Nexus 5 for Ting trailblazers...

**Update: **It seems like just yesterday we started activating the Nexus 5!  We now have thousands of customers who have successfully activated their Nexus 5 on Ting, and the response both here and via our normal support channels has been very enthusiastic.  There are three quirks that we're following:

  • Some areas of the U.S. that are still pending upgrades to their LTE tower equipment may experience issues until those upgrades are complete.  There are certain workarounds to ensure reliable 3G and voice service in the meantime (see the conversation below for further discussion on both the eCSFB gap and triband front).
  • Some, but not all customers, have experienced issues with voicemail notifications either not appearing at all or not appearing promptly.  We have seen very similar issues in past new Android device launches, and this is usually solved in an eventual update.  The Nexus device series is a bit of a different animal, so we're still awaiting further updates on this front.
  • Some Nexus 5 devices have had issues connecting to certain models of Airave.  This appears to be related to both the PRL version on the Nexus 5 and the software version on the Airave.  If you're still experiencing issues on this front, our support folks may be able to liaise with Sprint to ensure the PRL and software versions on your Nexus 5 and Airave are appropriate.  Give us a call if this is still affecting you.

As well, I've updated the steps below slightly to reflect that you can now use either your IMEI or MEID in our Ting activation workflows (no more IMEI to MEID converter required).

And our SIM card supply has continued to be somewhat of a rollercoaster, but we're hoping to have that resolved soon.  We've also heard more and more customers have had success getting SIM cards from Sprint corporate retail stores (for free) and from Best Buy (for $30 apiece), but the experience varies somewhat widely from store to store.

With all that being said, I'll keep you posted!

Please keep in mind this is all still at a very early stage...  Our support folks don't yet have any documentation or lab devices, so we're not ready to call this a "supported device" yet.  The Nexus 5 is a "first of its kind" for us, so we're just as excited and anxious as you are!  But, for right now, we do not recommend using a Nexus 5 as your primary Ting device, just until we get everything stable and working!

And, I just wanted to take a second to give a shout out and a thank you to Andy, Jeffrey, and other Ting community members who pounced on this. If you have a moment, please take a look at their earlier threads here and here. If you're a member of the Ting Army, there's also an earlier thread here. We're going to try to keep the discussion about bringing your Google Play "Edition" Nexus 5 here, though, so feel free to subscribe and follow along on this journey.  :)

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to take a look at our most recent blog post re: the Nexus 5 (and our earlier, even awesomer Nexus 5 manifesto). If you’re interested in just ordering a SIM card once we have them ready and being notified once we’ve got all the bugs worked out, please head over and share your details with us here and we’ll keep you posted!

If, however, you have a Nexus 5 you purchased from Google Play and you want to push forward right away, this is the place. We still cannot guarantee what will or will not work — right now we're working on getting data and MMS working — and we’re still testing furiously. In the meantime, we wanted to share as much with you as we can, pretty much as soon as we know it.

So, here we go...

1.) This is the big roadblock right now to getting things activated.  You need a Sprint Nationwide Network micro SIM card, and it looks like it needs to be model SIMGLW206R or newer. Some folks have had success visiting a local Sprint corporate store with repair capabilities and just telling them they need a SIM for their Nexus 5 to bring it to the Sprint Nationwide Network. Either way, you’ll need that SIM to move forward.

2.) Next up, you’ll need to get your IMEI or MEID number. You can get this by dialling *#06# on your Nexus.  Once you have that handy, head over to your Ting account and try adding it as a new device! Be sure to use either the IMEI or MEID number (one or the other, either should work fine). We’ll also ask you for the UICC ID from the SIM card you picked up earlier, which will look something like 89011200000123456789. There are probably five zeroes in there, and it should work out to twenty-digits total.

3.) Hopefully, success! If you run into any issues getting our system to accept your MEID, email it and your SIM card number over to me at and I’ll see what I can figure out. Please be patient with me!

4.) Please post here and let others know how things are going! Did you run into issues getting a SIM card? Did you have to do anything fancy to get anything working? We’ll keep this thread up-to-date on any quirks we see with data or MMS (i.e. APN settings, etc.) as quickly as we know.

5.) Ting on!

We'll keep this post updated with any major Nexus 5 news as we have it.  Thank you so much for your enthusiasm, excitement, and patience.  :)

p.s. It's been asked a few times, so to be absolutely clear: only Nexus 5 smartphones from the Google Play store are eligible.  Nexus 5 smartphones from Sprint, Best Buy, and Amazon cannot be brought over as part of the Nexus 5 BYOD program.  This likely will not change until late 2014 at the earliest.



  • So it sounds like at some point in the near future we will be able to activate a Nexus 5 bought on the play store?  Meaning, if we order one now, there's a good chance, although not a guarantee, we'll be able to activate it by the time it arrives.  Worst case is we just have to wait longer until you've got everything figured out before we can activate/purchase a sim card.  Long story short (too late), can I buy the sucker now?

  • I have two Nexus devices in hand there were about to go back.  This just made my day much better! 

    Headed to a Sprint Store now. 



  • Any idea when/if Ting will get a supply of the SIM cards so we don't have to go through the Sprint store?

  • We're working on that now, John.  I think the soonest would be two weeks or so, but as quickly as possible is our goal.

  • Justen, thanks for spear heading this for us.  Awesome, I think I get to keep my Nexus 5 and Xmas came early this year!

  • If someone needs one of those sim cards and doesn't have access to a Sprint store, I have seen them on Ebay. I am contemplating purchasing one just to be ready. 20 bucks w/free shipping. I know that is about 20 bucks more probably than at a Sprint store, but might help some out.

  • FYI

    It took 2 calls to local Sprint stores before one said they had a shipment of LTE SIMs in.

    Went and picked it up right away.  Front desk person told me Sprint doesn't have SIM cards and I told him I confirmed it on the phone.  He goes to the back and pulls one out after a few minutes.  We walk to the register and he scans it and a receipt pops out that he keeps.  I walk out with a model SIMGLW206R SIM card for free.  Could not have been much easier.

    I am excited to tinker on this tonight.




  • Any idea if these nexus 5s that are being activated on Ting are 16GB or 32GB? I had read about some issues with activating 32GB on sprint.

  • Himanshu, I think the Sprint activation issues were for one or two days and they have now resolved their data base issue.

  • Just published a blog post that gives a little bit more colour around our last 24 hours.  :)  One functional update: we've had some folks who have successfully gotten data up and running and some folks who are running into issues.  So, still working on data and MMS.

  • Justin,  do you think the Ting Store will ever carry the N5?  I can see why you would rather not sell devices, low margin, high inventory.   I have ordered mine of the Play Store.

  • This may be a stupid question, but is the sim card needed for just LTE data connection or all data?  If it is only for LTE data connection, if we don't have LTE in our area can we operate without a sim?

    Also, can someone pick up a Sprint sim off contract?

  • @Bryan: Right now, our cost for the Nexus 5 would mean it would make sense for us to just link to the Google Play store.  So, in addition to hating inventory, it's also a great deal for Tingfolk to just go to Play.  If we're able to come up with a clear and simple process for getting everything working on the Play edition (and that's looking like a very good probability), I don't think we'd do a Ting-specific retail edition.  (Keep in mind our thinking around this could change, but that's where we're at right now.)

    @Clay: It looks like the slightly tweaked version of Android that the Nexus 5 is running requires the Sprint SIM card to be present to enable CDMA network options.  Otherwise, folks are apparently only seeing GSM options.  But, yes, in normal course, most LTE devices can run without the SIM on 3G only.

  • At a Sprint store now that has SIM cards, but they're refusing to give me one unless I bring in the phone and activate it with them. WTF Sprint?!? Do I really have to wait until Ting can provide me with a SIM? Thought I was done dealing with Sprint when I left them last year after 13 years of business... 

  • @David I'm bummed that you're having to argue for it at all, but that's not Sprint's policy.  I'd ask for a manager if it were me, but I know not everyone is as stubborn/as big of a pain in the butt as I am.  :)

  • Can't wait for this to be resolved... My family and I love Ting, and I am ready for a N5!

  • @Justen Well, I am very stubborn (just ask my wife, lol!) and, over the course of the last hour, spoke with everyone in the store, including (eventually) the store manager and they shut me down. They also (allegedly) called their higher-ups and are "waiting to hear back". Very, very frustrating experience, which I'm familiar with as a long-time (thankfully former) Sprint customer. Why didn't Google simply include the necessary SIM card(s) with the phone? Off to try one more store (most are saying they don't have any SIMs in stock (yet how are they going to activate Nexus 5's on their network starting tomorrow then?)) before I give up...  :(

  • @David Interesting they gave you such resistance.. I haven't purchased a newer worldphone capable from Sprint but how do they sell devices like the GS4, Note III, iPhone 4S, or similar newer devices that require SIM cards? Do me a favor and ask them about the GS4 next time they say no.. Why not try an Apple store? Good luck!

  • Thanks for the short out! I can't wait to read about your progress and am on the verge of hitting the Google store!! As always, you guys/gals ROCK!!

  • @JL - they deliver the newer ones with removable SIM cards with the SIM in them.  Maybe they even come into the stores that way.  Justen has said that only the stores classified for "repair" are likely to have them.  The others would be unlikely to have many more than the number of phones they have in stock that take them, if they don't come in pre-loaded.  And they aren't going to give those to anyone who isn't buying a phone.  Maybe they really don't have "any" - or at least not floating about freely, if they're paired up with the inventory of phones.

    What also strikes me as warped is that you can't get a phone activated at all without a contract.  So if you have an older phone you want to activate with Sprint, you have to sign a 2-year contract, even if you don't want their phone.  Under those circumstances, you should select the free or cheap phone that you can get the most for on ebay, and take it even if you don't plan to use it.  Why alienate customers that way?  I'd understand if they charged an activation fee for a no-contract activation, but why not let them activate?  And if I'm right, you'd still be subject to an ETF, even if you took no phone.  Their 'As You Go' option requires one of the specific phones for it, so that is not a solution.  The business model for this is something to think about.

    Ting's response to this whole thing has just been amazing.  Another thing to appreciate about them and their business model and involvement level with their customers.



  • I specifically focused on the "repair" stores, since you'd think they would have extras on hand, but have struck out every time. Maybe we just have REALLY bad luck here in the Phoenix area...  

  • @Iris that's interesting because the stores around here have them flowing freely.. My friend got an S4 off CL and walked into a corporate (non-repair as we don't have one anywhere) and got it over the counter. My buddy who got a N3 even got one from our local Best Buy :/ To clarify, it wasn't in the box BB had them in a drawer.

    Regarding the activation, you can do that online (both 16 and 32GB now). I'd bet the store don't all have the literature so representatives are coming up with excuses instead of trying to solve problems. No reason to frustrate customers intentionally.. This unlocked Nexus is new, they'll adjust with time.

    Ting has been great, but I think this has more to do with Google forcing Sprint's hand on unlocked devices. Also a shout to Sprint for not forcing artificial limitations on MVNOs. By Sprint allowing unlocked Play Store handsets on their network they opened it up for everyone this time which is why we can activate through Ting. In the end though, who cares.. We all benefit, especially Ting. Cheers!

  • Score!  Went to the Sprint store to purchase a SIM - the guy found the part easily enough, but wouldn't sell it to me without a Sprint account.  He was psyched about the N5 - said they had them in the back room already as was thinking about buying one himself.  He took pity on my and scrounged up a used SIM that was on his repair bench.  Tech equivalent of dumpster diving I guess.

    Went home and activated it just fine.  I did a carrier reset as a part of the process per ,but not sure it was actually necessary because I confused myself with Google Voice being enabled.  You'll want to disable wifi (and Google Voice) when you test your activation.

    Oh, and if anyone does need to do a profile or prl update, the menu item is under settings:wireless & networks (more):mobile networks:carrier settings


  • Darrin, thanks for the tips.

  • Update

    Phone: Nexus 5 32gb

    SIM: SIMGLW206R acquired from Sprint Store today


    Steps 1-5 worked perfectly.  Although the link for the converter was a little funky. After completing the steps, under "Your Devices" it now shows my Nexus 5.  I put the SIM in before an initial start up of the phone.  After I started it, the phone displayed "Activate Mobile Data Service".  The wheels turned for about 20 minutes before I pressed skip and connected to WiFi.  The phone updated and restarted.    Displayed "Activate Mobile Data Service" again and I let it try for another 10 minutes before I moved on.  SMS Texts and Voice calls are working!  Haven't dove deep in getting the data to work.  Any suggestions before I start tinkering?  

  • JL - Sorry, maybe I wasn't clear.  I meant that you couldn't activate any phone on Sprint unless you were replacing one on an active line, without a contract.  So if I took my old, inactive, EVO 3D into a Sprint store, and wanted to activate it with them, I'd have to sign a contract even if I didn't want a phone from them.  This has nothing to do with the N5 - it is all phones.

    It is interesting that where you are, SIMs are easy to come by.  What this indicates is a lack of communication between Sprint corporate, and what the stores have communicated to their personnel.  I'm wondering now how much of the issue is one of corporate stores vs. non-corporate. 

    And yes, Google did force Sprint's hand on it., especially with the price point for the performance level, but they could also have stonewalled a la VZW.  But the way MVNOs are typically handled by their network providers, and the way that they are controlling other phones, well, I'm just surprised it has happened this fast.

  • Justen - you said - "@Clay: It looks like the slightly tweaked version of Android that the Nexus 5 is running requires the Sprint SIM card to be present to enable CDMA network options.  Otherwise, folks are apparently only seeing GSM options.  But, yes, in normal course, most LTE devices can run without the SIM on 3G only."

    So is it just fair to say that the N5 requires a SIM no matter what?  Even if it 'sees' and reports AT&T and T-Mobile networks, it can't use them without a SIM in place either. 

  • Really jealous of everyone that's having no problems getting a SIM card as I can't get one to save my life. Called up several Best Buys, most said they don't have any, but one said they could sell me one for $30!  Maybe the guy I called didn't know where their secret drawer full of SIMs is located. Ah well, for now I'm stuck playing with my new N5 on Wi-Fi only; maybe tomorrow I can finagle a SIM out of Sprint once they're officially selling the phone, or maybe a ting fairy will take my SIM request info and ship one out. ;) 

  • @David - I had the same problem... After I called out someone who clearly was lying to me at a Sprint store regarding the SIM cards, I got him to confess that Sprint Corporate has specifically told all their stores and employees to not give SIM cards to anyone trying to activate a Nexus 5 before Sprint's official release... That is probably what is happening to you too.  He even said, "if you were to call another store and needed a SIM for a Galaxy S4 or something you might have better luck."

    I didn't have better luck going the "S4" or "HTC One" route because they said they couldn't give them to me since I didn't have an active Sprint account, so YMMV. I think the best option until Ting can send them out is to go to an Apple store and tell them you need the Sprint micro SIM for your LTE iPad.

  • @Darrin - is data working for you? If so did you do anything other than what you described already? What SIM part # did you use - the SIMGLW206R?

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