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Thread: Sprint-branded phones that have been unlocked automatically work on MVNOs?

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    Sprint-branded phones that have been unlocked automatically work on MVNOs?

    I was under the impression that Sprint has this 1-year requirement for most of their phones that requires them to be used on a Sprint plan for which the phone was intended(post-paid only if bought as post-paid, or prepaid only)for an entire year before being used on an MVNO, or changing from Sprint post-paid to prepaid or vice versa.

    If a seller claims their once post-paid device has been unlocked, does this merely mean that one could activate it on Verizon, or would Sprint allow it to be used with an MVNO?

    As an aside, I noticed that when asked if a phone could be unlocked, a seller on a phone selling site claimed that if the phone were used on a sprint plan for just 90 days it could be unlocked. Again, I dont' know if unlocked automatically means it can be used on an MVNO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duronboy View Post
    I was under the impression that Sprint has this 1-year requirement for most of their phones that requires them to be used on a Sprint plan for which the phone was intended(post-paid only if bought as post-paid, or prepaid only)for an entire year before being used on an MVNO, or changing from Sprint post-paid to prepaid or vice versa.

    If a seller claims their once post-paid device has been unlocked, does this merely mean that one could activate it on Verizon, or would Sprint allow it to be used with an MVNO?

    As an aside, I noticed that when asked if a phone could be unlocked, a seller on a phone selling site claimed that if the phone were used on a sprint plan for just 90 days it could be unlocked. Again, I dont' know if unlocked automatically means it can be used on an MVNO.
    Unlocked usually just means being able to be used on a Non-Sprint network. But why don't you ask them if it's "carrier unlocked"


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    I've already asked them to check my MVNO's site specifically to see if compatible. If someone else buys the phone before they check, or before I read their reply, it would be unfortunate. The price on the phone in question is competitive and the next phone up that the seller claims is MVNO compatible is $80 more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duronboy View Post
    I've already asked them to check my MVNO's site specifically to see if compatible.
    I wouldn't rely on the seller to do this for you. Request the IMEI from him, then plug it into the IMEI checker of the MVNO you intend to use, assuming they have an IMEI checker. I've learned that everybody's definition of "unlocked" is different.
    My smartphone is a lot smarter than I am.

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    All communication on the site in question is public, and the site specifically prohibits sharing of serial numbers.

    "We do not allow our sellers to publicly post ESN information because it can unfortunately promote fraud."

    I've seen arguments that it can't be used for bad things, I honestly don't know enough about it to judge either way. I'm willing to risk the time it would take to do a return if it turns out it's not compatible when the seller says it is. It would be a shame if it were compatible and due to their error they thought it wasn't compatible. Short of them taking a picture of their IMEI number, they could unintentionally give me the wrong IMEI, anyway. So, I just ask them to check. I did give them specific instructions for the carrier I intend to use, so I'll just hope for the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duronboy View Post
    I was under the impression that Sprint has this 1-year requirement for most of their phones that requires them to be used on a Sprint plan for which the phone was intended(post-paid only if bought as post-paid, or prepaid only)for an entire year before being used on an MVNO, or changing from Sprint post-paid to prepaid or vice versa.

    If a seller claims their once post-paid device has been unlocked, does this merely mean that one could activate it on Verizon, or would Sprint allow it to be used with an MVNO?

    As an aside, I noticed that when asked if a phone could be unlocked, a seller on a phone selling site claimed that if the phone were used on a sprint plan for just 90 days it could be unlocked. Again, I dont' know if unlocked automatically means it can be used on an MVNO.
    Sprint will usually unlock the phone
    For international use only. It is getting
    Harder to get the phone unlocked for
    Domestic use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duronboy View Post
    I've already asked them to check my MVNO's site specifically to see if compatible. If someone else buys the phone before they check, or before I read their reply, it would be unfortunate. The price on the phone in question is competitive and the next phone up that the seller claims is MVNO compatible is $80 more.
    What exact phone is it? What service provider are you wanting to take it to? Sprint to Sprint Independent MVNO or to a different underlying carrier, VZ, AT&T, T-Mob?

    DS Unlocked does not necessarily mean the MEID is free and clear. The phone on the account has to be paid off and or not under subsidy and the account itself in good standing.

    Not all that many Sprint branded phones carry all the bands you need to move to another carrier even if DS unlocked.

    The best practice is to ask the seller to run the MEID/IMEI through the MVNO you want to use and to reply with the exact message the check tool gives them. This in itself gives you documentation to use in a return if the phone does not work.

    If that means you missed out then so be it, you probably just saved yourself some time and frustration.


    Sprint Unlock Policy

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    Quote Originally Posted by ls61 View Post

    The best practice is to ask the seller to run the MEID/IMEI through the MVNO you want to use
    I did ask them to do that. It is a sprint MVNO.

    and to reply with the exact message the check tool gives them.[/B] This in itself gives you documentation to use in a return if the phone does not work.
    That's getting a bit picky. It's hard enough to ask someone to even check at all. If they say it works with carrier X, that's all the proof I need when it doesn't work with carrier X.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duronboy View Post
    That's getting a bit picky. It's hard enough to ask someone to even check at all. If they say it works with carrier X, that's all the proof I need when it doesn't work with carrier X.
    It is not hard at all to ask for the seller to run the MEID and if they refuse or ignore your request it is best to stay away. And how hard is it to copy and paste a message?

    Also understand that there are plenty of examples where the MEID will show good with Sprint Post Paid and fail MVNOs.

    If the seller had any initiative they would have already run the MEID with several Sprint MVNOs and made that clear in the description. In my experience if it passes one Sprint MVNO then it is most likely to pass all.

    I have been doing this long enough to know what is the best practice, follow my advice or not.



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    Quote Originally Posted by ls61 View Post
    It is not hard at all to ask for the seller to run the MEID
    Well it is, getting a reply is, anyway.

    and if they refuse or ignore your request it is best to stay away.
    Obviously.

    And how hard is it to copy and paste a message?
    Some people would rather just wait and sell the phone to someone who doesn't ask questions, especially those who want copy and paste. Believe it or not, copy and paste is an "advanced" task to some people.

    Also understand that there are plenty of examples where the MEID will show good with Sprint Post Paid and fail MVNOs.
    Exactly. Many ebay sellers claim clean IMEI. In fact, Swappa requires IMEI checking as part of the listing process. It's up to the sellers whether or not they want to check MVNOs, too. So whether it's ebay or Swappa, a forum FS post, or craigslist, you have to contact them and have them check. Like I said, a huge chunk of sellers don't want to be bothered with that.

    If the seller had any initiative they would have already run the MEID with several Sprint MVNOs
    SEVERAL MVNOs? That's funny. That'd almost be work. A lot of sellers can't even be bothered to take actual photographs of the device. It's in the rules, but nobody follows it. Individual sellers on swappa have to follow it, but businesses don't. They have a stack of 43 phones and you know there's no way they're checking MVNO compatibility if they can't be bothered to upload a couple images.

    I have been doing this long enough to know what is the best practice, follow my advice or not.
    I don't want you to think I don't appreciate your time, I glad you posted. I've been buying phones for a while, too. I'm usually the one buying phones for my family.

    I blame Sprint for these shenanigans. They could certainly make it easier, but that's got to be part of how they funnel people back to the main Sprint plans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duronboy View Post
    Well it is, getting a reply is, anyway.............



    Some people would rather just wait and sell the phone to someone who doesn't ask questions, especially those who want copy and paste. Believe it or not, copy and paste is an "advanced" task to some people.............



    Exactly. Many ebay sellers claim clean IMEI. In fact, Swappa requires IMEI checking as part of the listing process. It's up to the sellers whether or not they want to check MVNOs, too. So whether it's ebay or Swappa, a forum FS post, or craigslist, you have to contact them and have them check. Like I said, a huge chunk of sellers don't want to be bothered with that................



    SEVERAL MVNOs? That's funny. That'd almost be work. A lot of sellers can't even be bothered to take actual photographs of the device. It's in the rules, but nobody follows it. Individual sellers on swappa have to follow it, but businesses don't. They have a stack of 43 phones and you know there's no way they're checking MVNO compatibility if they can't be bothered to upload a couple images...............
    IMO all good reasons to find or use another seller!

    I personally shy away from bulk re-sellers, especially if purchasing a Sprint device because of Sprint's quirkiness.

    If you don't want to risk taking the time to CYA and get documentation on whether it will in fact be compatible because you are in a rush to not lose out on a so-called deal, then that is a call you have to make.

    Personally I have never found a deal that I could not equal or better a few days later.

    I hope it all works out for you.


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    Yeah bulk resellers have taken swappa a notch down, I think. However, they're sometimes pretty aggressive with pricing, so the presence of their listings may bring down the listing prices of the devices sold by original owners. And I still check there first because at least a human checks each listing before approving it. On ebay, even with broken devices filtered, you'll need to be prepared to wade through dozens and potentially hundreds of listings with things like shattered screens and other major functionality problems. Ebay appears to put minimal effort into enforcing condition categories. And by minimal I mean none.

    Luckily, late yesterday the seller of the device I had in mind on Swappa responded with a "copy and paste" of the carrier acceptance message. I hadn't asked for that, but it was nice. I was able to make payment 10 minutes later, phew! One of the ebay sellers responded a bit later with a picture of the screen with all phone identity information visible. I certainly hadn't asked for that.

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