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Thread: The SUPER Hofo guide to carriers and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

  1. #31
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    PureTalk is a At&t mnvo that allows any unlocked gsm phone and supposedly any gsm phone that is locked to At&t.

    Currently they only offer voice and sms, no mms or data.
    There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past.George Carlin

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    If I bring a T-mobile (locked) phone, and pay the early termination fee. Can I activate on walmart family mobile? Do I have to get the phone unlocked first?

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    Verizon based mvno/prepaid byod update

    Four Verizon mvnos went down last year. A prepaid Verizon phone ban went into effect on all mvnos. Some Verizon mvnos don't allow byod and Verizon prepaid has been more aggressive as of late.

    Two years ago Verizon byod on mvnos was easy. Any clean esn Verizon prepaid or postpaid phone. No longer. Now it's like this:

    Verizon prepaid: Byod for all Verizon postpaid phones except Windows Mobile, Palm OS and older Blackberry devices. All Verizon prepaid phones.

    H20 Cdma. Any Verizon phone except prepaid ones.

    Page Plus . Any cdma phone (including Sprint, Boost cdma, US Cellular, Alltel, Verizon of course and others) except Blackberries and Verizon prepaids.

    Siri Wireless. Verizon, Alltel postpaid phones. Verizon mvno phones. No prepaid Verizon/Alltels.

    So if you have a Verizon /Alltel based phone and want a Verizon network coverage, you will have to check to see what prepaid division/mvno allows it.
    A lot has changed since 2009. At least in prepaid wireless and in Verizon prepaid/mvno land.

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    OP.

    What about US Cellular. Are there any BYOD carriers that will work with their phones once unlocked?

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    There are many carriers that can use US Cellular if those phones are FLASHED to that network. They include Verizon mvno Page Plus (only one that allows non Verizon/Alltel devices ), Cricket and Metro (in most markets except for their AWS markets), smaller regional cdma carriers like Blue Wireless, Pocket, Revol, Mobi PCS, and others.

    All US Cellular devices have to be flashed/reprogrammed to work with these byod friendly networks. Some are more restrictive then others. Cricket/Mobi allows most devices to be put on w/o a dealer but some of the others can only have their esn added via a dealer account (like Metro).

    Oh yeah, Ntelos or Frawg Wireless is another byod cdma regional carrier that allows flashed outside phones.

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    Ok so if I have the phones unlocked and then take the phone in to say a cricket store they can flash it so that it works on their network and I will be able to continue to use it, the phone that is.

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    Make sure you are in a NON AWS/1700 mhz frequency market. The newer Cricket/Metro markets have frequencies different from US Cellular (probably standard 850/1900 mhz ) and even if the phones are flashed, they won't work if the frequency isn't there to support it.

    Older Cricket/Metro markets support flashing a lot more then the newest ones .

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    Everyone knows now the shocking Att/Tmobile merger effort. Whether this will be approved by FCC/DOJ is not 100 % but based on how spineless they've been in the past, I don't expect anything different.

    If this goes through, it will have a very detrimental effect on byod as we know it. With Tmobile , the number two gsm carrier out of the picture, there will be NO ALTERNATIVE to Att in the gsm arena. The only area of relevance for byod/gsm unlocking will be on gsm (ATT ) mvnos.

    By then, iden will be dead too reducing yet another byod alternative.


    H20 Cdma, one of the few Verizon mvno byod carriers left is on shakey ground and there is talk that it will be discontinued in the future.

    There will be fewer and fewer byod options in the near future vs right now.

    In the end, there will be
    1)Cdma regional independents like Metro/Cricket.
    2)Verizon mvnos ,mostly Page Plus. And Verizon prepaid.
    3)Boost cdma (with iden gone). And whether they will stop the loophole or not on Sprint phones is unknown.
    4)Att Gophone/Att mvnos.

    That's pretty much it.

    Does the FCC have any guts? Let's see for once...

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    This thread needs some urgent updating. Would anyone like to create a new HoFo guide to Carriers and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)? If so, please PM me.

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    The SUPER Hofo guide to carriers and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) V.2.0

    He's right. As OP of this thread, I will use the original and add some updates. I also pmed fellow Hofo Fonezfonz and got his permission to combine his article "degrees of byod" to help enhance the basic format.
    Note: All Information on here is subject to change at any tiime for any reason.

    BYOD . Bring Your Own Device. A common thing in EU, Asia where unlocked gsm sim phones are the norm in many areas and where prepaid has over half the market. But America's a different place. Here's what we've got.

    The Big Four.

    VERIZON. Has a mostly PR based ODI (Open Device Initiative). But in reality, no byod in practice.

    SPRINT. Same as Verizon.

    ATT. Allows other gsm devices. Att Gophone sim has six month simlock now. Sim locks itself to original phone that it is activated in for half a year unless taken to a corporate store and an unlock request is put in.

    TMOBILE And most other gsm carriers EXCEPT Tracfone/Net10.

    *Allow unlocked gsm devices from other carriers to be used with their sims.
    *Allow sims from other gsm carriers to be used with unlocked versions of their phones.

    TRACFONE/NET10 (Gsm versions. TF/N10 have cdma versions too depending on regional carrier agreements).

    *TF/N10 sims CANNOT be used in other carrier's gsm phones, unlocked or not. TF/N10 phones are practically impossible to fully unlock and attempts to do so are not encouraged.

    *TF/N10 sims can't even be used in other TF/N10 phones as the sims are PERMANENTLY SIMLOCKED to the phone that the sim is activated in. User has to request a new sim even if it is merely to get the same phone number onto a different TF/N10 phone.

    *TF phones and "Safelink" phones (Govt. Subsidized charity program) can both use Tracfone sims and cards interchangeably in that a Tracfone card can be used on both TF /SL phones.

    *A blank, never used/activated Tracfone sim can be used in Net10s or Tracfones but once activated, permanently becomes one or the other.

    Cdma Tracfones may be flashable to other carriers. It has been shown that Tracfone cdma phones can be activated on Verizon mvnos like Page Plus , if they have airtanks with airtime still available. The question is , why does one activate a Tracfone on a Verizon mvno if they have airtime. Because it is a great workaround to use up the minutes on a cdma Tracfone that has airtime but is expired on the Tracfone network. I believe at least one prominent Tracfone using Hofo posted this.


    SPRINT MVNOS. Ready Mobile, Total Call, STI , Airlink/Powerlink, Liberty Wireless, Zapp Unlimited and many others are Sprint mvnos or airtime resellers.

    Generally, this group of carriers does not allow other cdma devices onto their systems. Their devices though, can generally be flashed and used on other cam networks that allow it (Cricket, Metro, etc.).

    *Platinum Tel. Ptel was the only known exception to no byod rule with even a limited degree of it. Ptel allows other Sprint mvnos (but not Boost cdma or Virgin Mobile) onto their network, if you can get the msl/spc six digit lock code for them. Talk/text may work.

    Zapp Unlimited is allowing byod with many Sprint devices now including those that can't be put on Boost Mobile cdma (Androids, 4G, etc)


    SPRINT PREPAID DIVISIONS , CDMA type.

    *Boost Cdma (No sim. No walkie talkie) . Allows many Sprint Postpaid devices (with the exceptions of exclusive Sprint devices like the Android phones /Hero, Web OS devices like Palm Pre/Pixi, all Instinct series and certain Blackberries. Possibly other phones are disallowed.)

    *Boost Cdma has a new unlimited Blackberry plan with full Bis/Bes support. They have one compatible device, the Boost branded Blackberry 8330. No other phones, including Sprint Blackberries are known to be usable on that plan at this time.

    *Virgin Mobile. VM was a Sprint mvno but has been reclassified as a Sprint Prepaid Division because of their acquisition by Sprint in late 2009. VM does not allow outside handsets. Other devices that can't be used on VM include Helio handsets from their phased out postpaid Helio side. (Helio is being merged into Sprint postpaid.)

    *Boost iden is covered under iden byod.

    VERIZON MVNOS/RESELLERS/PREPAID: There are basically four Verizon based prepaid/mvno byod options. Page Plus (any cdma phone except 'Verizon prepaid, Verizon bad esn postpaid, iphone, 4G)
    H20 Cdma. Any postpaid clean esn Verizon phone except iphone /4g. No Verizon prepaid
    MvnoX Red (i.e. Nation PCS , My Genesis Mobile, ACRS Wireless, etc). Any cdma phone except Verizon prepaid , bad esn Verizon and 4g).
    Verizon prepaid. Most Verizon postpaid and all Verizon prepaid phones okay. No iphone or 4G.

    Most Verizon postpaid clean esn phones can be used on Verizon prepaid and some byod. Some allow it, others don't (Straight Talk doesn't, Page Plus does).

    Other large Cdma carriers: UNIVERSAL: Most cdma devices can be flashed to be allowed to use on carriers that allow it. Unless otherwise noted.

    ALLTEL: Non divested/etc is covered under Verizon mvnos/prepaid.


    US Cellular. Prepaid division is rumored to have byod. Statement is unconfirmed. Postpaid is unknown.

    Independent Prepaid Cdma Unlimited carriers.

    METRO. This larger prepaid unlimited independent has a restricted byod policy allowing a controlled group of approved devices to be flashed and their esn added to their network via a special Metro only variant of Houdinisoft. Independently flashed devices can be difficult to put on their system without access to the esn database. Also, byod is available in their older non Trimode dualband only markets. Byod is not possible in their newer trimode only markets.

    CRICKET. Their Byod policy is a more liberal version of Metro's. They allow independent flashed phones onto their system.

    Other independent Prepaid Cdma Unlimited carriers (Pocket, Revol, Mobi, Blue Wireless, Frawg/Ntelos, etc. Usually model their byod policies after either the Metro model (like Revol) or the Cricket model (Mobi).


    IDEN. Boost iden, Nextel, Southern Linc, Telus Mike, other iden providers.

    Similar to but incompatible with gsm, most iden carriers use sim cards which can be interchanged. between unlocked handsets. Usually, they allow a minimum of voice/walkie talkie, Additonal features like mms/web may require more work.

    Iden phones have different degrees of difficulty unlocking. Some are even "double" and even "triple " locked.

    Iden is expected to be phased out in the next 18 months or maybe even less. This form of byod will cease to exist in the US but will continue to have a presence overseas and perhaps regionally here in the States (Southern Linc) till probably 2017.

    Details will be added, stricken and changed according to input.[/QUOTE]Bring Your Own Device or BYOD is a big issue for many prepaid wireless users. As prepaid users change carriers more frequently then the average postpaid contract user, it makes more sense for byod to be somewhat important as it saves the user time in learning a new phone and money in buying a new one.

    There are however DEGREES of BYOD. Let's go over them from one extreme to another.

    The first level of byod is not really byod. It is
    1)NO BYOD. No other phones can be used on this network other then the original devices designed exclusively for it. Some examples of this type of network include most any Sprint mvno or Tracfone company.

    Short of breaking the law, no outside phones can ever be used on these networks. (The exceptions being Boost Mobile cdma and Zapp Unlimited)

    2)Intra byod. Byod within one brand. Sometimes you have a brand with a two or more tier system and they allow phones from one tier on one tier only and won't allow that phone on other tiers. Often phones from one tier can be used on both tiers but phones from the other tier can only be used on one tier.

    Examples include: Virgin Mobile, Verizon Prepaid and Net10.

    Virgin Mobile does not allow it's Beyond Talk phones onto PayLo paygo. Verizon does not allow its smartphones onto the daily/paygo plans

    But VM does allow PayLo on ALL plans. Verizon probably allows all prepaid "feature" or dumbphones on all plans too. Net10 used to allow only Net10 unlimited phones on Net10 Unlimited and regular Net10 phones were not allowed. Now ALL Net10 phones can be put on Net10 unlimited.

    If you'll notice a pattern here, it is they will allow cheap phones on their more expensive plans but not the other way around.

    3)Related but different brand owned by the same parent carrier. This is where a parent carrier has two closely related but distinctively different brands that allow a high degree of cross compatiblity. PayLo and Beyond Talk are both VM plans but limit certain phones on certain plans. Virgin Mobile and Assurance Wireless are both Sprint prepaid divisions with different target markets but you can use Virgin Mobile airtime on Assurance phones and I believe Vice versa. Same is true for Safelink and Tracfone..

    Both Safelink and Assurance are govt. subsidized phone programs to help the needy. They are sister divisions to well established major prepaid carriers and often allow their bigger sister's phones to be used on their system.

    4)Different but related carriers with the same parent carrier. This is usually represented by the ability of an mvno to allow the use of a parent carrier's phone on their system with minimal provisioning. This example works with Att , Tmobile mvnos where a parent carrier phone like a Tmobile phone can be used with an mvno's sim with no unlocking like Simple Mobile's.

    This applies to Att phones being usable with Att mvno sims like Red Pocket, Air Voice gsm, H20 Gsm, Jolt Gsm, etc.

    Verizon mvnos sometimes allow this , though with the demise of at least four of them, they are far fewer in number and some of them have zero byod too like Pure Mobile or Jitterbug.

    Page Plus for example allows Verizon postpaid phones on their network as well as H20 cdma.

    Some mvnos allow other mvno phones too.Page Plus allows Ampd and Straight Talk phones ,both Verizon mvnos (well, Ampd WAS). Gsm varies.
    Most gsm locked mvno phones might work on other related mvnos, some might now. H20 Gsm locked mvno phones will not work with any other Att mvno sim but their own.

    Sprint mvnos are hamperd by a general lack of byod. The exceptions are popular Sprint mvno Platinum Tel and Zapp Unlimited. Platinum Tel allows other Sprint mvno phones onto their system as long as you have the msl/spc code for that phone. So an "unlocked" or phone with know spc/msl number from another Sprint mvno like Xtreme PCS, Kajeet, Total Call, Ready Mobile, etc should be usable on Ptel. Zapp Unlimited allows any other Sprint system phone whether postpaid, mvno or prepaid divison with the possible exception of Virgin Mobile phones.

    Boost Mobile is the sole Sprint prepaid division with any major byod. They allow Sprint and Nextel postpaid devices to be activated on their two different versions of Boost, iden and cdma with little provisioning.

    Virgin Mobile as a former Sprint mvno is locked down with no byod.

    Related carriers can include mergers. Alltel phones on Verizon are an example. Of course, that is a temporary situation which ended with Alltel being completely swallowed up by Verizon.

    5)Phones with identical techologies but from an unrelated carrier.
    This is what most people think of when they think of byod. Especially with gsm. Most gsm carriers allow the activation or use of unlocked gsm phones from other carriers. The major exceptions to this in the US is Tracfone/America Movil which locks down its gsm devices so they can not be used on another network.

    Some networks allow almost any phone of the same technology like Cricket does. You can "flash" or modify the carrier specific components of the software of a non Cricket phone to work on Cricket.

    Some carriers allow most but not all other same technology devices aboard. Page Plus allows almost any cdma phone on their network except Blackberries and prepaid Verizon/Alltel phones.

    Most iden carriers allow byod in a way nearly identical to gsm byod.


    A carrier that won't allow byod to be exercised on its own network doesn't necessarily prevent the fact of their own phones being used on another more byod friendly network. A good example is Straight Talk, a Tracfone/America Movil company which allows zero full byod to its systems of outside phones being usable. But it has been proven that Tracfones can be unlocked and used overseas . Phone traffickers do this all the time (at GREAT risk of legal prosecution). And Straight Talk Verizon based cdma phones have been proven to work on other networks as have a few Virgin Mobile devices (especially the new Blackberry and Android devices).

    Cheaper,lower end phones from non byod (actually ANTI byod carriers) like VM and Tracfone are usually much harder to unlock/flash then higher end phones which are often unsubsidized.

    Anti Byod is a term I made up to describe a few companies traditionally very opposed to byod as they consider it a potential threat to their business model.

    Anti byod carriers include ANY America Movil /Tracfone company and Virgin Mobile.

    Sprint mvnos don't allow byod in general but their phones are more often not much more friendly to flashing then a Virgin Mobile or Tracfone ever will be.

    There is no such thing as true total byod. Every phone is limited by its technology on what network it can run. True, a few specific phones of each technology might have a mix (iden/gsm, cdma/gsm) but by and large most phones are limited to being put on the same technology type they use for what network they can use. You're not going to see a typical all cdma Verizon or Sprint phone on a Att or Tmobile system anytime soon because it's just not technically possible.

    There is only no byod, more byod and less byod. There is no such thing as full byod as no phone can ever work on every network.

    Hope this was informative.
    Last edited by Big Blue 023; 08-30-2011 at 03:48 AM.

  11. #41
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    That is great! I've edited the original post to reflect that changes.

    I'm sure I speak for everyone in this forum when I say how much we appreciate your efforts to make this forum better, Big Blue 023. Thank you!

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    Is it confirmed that Zapp allows Sprint prepaid or mvno phones? It was my impression that it was only postpaid Sprint phones. Bad esn's are even okay if money is owed. Reported lost or stolen will not activate.

    Also, I am fairly certain that Mvnox Red allows the iphone as they advertise that you can use it. Nation even sells the iphone on their site. Acrs lists the iphone and the 4g HTC Thunderbolt as coming soon.

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    Zapp allows all good esn postpaid and all bad esn postpaid Sprint phones as long as it is not stolen/lost (money is owed on account attached to esn).

    No Sprint Prepaid (Virgin/Boost Mobile cdma) or mvno phones (Platinum Tel, Mingo Wireless, etc) are allowed on Zapp at this time.

    You'd think with Ptel allowing mvno phones and Zapp allowing postpaid, there'd be some way to combine the two...

    As for MvnoX Red (Nation, ACRS, etc) they allow the cdma/Verizon iphone 4. The Tbolt/4G/LTE devices are not usable on ACRS at this time but it has been anecdotally reported that there is at least one MvnoX Red carrier that does allow 4G devices (in 3g mode).

    Page Plus is going to be launching a new plan called the "55". It is $55 for unlimited talk/text/mms/300 megs of data. Hofo Kecel posted a cached link when the original webpage vanished. The original Unlimited talk/text/20 meg plan for $44.95 will continue as is apparently.

    The 55 sounds like a good mid tier plan between Page Plus classic Utnt and the MvnoX Red options. For $10 more then Classic PPC Utnt you get nearly 300 megs of data and for another 10-15 (depending on which version of MvnoX Red) you get 700 more megs on top of that .

    Considering Verizon prepaid is $125 for unlimited talk/text/2 gigs on postpaid with a two year slave chain, these deals rock .

    Verizon Unleashed remains a non byod regional only wish fulfillment joke for 99% of the nation.

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    Byod on non byod /anti byod networks , an alternative

    As a strong advocate of prepaid wireless/non contract wireless, I am also a vocal supporter of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) but there are some networks that simply won't allow it. Or try to.

    Two of the biggest anti byod carriers in prepaid are Virgin Mobile, Sprint's prepaid division and America Movil/Tracfone.

    BYOD on these networks is simple. On Virgin, you have to use a Virgin Mobile phone. On Net10, you have to use a Net10 phone. On Tracfone, Tracfones only. Straight Talk, ST phones only (with a couple of minor exceptions on the gsm side).

    Bring Your Own Device isn't possible. Right?

    Well, mostly. But not completely.

    The thing is there are tons of OLD phones out there that are Net10, Tracfones, Virgin Mobiles.

    But there are also lots of new plans (especially from Net10 and Virgin) which give older phones new life.

    Many older VM phones can be used on ALL VM plans, not just Beyond Talk.
    A few stand out because of unusual features like 3G (Shuttle), full qwerty keyboard (XTC, Wildcard, Switchback), quality manufacturer (Samsung Slash).

    Some of the very old VM phones like the Vox and Snapper don't work apparently. (Both are from 2005 or earlier).

    But I'd say that most of them should.

    As for Net10, when they first came out with their unlimited plan in 2008, it was $80 for unlimited talk/text on Att. But any Net10 phone could be used.

    When they killed that version and came out with a new one in 2010 priced at $50 , it had Tmobile backing but only allowed phones that were specifically marked Net10 Unlimited which were only sold (briefly) through Target.

    Epic fail.

    Net10 smartened up and now allow ALL Net10 phones to be used on the latest version of their unlimited plan except for a shortlist of 7 Motorola and Nokia models.

    Much better.

    Granted, you still can't put a VM phone onto N10 or vice versa, but why bother when there's usually a near equivalent plan in many cases to make Bring Your Old(er) Device a very easy and possible alternative to Bring Your Own Device?


    Note, Common Cents devices (Defunct and shortlived Sprint prepaid paygo division) should be usable on Virgin Mobile, especially PayLo. Whether they are usable on all plans is still unknown .

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    Wow very thorough! Thanks for all the info :-)

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