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Thread: TF Activation Black Hole

  1. #1
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    TF Activation Black Hole

    I have been on Chat/Phone with TF CSR's for way too long the past few days.

    I have a cautionary tale of sim swapping he**.

    I have been getting the stupid Non-compliant devices on all of my BYOP AT&T sim devices. At this point I am starting to think they are sending the message to any BYOP device with AT&T sim in it because they really have no idea what phone is being used. I have 3 BYOP phones that have AT&T sims in them. 2 of them are not VoLTE capable but 1 is. But, it is not on the AT&T whitelist. With the 2 Non-VoLTE phones, texting Four to 611611 returns the last 4 of the phones IMEI and they show up as Phone icons in my account. The VoLTE capable phone returns some unknown 4 chars and shows a sim icon. I keep records going back a few years and can't find anything that matches. I have had the same phone numbers on all the devices for many years. In the good old days whenever I got a new phone, just swapped the gsm sim and good to go.

    A few months ago I started trying to address the Non-compliant issue. Two of the phones (one compliant and one not) had 25 in the 9th and 10th so I activated two 27 BYOP AT&T sims and did transfers, put them in the phones, and things seemed to be working. So, I bought a new Samsung Galaxy S10e which was on the AT&T whitelist and just plopped my newly activated sim in it and all seemed good. Except, I was still getting the message. Texting Four STILL returned the unknown 4 chars. I spent hours on chat/phone trying to get that resolved. Finally they said that everything looked ok and to just ignore the message.

    In anticipation of needing replacement phones I purchased a TF Moto G6 bundle and a Moto G Power bundle. Activated G6 with transfer from an existing TF/Verizon sim to harvest the bundle then activated the Power with transfer from G6. So I then reactivated the original TF/ Verizon sim with transfer from Power. Ok, now I should have 2 DL model phones that are no longer active. Also got rid of all the InActive devices in my account.

    Now, the fun begins. I took the AT&T sim from one of the Non-compliant phones and swapped it into the Power. Seemed to be working as I could make and receive calls/text and data/mms worked. But, texting Four still returned the IMEI of the phone it was in before. Also, there was no VoLTE and testing showed it was not working. Also, couldn't update e-911 address because it said phone was not WiFi calling capable (last 4 of old phone) so...no WiFi calling. Of course TF CSR's said the link to the old phone couldn't be changed. So I tried using the sim from my working S10e to see if there was any change. Nope. But, when I put the sim back in the S10e, WiFi calling was not working. At this point I was so tired of the whole AT&T crap, I transfered service from that sim to a TF/T-MOBILE sim. Everything is working except when I text Four, nothing is returned. It also took a few hours and some trial and error to update the e-911 address. I put a working TF/T-MOBILE sim in the Power and VoLTE was enabled. So, I decided to just give up and put a TF/ T-Mobile into the Power. Sounds good, right? Oh no...not so fast. Got on Chat to do the transfer.

    They are now requiring the Phone IMEI to activate a T-Mobile sim. When I did the transfer on the S10e, no biggie. It is a Factory unlocked phone so no problem. But, when I gave them the IMEI from the Power...oh no...that is a TF branded CDMA only and only a Verizon sim can be used. So much for a DL model phone. I don't know if this has anything to do with them trying to not activate anything but Verizon. I haven't tried doing it online yet so don't know if there is a way to do this. I don't have a GSM phone that is compliant that I could use for IMEI. I could certainly change to Verizon but coverage here sucks. And, I still have the G6 to do something with.

    Bottom line...sim swapping is a crap shoot. Even with GSM sims.

  2. #2
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    I have two factory unlocked Moto G7 XT1962-1. One is used and the other is a warranty replacement for a used one if that matters.

    I have used only BYOD/TF/ATT for them, inherited from previous factory unlocked Motos (that don't seem to be ATT whitelisted). The sims are both "27", but they have slightly different printing like they came from different suppliers. They are relatively recent from when I had to go nano.

    Texting FOUR results in something recognizable for one phone and something unrecognizable for the other.

    The one with the recognizable FOUR is getting the message about ATT incompatibility, which is likely not true.

    I am not aware of any way to correct what you get for FOUR. It is likely just a typical Tracfone fubar, and it doesn't affect the general account anyway, as far as I can tell. It might confuse a CSR if you are trying to validate something, but I don't think it affects anything functionally.

    So I just ignore FOUR.

    I don't know where Tracfone is getting the memo that the ATT phone is incompatible, since I never gave them the IMEI. ATT might be feeding them the information. If so, ATT cannot read their own compatibility charts.

    All three of my phones get HD calling quality between and amongst them, so something is working correctly.

    I have never had a Tracfone branded smartphone, but I think that BYOD sims can be iffy with them.

    TMO activations require an IMEI to check for hardware compatibility, but it is not a pairing as far as I know. I have a line on Tello (TMO), and they want the IMEI, but it might also be like a secret question. I changed it myself when I got a new (used) phone.

    You know that Tracfone is not particularly consistent, organized, predictable, competent. It seems to be full of patches and fubars and a miracle that it works at all.

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    I agree that FOUR seems random to me. I have done no sim swapping but have moved between TracFone to BYOP legitimately using online activation with transfer. Everything is fine but FOUR no longer matches anything that ever touched that account. Maybe it's my winning pick four for the lottery

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    There is something else very interesting going on. Before ending one of the marathon chat sessions, I asked for a ticket number and to be sent an email of the transcript. The rep replied with the ticket number but then said something strange. Said the transcript would be emailed after I responded to the first email. I didn't think much of it and did the usual copy/paste of the session and ended it. Well, 2 days later I got an email with an attached PDF file. It was a form that I had to be filled out and signed stating that I owned the phone, all statements were factual and a few other things. I was supposed to sign it and email it to them before they would send an email transcript. WTF?

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    Did some more digging and it sure looks like they are requiring an IMEI for any activation and if the IMEI is from a TF branded phone...they will only activate a Verizon sim. I think the Verizon era has begun. So, unless I want Verizon, I guess I have a couple of paperweights that will never get unlocked.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cv91913 View Post
    There is something else very interesting going on. Before ending one of the marathon chat sessions, I asked for a ticket number and to be sent an email of the transcript. The rep replied with the ticket number but then said something strange. Said the transcript would be emailed after I responded to the first email. I didn't think much of it and did the usual copy/paste of the session and ended it. Well, 2 days later I got an email with an attached PDF file. It was a form that I had to be filled out and signed stating that I owned the phone, all statements were factual and a few other things. I was supposed to sign it and email it to them before they would send an email transcript. WTF?
    I guess anybody could contact Chat with someone's phone number and receive a bunch of personal information.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cv91913 View Post
    Did some more digging and it sure looks like they are requiring an IMEI for any activation and if the IMEI is from a TF branded phone...they will only activate a Verizon sim. I think the Verizon era has begun. So, unless I want Verizon, I guess I have a couple of paperweights that will never get unlocked.
    What if someone tried to activate on Simple Mobile?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    I guess anybody could contact Chat with someone's phone number and receive a bunch of personal information.
    How so? Don't you have to authenticate with the phone number and the PIN for that account?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    I have never had a Tracfone branded smartphone, but I think that BYOD sims can be iffy with them.
    I have a TF branded Moto G Power 2020 with a BYOP TF/AT&T sim. Text FOUR and it comes back with last 4 numbers of the sim, no problems so far. I thought it was on the whitelist, but someone on here pointed out its not. I have yet to get any kind of notification from TF that it won't work after the 3G shutdown.

    I also have an AT&T branded Samsung Galaxy A32 5G with BYOP TF/AT&T sim and when I text FOUR it gives last 4 of sim even though I gave TF CS the IMEI for it thinking that would help get VoLTE working. When I text MIGRATE it says"This device is not currently affected by any network changes". The A32 is on the whitelist, but VoLTE isn't working. Had tried 2 new sims and still doesn't work. I explained I need Volte to work because of the 3G shutdown. Three different CSR's said its okay, the A32 will still work. I'm still trying to figure out how unless AT&T is going to activate VoLTE on their side right before the shutdown.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    How so? Don't you have to authenticate with the phone number and the PIN for that account?
    Yes, don't know how much they could find out with just a phone#. They ask for pin and they sent a message to the number being transferred from with a code you have to respond with. Plus you need IMEI and ICCID info.

  11. #11
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    Couple of weeks ago I activated a TMobile BYOP sim with a old TracFone. This came with a Verizon sim, but was removed when new, and was activated with a ATT BYOP sim. Used for over a year. They asked me for the IMEI when I activated the T-Mobile sim and everything went through just fine.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Senkoboy View Post
    Couple of weeks ago I activated a TMobile BYOP sim with a old TracFone. This came with a Verizon sim, but was removed when new, and was activated with a ATT BYOP sim. Used for over a year. They asked me for the IMEI when I activated the T-Mobile sim and everything went through just fine.
    Can you check that line in your TF account and see if it shows a phone icon or a SIM icon?

  13. #13
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    Last yr I bought a used iPhone SE2 which came without a sim. I activated a VZ TF BYOP sim from kit & have used it since (also added a yr of service). Account does show the sim icon instead of the smartphone icon but when I called the Unlock Dept a few months after activating they told me it will be eligible to unlock after 12 months (he did check the IMEI). I repeated it was not the original sim it was from a sim kit, and he again said it would be unlocked when it was time.
    I have a feeling no one at TF knows what is going on anymore since that's not the way it's supposed to work. Guess I'll find out in late March.
    (Doesn't matter really since it's the number they added 30,000 minutes to by mistake - when I previously switched between phones - so I'm not going anywhere).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    Can you check that line in your TF account and see if it shows a phone icon or a SIM icon?
    SIM Icon, activated on the 11th of Dec.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cv91913 View Post
    Did some more digging and it sure looks like they are requiring an IMEI for any activation and if the IMEI is from a TF branded phone...they will only activate a Verizon sim. I think the Verizon era has begun. So, unless I want Verizon, I guess I have a couple of paperweights that will never get unlocked.
    I've never tried to use a TracFone branded device with a BYOP SIM, but this makes sense. I transferred my TracFone AT&T BYOP SIM from my iPhone 12 Pro to my new 13 Pro without issue. The last time I tried to combine service, the rep did say that I should activate a new AT&T BYOP SIM because the IMEI "doesn't match" and it may cause support issues down the road. He was careful not to say it would cause any service related issues because it hasn't and I don't expect it to. I have not received any messages related to the 3G sunset/VoLTE whitelist requirement and neither has my gf (13 Pro Max) so they're definitely checking against the whitelist.

    That being said, we use a dual SIM setup and TracFone is our extra line. We've done this for a very long time and TracFone has always been a huge pain when anything doesn't work as expected. I always remind myself that it's just phone service and I'd rather pay more elsewhere than deal with customer service.. so I've always got my bags packed in case it's time to leave this abusive relationship - and my original TracFone # from the late 90's is on T-Mobile now, it's not anything special but I just wanted to keep it and didn't trust TracFone with it.
    Castrol EDGE 0W-20 is my drug of choice.

    Primary: iPhone 13 Pro eSIM; Galaxy S21 5G
    Secondary: TracFones: iPhone 13 Pro dual-SIM [AT&T] & iPhone 13 mini [Verizon]
    Mobile Broadband: ZTE Z917 LTE hotspot (5GB for $10)

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