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Thread: Which phones for Sprint MVNOs?

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    Which phones for Sprint MVNOs?

    Maybe some of you have experience or know the current restrictions Sprint has on what phones they will allow on the mvno's like Tello. I am looking for inexpensive (but not unuseable) android or iphone for kids to use on Tello paygo. What is allowed? How can I tell if one should work or not? I could buy one of those Moto G4 Plays that are unlocked on Amazon for $100, but looking to spend less or possibly buy a good used one. Any info is welcome. I have not used sprint in some time. My first smartphone however, was on virgin 3g unlimited $25 plan years ago...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwtechguy View Post
    Maybe some of you have experience or know the current restrictions Sprint has on what phones they will allow on the mvno's like Tello. I am looking for inexpensive (but not unuseable) android or iphone for kids to use on Tello paygo. What is allowed? How can I tell if one should work or not? I could buy one of those Moto G4 Plays that are unlocked on Amazon for $100, but looking to spend less or possibly buy a good used one. Any info is welcome. I have not used sprint in some time. My first smartphone however, was on virgin 3g unlimited $25 plan years ago...
    Not super easy.

    Buy from tello.

    Buy from Ting (CDMA) - works fine on tello and comes with the right sim.

    Buy from ebay - search for sprint mvno, ringplus, tello OR find a sprint phone you like and ask for MEIDs to check in the tello byod checker

    c7recycle for used too

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwtechguy View Post
    Maybe some of you have experience or know the current restrictions Sprint has on what phones they will allow on the mvno's like Tello. I am looking for inexpensive (but not unuseable) android or iphone for kids to use on Tello paygo. What is allowed? How can I tell if one should work or not? I could buy one of those Moto G4 Plays that are unlocked on Amazon for $100, but looking to spend less or possibly buy a good used one. Any info is welcome. I have not used sprint in some time. My first smartphone however, was on virgin 3g unlimited $25 plan years ago...
    This has not been discussed much since Ringplus folded.

    It must have a clean ESN - not reported lost or stolen and previous owner paid their final bill in full.

    It must pass the ESN/Device check at the MVNO.

    The basics are Sprint branded postpaid phones, no Boost, Virgin, or Sprint Prepaid phones. There are some exceptions, but I don't remember them. Some of the exceptions also worked for a while then stopped.

    C7 Recycle will check their phones for Tello (and others), but their selection is limited.

    Another avenue is eBay for postpaid phones. Buy only from sellers that accept returns where the listing says that it has Clean ESN and is ready to activate on Sprint. If it won't activate, you should be able to return it as "not as listed".

    Most newer phones will need an ICCID or UCCID "SIM". Sprint was selling them for $2 a while ago.

    It will be difficult to find a LTE data Tri-Band phone for less than $100. Mine are all old single band ones. They work ok. I generally get 2-4 Mbps LTE data. That is enough to do what needs to be done.

    I will mention one cheap (~$30) phone to avoid. The LG Viper. It's just too old and slow. It takes eight full minutes to start up to the point where it will make a phone call. This really negates its value as a glovebox emergency phone. It works fine to tether Tello data.

    I like the Tello service.

    I would not put a lot of money in a Sprint-only phone at this point. They may not be around a whole lot longer.

    Good luck

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    Most sellers will not give out the MEID and for good reason, so the bottom line on any used Sprint device, Post-Paid or Pre-Paid, is that you have to ask the seller to run the MEID through the Check Tool of the service you want to use the device with before you purchase it.

    I would not look at any on the shelf New in Box Boost or Virgin device, but there are plenty of used ones that have satisfied the Unlock policy, but you must ask the seller to run the MEID to make sure it will pass.

    As mentioned, any used device that does not come with the appropriate SIM will need the correct SIM P/N for that particular device.

    So, there are no safe bets with Sprint devices other than those Private Labeled devices sold through an MVNO like Ting, Tello, Twigby or those few Unlocked devices like the Nexus 5X, 4th Gen Moto G's, 5th Gen Moto G Plus, Moto X PE that are compatible and white listed with Sprint.

    I personally would avoid the Amazon locked Moto G's.

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    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I was able to pick up two Moto E 2nd gen LTE phones in very nice shape on ebay using the search terms suggested. These are perfect for our 2 youngest kids and cost $70 for both with shipping.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwtechguy View Post
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I was able to pick up two Moto E 2nd gen LTE phones in very nice shape on ebay using the search terms suggested. These are perfect for our 2 youngest kids and cost $70 for both with shipping.
    Are they new/used Sprint Post-Paid or Boost/Virgin and did you have the seller run the MEIDs with Tello before you purchased?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwtechguy View Post
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I was able to pick up two Moto E 2nd gen LTE phones in very nice shape on ebay using the search terms suggested. These are perfect for our 2 youngest kids and cost $70 for both with shipping.
    I don't think Moto Es were ever sold as Sprint postpaid phones. They were all Boost, Virgin, and Sprint Prepaid. As such, they may be subject to Sprint's financial eligibility restrictions for use on a MVNO. The only way to know is to run their ESN through the MVNO activation checker.

    That said, there were some of them that were cleared for MVNOs - typically to be sold by the MVNO.

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    Yes, seller verified they were both clear to use on Tello, Twigby, Ting, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    I don't think Moto Es were ever sold as Sprint postpaid phones. They were all Boost, Virgin, and Sprint Prepaid. As such, they may be subject to Sprint's financial eligibility restrictions for use on a MVNO. The only way to know is to run their ESN through the MVNO activation checker.

    That said, there were some of them that were cleared for MVNOs - typically to be sold by the MVNO.
    If I remember the Boost/Virgin devices NIB were white listed, but not clear if that loop hole was closed for these devices.

    Used they really should be past any limitations being that they are 2+ years old now and the same should apply to NIB as well.
    Sprint is a mixed bag though and why.........., for any device purchased on line it would be wise to CYA and have the Seller run the MEID just to make sure the MEID is clear to activate.

    What is not clear is if the OP did so?

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    What about this scenario: I have an old Motorola Triumph that was originally with Virgin Mobile. I don't have a number on the phone and my account with Virgin Mobile expired years ago. Some time ago I installed Cynogenmod and use it exclusively with WhatsApp over wifi.

    My wife has a part-time business with its own phone number that gets one or two calls a month--not even enough to justify my current PagePlus payment of $10 every three months. And I have to remember to add $10 every three months.

    The MEID of this Triumph passed the Tello ESN activation checker. Soooo, I'm wondering if I can activate it on Tello, port my wife's business phone number to Tello, add $10 and "set it and forget it". Would it work with Cyanogenmod? She would not actually be answering the Triumph. I would do like I'm currently doing with the PagePlus number and set it to permanently forward all calls to her personal cell phone.

    Any thoughts?
    My smartphone is a lot smarter than I am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    What about this scenario: I have an old Motorola Triumph that was originally with Virgin Mobile. I don't have a number on the phone and my account with Virgin Mobile expired years ago. Some time ago I installed Cynogenmod and use it exclusively with WhatsApp over wifi.

    My wife has a part-time business with its own phone number that gets one or two calls a month--not even enough to justify my current PagePlus payment of $10 every three months. And I have to remember to add $10 every three months.

    The MEID of this Triumph passed the Tello ESN activation checker. Soooo, I'm wondering if I can activate it on Tello, port my wife's business phone number to Tello, add $10 and "set it and forget it". Would it work with Cyanogenmod? She would not actually be answering the Triumph. I would do like I'm currently doing with the PagePlus number and set it to permanently forward all calls to her personal cell phone.

    Any thoughts?
    AFAIK, Tello does not have call forwarding. Otherwise, Tello paygo is $10, set and forget, except you have to have some activity in a rolling 180 day period. You could port the business number to Google Voice and forward anywhere you want from there.

    Cyanogenmod should work fine, but you won't be able to get PRL updates. They probably aren't very important in this use case.

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    Virgin mobile phones that are that old will usually work for talk text but not data mms on Sprint mvnos. The general policy for Sprint prepaid boost and virgin is 1 year active service on their original respective carrier before being byod able to a Sprint mvno.Sprint byod all is the weakest of the big 4 but at least it even exists...

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    Make sure the phone works on something else as well!

    I got a Sprint-specific iPhone 5S to work with RingPlus (in my view the only Sprint service for a fair price for the network quality). I got dragged along to Ting when RP went down. Price way to high! No more Sprint anyting for me. I sold it to someone to use it on AT&T Gophone. They popped in their sim and were very happy with it.

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