Um, what did you guys do to my Nexus 5??

After recently deactivating my Nexus 5 with you guys, I'm left with a REALLY expensive handset that now refuses to accept ANY GSM cards, and I'm stuck with Sprint being the only carrier that my phone will even acknowledge. Did the initial activation with your service flash some kind of carrier lock on my phone? I would really appreciate if somebody from Ting could clarify this for me, and quickly....



  • Rich, I'm sure someone from Ting will respond, but I know I have heard reports of people swapping their service back and forth on the Nexus 5. Ting I don't believe could lock your phone, and if they could they wouldn't. When you say refuses the SIM what exactly does the phone do? 

  • My phone will not work on the GSM side of the radio. If I insert my MPCS GSM card, phone will have no signal, will not display GSM SIM ID# and no matter how many fixes I try, it will only lock onto and accept my Sprint UICC card. I know the phone is reading my GSM cards, as I can see MPCS APNs autoset, my MPCS phone # and other info. Before activation with Ting, I could insert a GSM, it would lock onto carrier signal and allow me to call for provisioning. All I get is 'emergency calls only'

    Reboots don't help. Flashing new firmware,custom ROM, radio, unlocking boot loader, rooting, nothing works. My phone is acting like there's some kind of subsidy lock on it. If firmware was at fault. a re-flash would have fixed this. Something in core settings (presumably in a partition that is untouched by any firmware flashing) was changed. Now, I know people switch back and forth between services. I was able to do the same BEFORE I joined Ting. My phone has literally sat on my desk during my entire subscription with Ting. 

  • Rich, I mean people switching from Ting to other services I have heard several reports of that. Have you tried dialing *#*#4636#*#* go to Phone Information scroll down to "Set preferred network type" and make sure LTE/GSM or possibly LTE/GSM/CDMA is selected (I think I have seen it suggested to have that set to LTE/CDMA when on Ting). I have also read that you need the Preferred Network Type set to Global from Settings -> Mobile Network also. 

  • I've already done all of that. Tried everything in service menu, as well as mobile settings and preferred networks AND setting CDMA side to 'global' before rebooting to GSM card. Even rebooting after every reboot/change, you name it, I did it. That's why I am here, I've tried everything possible, and more. 

  • Rich I'm really not for sure. I don't think any of that should even really be required from what I have read. I have seen reports of the phone getting a little wonky and having to do some of that or manually enter in APNs but never been anything major.

  • As I said, a firmware flash would/should have fixed any said wonkiness. Not a factory reset, I obliterated what was on this phone and re-flashed everything, and still, it will ONLY welcome a Sprint UICC. Maybe my phone being a Best Buy (Yes, Sprint, NOT a Play Store device) model would have something to do with the locking issue here? No joking, my phone was unlocked until Ting flashed my initial carrier profile settings.

  • Rich, if you haven't already I would go completely back to stock with the nexus images from Google. That will reflash the radio also. I'm guessing you may have done this but if not you can get the image here: the instructions how to install via adb here: If that doesn't work I would suggest you contact the carrier you are looking to move to I can assure you that Ting will not if the could "lock" a device and I'm pretty sure that locking is impossible on the N5. 

  • Hi Rich. The only thing we do to provide service to your phone is program a few things at a network level to connect to your device to the network, so nothing is modified on the device itself.

    Having said that, we recommend you always do a full factory reset (making sure you have the stock rom) every time you want to use that device with another carrier to ensure it completely clears any settings and your phone's radius, which could still try to connect your phone to our network. That's also what we recommend when one of our customers is trying to bring a Nexus 5 that has been previously activated with another carrier.

    Give that a shot and it should help activating it somewhere else.  The other thing you can do is log into your Ting account to make sure this device has been fully removed from the account. If it's still there, make sure to remove it from the account.   If you still have issues or difficulties, please open a support request with as much information as possible and we'll further investigate that with you.

  • NO it's not resolved. Sprint locked my phone and told me to go F*** myself when I asked them to unlock it, and they are still ignoring me. I'm still stuck with a $450 POFS that only reads Sprint cards. 

  • Sprint has a Service Programming Menu embedded in my filing system. That SPM disabled my phone's GSM radio, and the settings stick no matter what I do to the phone, including reflashing the firmware. I have the MSL code to access this stuff and make changes, but playing with those settings can permanently brick a phone. The subsidy lock settings are stored/read from some partition that is  untouched by firmware flashing. VERY SNEAKY. Sprint Nexus 5 models are unlocked out of the box new, but all one has to do is provision a Sprint SIM with it, and it's LOCKED. 

  • Really, you guys from Ting army and Ting corp. keep saying the Nexus is a beautiful device and "It's a Nexus, man. It's unlocked! You can't lock it! That's the beauty of the Nexus!!"


    Yeah, right. Sprint DID. And How, or WHY Google lets them do this is unbelievable. Open source bullsh!t is why Android, Google and the Nexus 5 all SUCK. Tell as many people as you can, to stay away from Sprint model Nexus devices. Good day.....



  • Exchange your phone under LGs 12month warranty on the Nexus 5. Your phone could have an issue unrelated to Ting.

  • There must be something wrong with the phone or the settings. Like Bruce said you may need to check with warranting the phone. I have read example after example of people going from Sprint to a GSM carrier or a MVNO to a GSM carrier.

  • Also there is not a Sprint model of this phone. They are all the same. Sprint however only allows phones bought from Google on its network.

  • On its network for MVNOs I should have said.

  • Actually, there are 2 model families, North America and the rest of the world. 

    North America (D820) model:

    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

    CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10

    WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19

    LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

    Rest of World (D821) model:

    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

    WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8

    LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20

  • Burce, that's exactly right, thanks for the correction!

  • What I was meaning to get across is that there is not an ATT, Tmobile, Sprint variant its all the same phone if its a North American version.

  • @ Wesley Stout....

    Wrong. Sprint Model Nexus 5 phones are sold through Best Buy. They come in the same box as a Play Store N5, minus the SIM tray tool, and includes Sprint documentation and a Sprint phone recycling bag. The Sprint model also has Sprint Service programming tools pre-installed, and comes with a Sprint LTE card. I'll post screen shots of the Sprint menus later today for proof. Yes, the Sprint N5 is exactly the same D820 from the play store, but include the added service tools that change radio settings, handle OTA upgrades, and..... (drum roll) LOCK your device to Sprint if it was financed.

  • Well, Ting says that only Google Play (or Ting, for more money) Nexus 5 should work for BYOD.

    Perhaps they thought  there could be problems like this for phones purchased elsewhere.

    If the phone is still sprint financed and not paid off, they may choose to only unlock it for International use, if at all. I would hope Sprint would unlock it after the phone is paid off, but they probably do not expect to handle MVNO customers without a Sprint plan.

    At least, that's my guess.


  • Bruce from my understanding that is partially correct. You can only activate a Google Play purchased N5 on Ting, that is due to the IMEI number (and Sprint knowing which numbers came from where) not a lock on the phone (a CDMA lock is virtually useless anyway but I understand that the GSM side is locked on many phones). I have read in several places of people taking a Sprint SIM out and replacing it with a prepaid or postpaid GSM and then going back usually after factory resetting however. 


    Rich, the carrier settings are dependent on the SIM card you have in the phone. Yes right now I only have Sprint carrier settings. If you slide a SIM from a GSM carrier you will have GSM settings appear. As an example check out comment 17 here: There is also talk in that thread of phones bought from best buy with Sprint SIMS going from Sprint to a GSM carrier back to sprint however requiring a factory reset.

    What you are calling being locked is not being locked. That is simply Sprint not allowing a block of devices on their network due to the IMEI numbers. That is done on the carrier side of things not on the phone. If you have a N5 purchased from Sprint however I would suspect it would be the traditional 1 year waiting period before it could be brought to ting due to this, not because of a "lock". Also there is case after case of people that have taken their phone from Sprint after purchasing it from Sprint and putting it on GSM carriers. Many of Verizon's LTE phones are like this also. You can take for instance any of their world phones and operate them on GSM carriers in the US because by law some of the LTE bands they use require the phone to be unlocked.

    Long story short you either need to do a complete factory reset on your phone as in downloading the factory image from Google and reflashing or contact the mfg for warranty.



  • Rich, also here is a statement from a Sprint employee that the Nexus 5 is unlocked:

    The relevant bit is this:

    "Thank you for posting. The Nexus 5 is an unlocked device. You can bring it to the carriers that it will work on. We do not do anything to the device besides giving you a sim card to be able to use our service. We do not alter, lock or change the phone in anyway."

  • Yeah unlocked as in the boot loader. I can unlock it, flash anything I want, including new firmware, radio partition, custom ROM etc.

    I'll have to look through that later. If the Nexus 5 sold through Sprint DID NOT have the Service tools installed, I'd buy that as a transparent statement. There is absolutely no reason for those service tools to be there. The need for a MSL code to access them is proof enough that their statement is crop.

  • NO unlocked as in CARRIER UNLOCKED. The tools need to be there for activation on the CDMA network. If you read those post you will clearly see that the phone will work either way. Different tools are required however than for a GSM network. You might also want to check out the differences in the two technologies it would likely help clear up some of the confusion also. There are several good sources to get that info too.

    Also, if you check into Cyanogenmod it also merges the Sprint tools into the roms, even the Nexus 5 roms because its is needed for the network to work as it should. I had difficulty early on and had to do some manual plugging of some configs because those tools weren't yet merged into CM.

  • *crap sorry.

    Wesley I have 4 active T-Mobile cell phones, all with perfectly functioning GSM cards, and my Nexus 5 will not work with ANY of them since activating with Ting. It read GSM cards fine beforehand, I've had them in there.

    I have done all that has been suggested. If Sprint carrier settings were stored in, let's say the customer data partition, a factory reset would wipe those out. I've hacked plenty of Androids before owning a Nexus, and most carriers have hidden service programming menus, that override base Android radio settings so that they can't be modified to work on different networks. Didn't work too well, so then most started locking boot loaders to prevent root access and system file modification. The base settings for the N5 radio will work with most carriers. Again, there is NO reason for Sprint to have these in my phone unless they want to hijack system settings, which is exactly what is happening to my device. And you know what? With no Sprint SIM installed, and a factory reset performed, they are STILL there. I know different settings show up depending on what type of SIM is installed.

    Even with all of the Sprint service menus removed, the settings are stuck. My Nexus will not let go of Sprint's programming, even with total OS obliteration and replacement, including radio.

  • Rich if you have used the Google factory images to restore I really think you should go for a warranty there is obviously something just not right that doesn't lineup with what most people are seeing. I am far from understand all the carrier intricacies however and could see how something could go haywire with a phone like this at a level a factory reset wouldn't fix. I just don't believe from any thing I have seen it is intentional.

  • And yes, I know about CM11, that's the only ROM I can use with mine because the tools are there. I can't use Dirty Unicorns or SlimKat because I would have to put the Sprint tools in.

    Also, using MSL code to access Sprint menu, there is a master reset (RTN) option that restores it to factory. I have used that to restore the radio after destroying it trying to get this stupid thing to release Sprint network's profile.

    I can argue all day long about this. My phone worked between CDMA and GSM just fine until I provisioned with Ting. I did not just start barking about this POS after trying just a factory reset. I've spent hours flashing, resetting, rebooting, combing Sprint menus and searching for Wtf is locking Sprint's profile to my device.

  • Yeah I get the frustration for sure that would irritate me also, Just wish there was an answer :\

  • Oh don't worry about that. I just got an email from Google support around noon today, stating that Sprint does in fact lock their Nexus 5 devices sold through Best Buy. And once again, Google support throws their hands up in the air and says to go after Best Buy to sort this thing out. This confirms what I already knew about the post-Ting state of my Nexus 5. I'm not stupid, IT'S LOCKED!!!!!!! Y'all can have your zen laced, glittery, gooey, uber-euphoric Nexus 5 experience. IT'S CRAP. ALL OF IT.

    Hey Ting mobile, thanks a bunch for helping Sprint STEAL FROM ME. Much appreciated <3


  • Rich, well one issue there, according to Ting only a phone purchased from the Play Store can be activated on Ting (or one you buy from them that they encourage you to not buy from them). I'm a little surprised you could even activate it on Ting to start with.

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