This is assuming the phone in unlocked and the IMEI is not blacklisted.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Space Cowboy,

    You're making some assumptions here. Ting has not said who they are partnering with for GSM.

  • Avatar
    Tabitha Chee

    Hi There, I am looking into purchasing a Fire Phone which is a GSM network and checked with Ting about the possibility of having it with Ting.  I am not tech savvy so I have the information here from Amazon about the phone.  Please check through this and help me understand if that is what Ting is able to take.  Thank you!  

    Fire phone can connect wirelessly via Wi-Fi or 4G LTE (with fallback to HSPA+, HSDPA, and EDGE/GPRS). Fire phone features nine bands of 4G LTE (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 17, 20), four bands of GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), and five bands of UMTS (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz).

  • Avatar
    Gary Dodwell

    Im going to throw my cap into the ring and hope someone can answer this for me.

    Just took delivery of my "Beta" GSM SIM X1 in all its lovely goodness.... i Purchased a Galaxy Note 3 from you guys just over a year ago but never had it unlocked for international access.

    Well... though I would pop in the SIM to my CDMA Note 3 and see what happens... Voilla ! The phone boots with an "Invalid Sim" warning but then 3G pops up ( no Ting Ident ) and i can make and recieve calls together with able to send and recieve data. ( Still with the invalid SIM ) warning running.

    Here is the weird part. I am testing in a basement room in a very heavily Sprint Heavy area. Verizon is a very weak 2nd but (assuming that we are going to guestimate that T-Mo  are your partners ). Checking the coverage map my town is a DEAD ZONE  to T-Mo services and oddly my phone is getting as good / very similar signal levels with the X1 sim as I do with my regular sim.

    Whats going on ?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Gary,

    Your CDMA Note 3 is locked to Sprint's network and can only use the SIM clot for Sprint LTE access. If it is unlocked for International use, it can function on an International GSM network, but not a domestic GSM network like Ting GSM.

    Since your phone is locked, you get the "Invalid SIM" message. You can make & receive calls and get 3G data because it does not need the SIM to use those features on Sprint's network.

    I hope you did not buy the GSM SIM X1 to use in that phone, because Sprint will not unlock it for domestic GSM.

  • Avatar
    Gary Dodwell

    Aaah that explains a lot.  Thank you. I didn't realize that the sim was to enable 4G LTE access ( which i have turned off for most of the time because it uses more data)

    As I am a field engineer covering a large area of indiana.  I do hit Sprint dead spots from time to time and when i can I roam onto Verizon's network to make voice calls. But was looking at the possibility of a dual sim phone so I can get the best of ting and "Whoever" the partnered company is when the time comes. to increase my ability to make voice calls when sprint cannot cover or is too weak to make a call unless i stand outside ( which isn't fun or practical in January ).

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    Tabitha - The bands that you listed for the Fire phone match the bands needed in the original post, so it should work.

  • Avatar
    Paul Springer

    Bruce,

    I have the SCHI535MBV from Verizon. It's a pretty special phone. It came with 2GB of memory instead of 1GB. It also came with 32GB of internal storage. So I'm not quite sure why you are saying its a Sprint phone.

    The funny part about the phone is that Samsung says they can't upgrade it because the S3 doesn't have enough memory. Well for those of us that got the 2GB of Ram model that is not the case.

    Here is the model:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-s3-verizon

    I hope I can get better than 2G. YIKES...

     

     

     

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Paul,

    I was asking the model and gave the examples I found quickly.

    I just looked at Samsung's page for your phone at http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SCH-I535MBBVZW-specs

    It looks like it would be 2G only. The phone does not support the 3G frequencies or LTE band 4.

    Sorry for the bad news.

     

  • Avatar
    Kenneth Ponder

    I live in a rural area where T-mobile only has Band 2 LTE.  This is new Janurary 2015.   Band 4 LTE is not available.  As space cowboy said above:

    "Band 2 is being deployed in former 2G only non-urban areas where T-Mobile doesn't have any band 4 spectrum. In some, maybe all, of these band 2 only LTE markets, 3G is not offered, only 2G and LTE."

    Will a device supporting Band 2 get LTE on ting?  The table at the top of this article only mentions Band 4 LTE (but this Band 2 LTE is a new thing).

  • Avatar
    Tabitha Chee

    Thanks, Christopher, for replying.  It's good news.  But I guess we have to wait for the launch and start in February.  Any idea when it's going to be exactly?  Thank you again!

  • Avatar
    Paul Springer

    2G, well it's a good reason to buy a new phone, though I will miss my S3.  It's been a great phone. My Verizon plan ends in February. It's just a matter of what to try next. Now that Verizon is limiting my grand-fathered unlimited data plan to 3G  ( I don't know exactly, but it's less than 5GB per month for me) this benefit isn't that great anymore. Next is to test GSM in my area. I've been with Verizon so long I have no idea how good the quality of the other cell carriers is in my area. First test is T-Mobile since they have a 7 day absolutely free test right now. Just take the 5S back to the store before 7 days is up. 

  • Avatar
    Ken Poole

    How well will this phone work? has any used it?

  • Avatar
    Ken Poole
  • Avatar
    Peter Rudy

    Kenneth, ting supports all the bands supported by TMO. The big issue and problem with the refarmed bands, were 2g bandwidth is used for lte, is if the phone supports these refarmed LTE bands. Newer Samsung and lg phones do, HTC does not. TMO has a new coverage map that explains what phones work in each of its two different refarmed bands. So, don't worry about Ting, worry about you phone.

  • Avatar
    Kenneth Ponder

    Peter. Thanks for the comment re ,lte band 2. I will probably go with a Samsung galaxy s4 or a ZTE zmax. Will wait till wifi calling supported by ting. Who knows, I may activate on T-Mobile and later port to ting.

  • Avatar
    Peter Rudy
    1. Good Luck Kenneth.  I know the S4 is on the TMO list of support for at least the 1900 mghtz refarmed band.  while the refarmed band LTE coverage is a pain, at least the brand new coverage map now explains what is going on.  before, the TMO (and TING) coverage map simply said: you get LTE.  NOW, on TMO, it says you get LTE BUT beaware ONLY ON CERTAIN phones.   There is also another more obscure re-farmed bank, something like 600, 700 or 800 or ?, and VERY few phones cover that LTE re-farmed band.
    2. Wi-fi calling at Ting still has several issues,  I am a beta tester with the Ting Army now and its far from smooth.  Be aware that UNLIKE TMO, using wifi calling on Ting WILL USE plan minutes just like a GSM call.  No cost savings, but good if you at a place without TMO coverage, in a basement, etc.
    3. My two GSM beta testing phones were from TMO.  It took one minute to activate them on Ting. I was actually disappointed that there was not more for me to do!! 
  • Avatar
    Cindy Hawley

    Can European phones like the new Ubuntu Phone work with GSM/TIng.

    http://www.ubuntu.com/phone

     

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