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Thread: "Rebranding" TF SIMs

  1. #1
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    Exclamation "Rebranding" TF SIMs

    Looking around for a place with cheap/low-use plans to move a number to with a mere couple of days left on the billing cycle (yes, my fault for cutting so close), I figured I could port to Tracfone...only problem is, no SIM cards and not enough time to order one.

    But not to worry, because I have some unused Straight Talk SIMs sitting around! Though it seems to be very "YMMV", it also seems widely agreed upon that at least any TF Verizon SIM can likely be activated on any TF "brand".

    Just as a test, I tried first with a T-Mobile one. The TF site does not recognize the SIM number. Chatting (twice) with a TF rep resulted in them originally saying "no problem, I can help you with that", only for them to come back later saying the system wouldn't let them activate it on anything other than ST.

    Tried the Verizon card next. Same problem: TF web site doesn't accept it (though ST site does), and chatting with a rep, I was told that although they can "rebrand" other TF-subsidiary *phones*, their system won't let them do it with BYOP *SIMs*.

    Wondering how those who claim to have taken a ST or Net10 Verizon SIM and activated it on TF (or vice-versa) managed that...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanA View Post
    Tried the Verizon card next. Same problem: TF web site doesn't accept it (though ST site does), and chatting with a rep, I was told that although they can "rebrand" other TF-subsidiary *phones*, their system won't let them do it with BYOP *SIMs*.

    Wondering how those who claim to have taken a ST or Net10 Verizon SIM and activated it on TF (or vice-versa) managed that...
    I think those who succeeded with rebranding used a phone branded by one of the TF subsidiaries (and its original SIM) to activate on Tracfone. They didn't use BYOP SIMs.

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    Normally Dollar General has some for a buck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    I think those who succeeded with rebranding used a phone branded by one of the TF subsidiaries (and its original SIM) to activate on Tracfone. They didn't use BYOP SIMs.
    I'm sure that's the case for some people, though 1) it wouldn't surprise me now to learn that most who have successfully "rebranded" a TF phone from one subsidiary to another had to be shipped a new SIM, and 2) I could swear there are people who have specifically talked about BYOP Verizon SIMs being interchangeable between all brands, and that they have successfully done this. Apparently I'm going to have to go back and find those threads again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Senkoboy View Post
    Normally Dollar General has some for a buck.
    I live in the middle of nowhere, we don't have Dollar General around here, & nearest retailer to have the SIMs in stock for $1 (same price as from TF direct) is Best Buy, which is about 2 hours' drive.

    Honestly, given that all TF SIM cards look identical anyway, and surely all come from the same stock pile (and thus aren't assigned a brand "identity" until they're packaged and shipped out), it's insane to me that TF cares which brand it was originally "intended" for. Looking at the SIM itself, there's no way to tell which brand it belongs to, and limiting each SIM to a particular brand just creates waste and leads to frustration.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanA View Post
    Honestly, given that all TF SIM cards look identical anyway, and surely all come from the same stock pile (and thus aren't assigned a brand "identity" until they're packaged and shipped out), it's insane to me that TF cares which brand it was originally "intended" for. Looking at the SIM itself, there's no way to tell which brand it belongs to, and limiting each SIM to a particular brand just creates waste and leads to frustration.
    What is at the beginning of the model number of the Straight Talk SIMS? Is it "TF" or "ST"? Are we talking BYOP SIMS or original issued SIMs? Straight Talk SIMS may have at one time been unique, but I think some have activated these phones on Page Plus. Maybe not a good comparison, as Page Plus has always been more tolerant about allowing other Tracfone brands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    What is at the beginning of the model number of the Straight Talk SIMS? Is it "TF" or "ST"? Are we talking BYOP SIMS or original issued SIMs? Straight Talk SIMS may have at one time been unique, but I think some have activated these phones on Page Plus. Maybe not a good comparison, as Page Plus has always been more tolerant about allowing other Tracfone brands.
    TF. And in this case, BYOP SIMs.

    I have literally never seen a Straight Talk SIM -- either BYOP or otherwise -- with a model # that starts with "ST". I didn't even know that was a thing (I mean, is it?). 100% of the ones I have ever possessed start with TF. And I've been a subscriber for years and gone through multiple SIMs. (Though to be fair, the non-BYOP SIMs were the AT&T ones that came with the E71, which for all intents and purposes act like BYOP SIMs except that the site & ST back-end tie it to the phone IMEI and tracks the account via IMEI instead of ICCID.)

    I do have an update on this, though: last night I stumbled into a local drug store that happened to have a TF-branded BYOP SIM kit on the shelf (only one in stock!), price: $1. I had no reason to think they would carry this, since this particular store is not listed as a TF retailer! I bought the kit, opened it up...and the T-Mobile SIM in it had already expired 2 months ago. (Checking the packaging revealed a packing date of 08/18 and the T-M SIM was marked with "activate by 08/2020". This must've been sitting on the shelf for a looooong time...)

    Here's the interesting bit: Both the ST site and the TF site will accept the Verizon SIM # that came in this kit. But none of my ST Verizon SIMs are accepted by the TF site. So it seems as though the ST-issued SIMs ONLY work on ST, but the TF Verizon ones work on both. Uh...okay?

    Anyway, the # I am trying to put on life support was on ST AT&T, so I just "ported" that over to TF today using the AT&T SIM included in the kit, as I figured that'd be the easiest & quickest (number doesn't have to be ported between underlying carriers). But wouldn't you know it: though they immediately deactivated my ST SIM, the TF side had problems activating the ported number. So for the last 2 hours, I have had no phone service. (The new SIM connects to the network and *looks* like it's working, but calls both in and out only give busy signals [except calls to 611 which *do* work], accessing the internet results in "you've run out of data" message from TF, and texting "FOUR" to 611611 returns my OLD SIM's last 4 digits, not the new SIM's!) I chatted with them, and this has been escalated within TF...

    Also FYI, neither the AT&T nor T-Mobile SIM included in the TF kit are recognized/accepted by the ST site. So it does seem as though all but the Verizon SIMs are truly siloed, yet even in the case of Verizon, not all TF Verizon SIMs are interchangeable between all of the TF brands.

    EDIT: To their credit, TF has since fixed the underlying issue with the number transfer, and I now have service with that number again.
    Last edited by NathanA; 10-05-2020 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Update

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    @NathanA...Sounds like you're set for now but I'll just add that my experiences have only been with PagePlus using both TF BYOP sims and TFs with the sim that comes in them. Even swapped the sims between phones no problem. I assume you didn't want to see if PagePlus would accept the ST/Vzw sim.

    I'll just throw this in. I was once told by a CSR that there is no difference between a BYOP sim and the sim that comes in a branded phone. Other then possibly the pre imei/sim pairing with the branded phone/sim combo to facilitate activation and the unlocking period clock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpz1 View Post
    @NathanA...Sounds like you're set for now but I'll just add that my experiences have only been with PagePlus using both TF BYOP sims and TFs with the sim that comes in them. Even swapped the sims between phones no problem.
    I have no doubt that swapping the SIMs between phones works post-activation. My question solely has to do with activation (being able to use, say, a Straight Talk SIM to activate a new line of service on a different America Movil subsidiary).

    Quote Originally Posted by rpz1 View Post
    I assume you didn't want to see if PagePlus would accept the ST/Vzw sim.
    Page Plus had not occurred to me, though it should have occurred to me to check them out. I was looking for the absolute *cheapest* prepaid service that I could get for 30 days, while simultaneously being able to activate it within 24 hours. Tracfone had a $15/mo plan, and all of the other ones I thought to check out (Net10, SIMPLE, Walmart Family, Total) had at minimum $20-25 plans.

    Looking at PP now, I see that they have a $12/mo plan! So that would have been an option. Since none of the other Verizon-only ones (e.g., Total) had anything close to that, I figured PP wouldn't, either.

    Unfortunately, it's not so easy to test out whether they would accept a given SIM without going all the way through every step of the activation process...unlike all of the other TF subsidiaries, where you can simply enter in a SIM ICCID and get an immediate acceptance or rejection, the PP site seems to require that you enter in EVERYTHING (billing information + CC # inclusive) before you find out whether it's going to work. Since I am now set, and I don't want to risk firing up yet another line of service that I don't need at this point, I cannot test this...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanA View Post
    .......Looking at PP now, I see that they have a $12/mo plan! So that would have been an option. Since none of the other Verizon-only ones (e.g., Total) had anything close to that, I figured PP wouldn't, either
    PP also has the $10 for 120 days PayGo plan.

    Also for anyone using one brand with another brand company. Avoid telling any CSR it's a none matching brand. Just act like it's that brands phone or sim or most CSRs will claim it's not possible and try to sell you their brand.

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