Light a fire under Sprint

A Ting customer support rep suggested that I post to this forum, so here goes.

I own two unlocked Essential PH-1 phones, purchased directly from Essential, that use Ting's CDMA (Sprint / Boost Mobile) service.  They have still not received Essential's build NMJ88C, which was released on Jan. 5 and fixes the Meltdown/Specter problem.  Every day, I go through Android's "check for update" routine and am told that my phones are up-to-date with build NMJ32F, released Nov. 11 of last year.

I read that most PH-1 owners have received NMJ88C by now, but not those with Sprint service -- because Sprint is still diddling.  Ting's customer support rep agrees:  Ting has not received NMJ88C from Sprint, and therefore can't push it out.  

I don't mind not receiving the latest bells and whistles for a while, but patches for urgent security problems are another story.  If Sprint is going to leave its (indirect) customers twisting in the wind on important stuff like this, then I need to find another option. 

Unfortunately, Ting's GSM won't work for me:  T-Mobile has lousy coverage where I need it the most.  And I refuse to burn countless hours of my life doing experimental sideloads every time an issue like this comes up.  So, I seem to be left with three plausible options:

  1. Find a provider with a CDMA carrier that takes serious problems seriously, or
  2. Find a provider with a GSM carrier that has coverage where I need it AND takes serious problems seriously, or
  3. Dump Android and buy iPhones.

So, my feature request is one that Ting cannot fulfill (although a call from Ting's CEO to Sprint's and Google's CEOs might not hurt):  A system that allows urgent Android updates to happen immediately, just as soon as manufacturers make them available.

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Comments

6 comments
  • Mark, 

    Predicaments like yours are why I keep a Sprint SIM card around (I'm on Ting GSM). Because the devices are otherwise identical, carrier rollouts rely on the installed SIM card to push updates. This means, for a device like the PH-1, you should be able to insert an inactive T-Mobile, Verizon or AT&T SIM card into the phone and check for an update. 

    This isn't just smoke and mirrors. It actually works for the Moto X Pure. I loaned my Sprint SIM card to a friend who otherwise did not get the Nougat update, despite it being available for the device through Sprint, but not Verizon, where he was using the phone. I watched as he installed the SIM, checked for the update and BAM. Downloaded, installed and running. 

    You can get cheap SIM cards anywhere. It doesn't have to be a new SIM card; It can be a used SIM. If you don't have a Ting GSM SIM card around, ask friends and family if you could borrow either their active non-Sprint SIMs or their old non-Sprint SIMs. Install the SIM card and request the update. It might not go on the first try or two. But it should work.

    Having seen it work firsthand, I now always keep a compatible Ting GSM SIM (an old one), a Fido SIM (Canada), a Sprint SIM and a FreedomPop LTE (AT&T) SIM card handy.

    Try it, and let me know how that works for you!

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  • Mitch,

    Many thanks for your suggestion!  I would never have imagined that the process you describe could work.  Will give it a try.

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  • Mitch,

    I tried your suggestion and it worked beautifully.  Turns out, I already had a suitable SIM -- a Ting GSM X-1 that I'd used (briefly) in my old Nexus 5.  Knocked it down a size, popped it in an Essential PH-1, and was immediately offered December build NMJ51B.  And after installing that, I was offered and installed January build NMJ88C.  Awesome!  

    So now I'm wondering:  Will the same trick work when Essential releases its Oreo upgrade?

    Many thanks!

    Mark

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  •  

    I'm glad you made a post to the forums. I wouldn't have otherwise seen the issue or been able to help. 

    I'm going to send a note up the food chain as a workaround and make sure our agents know this is an option for customers like yourself who want the update.

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  • Yes, the support reps certainly need to know about the SIM card swapping trick.  Too bad you can't just port OS updates from T-Mobile through your customers' Sprint SIM cards.

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  • I don't disagree. Till that day comes, we rely on our network partners to deliver the updates.

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