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Thread: Why Do They Need A Phone's IMEI When Activating Service?

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    Why Do They Need A Phone's IMEI When Activating Service?

    I'm porting my Mother In Law's number from ST to H2O. Why do they need a phone's IMEI if I'm activating a SIM? Don't they allow you to insert the SIM in any AT&T or Unlocked GSM phone like ST does? Will this SIM be tied to the phone IMEI she uses?

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    Good question. That is AT&T's policy. T-Mobile and Ptel do not do that. When I questioned AT&T Mobility about that a while back they said the sim could be used in any unlocked phone. So, why require the Imei? Sounds fishy to me.

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    The IMEI is for the initial activation, it links the SIM to the phone. Once the initial activation is complete you can swap out phones at your own discretion.

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    If you are buying the sim from H2O, maybe they are using the IMEI information to determine what kind (mini, micro, nano) sim card you need. At least that's a thought.

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    Black Wireless doesn't ask for an IMEI when porting in a number. Black Wireless is owned by the same company as h2o, so I don't know why, either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vey9 View Post
    Black Wireless doesn't ask for an IMEI when porting in a number. Black Wireless is owned by the same company as h2o, so I don't know why, either.
    Straight Talk doesn't either. Seems very odd to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by charlesfinley View Post
    If you are buying the sim from H2O, maybe they are using the IMEI information to determine what kind (mini, micro, nano) sim card you need. At least that's a thought.
    I guess that makes sense but this was on the activation page after I already had a SIM.

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    h2o sim should work in any phone as long as it is at&t or unlocked and is not blacklisted(lost/stolen) in the case of an activation at a dealer the IMEI may determine the dealers eligibility to receive compensation. prepaid MVNO are starting to take steps to prevent paying multiple commissions to dealers on the same handset. for example in the case of customers who want a new SIM/phone number every month to take advantage of a promotion such as a discounted or free first month.

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    IMEI is also sometimes used to send the proper APN configuration to feature phones.

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    My biggest concern was that H2O would tie the SIM to the phone IMEI that I used for activation & my Mother In Law would never be able to just switch phone's without obtaining a new SIM card. It does not sound like that is the case though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dust N Bones View Post
    My biggest concern was that H2O would tie the SIM to the phone IMEI that I used for activation & my Mother In Law would never be able to just switch phone's without obtaining a new SIM card. It does not sound like that is the case though.
    Technically it does tie the two together, but when she is ready to switch phones there won't be any issues unless she needs a different size or the SIM becomes corrupted.

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    interestingly with at&t's gophone brand when i have called customer service recently and had a SIM in a phone different than the activating phone the rep. could see the IMEI of the phone being used and the one listed on the account were different and asked if i wanted to update the IMEI on the account. i asked if it would make any difference and they said no, but still seemed very anxious to update it with no clear reason as to why.

    i am curious how this would affect a case of a lost/stolen phone being reported. hopefully the wrong phone does not accidentally get blacklisted if its IMEI is listed on the account.

    i have also used verizon allset prepaid and notice the phone gets updated on the customer portal nearly immediately after swapping a SIM, that seems like a better system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robbyrobby View Post
    interestingly with at&t's gophone brand when i have called customer service recently and had a SIM in a phone different than the activating phone the rep. could see the IMEI of the phone being used and the one listed on the account were different and asked if i wanted to update the IMEI on the account. i asked if it would make any difference and they said no, but still seemed very anxious to update it with no clear reason as to why.

    i am curious how this would affect a case of a lost/stolen phone being reported. hopefully the wrong phone does not accidentally get blacklisted if its IMEI is listed on the account.

    i have also used verizon allset prepaid and notice the phone gets updated on the customer portal nearly immediately after swapping a SIM, that seems like a better system.
    The IMEI is also used for that reason, even if it can be swapped out with the same SIM, the IMEI can still be blocked. When you update your IMEI you are telling H20 that "this" phone is on the account and only I have permission to use it.

    Unless you call and say to block the phone they won't. With VZW the phone is still CDMA and the ESN has to be listed and updated each time. If the phone number doesn't match the ESN the phone can't be used.

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    in the case of verizon there is actually an esn/meid embedded into the SIM that is the one used, the one asigned to the phone hardware is not used once a sim card is interested. sprint does use the esn(and cdma NV items) for the 3g part of the connection on LTE phones.

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    I activated an H2O smart SIM in a locked Nokia Lumia 520 AT&T GoPhone. The phone was brand new and had never been activated. Activation worked like a charm. I've been using it for a couple of months.

    The other day, in the back of a closet, I found my old retired AT&T Samsung SGH-a777 slider feature phone. It's about 5 years old. Back then, it was on the AT&T family plan. That was before I discovered MVNO's.

    Anyway, I took the activated H2O Micro-SIM out of the Nokia Windows phone, placed it in a standard size SIM adapter and popped it in the old AT&T Samsung feature phone. I am able to make calls from the old AT&T Samsung feature phone (I assume it is locked to AT&T, also). So you can swap an H2O SIM among locked AT&T phones. Doesn't matter if it's a GoPhone or standard AT&T feature phone.
    Is a Telegram a metric e-mail?

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