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Thread: Total Wireless – Tale of Two Activations

  1. #1
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    Total Wireless – Tale of Two Activations

    I purchased a Moto Z Play Droid from Motorola.com to replace my Moto X. I purchased a SIM card from Walmart + $35 6GB plan card. Went online to activate with a new number, no problems encountered, and am happily enjoying zippy download speeds and great coverage on my new phone. All good.

    Purchased the same SIM card + plan for my husband’s Moto Z Droid which has been on Selectel for a few months. The Selectel plan had expired a few days prior to the first attempt to activate online with a new number. No dice, the phone would not activate. Just would get a “please wait…activating” type message until finally an error message saying phone failed to activate. Tried using the TW chat function, they did whatever on their end but still would not activate. Tried calling, tried chat again. Multiple attempts over several days and still could not get the phone to activate. No attempts on their part to escalate or troubleshoot. Gave up and renewed the Selectel plan. Am now attempting to pursue a refund of the SIM + plan (total ~$49). Same garbage CS: they cannot issue a refund unless I can provide a phone number (which I can’t, since the phone never activated); you have to call them for a refund (they can’t do it over chat or email), but their CS people cannot give refunds and will disconnect you or put you on hold *forever* if you ask for a supervisor.

    I have heard that activation with TW tends to go one of these two ways – you’re either successful with no hiccups, or it’s an exercise in endless frustration. I can attest to both.

  2. #2
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    Life's too short for hit or miss activations. Thanks for the heads up! Sorry you had to experience it, though.

  3. #3
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    My guess is it's somehow related to the Z Droid still being active on another line in the mothership system. Although the account had expired few days prior, numbers typically go into a suspended state for what most carriers call the grace period. After grace period expires, then the number gets returned back to the pool.

    The system may have accepted the imei by altering the imei slightly (last 2 digits). This is tricky though since the last digit is a check digit based on the preceding 14 digits. Easiest way to calculate this would be to use swappa's esn checker. Enter the first 14 (with the modified last digit), it will then spit out the correct 15 digits.

    That aside have you tried unlocked the bootloader of the moto z play? I suspect the motorola system will reject it because it's a verizon branded phone, but curious to hear of any first hand experience.

  4. #4
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    Thier pricing is very attractive (and they are the only VZW prepaid /MVNO that offers a family plan) but stories of frustration like this one (AM/Tracphone customer no service) make me think twice about switching to them.

  5. #5
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    As noted by GPz1100, the phone was probably still tied to Selectel in the Verizon system. While I know an active Verizon phone will report as able to be activated on another Verizon MVNO, it reads like you may have essentially tried to have the Moto Z on two Verizon MVNOs at the same time. Others have reported issues with that sort of thing, so it's a possible reason for why the activation didn't work. Things may have went differently if you had tried to port an active Selectel line to Total Wireless. Have you asked if you could port the line from Selectel to Total Wireless near the end of the current month and use the Total Wireless service you previously purchased for the following month?

    EDIT: Corrected prior mistake.
    Last edited by alluringreality; 06-09-2017 at 12:02 PM.

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    ^^You mean tied to selectel in the vzw system?

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    Quote Originally Posted by alluringreality View Post
    As noted by GPz1100, the phone was probably still tied to Selectel in the Verizon system. While I know an active Verizon phone will report as able to be activated on another Verizon MVNO, it reads like you may have essentially tried to have the Moto Z on two Verizon MVNOs at the same time. Others have reported issues with that sort of thing, so it's a possible reason for why the activation didn't work. Things may have went differently if you had tried to port an active Selectel line to Total Wireless. Have you asked if you could port the line from Selectel to Total Wireless near the end of the current month and use the Total Wireless service you previously purchased for the following month?

    EDIT: Corrected prior mistake.
    This, to go along with what GPz1100 said previously, is correct. A phone can't have 2 #s on the Vzw network at the same time, and even though the plan was expired, the # and phone was still tied to Selectel, as evidenced by the successful renewal of the expired Selectel plan with no additional steps.

    It's most likely that a port of the Selectel # to TW would have worked fine.

  8. #8
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    There's a imei status code of "active on other" when a device is already in the system with a different mvno.



    The TW rep should of mentioned this to you, which would make it very clear why the issue was present. The other option of course would have been to contact selectel to have them fully close out the account which should release the imei as well.

    I know many gsm providers ask for the imei too, but I wonder if that's more so to confirm it would work with the system rather than to bind it to the account.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPz1100 View Post
    There's a imei status code of "active on other" when a device is already in the system with a different mvno.



    The TW rep should of mentioned this to you, which would make it very clear why the issue was present. The other option of course would have been to contact selectel to have them fully close out the account which should release the imei as well.

    I know many gsm providers ask for the imei too, but I wonder if that's more so to confirm it would work with the system rather than to bind it to the account.
    This is interesting. Will it show this if you check your IMEI on the device check page? I have a Moto G4 Play that I activated on Tracfone/Verizon and it shows as eligible on Total Wireless.

    Where did you get that image from?

  10. #10
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    No idea. I don't have access to a total wireless account. The image is from the imei validation tool on the PP dealer portal.

    Maybe because tracfone and tw are under the same umbrella company, they can move devices around internally. Selectel as you probably know is its own entity with no ties to tracfone/tw/america movil.

    Edit: I checked the same imei with TW compatibility tool. It too says compatible. Maybe the assumption is the device gets cleared because the number is ported in rather than left on the original carrier.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPz1100 View Post
    The TW rep should of mentioned this to you, which would make it very clear why the issue was present. The other option of course would have been to contact selectel to have them fully close out the account which should release the imei as well.
    Thanks for mentioning this! I spoke to *multiple* TW CS reps (via chat and phone) and none of them mentioned or asked about this or apparently even investigated it. I'm assuming it should have given the rep some sort of "already active elsewhere" type of message.

    Once the first rep "activated" it behind-the-scenes, I no longer had the option online to port the Selectel number associated with the phone. I should have just done that option to begin with, but my husband wanted to get rid of it since it gets a lot of debt collector calls. Ugh.

  12. #12
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    ^^I hear you. I used to get a ton of spam callers on one of the ringplus numbers. This became an issue when I ported that # to tello and they started spamming me by text on a pay go account. Customer service quickly changed my number and this stopped.

    Regardless what number you have with TW, it's very easy for support to change your number. There maybe restrictions how often you can do this and/or needing a new sim card. I know with page plus, a sim card is reusable but there are stipulations (which i can't remember because it's been so long).

  13. #13
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    I would agree with GPz1000 that the best approach would have been to contact Selectel to close the account and release the device.


    Quote Originally Posted by kgjulie View Post
    .

    Once the first rep "activated" it behind-the-scenes, I no longer had the option online to port the Selectel number associated with the phone. I should have just done that option to begin with, but my husband wanted to get rid of it since it gets a lot of debt collector calls. Ugh.
    What I do not understand is that you say TW activated it behind the scenes? Are you saying they some how activated the SIM/airtime you purchased, how could they activate the SIM without an IMEI? What does it show on the account you were setting up?

    Since the device never activated then the SIM/airtime should still be good. So...... when the Selectel plan comed close to renewal port over or close the account and activate using TW airtime you still have.

  14. #14
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    This is why I have been reluctant to sign up for a MVNO thus far. Worried about something major like this going wrong. No home phone available, so if the cell phone stopped working my business would be negatively impacted. Thanks for sharing the story. I have seen other stories like this on the Walmart website under user reviews.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgjulie View Post
    No dice, the phone would not activate. Just would get a “please wait…activating” type message until finally an error message saying phone failed to activate. Tried using the TW chat function, they did whatever on their end but still would not activate. Tried calling, tried chat again. Multiple attempts over several days and still could not get the phone to activate. No attempts on their part to escalate or troubleshoot.
    Did you happen to try activating the SIM in your phone?

    Just put it in the phone and see if it finishes activation. Then move back to his phone.

    I had trouble getting 2 phone to activate. Used a 3rd to activate both SIMs and all was well.

    TW still associates the correct IMEI with the SIM and each has the correct number.

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