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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
    Len Olson

    This may not be the best spot to pose this question, but its somewhat relevant.  Im a current Ting user, have a Sprint/CDMA iphone 4.  Im interested in getting a new phone.  From reading all of the posts/feedback, I would opt for a Tmobile/GSM phone, however here's what Im wondering.  If Im not satisfied with the Tmobile network coverage/service/connectivity in my area, could I switch back to my Sprint/CDMA iphone..?  I thought I saw something in some thread about issues re-activating with CDMA after de-activating.  Is that an issue people have had, or am I off base..?  That would be frustrating, the thought of it makes me leery of switching up the status quo.

    I am in Green Bay, WI.  The GSM service is good where I'll spend 95+% of my time, but there are spots I spend time which will have no service at all, according to the map.  Not sure if that would be a dealbreaker...

    So I guess a related question to my concern would be if I could toggle my active phone between new Tmobile/GSM as regular use phone, then go back to Sprint/CDMA phone for instances where Im out of town..?  Is that viable..?  I know I could toggle between two different Sprint/CDMA phones back in the day, no issues, before all of the recent changes...

     

    Thanks in advance,

    Len

     

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Len,

    I know once you deactivate a GEM phone, you need a new SIM to activate it again. You could have both devices active with different numbers sharing the same rate buckets.

    You should be able to port back to Ting CDMA if the GSM coverage does not work for you.

  • Avatar
    Brain Fancy

    Thanks Bruce. What I did notice though was the site does show my AWS phone as compatible with Ting. AWS = GSM is it not?

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    This poor user is new to GSM. Is this what you mean? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Wireless_Services

    If so, it only mentions T-Mobile using it it New York City. Verizon makes some use of that band too.

  • Avatar
    Brian Boucher

    Ok, I was a bad boy last night, getting my first smartphone, the unlocked N6 (64GB) from the Google Store and the Ting sim card. I should have both by @ next Wednesday/Thursday. EXCITED about the new toy....

    When I get both, then what do I do.... (other than looking dazed & confused)... 

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Brian,

    Congrats?? I think. What cell phone service (if any) do you have now? Assuming you currently have a cell phone and want to keep your number, here is how to proceed.

    Go to https://ting.com/account/devices You should see your new SIM as an inactive device.

    Click activate. and follow the prompts to either port your existing number or to get a new number.

    After you get the confirmation email that the SIM is active & the port complete, follow the steps here to configure the phone.https://help.ting.com/entries/30222656-Completing-Activation-for-Your-Nexus-5-or-6#GSM

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Brian,

    There is one last step.

    Enjoy :D

  • Avatar
    Brian Boucher

    I have a VERY old Moto flip phone from @ 2002 that I buy TracFone minutes for. Hmm, I could keep the number... might do that.

    When I go to that first link you listed, there is no SIM there as an inactive device. I don't have the N6 nor the Ting SIM yet.... next Wed/Thurs both are scheduled to arrive in the mail.

  • Avatar
    Bruce Osborne

    Yeah, they probably have mot assigned a SIM to your order yet.

  • Avatar
    Peter Tanaka

    Will this frequency work on ting?

     

    • Frequency: 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, 3G: WCDMA 900/2100MHz, 4G: FDD BAND1/3/7/20(800/1800/2100/2600MHz)
  • Avatar
    Isabel M

    Hi Peter,

    You'll have 2G data, but not 3G or 4G LTE.

  • Avatar
    Amy Button

    Following up on my own questions from the last couple of months, I just activated a Ting GSM SIM in my T-Mobile LG Optimus F3 (model LG-P659) yesterday, and despite Ting's IMEI checker saying I'd get only 2G and 3G, I do, in fact, also get 4G and LTE as I've done for the last 1.5 years on T-Mobile Prepaid.  Hooray!

  • Avatar
    Chris Ballowe

    Hi.  This is all very new to me so I hope this isn't too lame of a question.   I am trying to figure out if a phone I am interested in buying (Samsung S5 G-900A) would be a good fit for Ting in my area.  Looking at the above chart, I think the phone's 3G and LTE bands are supported, but am unsure.  Here is what the phone specs say per Amazon site:

    HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100; LTE 700 / 850 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600   

    According to the chart you provide, I take it that the S5 will work using 3G on the 2100 band and LTE on both the 1700 and 2100 bands.  Is that correct?  Does that mean I should have good service.  Putting in my zip code finds that I live in all green LTE zone.  

    Also, I believe this model of the phone uses ATT as its default carrier. The phone I want to buy is unlocked.  Is there any reason I would not be able to use Ting once I got a Ting sim? 

     

    Thanks.

  • Avatar
    Renny M

    Hi Chris,

    That phone will be fine for Ting GSM! There shouldn't be any reason why you can't use Ting once you get the Ting GSM SIM card.

  • Avatar
    Erin Woodard

    i found a phone from at&t unlocked with these frequencies

    LTE: Bands 1/2/4/5/7/17; HSPA+/UMTS Tri-Band: 850/1900/2100 MHz; GSM Quad-Band: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

    will it work?

  • Avatar
    William Farr

    Does Ting work on the Amzn Fire phone (unlocked)............

  • Avatar
    Renny M

    Hi Erin,

    That AT&T phone will definitely work with us on our GSM service, it has the correct network bands to pick up a 2G and 4G LTE data signal.

    William, the Amazon Fire Phone is also supported on Ting GSM and will get full service (2g, 3g and 4G LTE) on the network.

    As always, make sure to pick up the Ting GSM SIM card for all GSM devices you wish to activate on Ting! https://ting.com/shop/gsmSIM

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