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Legally Use Any Sprint Phone on Prepaid with PlatinumTel and ACRS Wireless

Update 10-Aug-2012: ACRS Wireless is no longer activating Sprint phones on PlatinumTel.

It's now possible to use any clean ESN Sprint phone on Sprint MVNO PlatinumTel thanks to a new service launched by PlatinumTel master dealer ACRS Wireless.

There are ways to get Sprint phones on Virgin Mobile or Boost Mobile by altering the phone's electronic serial number, but the process is legally questionable, technically complicated and violates the carriers' terms of service.

This new service is aboveboard and legitimate. No modifications to the phone are required. ACRS adds the phone's electronic serial number (MEID or ESN) to PlatinumTel's database so that the phone will activate automatically over the air, just like a phone purchased from PlatinumTel would.

ACRS can activate any Sprint branded phone provided it hasn't been blacklisted by Sprint for non-payment or because it was reported as lost or stolen. That includes Sprint iPhones and Android devices. BlackBerrys can also be activated, but because PlatinumTel doesn't support BlackBerry Internet Server (BIS), only voice and text (but not picture) messaging will work on 'Berrys. ACRS has stopped activating BlackBerrys and iPhones. (See ACRS' comment below or visit the ACRS Forums for more information).

I activated a Sprint Motorola Photon Android phone on PlatinumTel using the ACRS service a week ago and everything is working flawlessly, with no manual programming needed, including voice, data, text and picture messaging. Update: It turns out only recieving picture messaging worked "out of the box" on my Photon sending didn't give any errors but the messages were not being received by the other phone. ACRS provided the following fix, which worked for me (the exact steps are specific to the Photon, other phones may vary slightly. but ##3282# should take you to a screen where you can change the MMSC URL):

  • Open the dialer and type ##3282# (##DATA#). The Data Settings screen will appear.
  • Scroll down to and tap  MMS
  • Tap the Menu key, then tap Edit and enter your 6-digit MSL code (ACRS will give you this)
  • Tap MMSC URL and change it to http://mms.plspictures.com
  • Tap Done

That there are a few things to be aware of before you use this service.
  • Activating a Sprint phone on PlatinumTel removes it from the Sprint ESN database and adds it to the PlatinumTel one. That means that the phone can no longer be activated on Sprint. There is no way to reverse the process and go back to Sprint at this time.
  • Activation takes two to three weeks to complete.
  • The phone must not be currently active on Sprint and must have a clean (not blacklisted) ESN.
  • Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, Verizon, etc. phones can not be activated, Sprint branded phones only.
  • 4G (WiMAX) data is not available. 3G (EVDO) and 2G (1xRTT) data is
  • There is no roaming, coverage is the same as with Boost or Virgin Mobile.
The service is live at ACRS Wireless' site at ptel.ws/22-acrs-wireless-byod. Pricing is as follows:

For new customers:
Activation on PayGo is $40.00 which includes a 200 minute ($10) PayGo credit (only new customers get the $10 credit)
Activation on PlatinumTel Unlimited is $85.00 which includes $45 for the first month of service.

For existing PlatinumTel customers:
Activation is $40.00 on any plan and does not include any free minutes.

There are no refunds if an activation fails because the phone has a bad ESN. You can check if a Sprint ESN is clean at checkesnfree.com.

While the activation cost is a little high,  I think it's worth it when you take into account the money you can save with PlatinumTel's great pricing. Rates are  especially on PayGo; 5¢/minute for voice, 2¢/text message (including international) and 10¢/MB for data. That's less than any other US prepaid operator or MVNO.  Unlimited pricing is also on good although the data allowance on the $60 plan is on the low side.

Here's a table comparing all of PlatinumTel's plans.


Plan Cost Voice Minutes Texts MMS Data
Real PayGo $10/90days* 5¢/each 2¢/each 10¢/each 10¢/MB
TnT 500 $20/30 days 500 500 10¢/each 20 MB
TnT 1000 $30/30 days 1000 1000 10¢/each 30 MB
Unlimited $45/30 days unlimited unlimited 5¢/each 150 MB
Android 250 MB $50/30 days unlimited unlimited 5¢/each 250 MB
Android 1 GB $60/30 days unlimited unlimited unlimited 1 GB
* Other refill denominations are available; $20/90days, $30/180 days, $50/180 days, $100/365 days.

PlatinumTel's International rates are also low, with calls to over 40 countries including Canada, Mexico, India, China, the UK and most European countries only one cent/minute more than domestic calls.

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11 comments:

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  1. Or better yet, activate any unlocked GSM phone on any T-Mobile or AT&T MVNO, in 2 minutes, no questions asked, and no activation fee.......I guess fools never die...........

    ReplyDelete
  2. why can only ACRS activate the SPRINT Iphone on Ptel? Even not Ptel itself? Why the activate will take 2-3 weeks? The answer given by ACRS sounds very sneaky: "Take 2-3 weeks because is privately done by ACRS Wireless and take some time to be done."

    Finally, it is not cheap to get a off-contract Sprint Iphone with clean esn.

    I will wait and see how this service goes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm surprised that it takes as long as it does too. Sprint controls the ESN database so it has to go through them. There might a third party, maybe a phone wholesaler, involved too. My port took 17 days. but I have no complaints, the phone is working flawlessly on Ptel.

      Delete
  3. Thank you for sharing this! Activated a Epic Touch 4G(Sprint's version of Galaxy S2) after reading this. Even though I was told it would take 2-3 weeks, it only took 8 days.

    For light use, Platinumtel works out cheaper than Pageplus, StraightTalk, or Tmobile. They also have unlimited plans $45 plans for those with heavier usage.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello, thanks to all for share, ACRS decided no do any more BYDO on Blackberry devices do to issues with the BB data plans, also we stop all the Iphones activations until get resolved issues with the Portal and the DEC numbers, we get many errors, I will post again when Iphones will be allow on the system.
    Thanks
    ACRS Wireless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope the iPhone activation issue is resolved quickly.

      Delete
  5. without iphone allowed, this BYOD service only worths no more than $5.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I recently activated Motorola Photon with ACRS $110/- option out of which $10/- goes towards activation and $100/- goes towards 2000 min card loaded. It took about 12 days to complete the activation, but no issues ever.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had plans to purchase a clean ESN Sprint Galaxy Nexus phone and have it activated for PlatinumTel real PayGo service, but I was told that there is no longer a BYOD service of any kind offered by ACRS any longer. So back to square one I guess. Regrettable. I did not ask for an explanation. Perhaps ACRS can explain what forces are at work here?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's bad news. I've emailed ACRS and will update when I hear back.

      Delete
    2. I received a reply from Germain, the owner of ACRS, who confirmed that he is no longer activating BYOD phones.

      He said he was seeing a lot activation problems with Sprint phones and has shut the service down to see if he can fix the issues. If and when he solves the problems, BYOD will return.

      Delete
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