Various phones usable on Ting in Europe?

We have an iPhone 5s, a Galaxy S5, and a Galaxy S3.

I've read a few threads here but still have many questions.

The threads:

https://help.ting.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115007493708-Using-Ting-Phone-in-Europe
https://help.ting.com/hc/en-us/articles/205422098-International-SIM-Unlock-
https://help.ting.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/207857567-Any-problem-with-pulling-the-TING-SIM-for-a-few-weeks-while-in-Europe-

1) I have read elsewhere that the iPhones will work (as long as I get a GSM SIM card). But a TING rep just told me on chat that the iPhones would have to be unlocked and that only Sprint could have done that while still a Sprint customer (we came over from RingPlus). Is that true?

2) Can I simply put a GSM SIM card in to see if I get an error? How can I know if the iPhone is unlocked?

3) I have also been told that the Galaxy S5 will NOT work because it is CDMA only (even though it uses a SIM). Is THAT correct?

4) I do not believe that the Galaxy S3 even has a SIM card. Can anyone confirm?

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  • Hey Doug, 

    There's a lot in your comment, so I'm going to break it down as best I can for you. 

    1. Most iPhones will work on the GSM network as long as they pass the BYOD checker at ting.com/byod and are unlocked by the original carrier. Ting doesn't have the ability to unlock Sprint phones. You're correct that only Sprint can unlock the iPhone you have, but you don't have to be an existing Sprint customer. You will, however, need to know the PIN on the Sprint account where that iPhone was last active. If this was not yours, you'll need to contact your seller. 

    I wrote a step-by-step guide to getting your Sprint phone unlocked for GSM use (internally at Sprint, it's called a DSU) here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Sprint/comments/6juvgn/unlocking_issue/djhj94s/

    2. Yes, you absolutely can. The error you'll receive is likely "SIM Not Valid" or "SIM not supported". They both mean the same thing: The iPhone is not unlocked to accept GSM SIM cards. If you do not get this message and instead you see Ting in the top left corner, the iPhone is unlocked to accept GSM SIM cards. 

    3. The CDMA Galaxy S5 is one of the last phones that Sprint did not include on its list of DSU-capable phones. You can see their list here, though it has not been updated to include the latest devices: https://www.sprint.com/legal/unlocking_policy.html

    The SIM card slot in the CDMA Galaxy S5 is used for LTE data only. You'll notice that if you take the SIM card out of your active Galaxy S5, your data connection will drop to 3G. 

    The Galaxy S5 is, however, eligible for what Sprint calls an ISU, an International SIM Unlock. This will allow the phone to accept foreign SIM cards from carriers outside of the US. This is also true with your iPhone 5S, provided it is active on Ting when you make the request and we process it.

    4. The CDMA Galaxy S3 does not have a SIM card slot, and as such is not eligible for DSU or ISU. This phone can only be used on Sprint or Sprint MVNOs (like Ting) inside the United States. Ting does not have CDMA roaming internationally.

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  • Thanks, Mitch.

    I'll try to swing by a Sprint store with the iPhones in the next few weeks or months and see what happens with a different SIM card. (Or will I need to go to an AT&T/Verizon store?)

    5) Do you know anything about buying foreign SIM cards? How much they cost, etc.?

    6) If we are travelling in Europe, will a single SIM card work in all countries or does it depend?

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  • Doug, 

     

    All you need is a SIM card from a provider that isn't Sprint or Sprint-based. If you have a Ting GSM SIM card, that works great. You'll know right away. Else, you can just swing into your local Best Buy and pick up a SIM card from a service that doesn't use Sprint. I've seen AT&T GoPhone SIMs for $10 or so.

    You do NOT need to pay for service just to buy the SIM card and test it. If all else fails, drop us a line at help@ting.com and we could probably hook you up.

    5. SIM cards and their plans vary wildly by country. I can give you an example for when I travelled to the TIng head office in Toronto a few months ago. The SIM card itself was US $10, and the service I used (500MB) was roughly US $45. I could have stretched that out for a whole month, but I used it pretty heavily knowing I would only be there for a week.

    These prices are pretty typical, but some services will give away their SIM card with the first month of service. This is a HUGE YMMV (your mileage may vary) factor when traveling, but most convenience stores (think 7-11) would have a prepaid SIM card ready to go for you. The bigger concern is if your phone is not unlocked to accept them.

    6. I've not been to Europe, but I asked a few coworkers who have, and they provided me with a few resources to get you started: 

    https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/phones-tech/cell-phone-europe

    http://kenstechtips.com/index.php/best-sim-cards-for-using-smartphone-in-europe

    It looks like there are a few that will work in several countries, and it just depends on how easy the SIM is to get. 

    If you're able to get the DSU on your Sprint phone and make it work with a Ting GSM SIM card, you could always just use that, too. It'll be a little pricier, as the rates are in addition to your normal Ting usage, but it's an option for small trips: https://ting.com/outside_usa

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