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Thread: What's the best pre-activation strategy: SIM or no SIM?

  1. #1
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    What's the best pre-activation strategy: SIM or no SIM?

    I'm going to be coaching the relatives in their transition to newer model TracFones (Moto G Stylus 2021 x 2), and wanted them to get their devices set up beforehand, as far as Google stuff, Play Store, other apps, and becoming familiar with what I consider good practices (me using a Total Wireless Moto G Power 2020 on PPC).

    My only question is, does it matter in playing with the phone at first power up whether you leave the included un-activated SIM in or not? Honestly, I can't remember how TF ships the phones -- with them installed or on the red card for you to install (which would answer the question I suppose). They haven't unpacked them yet, but we're gearing up for a changeover event with maybe some days beforehand to play with them and set up, before getting TF and active service involved.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whacker View Post
    I'm going to be coaching the relatives in their transition to newer model TracFones (Moto G Stylus 2021 x 2), and wanted them to get their devices set up beforehand, as far as Google stuff, Play Store, other apps, and becoming familiar with what I consider good practices (me using a Total Wireless Moto G Power 2020 on PPC).

    My only question is, does it matter in playing with the phone at first power up whether you leave the included un-activated SIM in or not? Honestly, I can't remember how TF ships the phones -- with them installed or on the red card for you to install (which would answer the question I suppose). They haven't unpacked them yet, but we're gearing up for a changeover event with maybe some days beforehand to play with them and set up, before getting TF and active service involved.

    Thanks in advance.
    It doesn't matter. The sim is not in play at this point.

    Best to leave it in place, so it doesn't get lost or mixed up.

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    * The SIM is already installed in the phone. Just leave it there.
    * Turn on WiFi and set up the phone, loading/update apps, loading Google stuff (account, calendar, contacts, etc).
    * Turn off Data before activating the phone, so something won't sneak out and use Data without your knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whacker View Post
    I'm going to be coaching the relatives in their transition to newer model TracFones (Moto G Stylus 2021 x 2), and wanted them to get their devices set up beforehand, as far as Google stuff, Play Store, other apps, and becoming familiar with what I consider good practices (me using a Total Wireless Moto G Power 2020 on PPC).

    Thanks in advance.
    I just did this over the weekend. TF come with SIM installed. While not necessary, I took out the sim when I installed the microsd. IF they are coming from another Android device, using the backup restore/ Setup nearby device is a huge timesaver using Wifi/Bluetooth. I simply logged into the google play account with the new phone, used the backup settings on the old phone and used google play to automatically transfer 95% of settings over to the new phone in less than 30 mins. Then wehn everything was set up properly, I turned off the phone and reinserted the sim to activate.

    Having used Android since 4.0 (ice Cream) this was probably the smoothest setup and transfer of settings I've ever had.

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    Thanks all, for the information.

  6. #6
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    I'm now just days away from helping relatives switch their TracFones, and with all the talk about the new website being goofy, I'm curious if I should stick to doing things via Chat (and doing one or both lines per session?), or if the website tools can handle an activation with a transfer from an older device any better or worse than it used to. Your comments on the matter are welcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whacker View Post
    I'm now just days away from helping relatives switch their TracFones, and with all the talk about the new website being goofy, I'm curious if I should stick to doing things via Chat (and doing one or both lines per session?), or if the website tools can handle an activation with a transfer from an older device any better or worse than it used to. Your comments on the matter are welcome.
    Personally, I would just call the corporate number and let them handle it.

    That's what I'm planning to do if I have to do anything.

    Chat is powerless to control anything wonky.

  8. #8
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    Here's kind of the finale to all this, and some observations:

    This past Friday (6/24/22) I got on the computer and started the process via Chat to change my sister and brother-in-law's (BIL) two LG Fiesta 2s to new Moto G Stylus 2021 models purchased in April from HSN (very nice handsets, by the way). I myself use a couple of Moto G Power 2020 models on PPC, so this was my first chance seeing the differences. More on that later.

    I did it in two sessions, one for each, with a different CSR on each session. It went very smoothly for both.

    I didn't have any trouble finding the Chat button once I navigated into the Contact Us area. I was using my sister's old (~2011) 17" Acer laptop with Windows 10 and the Chrome browser, all up to date. I did have to resize the initial Chat box after entering contact info, before I could view and access the "Start Chat" button that appears at the bottom right below the box.

    At first we were notified that we were number 19 in line for a chat rep, but this only took about five minutes to blow through.

    Using the initial verbiage "I want to activate a new phone with a transfer from my old one," it was largely bam, bam, bam in getting things done.

    I was logged into sister's TF account while doing the first device (hers). The CSR ("Kristi") was completely concise and methodical in a logical fashion in the sequence of things asked and moved through during the encounter, as reading through other testimony about this on HoFo threads about the topic would verify.

    I started by asking if we could confirm what the balances on this line were showing. I didn't have to submit first and compare. She just related them back through the Chat and they were consistent with what we knew them to be, so all correct there.

    The phone was powered on from the beginning, and after responding to questions from the CSR to give the info from the Red Card with the IMEI and SIM numbers, I saw the cell reception signal indicator come alive (before any further instructions from the rep).

    Shortly after I was asked to restart the phone, and make a test call, test text, and check cellular data (I opened the Chrome browser and visited a website, making sure Wi-Fi was turned off). There was a gap with the first test call where the dialer reported an "error with the servers" or something to that effect. I waited and tried several more times and it suddenly kicked in and I heard the ringback tone on the handset then the ringer on the nearby destination cell (my own phone) I was test calling. All functions worked! I reported this to the CSR in a positive, appreciative tone, and "she" responded positively in kind.

    She also asked if there was anything else she could do, and indeed, I had another task for her.

    My sister's one and only TF account has had (since it was created back in 2016) both hers and her husband's TF devices. My BIL recently remarked that now when he opens the TF My Account app on his phone, he can't access his own device's usage info unless he logs in as his wife (unlike the majority of time he's been using it), so we figured this would be a good time to get him his own TF account (i.e., move his device out of my sister's account into one with his own name and user profile).

    I mentioned this to Kristi the CSR and she responded she could do this with no problem, and to just give her a few moments. Pretending to be my sister and referring to "my husband" I related to her his birth date and the four digit PIN code that had long been set up to ID his device, as well as his email address of choice as his account username (and probably a few other bits for initial account creation). I was instructed to go back online after the Chat session (to have him do this) to the TF site and logon as himself using a one-time default password that was emailed to him, and to establish a new password and adjust and/or establish typical account profile info for the account.

    We did not go into the switching to his new handset at this time.

    We finished the chat session. I copied and pasted the contents of the session into a Windows Notepad file and saved it to the Desktop. Sister's phone was 100%!

    After a 10 minute break or so, we went back online to the TF website to set up BIL's account. This was an interesting experience, as BIL had handed me his handwritten transcription of his interpretation of the temporary passwords he received in THREE separate emails received from TF support, including the first one with a sender address from STRAIGHT TALK WIRELESS (ha-ha-haaaaa!). Luckily I was there to diffuse the potential confusion.

    We focused on the most recent one sent, but I had to finally refer back to the actual email myself as there was both a case issue with one letter as well as the infamous "is it a zero or a capital O?" quandary. We got it straightened out.

    But in the area to change your account profile info (and I have no exposure to the "old" website for this) there's a field called the "Contact telephone number (IIRC)," and at first I wondered if this was supposed to be a separate phone number, or the number of the device in question. It didn't matter: no matter what I did, this number field wouldn't allow a change. It turns out this field and the number in it are in no way a telephone number, but is a reference number of the account. It is clearly mislabeled. That sucked up a bit of time.

    We got his account established correctly, showing his old phone, and BIL could then see (using the TF My Account app and logged into it properly) his usage bucket info. Yay!

    After another break, I got back into the TF website logged in as him and repeated the whole procedure of switching devices through a Chat session. No snags, but a different CSR with a slightly different style and pace. No less adept than Kristi. He (IIRC his name was listed as "Jay-rel"?) and he seemed male in text tone, if that's any way to determine things.

    I asked to confirm the balances, and instead of putting them on the Chat transcript he texted them to BIL's existing phone number. They were correct. Things seemed to progress even a little quicker than with the first phone. He didn't ask for the SIM number, but I conversationally offered it up (in case it was needed). I suppose they may be able to connect the dots with the HSN packages' IMEI numbers and what all may be included in those retail phone boxes.

    Anyway, he quickly got things to the point where I again saw the cell signal indicator on the phone come alive. Before he came back on with any instructions I was trying a test call (without even a restart). I ran into the same "error with the servers" report from the phone dialer, so I went ahead and did a Restart (and this phone model takes a while), and once that was finished I tried all the tests again, and got positive results with call and text. Trying for a website via data had a little bit of a lag, but quickly started to work. The CSR hadn't been active through this; he was quiet.

    But I reported the phone was working 100% in my next outgoing message, and the CSR responded back with positive vibes, and asked if he could do anything else, to which I responded no, with thanks and have a great day. That was it. Copied and pasted the contents of the Chat and saved to Desktop.

    All this was thankfully quite straightforward. I can only wish the same for others attempting similar functions.

    Sorry if this was long-winded, but occasional detailed accounts of TF transactions can be of benefit to some, and help cut through some of the mystery.

    Additional: Can you believe it? I left out a few things!

    Near the beginning of each Chat session the reps did a 2FA (two-factor authentication) routine for security's sake. The first rep texted us a six digit number, which I referred back in the Chat and passed. The second one wanted to have us answer previously set up security questions. I thought that might be risky for the BIL's memory, so I countered with why not send us a code, and he did it! No problems!

    The other thing is my perception of the Stylus 2021 vs. the Power 2020 differences. It is very slightly larger (Stylus 2021 display diag. 6.8" vs. Power 2020 6.4". Definitely taller. Different start up splash animation. Some different features, like immediate prompting to configure things for Wi-Fi Calling. That and the Stylus 2021 has an icon in the Notification Shade for hotspotting (no idea about config or setup). My Power 2020 doesn't show that, but I don't know if that's due to hardware/software features or the fact that it's on PPC PAYGO use.

    There are a few other built-in features of the newer phone not evident on my "old" Power 2020. I need to look at the specs to see if the Stylus 2021 had a full HD display. I suspect it does (as opposed to the newer versions of the Power '21 & '22 that reverted to 720p resolution).

    We didn't even begin to get into the use and function of the stylus of the phones (I'm totally unfamiliar with that). They'll have to feel that out on their own!

    The phones came with those hard clip-on case shells. I've researched soft TPU cases and (for BIL) belt holster cases, sending them links to eBay and Amazon sellers, and those are numerous.

    No comments on the camera. Too early for that.

    The Moto G Stylus 2021 is a very nice looking and functioning device. 5G versions aside (which this is not), I've heard this year's model is a keeper to be sought after, compared to the '22 model (similar to how to the Power 2020 is slightly better reviewed than either the '21 or '22 models).
    Last edited by whacker; 06-26-2022 at 12:02 PM.

  9. #9
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    So. Many. Words. Hahaha!

    Thanks for the report about the service transfers, and for the feedback on the Moto G Stylus 2021!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by whacker View Post
    I need to look at the specs to see if the Stylus 2021 had a full HD display. I suspect it does (as opposed to the newer versions of the Power '21 & '22 that reverted to 720p resolution).
    Both the Stylus 2021 and Power 2020 have FHD screen.

  11. #11
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    Yes, I looked that up too, and found it interesting. The Stylus '21 is a nice handset for sure.

    @Boz1: I'm just making up for holding my tongue (er... typing fingers) and being a lazy non-poster over the years. Get me going and the words will flow!

    Additional: Does anyone know if the Stylus '21 will get an update to Android 12?
    Last edited by whacker; 06-27-2022 at 06:05 PM.

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