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

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Last updated by Suzanne Thomas

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 GSM 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.

 

Unlocking Tips

Below you will find information on how to request an unlock code from the most popular carriers listed.

Please note that in some cases devices may have been modified by the carrier that sold them, and as such we cannot guarantee the phone will work.

The FCC also has guidelines on unlocking devices that you can look at for more information.

 

       Airvoice  Cricket Pageplus Telcel US Mobile 
 AT&T FreedomPop Republic Wireless T-Mobile  Verizon
  Boost Google Project Fi Safelink Wireless T-Mobile Prepaid Virgin
Consumer Cellular Google Voice Sprint TracFone Walmart Family Mobile
Credo Metro PCS Straight Talk US Cellular  



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
    Timothy Cooper

    Eric, I just asked a similar question on another thread, regarding a Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3.  It has exactly the same radio technology as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, so the answer should be the same for both phones.  Keep an eye on that thread and see what the experts say:

    https://help.ting.com/entries/104175783-Verizon-Galaxy-S3

  • Avatar
    Timothy Cooper

    Good timing Bruce.  :)  That answers that.  

    Sorry Eric.  :(

  • Avatar
    Nichole Basile

    I'd like to bring a nokia lumia 521. The compatibility checkers says it would get 2/3G, but I get 4G with my current service. Is that correct? I would not want to switch if I can't get 4G. (I know the phone is not 4G LTE.)

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    HI Nichole - Who is you current service provider? 

  • Avatar
    Nichole Basile

    MetroPCS. My daughter has the same model phone on T-Mobile that I'd also like to move to Ting, but I didn't check her IMEI. 

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    Tings GSM partner is T-mobile, so you will get the same data connections as you currently have.  So if you are getting 4G with Tmobile, you will get 4G with Ting GSM.  

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    There was some discussion about the Compatibility checker in a different thread.  This is what Justen (Ting Staff) had to say, "The compatibility checker relies on a shared industry database that device manufacturers populate with the band support they build into each device they build."

    This database isn't always accurate.  I would recommend checking the phone specs against Ting GSM frequencies yourself.  

    Ting compatibility guide can be found here:

    https://help.ting.com/entries/105240696-Can-I-Bring-My-GSM-Device-to-Ting-Compatibility-and-Unlocking-Guide%20

     

  • Avatar
    Brian Boucher

    Wow, lots of info here... and easier to follow for current, experienced smartphone users. I want to soon get my FIRST smartphone... I know... but have not needed one as I'm on a Windows home PC most of the time. It's an issue of 'want' and not 'need' at this point.

     

    Phones I'm primarily considering:  iPhone 6+ / Nexus 6 / Galaxy Note 4 /  Moto X (2nd Gen)...     WITH...    a very inexpensive, low-usage plan, ie, Consumer Cellular, Republic Wireless, Ting...  Do not want a bill to go over @ $20-$25 / month. Plan usage approximate estimate > Talk/100-200 min, Text/500, Data/500MB-1GB.

     

    Is Ting in the race w/ those 2 others I mention? What is confusing for me, is which phone, where to get it, and I see no positive answers on the absolute compatibility of the phone with Ting... that's not reassuring.

     

    Please give me your thoughts. Thanks much.

     

    Brian from Rhode Island 

  • Avatar
    Timothy Cooper

    Brian, see Ting's rates page:  https://ting.com/rates

    Play with the usage sliders to determine your monthly rate.  You only pay for what you use!

  • Avatar
    Yvonne Fedee

    I'm not tech savvy and don't completely understand how to interpret the table above.  I'm interested in an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini on ebay that I would want to use on Ting GSM.  The supported wireless bands are listed as LTE 750 / 1700 WCDMA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 CDMA 850 / 1900 GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900.  Would this phone work on Ting GSM?  Thanks

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    An iPhone 6+ or Nexus 6 should work with either Ting CDMA (Sprint or Ting GSM (T-Mobile). O have used my Nexus 5 successfully on both. 

    Republic Wireless requires you to buy the phone direct from them due to special firmware on the phone, I believe.Consumer Cellular uses AT&T's network.

    With the usage you specified, Ting would be $39 plus taxes with 500 minutes, 500 text, 1GB data. If you use less one month. the rate goes down. Check Ting's rates at https://ting.com/rates

    Wg\hat is most important, is what network has the coverage you need/want. If Sprint or T-Mobile do not have the cioverage, then Ting would be a poor choice for you.

     

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Yvonne,

    On Ting GSM, you would only get 2G + voice and text. That is very slow data. I would look for that phone in a T-Mobile version (locked or unlocked) for better compatibility.

  • Avatar
    Timothy Cooper

    For phone compatibility, Ting uses an industry standard IMEI checker (same as all the other carriers use), but it isn't always 100% correct.  That's an industry thing, and not Ting's fault.  That's why Ting states what bands the phone must support to work with Ting.  For the phones you mentioned...

    iPhone 6+:  Ting sells this (see the Shop link up top), so yes it's compatible

    Nexus 6:  Looks like it supports 2G (voice/text) and 3G (data) but not Ting's 4G LTE.  Details: http://www.phonearena.com/phones/Google-Nexus-6_id8626

    Galaxy Note 4: Looks like it supports 2G, 3G, 4G LTE  Details: http://www.phonearena.com/phones/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4_id8577

    Moto X:  Looks like it supports 2G and maybe 3G.  Details: http://www.phonearena.com/phones/Motorola-Moto-X-2014_id8897

    I keep saying "looks like" because I'm not an expert.  I'm just looking at the table at the top of this page and matching it to the Technology section on the pages I linked.

  • Avatar
    Timothy Cooper

    Bruce beat me to the punch again.  ;)

    And listen to him rather than me - he's got more experience here.

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    The Nexus does support 4G LTE on both Ting CDMA and Ting GSM.  I have used the Nexus 6 on both networks.  The Nexus 6 also supports the 3 LTE bands that T-Mobile uses, band 2,4 and 12.  

  • Avatar
    Yvonne Fedee

    Bruce,

    Thanks. Can you explain how to interpret that table so I can try to use it as I look at other phones? 

    I've never been able to find a T-Mobile S4 Mini, I don't think T-Mobile ever had it. I recently purchased a Sprint S4 Mini, but had to return it because of the FEC nonsense.  Not looking to go through that again.

    I REALLY want a decently spec'd, reasonably priced Android phone with a smaller form factor - I hate the giant phones out now!  The S4 Mini is perfect. I have a T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy Light right now, which is great size-wise, but not great performance-wise.

    Yvonne

  • Avatar
    Timothy Cooper

    Christopher, my mistake.  The phonearena page doesn't say Band 4, and the table on this page only lists band 4 for 4G LTE.  Where can I read up on band 2 & 12?  Or does Ting support ALL T-Mobile band frequencies?  Either way, sounds like this table needs updating.  :)

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    Yvonne - Have you looked at the Moto G or the Moto E?  The Moto G does not support 4G LTE in the USA (hoping it is coming soon), but the Moto E does.

     

    Moto G is $179  http://www.motorola.com/us/smartphones/moto-g-2nd-gen/moto-g-2nd-gen.html

    Moto E is $119 http://www.motorola.com/us/smartphones/moto-e-2nd-gen/moto-e-2nd-gen.html

  • Avatar
    Ken Poole

    Yvonne, perhaps a Motorola moto E(2nd gen) LTE ? http://www.motorola.com/us/smartphones/moto-e-2nd-gen/moto-e-2nd-gen.html (you need to select the LTE model - $149 - Moto E with 4G LTE - US GSM (XT1527):

    GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

    UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 1700 (AWS), 1900 MHz)

    4G LTE (2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17)

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    Timothy - Tng GSM supports all T-Mobile bands.  My understanding is that they only listed band 4 because that is all T-mobile was using at the time and that band is widely used.  T-Mobile has started using band 2 in their new LTE markets.  Band 12 will eventually be used in some markets. Band 12 uses 700mhz so it can penetrate building better and has a longer range.  

  • Avatar
    Yvonne Fedee

    Christopher and Ken,

    Thanks, I will check them out!

    Yvonne

  • Avatar
    Brian Boucher

    I see my potential Ting bill at @ $26/month + fees if I stay under 500MB/data. Comparable 'Consumer Cellular' bill @ $24/month + fees. The Nexus 6 is @ $699 w/64GB, the iPhone 6+ is @ $849 w/64GB. You think the 6+ is @ $150. better than the Nexus 6? 

    Not sure from whom to get the phones from, as not positive which networks are better in Rhode Island (10 miles West of Providence)...

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    Brian - Are you trying to decide between Ting GSM or Ting CDMA?  Looks like you have pretty good coverage in your area with either network.  the good thing about the Nexus 6 is that will work on both Ting CDMA and Ting GSM as it supports the frequencies for both networks.  

    Tmobile offers a test drive program.  They let you use an Iphone for work to see if the network will work for you.  

    I would check the coverage for both networks at the places you travel frequently.  The coverage map on T-mobiles website is more up-to-date than the one on Tings website.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    I believe the iPhone 6+ will work on both too. It just depends on whether you prefer Android or Apple iOS. Some people prefer the Apple virtual keyboard.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Yvonne,

    It looks like the S4 mini can work on Ting GSM except for LTE. See https://support.t-mobile.com/message/362008

  • Avatar
    Brian Boucher

    Chris...  You mention T-Mobile for the purchase of the iPhone6+. I thought Ting wanted us to buy it direct from the Apple Store...

    And sounds like the Nexus 6 is more flexible in it's compatibility going forward...?

  • Avatar
    Christopher Beyer

    Brian - if you want to buy the Iphone,  you should buy it from the Apple Store.  I was referring to the Test Drive program that T-Mobile offers. They will loan you an iphone for a week.  You have to give it back at the end of the test drive, but it gives you a good idea if their network will work for you.   http://explore.t-mobile.com/test-drive-free-trial

  • Avatar
    Brian Boucher

    "Some prefer the Apple virtual keyboard..." 

    Are the keyboards on both the Nexus 6 and the iPhone 6+ adjustable, ie, making each key larger/upping the font size? And I just read a review that had the Galaxy Note 4 rated better than the Nexus 6...  anyone?

  • Avatar
    Brain Fancy

    Hey guys, I used this handy website to find out if my phone works on Ting: www.willmyphonework.net

     

    Site was right for my Samsung Galaxy phone but they have other models too.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Brain,

    What your site lists as Ting is only Ting CDMA (Sprint). For Ting CDMA, you must use https://ting.com/byod to verify it passes Sprint's FED check.

    This thread is for Ting GSM. You could use your site and select T-Mobile as your carrier for Ting GSM.

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