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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
    Justen Burdette

    There are a lot of us at Ting HQ who are excited for Ubuntu Touch, Samuel.  Unfortunately, the bq device that they're launching with would be limited to 2G, as its frequency support is focussed on Europe.  If you're really excited for Ubuntu on a smartphone and aren't afraid of getting your hands dirty, you could install it on a compatible Nexus 5.

  • Avatar
    Cindy Hawley

    Ubuntu Phone / BQ Aquaris E4.5

    • dual micro-SIM

    • 2G GSM (850/900/1800/1900)

    • 3G HSPA+ (900/2100)

    - GPS and A-GPS

    |
    INFORMATION FOR DISTRIBUTORS
    |
    |
     
    |
    EAN: 8435439800013 - SKU: C000071
    |

  • Avatar
    Cindy Hawley

    Thank you Justen

  • Avatar
    Keung Kong

    Will this phone works SKY Pantech Vega R3 A850K

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    I do not know.

    Use Google to get the specs & compare them with the first post in this thread. If it matches and is unlocked, it should work.

  • Avatar
    Keung Kong

    IM-A850S : 1900/1800/900 MHz (I) MHz, GSM LTE 1800 (B3) / 850 (B5) MHz, W-CDMA 2100

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    So, according to the chart at the start of this thread, you could get 2G voice and text. No 3G or 4G(LTE).

  • Avatar
    Keung Kong

    Thanks.

  • Avatar
    Claire O'Connell

    Hi Keung, Bruce is bang on point with what he said. Another way to check if a device is compatible is by entering the ESN for the device into the checker on the website:  www.ting.com/byod

  • Avatar
    Jeri Foraker

    If I bring an unlocked Verizon Iphone 6 plus to Ting, with required Ting sim card, will the phone be on Tings CDMA network(since verizon tech is CDMA) or will it be on the new GSM network?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    I would normally say that it would only work on the Ting GSM with the X1 SIM. 

    There appear to have been some recent changes. See this for more information. https://ting.com/blog/activate-an-iphone-6-or-6-plus-on-ting-today/

  • Avatar
    Ting Help

    HI Jeri!  For that phone I would agree with Bruce on the GSM network.  Only an unlocked 6 or 6 plus from Apple directly can be used on our CDMA network right at the moment (things are changing rapidly in the industry right now!).

  • Avatar
    Brock Adams

    Just curious....help me out. If I live in an area that has decent Sprint and T-Mobile coverage, AND I don't care to use an iPhone 6 (not necessarily true,) are there any specific advantages to switching to GSM? Will I get visual voice mail (Perhaps my biggest peeve about Ting)?  Better battery life? Will I still get favorable roaming (as in when Ting's Sprint coverage allows roaming onto Verizon's areas)? Just curious as to what the pros and cons might be for someone living in a good reception area for both CDMA and GSM.

    Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Peter Rudy

    Damn good question Brock.  

    The official line from Ting is that GSM with TMO will allow new phones immediately after release, while Sprint currently holds back on allowing  new phones to be placed on MVNO's for a year.  That may change on Sprint.  I am a beta tester for GSM for several weeks now, and I am using a new HTC M8 with lollipop on GSM and I love it.  I have recently traveled around middle Atlantic area  and phone always worked great.   That said, Sprint had horrible service in Denver until three months ago - NO LTE and my turtle was faster than WiMax.  Now, all new Sprint Denver cell towers, LTE and SPARK - amazing.   So, I have to temper my prior hatred for Sprint with the recent major service upgrades here.  TMO's speed is great, but all the blogs talk about how its now slowing down as it picks up new customers.  

    IMHO, it turns on service and phones.  Clearly, if you like the newest and greatest, TMO/Ting is the way to go.  If you travel overseas, then TMO/Ting is the way to go.  Service is your call.  TMO does not have the best rural coverage - great in major cities.  Sprint has better coverage in rural areas, but damn slow data.  In my experience, Sprint roams for voice on Verizon, so I doubt you could get better voice coverage in rural areas than Ting/Sprint and its roaming contracts. 

    My last concern is: will Sprint survive?  Its bleeding a billion dollars a year.  I know TMO will survive - backed by DT.  Sprint seems weird.  The electronics blogs say Sprint has the most convoluted, unfriendly and arcane policy on the new unlocking low.  It wants to buy 1700 radio shack stores?  IMPO,  ever since the TMO/ATT merger died, TMO has done everything right.   i think it will take Sprint a year or more to regain the trust it lost for taking so damn long to get LTE up and running

    The great thing about Ting is the ability to use both GSM and CDMA.  My wife will stay on Sprint - she has a like new LG g2 - does not travel and doesn't care about cool phones.  And I will now stay on GSM

     

  • Avatar
    Brock Adams

    Thanks for the great reply (though some of your initialisms are confusing...IMPO...DT?) I do occasionally travel in rural areas, but I would also like to be able to use maps more often in the urban areas. My current CDMA (iphone 5s) setup is extremely slow when mapping in the Sacramento area at times. Maybe I will try GSM and see which works better around my area.

     

  • Avatar
    Peter Rudy

    In my personal opinion impo; Deutsche Telecom DT, the parent of TMO worldwide

  • Avatar
    Brock Adams

    Thanks...I knew it was a variation of in my opinion (4 hours sleep last night!)

    Back to the topic at hand. Do you find your data rates faster with the GSM phone in areas that are LTE for both systems?

  • Avatar
    Amy Button

    I was met with deafening silence the last time I asked this question here over a month ago, which doesn't instill me with confidence, but I'll try again.

    I'm currently on T-Mo prepaid.  I get great LTE in Houston on my LG Optimus F3 (model LG-P659).  Specs on the phone radios from LG's site are:

    • GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, 3G UMTS Band I/II/IV/V, LTE Band 17/Band 4
    • EDGE Class 12, GPRS Class 12, UMTS (W-CDMA), HSDPA, LTE and HSPA+ 42 Mbp

    And from GSMArena (which mixes both T-Mo and the other flavor models), the specs are:

    • 2G: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 (for T-Mobile)
    • 3G: HSDPA 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 (for T-Mobile)
    • 4G: LTE 700 / 1700 / 2100 (Bands 4, 17) (for T-Mobile)
    • Speed: HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE Cat3 100/50 Mbps, EV-DO Rev.A 3.1 Mbps; GPRS Class 12 (for T-Moblie); EDGE Class 12 (for T-Mobile)

    This seems to jibe with the specs listed above, in all categories.  I've also unlocked my phone via T-Mo.  However, when I run my IMEI though Ting's checker, is says I'll only get 2G and 3G.  I'd like to come to Ting with my existing phone and my currently-Sprint fiancé, but I'm not willing to give up LTE.

    Is the IMEI checker actually giving me an accurate assessment of how my phone would perform on Ting's new GSM service, such that I shouldn't even bother spending the money on a Ting GSM sim, or could the database be confused and I should probably actually be good to go with LTE on Ting?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Amy,

    Call or email Ting support to open a ticket, or perhaps emailing Justen (j@ting.com) would get you an answer.

  • Avatar
    James Slegers

    I have a Nexus 5 GSM, which I bought direct from Google, but have been using on T-Mobile's network.  It is currently locked.

    Will I have to unlock my phone to activate or use it on Ting?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    James,

    Nexus 5 are never locked to a carrier. I am using a Nexus 5 from Google Play on Ting GSM now without any issues, After provisioning, it worked better after a reboot, but otherwise things work perfectly.Follow the directions at https://help.ting.com/entries/30222656-Completing-Activation-for-Your-Nexus-5-or-6#GSM

  • Avatar
    David Ooty

    Can the SIM be swapped between unlocked phones or is the SIM tied to a phone? I activated my SIM on a Blackberry without problem (the Blackberry was added to my devices under my account). When trying to use the same SIM in another Ting compatible unlocked GSM phone, I am not having any luck. Wondering if all devices need to be set up in your account for them to work on GSM, and if so, how to add them under the same SIM card.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    David,

    I know that many people in the private beta program moved the SIM to different devices. You need to be sure to set the APNs on the other device. See https://help.ting.com/entries/22352307-Completing-Your-Activation-

  • Avatar
    Peter Rudy

    David, i am one of the people in the beta that moved a sim from device to device. Easy to do.  The SIM itself is the "device" that is registered under your Ting account, unlike a Sprint CDMA phone.  As Bruce suggested, you will need to check the APN settings on the new phone (best to check all settings).  ALSO, there are device settings on the Ting Dashboard.  These do not indicate what you phone can actually do, but what your phone is permitted to do.  As an example, there is a button on the Ting dash for wifi calling.  That button has meaning only if your phone has the TMO wifi calling app.  

    I now see a refresh button on the TING dashboard next to the GSM device.  I believe that is used after you move a SIM and refreshes device info.  As always, a REBOOT or two always helps with moving SIMs to new devices.  Also, the TING dashboard may take up to several hours to fully refresh device information.  This may have been speeded this up since the first beta.  

  • Avatar
    David Ooty

    Thanks for the help, by changing the APN settings I was able to get the phone to work. The TING dashboard is not refreshing however with the new phone. I'll give it a few hours to see if it updates.

  • Avatar
    Eric Lewis

    Maybe someone can help, have a Verizon Galaxy Nexus, MEID checks out as compatible, when I run the SIM card number through its gives me an error that says "Opps! An error occurred, please try again" any help? Don't know if simply buying a TIng SIM card would do the trick or what, thanks.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Ting GSM requires a Ting X1 SIM card. See https://ting.com/shop/gsmSIM

  • Avatar
    Peter Cailloux

    Hi Ting, Exciting news about the GSM SIM. Two questions I had that I didn't see a direct answer to on Ting Help. Justen W helped me out.

    1) I've had a non-SIM Ting phone for a while. If I get a SIM card, Justen told me I can I keep the same number, and just need to port it to the new number. "Yep, we can just 'port' you between networks"

    2) I have two unlocked phones (one flip, one smart). Justen informed me I can use the SIM card in my flipper, then move my GSM SIM card to the smart phone whenever I want. "You can move the SIM from phone to phone, but only one number can be used on it at any time."

    Rock on, Ting. Can't wait to have Ting Internet in DC one of these days...

  • Avatar
    Timothy Cooper

    Eric Lewis,

    I don't think the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is going to be compatible with Ting.  Here's the specs page for the VGN:

    http://www.phonearena.com/phones/Samsung-GALAXY-Nexus-CDMA_id6135

    Scroll down to the Technology section to see what radio frequencies it supports.  It supports 1900MHz, which is needed for 2G (aka Voice & Text).  So that part might work - I'm no expert though!!  It does not support 1700/2100 or Band 4, which means no 3G/4G, which means no mobile data.  If you only want voice/text it may work, but I'm out of my depth on this so don't take my word for it.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    That phone supports 1900 MHz CDMA, not GSM. It will not work on Ting GSM. The only thing it supports on GSM is Band 13 LTE.

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