Can I bring my existing device to Ting?


  • If I bought a phone from Ting, could I then activate one of my own phones?

  • Good question...

  • Hi Michael, 

    In order for a device to function on the cellular network, the serial number of the device must be "known" by the network. So the only way to get an existing phone of yours working on our network is to root the device and then have it register on the network using an ESN/MEID of one of our registered devices. It's possible, since other Ting customers have done it... with varying degrees of success based on their devices. Check out our Hacks section in help for more information. 

    If you're not interested, or uncomfortable hacking your phone (and buying a Ting phone), then the answer to your question is no (sorry about that).

  • My Sprint contract is up in a couple of months.  I plan to switch to Ting.  Since Ting uses Sprint's network, will my Sprint Evo work on Ting without the suggested hack?

    Thanks, -Tom

  • That's essentially my question.  I think Ting needs to understand that most people looking to make this change are going to be early adopters that understand how telecoms work.  You must already if people are hacking their phones just to get them to work with Ting.  Phone has an ESN, only certain (CDMA) phones will work with Sprint.

    Our question that has yet to be answered, can we bring a Sprint compatible phone to use with Ting if we follow the rules and buy a Ting phone first?

    Here is an example if that will help:

    I have AT&T now, I pay around $110 after taxes in Washington State "unlimited" data, 450 minutes, and unlimited night and weekend, mobile to mobile, unlimited text, and $5.99 phone insurance.  I talk about 6 minutes a month, send/receive about 1000 messages per month, and use about 1GB of data.  I have a Samsung Galaxy S II.  I could sell this phone for around $350 on eBay, and buy LG Optimus S from Ting ($155 + taxes), then activate (By giving Ting the ESN number) my already acquired Sprint Nexus S 4G.  I could then use the remaining money to cancel my AT&T contract and start saving about $50 per month.

    Does this help you say yes, you can do this?  I've had all four carriers before, and taking out the GSM (SIM) carriers T-Mobile and AT&T, both Verizon and Sprint had just as easy a time to activate other phones.  Bought a new phone from Sprint or Verizon, broke it after two weeks, borrowed a phone from a friend and called the carrier to switch the ESN so this backup phone could activate.  Theoretically, Ting would be able to do the same.




  • Hi Michael,

    Sorry, I thought I was clear up above, but perhaps not.

    We have had some customers purchase lower end devices for the serial number, then use rooting software (such CDMA Workshop) to use a "non-supported" device on the network. It's worked well for a few customers, but what we've noticed is that features are also tied to the serial number.

    So, taking a Sanyo Vero ESN and putting it on a 4G device like the HTC Detail will mean that you be able to get 4G services working. 

  • Hey Ben,

    No, you aren't answering the question we have.  What you are saying is that we could find a non-supported device and make it work.  We are not asking about non-supported devices.  We are asking about making a Sprint device (Which is the network you are using) work with Ting.  Because you have a limited sample of phones, what if we wanted to use a Sprint-branded phone like the Nexus S 4G work?

  • Although I wasn't being explicit, my examples assumed Sprint-branded phones, whether we offer them for sale, or not.

  • Ben -

    Sorry if this seems to beat a dead horse but I would be new to this and want to be sure I am correct in my strategy - 

    1a - Could I bring a used  Sprint Android phone to this network? 1b - If yes, without any flashing or rooting geek tricks?

    2 - If yes to #1, What about a used Sprint phone with bad ESN? (a friend actually bought a bad ESN Android Sprint phone from eBay)

    3 -You said "have it register on the network using an ESN/MEID of one of our registered devices". Does this mean you would have to have the phone mailed to you or me go to a Sprint dealer or what exactly?

    4 - Is there a list that could be posted of compatible 'outside' phones that are known to work or would be recommended to be purchased?


    PS - Loving TING so far. pretty much guaranteed I am going to be a customer! REALLY! I soooooo hate the big providers and their contracts!

  • Hey Brian.

    1a) Right now, the only way to do this is by rooting the device and having it take over a serial number (ESN/MEID) of a Ting device.

    1b) You'd need the rooting/geek tricks.

    2) Same thing as #1

    3) You'd need to buy a phone from us, then choose NOT to use it, opting instead for taking the serial number and cloning it on a device you want to use. So, you could by an HTC Detail from us, and take the serial number and put it on another CDMA phone. (yes, kind of an expensive trick, I know)

    4) That's a good idea. We'll look into tracking a list of known hacked phones. The thing is that sometimes, certain features on partially work. You're best bet would be to do a bit of research on the subject. We're also trying to get the conversations started in our ' Hacks' section here.

    Thanks for the kind words Brian! We hope that one day, all the silliness around device rooting, etc., will be unnecessary. Customers will just buy a mobile device and use it on any network they like. Until then we'll keep doing what we can to keep mobile simple. :)

  • 1A) Yes.

    1B) No.  Unless you buy the phone from Ting, you have to hack it to make it work.

    2) I'm sure Ben will answer better than I, but I believe good ESN or bad ESN doesn't matter.  The hacking portion will take care of it.

    3) I believe this means, you have to use a Ting-approved phone's ESN and hack the phone you want to use that ESN.  I take this to mean that the agreement between Ting and Sprint is such that Sprint will only allow certain phones.  Ting must get the phone approved through Sprint first.  Once they do, the phone is mailed to you from Ting.  In order to get a phone to work with Ting, you must use an approved ESN.  This is why you must buy a phone from Ting.  And this is where the hacking comes into play.

    4) I'm sure there is in the forums.  Ben said earlier there are forum posts on hacking.

    As much as I questioned and bitched above, the idea Ting has is sound.  And if they keep getting ideal phones like the Galaxy S II, they will have me as a solid customer for sure.  The only downside is the coverage Sprint has.



  • I knew you'd beat me to it Ben.  Thanks for clarifying.

  • THANKS! Both to Ben and Michael! Very clear to me now.

    Ben -

    You said "We hope that one day, all the silliness around device rooting, etc., will be unnecessary. Customers will just buy a mobile device and use it on any network they like. Until then we'll keep doing what we can to keep mobile simple. :)"

    I have been writing and complaining to the US Congress and signing petitions for the past 2 years trying to raise awareness. Just on principle it really T's me off that phones cannot be brought along. I have clients that LOVE their old phones and do NOT want to learn a new phones, transfer their details, etc. or just simply don't want buy or cannot afford to buy another phone.

    Again, thanks for the fast response and details and effort.

  • I have to tell you Michael, your comment made my weekend. Thanks for chiming in and the helpfulness! :D

    Brian: Glad we can help... would love to have you as a customer one day... thanks for the kind words and checking out Ting!

  • Are there plans to offer the iPhone?  This is the make or break issue for me.

  • As I am not a Ting employee, I can't answer that question.  But as a soon-to-be Ting customer, I hope they do not get the iPhone.  iPhone users generally do not understand the nuances of the cell phone business, and when they see the true cost of an iPhone, they turn back to the normal way of business.  Subsidize and lock you in for years.

    As a former iPhone user (I've used every great phone of the last five years, Nokia N-Series, Sony K-Series, Apple, HTC, etc) I will no go back to using one.  And services like Ting would suffer because of that device.

    I'm sure if Ting did get some version of the iPhone, doubtful they would be able to get the 4S or iPhone 5 (In October), and doubtful again that you would plop down $500-$600 for the previous version.

    To make this comment even longer, and speak even more out of place, I'm sure Ting would love to offer a range of phones, from Android to iPhone to Windows Phone 7.  But a lot of decisions aren't up for Ting to make, it's Apple that chooses who they want the phone to be with, not the carrier.

    For your sake Karen, I hope you learn the iPhone is for sheep, and there are so many better phones out there.

    All the best,


  • Now now... iPhone is a great device. Lots of non-sheep people are using them... it probably isn't really fair to classify an entire group of people based on their choice of mobile device.

    Blackberry, Apple, Research in Motion, and Microsoft have all worked really hard on their user interfaces and other OS capabilities... and each of us appreciates their capabilities in different ways.

    Michael, try not to start any mobile class wars on my weekends, ok? ;)


  • Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by. We don't currently offer the iPhone, but we think it's a great device and we would like to one of these days.


  • I take back my iPhone comment.

  • OK. I signed up. I am officially a customer...or will be once phone arrives. I bought the LG Optimus S as an affordable way to test the waters. If things workout, my girlfriend and her son will be joining and some other family members I have will be waiting for my Yea/Neigh.

    Michael. A bit harsh on the iPhone comment BUT I know what you mean and agree! Let me try to be more polite and gentle about it.

    As an IT guy, I find Apple, in general, to be VERY uncooperative, borderline snobbish and outright rude. They claim to be about freedom but will not play nice with others and definitely do not want to share the sandbox. Their one track mind on trying to holdout and stay proprietary is slowing hurting them. It is the Apple way or the highway. How is that cool, progressive, or cutting edge as they so often claim to be? I meet tons of people that have happily converted back to PC and are enjoying freedom and choice again. Have an old Mac book? Great but Apple no longer supports the older OS. Remember the days or defective iPods and Apple's refusal to acknowledge or correct the problems or offer refunds? Geniuses at the Genius Bar? Hardly. To this day, do anything outside of Apple's rules and you void your warranty. Everything is iCloud, iTunes, i-this, i-that and no other choice but to be homogenous and to conform. Goes completely against the old Apple 'Orwellian' commercial of the girl throwing the hammer at the  screen, doesn't it? I can take old or new PC components, cell phones, and other non-Apple devices/products and in some simple, affordable way recycle them and get them back into working condition for clients or for donation to the many charities I donate time and equipment to. To be clear, I am no fanboy of M$. As much as I believe Android is the way to go, I have very deep concerns about Google and it's behavior too. That said, almost any company/product besides Apple is guaranteed freedom and choice for the end user.

    I think iPhones would be trouble for TING. Obviously I cannot be certain as I do not know anything about this business or industry. My impression is that Apple would be such a tremendous tangled mess of rules and restrictions and frustration for TING and customers seeking resolutions to problems that it would hurt the TING profit model and that cost would eventually effect the customer bank account.

    In short, love or hate the iPhone...remain open minded. Do not pledge blind allegiance to any one product. Always be ready to explore and try something new. I have walked the walked because here I am...dumping the safety of Verizon for the opens seas of TING. Here's to smooth sailing!

  • Would Ting at least sell the devices through Bestbuy, so as to buy them on credit?

  • Hi Noel. When you buy a Ting device, you're buying on credit... sorry, but I don't understand the difference, unless you're referring to a Best Buy credit card?

  • Just checking out Ting, I didn't really expect to be able to use a Spring compatible phone (I suspect there are contractual issues with Sprint, not just electronic/network compatibility).

    But, to find a Ting employee actually explaining how to hack a different phone to work, how awsome is that!

  • We hope to do more of that John. Lots of stuff doesn't work the way it should in mobile... and if it means bending the rules a little bit to help change that, then we're all for it. Hope to have you as a customer someday. :D

  • Let me turn the question around.  If I buy a phone from Ting, can I take it to Sprint or some other carrier?

  • Do you guys not have access to your ESN database? if so you just verify we are who we say we are and then get the ESN from us and add it to your database and our account? am i missing somthing or competly don't understand how it works? seams(keyword) easy enough to do....

  • Josh, a lot of us reading between the lines gather that all these limitations are entirely imposed by Sprint as part of their contract with Ting.  Everything Ting says indicates they would like to be able to sell every possible phone and allow BYO everything, but they can't.

  •  all these limitations are entirely imposed by Sprint as part of their contract with Ting

    Perhaps Ting also makes a markup on the phones?

  • Makes sense i suppose, maybe its part of how they're able to keep the prices down

  • Ben, I was waiting for you to respond but I can't wait anymore.

    Larry/Josh - Ting makes very little money on the phones, you can see that plainly in their pricing.  They leave some markup on the higher-end phones like the Galaxy S II, hoping customers like me would hear of a promotion (Like I just heard) and get a deal.

    A general rule of thumb, is to add $200 to the price of the phone you are paying the provider for the phone, and that is closer to the real price of the phone.  It's not exact, as the iPhones for instance are about $300 more, but it's a good way to see real pricing.

    Looking at Sprints phones right now, the LG Optimus S is Free, which means real cost is $200.  Ting sells for $190.00.  The Samsung Galaxy S II is $199.99, which would be retail at $399.  Ting sells $500.  But after the deal I just heard on one of my favorite podcasts, I'll some of that reduced when I buy-in using the code.

    My point is that Ting isn't going to become a huge company based on the prices they sell phones for.  Sure, a few of the phones they might make a buck on.  But what it seems like they are hoping to do is lure people like me who pay twice as much for services, and only use half of it.  I'm leaving $60 a month on the table simply because I can't get any cheaper plans with the other carriers.

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