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Sprint To Allow Its MVNOs to Activate Most Sprint Phones

Pre - Only here. Get it now at Sprint
Sprint issued a press release today officially announcing that all Sprint Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MNVOs) are now allowed to activate "eligible" Sprint phones. This policy, called Bring Your Own Sprint Device or BYOSD for short, has been in effect for months at several Sprint MVNOs, including Kajeet, Ting, ChitChat, EcoMobile and PrepaYd.

As Sprint points own in the release, BYOSD makes it easier and less costly for its MVNOs to attract and keep customers. It's also good for the environment by helping to keep phones out of landfills and reducing the number of new phones that need to be manufactured.

The release is short on details as to what constitutes an eligible device but I suspect there's no change from the policies in place at the MVNOs that were allowed to start BYOSD before today's announcement:

  • Sprint branded phones only, no Boost, Virgin Mobile, Verizon, etc. phones
  • Phone most not be currently active on Sprint
  • Phone must have a clean ESN/MEID (not reported lost or stolen or flagged by Sprint because of an unpaid bill)
  • No iPhone, Palm OS, BlackBerry or PTT phones
  • LTE and WiMAX phones may be activated. WiMAX may work but LTE service is not available to MVNO customers at this time.

The new policy is in effect today, however it's up to individual MVNOs as to whether they want to allow BYOSD and under what terms. I suspect that most Sprint MVNOs will quickly begin offering BYOSD.

Image by Steve Rhodes Some rights reserved

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19 comments:

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  1. Until a CDMA carrier allows true and totally unrestricted BYO phone, much like a GSM carrier does, stay away, unless they are the only game in town.

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  2. Excellent move for Sprint. There are about 70 Sprint MVNOs. The extra revenue provided via BYOD account activations and use will help Sprint pay for Network Vision and the $100M they are short in iPhone sales to date.

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  3. I thought that Sprint MVNO Voyager Mobile has been peddling LTE phones? Does this mean that since Voyager is selling a HTC EVO 4G LTE phone, the device will not work on Sprint's nascent and very limited LTE network?

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    1. Voyager doesn't offer BYOSD at this time, phones sold by Voyager are not BOYSD phones, they are Voyager MVNO phones. According to Voyager, LTE service is available.

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  4. I wonder if they'll let the iPhones be used also

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    1. It will probably happen eventually but not soon. Sprint signed a contract with Apple where it agreed to buy $20 billion worth of iPhones between 2011 and 2015. It needs to sell those phones to it's own customers (including Virgin Mobile customers) and BYOSD iPhones would cut into those sales.

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  5. According to one Sprint mvno, the iphone is an Apple issue and not a Sprint issue. As for Palm and Blackberry devices, it is a technical provisoning issue as they aren't very popular compared to the iphone. Also, Boost and Virgin Mobile phones aren't allowed basically to protect Sprint's prepaid divisions from losing business to their mvnos.

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    1. "As for Palm and Blackberry devices, it is a technical provisoning issue..." Maybe, but Verizon MVNOs have no problem activating Web OS and BlackBerry phones although without BlackBerry BIS.

      I suspect it's a policy that's baked into Sprint's MVNO provisioning software and Sprint doesn't want to spend the money to modify the software for those low volume legacy platforms.

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  6. I activated two ex-Boost phones on Kajeet. Ting sold me an ex-Boost LG Marquee. So Sprint does allow some ex-Boost phones to be used with MVNO.

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    1. Were these Boost phones originaly sold to you as Boost phones that you used of Boost? Or were they phones made as Boost phones that were sold to you by an MVNO as MVNO phones? I'd be interested in the answer because:

      For many years MVNOs and phone refurbishers with Sprint's approval and cooperation been able to re-purpose ex Sprint, Boost and Virgin phones as MVNO phones by moving the phone's ESN or MEID from Sprint's main "Retail" database to Sprint's "PLBL" database.

      Everything I've heard says it's only supposed to be possible to BYOSD Sprint phones and PLBL phones (which might be ex-Boost or Virgin phones). BYOSD is supposedly not allowed for phones sold directly to the consumer as Boost or Virgin phones.

      If Kajeet is activating consumer Boost phones then either Sprint's policy has recently changed or Kajeet has found a loophole and/or is violating what we think the BYOSD rules are.

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    2. The two ex-Boost phones were sold to me by a MVNO. One of them had some wear, so it looked like it could have been a Boost return that Sprint or Boost resold to the MVNO (it could have been a MVNO return as well).
      Both phones were listed in the PLBL data base, but were still identified as Boost phones in the DB. Ting could not activate them for this reason; Kajeet did. What does this mean to you?

      The Ting LG Marquee was sold as a refurb, but looked new. In the phone info menu it was not ID as a refurb. I peeled off a black tape strip on the screen, and found the Boost label. It must be listed in the PLBL DB, but I have not verified this. It was shipped from a facility in CA I think, not from Ting's address.

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    3. "Both phones were listed in the PLBL data base, but were still identified as Boost phones in the DB. Ting could not activate them for this reason; Kajeet did. What does this mean to you?"

      That sounds like an issue with the way the BYOSD program validates phones that are in the PLBL database. There must be a workaround that Kajeet is aware of and the others aren't.

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  7. can you activate sprint phones on virgin mobile? would LTE phones work on virgin mobile since they are already offering LTE on their network? how would this affect our $25 grandfathered plan?

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    1. No, there's no BYOSD with Virgin Mobile.

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  8. I read on another site that Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile will allow BYOSD. Can you confirm if you've heard this?

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    1. Boost already allows BYOSD but only of a limited number of older phones, most of which are non-smartphones. It currently includes the following phones:
      HTC: Hero
      LG: Lotus Elite, LX370, 260, Lotus, Rumor 2
      Samsung: Exclaim, Instinct M800, Instinct s30, Intercept, Moment, Reclaim, Rant, Seek, SPH-M220, SPH-M240, SPH-M320, SPH-M330, SPH-M360, SPH-M520
      Sanyo: Incognito, Innuendo, Restore, SCP-2700, SCP-3200, SCP-3800, SCP-3810, Taho

      Theres no BYOSD on Virgin Mobile. I suspect that Boost will eventually add more phones to the allowed list. I haven't heard anything about BYOSD comming to Virgin.

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  9. it makes no sense for sprint to allow byod on other MVNOs but not on boost and virgin mobile since their revenue goes directly to sprint

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    1. I know that Virgin adds software to some of their feature phones.
      They do not have special software on their iPhone.
      Maybe Virgin does something with their back-end systems that requires them to control or meter phones a certain way, restricting the number of phones that will work.

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    2. Boost mobile allows some Sprint devices. Yesswap already listed them above. Virgin Mobile has never allowed it even when it was an mvno and not a prepaid division. They just never changed their policy. Boost has had byod for years, albeit unofficially via esn swaps through CS. That early and unofficial version of byod is dead replaced by the new official one.

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