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Thread: How hard is it to activate unlocked phone on MVNO?

  1. #1
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    How hard is it to activate unlocked phone on MVNO?

    Insert sim card into turned off phone. I have no problem with this part.

    After that, what will happen?
    1. Turn it on and just works automatically on the MVNO.
    2. Follow steps from MVNO website to configure phone settings. Shortly later it works.
    3. Talk with MVNO tech support people to configure phone settings. Shortly later it works.

    Which of the 3 describes what typically happens?

    Also, I have read some horror stories about people not being able to get their phones activated. Hours of tech support calls, phones later getting deactivated, phones not functioning properly, missed calls, etc. Is this a common occurrence?

    I think it is worth switching to an MVNO from Verizon due to cost savings. But I want to be prepared to handle the process before taking the plunge and doing it. Easy or difficult process to get through?

    Phones: LG G6 unlocked (us997) and iPhone 6s.

  2. #2
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    If you're going to a CDMA service provider, such as one that uses Verizon or Sprint for service, you will need to check that your phones pass their activation check. The service providers should have something on their website for this sort of activation check, and it can usually be done before signing up for their service. If you're porting a phone number, there will be some time before the number transfers from Verizon to the new service provider. Once the number has transferred out then you can follow the directions from the new service provider for setting up the phone. Going to AT&T I needed to put in an APN on my Android phone, and that's about the most complex it gets from what I remember. Generally I'd suggest reading the directions beforehand. If you can follow the directions, you probably will not need to contact customer service. Personally I've only followed online directions for the 5 or 6 lines I've transferred, so I'd say that changing service providers has been easy the times I've done it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotg6 View Post
    Insert sim card into turned off phone. I have no problem with this part.

    After that, what will happen?
    1. Turn it on and just works automatically on the MVNO.
    2. Follow steps from MVNO website to configure phone settings. Shortly later it works.
    3. Talk with MVNO tech support people to configure phone settings. Shortly later it works.

    Which of the 3 describes what typically happens?

    Also, I have read some horror stories about people not being able to get their phones activated. Hours of tech support calls, phones later getting deactivated, phones not functioning properly, missed calls, etc. Is this a common occurrence?

    I think it is worth switching to an MVNO from Verizon due to cost savings. But I want to be prepared to handle the process before taking the plunge and doing it. Easy or difficult process to get through?

    Phones: LG G6 unlocked (us997) and iPhone 6s.
    It depends on what network the MVNO is using.

    The horror stories are rare, but get a lot of attention.

    You're in a good position with a us997, even if it would require a SIM swap to use it on a Vzw MVNO. Have you checked the IMEI to see if it can be activated directly with a Vzw MVNO? But even if not, on a MVNO that uses AT&T or T-Mo, it should be a very easy process.

  4. #4
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    I have activated over a dozen different phones and as long as the phone is compatible with the MVNO, your #2 always works for me.
    My smartphone is a lot smarter than I am.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    I have activated over a dozen different phones and as long as the phone is compatible with the MVNO, your #2 always works for me.
    Total Wireless and Cricket had parts of the website designed for this. You enter the IMEI and it tells you compatible or not (both said yes for LG G6). Metro PCS went by phone model number and said G6 is not compatible. However, others here said go into the store and try anyway because it might work.

    Which carriers did you activate with?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    It depends on what network the MVNO is using.

    The horror stories are rare, but get a lot of attention.

    You're in a good position with a us997, even if it would require a SIM swap to use it on a Vzw MVNO. Have you checked the IMEI to see if it can be activated directly with a Vzw MVNO? But even if not, on a MVNO that uses AT&T or T-Mo, it should be a very easy process.
    For the 4 carriers I have been considering results of compatibility check on LG G6:
    Metro PCS no
    Consumer Cellular unknown (website has no way to verify either way)
    Cricket yes
    Total Wireless yes

    Another thing to add is that I am open to any of the MVNO's except those associated with Sprint. The other big 3 (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile) all have coverage that is "good enough".

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotg6 View Post
    ...2. Follow steps from MVNO website to configure phone settings. Shortly later it works....
    I have activated six phones and two tablets on Tracfone GSM, Tracfone CDMA, Tello, Truphone, Freedompop GSM, Freedompop CDMA, and Ringplus. Step 2 worked for all of them except for Truphone. That took a call to customer service which was easy enough.

    Horror stories usually arise from people doing weird things, like incompatible or foreign phone models, using the wrong SIM, providing incorrect number porting info, putting the SIM in the microSD socket...

    Depending on the phone and service provider, you may need to enter APN and MMS info to get them working.

    If your usage is low, Tracfone on Verizon works well for not much money.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotg6 View Post
    Insert sim card into turned off phone. I have no problem with this part.

    After that, what will happen?
    1. Turn it on and just works automatically on the MVNO.
    2. Follow steps from MVNO website to configure phone settings. Shortly later it works.
    3. Talk with MVNO tech support people to configure phone settings. Shortly later it works.

    Which of the 3 describes what typically happens?

    Also, I have read some horror stories about people not being able to get their phones activated. Hours of tech support calls, phones later getting deactivated, phones not functioning properly, missed calls, etc. Is this a common occurrence?

    I think it is worth switching to an MVNO from Verizon due to cost savings. But I want to be prepared to handle the process before taking the plunge and doing it. Easy or difficult process to get through?

    Phones: LG G6 unlocked (us997) and iPhone 6s.
    Besides the sim card, you will need an aircard of some sort that puts talk minutes, texts, and data on the phone. During the activation process, you will be asked to input an aircard pin.

  9. #9
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    If he register his name, address and CC, it doesn't need the load any air cards. Usually there is a discount for having set up for automatic payments.

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