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Thread: carriers want IMEI before telling you if compatible, but wish we knew which device first

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    carriers want IMEI before telling you if compatible, but wish we knew which device first

    The cell service carriers want customer to give his IMEI of device and will determine if device is compatible. This seems not the right way. Customer may have no device yet, but wants to know from the carrier, WHICH devices are compatible, so that cutomer knows ahead, which devices he can use with the carrier; and by this, know which devices he can buy. HOW can we do this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by joseg2016 View Post
    The cell service carriers want customer to give his IMEI of device and will determine if device is compatible. This seems not the right way. Customer may have no device yet, but wants to know from the carrier, WHICH devices are compatible, so that cutomer knows ahead, which devices he can use with the carrier; and by this, know which devices he can buy. HOW can we do this?

    which carrier ? i may be best to buy a device from the carrier itself if you are unsure. the intent of the BYOD checkers is mostly for those who already own phone they would like to use to see if the carrier is suitable for that device they already own.

    for situation you describe i would suggest a recent model unlocked iPhone, an recent model unlocked universal android designed to be compatible with all US Carriers or any phone branded locked for the specific carrier you intend to use. you may be able to use an unlocked phone from a different carrier but could be hit or miss. if you are buying online i would ask the seller about compatibility.

    also keep in mind none of the BYOD checkers can tell you the locked/unlocked status of the device, so particularly with a second hand device DO AUTOMATICALLY THINK A PHONE WILL WORK BECAUSE THE IMEI CHECKER SAYS COMPATIBLE. instead think in terms of 'its compatible if its unlocked'

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    Lots of companies are doing this for Verizon mainly because there is international models and USA models. The international models does not work that well on Verizon towers.

    I have heard AT&T based companies is doing this more because they want to make the phone works with their VoLTE system, but I am not sure tho.

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    Part of comment from robbyrobby:
    an recent model unlocked universal android designed to be compatible with all US Carriers
    I will try to specify.
    I might want to find an UNLOCKED, UNIVERSAL Android smartphone, and I would not buy it UNTIL the carrier tells me if some specific brand and models are compatible to use for the carrier's prepaid service. I would try to buy strictly from a hard-copy-form retail store. I would NOT want to buy directly from the carrier, because I have not decided exactly which carrier I would use; but the choice would probably be T-Mobile(Connect), or Mint Mobile, or Page Plus, or potentially some other choice.

    Note: NEW Device; not used/nor preowned nor "refurbished". NOT bought through Amazon. That is not a normal retail store that we visit in person to shop and buy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joseg2016 View Post
    Part of comment from robbyrobby:


    I will try to specify.
    I might want to find an UNLOCKED, UNIVERSAL Android smartphone, and I would not buy it UNTIL the carrier tells me if some specific brand and models are compatible to use for the carrier's prepaid service. I would try to buy strictly from a hard-copy-form retail store. I would NOT want to buy directly from the carrier, because I have not decided exactly which carrier I would use; but the choice would probably be T-Mobile(Connect), or Mint Mobile, or Page Plus, or potentially some other choice.

    Note: NEW Device; not used/nor preowned nor "refurbished". NOT bought through Amazon. That is not a normal retail store that we visit in person to shop and buy.
    in this case what i would recommend would be:

    any current unlocked iPhone, Google pixel phones, oneplus phones or possibly motorola, samsung or LG phones that you can confirm from the websites of the manufactures are compatible with Verizon's network. as a general but not ground in stone rule the higher end(and therefore more expensive) a handset is the more likely it is to be a universal model. if you take pageplus(or other Verizon MVNOs) out of the picture your options will be much wider. but the general rule i would go by is that once you find a specific handset you are interested in i would suggest checking with the manufacture for compatibility. just to be on the safe side i would also suggest considering the possibility you may want to return the handset if it does not work out. also keep in mind with network upgrades to 5G, etc. things are constantly changing and handsets that work great today on a given network may not work as well in a year or two. its just the nature of the beast we are dealing with.

    also i would trust the manufactures compatibility statements/published specs over anything from the carrier. for the most part carriers are not a reliable source for BYOD handset compatibility information. or come back here and ask and we could help advise.

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    I have a good reason that they want to confirm the IMEI first. If the phone was lost or stolen, the carrier doesn't want someone to try to activate it on the same or different network or ask for a new SIM card for a phone not legitimately owned by them. I am not suggesting that the OP or anyone else in this thread even suggested that.
    Just another day in paradise.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by joseg2016 View Post
    Part of comment from robbyrobby:


    I will try to specify.
    I might want to find an UNLOCKED, UNIVERSAL Android smartphone, and I would not buy it UNTIL the carrier tells me if some specific brand and models are compatible to use for the carrier's prepaid service. I would try to buy strictly from a hard-copy-form retail store. I would NOT want to buy directly from the carrier, because I have not decided exactly which carrier I would use; but the choice would probably be T-Mobile(Connect), or Mint Mobile, or Page Plus, or potentially some other choice.

    Note: NEW Device; not used/nor preowned nor "refurbished". NOT bought through Amazon. That is not a normal retail store that we visit in person to shop and buy.
    If you want a guarantee, buy the phone from the carrier directly and don't try using a BYOP phone that may or may not be compatible for whatever reason. That is the best answer you are going to get anywhere. There is no magic database that will offer you any guarantee of compatibility unless provided directly from the carrier. Risk you take not buying it from the carrier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serial Port View Post
    If you want a guarantee, buy the phone from the carrier directly and don't try using a BYOP phone that may or may not be compatible for whatever reason. That is the best answer you are going to get anywhere. There is no magic database that will offer you any guarantee of compatibility unless provided directly from the carrier. Risk you take not buying it from the carrier.
    The trouble I had was, (but regarding flip phone) Carrier said support will stop for my device. I must go to department store to buy some specified type of device, so I do what been told to do. I bring new bought device to Carrier store and Carrier store personell REFUSE to activate the new bought device and told me, not compatible.

    You SAID, I could just buy the desired device from Carrier so that should give no problem in compatibity, but Carrier said, "Go to retail department store because it will be less expensive."

    You see, next time around for a new device (likely smartphone), I want to know for certain about compatibility before buying the device. I do not want to try figuring the best I can and just buy a device and bring it to the carrier - and I do not know yet exactly which carrier I would choose.

    What else to do, when Carrier says, "Go to other store to buy device at lower price."? I were willing at some point to buy FROM a partgicular carrier, but was instructed BY Carrier personell to go to department store to buy it.

    (Some carriers do have their own store that you can visit in person; while others do only online.)

    --
    Thought of something: Maybe I go visit TMobile store, see what/which devices (smartphones) they have for sale, and then look for some deals elsewhere, buy at same elsewhere, and bring to TMobile? Not sure, but this seems worthy of investigate. (BECAUSE I WANT UNLOCKED PHONE.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by joseg2016 View Post
    ................Thought of something: Maybe I go visit TMobile store, see what/which devices (smartphones) they have for sale, and then look for some deals elsewhere, buy at same elsewhere, and bring to TMobile? Not sure, but this seems worthy of investigate. (BECAUSE I WANT UNLOCKED PHONE.)
    Keep in mind that not all phones of the same model name are the same. For example a phone called a Moto model x at T-Mobile is not the same phone called a the Moto model x at Verizon. You need to look not at the model name but the model number. Plus unlocked have totally different model numbers then a locked one at a carrier even though they may have the same model name.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joseg2016 View Post
    The trouble I had was, (but regarding flip phone) Carrier said support will stop for my device. I must go to department store to buy some specified type of device, so I do what been told to do. I bring new bought device to Carrier store and Carrier store personell REFUSE to activate the new bought device and told me, not compatible.

    You SAID, I could just buy the desired device from Carrier so that should give no problem in compatibity, but Carrier said, "Go to retail department store because it will be less expensive."

    You see, next time around for a new device (likely smartphone), I want to know for certain about compatibility before buying the device. I do not want to try figuring the best I can and just buy a device and bring it to the carrier - and I do not know yet exactly which carrier I would choose.

    What else to do, when Carrier says, "Go to other store to buy device at lower price."? I were willing at some point to buy FROM a partgicular carrier, but was instructed BY Carrier personell to go to department store to buy it.

    (Some carriers do have their own store that you can visit in person; while others do only online.)

    --
    Thought of something: Maybe I go visit TMobile store, see what/which devices (smartphones) they have for sale, and then look for some deals elsewhere, buy at same elsewhere, and bring to TMobile? Not sure, but this seems worthy of investigate. (BECAUSE I WANT UNLOCKED PHONE.)
    Lots of carriers have an unlocking policy. So if you get a phone branded or prepaid phone, they are locked to that brand till the unlocking policy is fulfilled. They can check this with the IMEI too.

    It is only true unlocked devices that you do not need to worry about this stuff.

    As for your carrier saying that your device will stop working, lots of the carriers are going to VoLTE. If your phone does not have VoLTE, they will not activate it. They can tell that with the IMEI number too.

    I have see people get international models of phones which have IMEI number too, but they get the run around with them because the IMEI is not in the US databases, but some of them might work on AT&T or T-Mobile mainly tho.

    Then I have people get devices that says they only work on AT&T and T-Mobile, but they will not work on Verizon. Those phone's IMEI is mark saying they are not Verizon certified.

    So not sure what is going on without knowing what phone you have and carrier that you are working with.

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    joseg2016, do you have a maximum phone cost in mind?

    With the answer to that question, you'll get the information from knowledgeable forum members required to purchase an unlocked smartphone that will work with all 3 major US networks.

    My current suggestion for the best value to features would be a Google Pixel 4a at $349. But there are others that could also meet your needs, depending on your budget.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joseg2016 View Post
    I might want to find an UNLOCKED, UNIVERSAL Android smartphone
    I'd say get a pixel 3a, or 4a, unless you also mean 5g...which in that case, I'm not sure if any phone supports all the various 5g stuff from every major carrier. Most of the more recent iphones are pretty universal (for 4g anyway). I believe most of the more recent high end samsung galaxy phones are as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qt0 View Post
    I'd say get a pixel 3a, or 4a, unless you also mean 5g...which in that case, I'm not sure if any phone supports all the various 5g stuff from every major carrier. Most of the more recent iphones are pretty universal (for 4g anyway). I believe most of the more recent high end samsung galaxy phones are as well.
    Somebody with more knowledge about 5G will have to chime in on overall compatibility, but there are also Pixel 4a 4G and Pixel 5 models that support 5G, but they are quite a bit more expensive than the Pixel 4a.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joseg2016 View Post
    Part of comment from robbyrobby:


    I will try to specify.
    I might want to find an UNLOCKED, UNIVERSAL Android smartphone, and I would not buy it UNTIL the carrier tells me if some specific brand and models are compatible to use for the carrier's prepaid service. I would try to buy strictly from a hard-copy-form retail store. I would NOT want to buy directly from the carrier, because I have not decided exactly which carrier I would use; but the choice would probably be T-Mobile(Connect), or Mint Mobile, or Page Plus, or potentially some other choice.

    Note: NEW Device; not used/nor preowned nor "refurbished". NOT bought through Amazon. That is not a normal retail store that we visit in person to shop and buy.
    If this is the case, then best option is to buy directly from the manufacturer, since they will list which carriers the devices are compatible with. Even carriers like ZTE state on the product page(s) which carriers they know the phone will work with, which is weird when I'm seeing Sprint MVNOs selling ZTE phones listed as "designed for Verizon" on ZTE's website.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpz1 View Post
    Keep in mind that not all phones of the same model name are the same. For example a phone called a Moto model x at T-Mobile is not the same phone called a the Moto model x at Verizon. You need to look not at the model name but the model number. Plus unlocked have totally different model numbers then a locked one at a carrier even though they may have the same model name.
    Like the Moto G5 has like 8 different actual model numbers, many of them are carrier specific.
    Only 3 are truly "unlocked" and compatible with most carriers.
    Only 1 is fully unlocked and at least mostly compatible with all US carriers.

    I noticed this to be the case with the e4 too.

    Apple for a while had a similar issue, and most Android devices (aside from flagships) tend to have the same issue in the US.

    The only way to know for sure if a device will work with the carrier is by the IMEI.
    (Sometimes, even an IMEI check can miss that its a specific model of say, the e4, and claim its compatible - even if say T-Mobile's checker didn't catch that the specific model in question does NOT have VoLTE and therefor is not compatible.)

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