Home - , , - Updated: Effective Nov 15, Sprint to Block Its MVNOs from Activating Galaxy S4, HTC One, Note 3 and Others

Updated: Effective Nov 15, Sprint to Block Its MVNOs from Activating Galaxy S4, HTC One, Note 3 and Others

Sprint MVNO PrepaYd Wireless has notified its dealers that effective Nov 15 Sprint will no longer allow it to activate the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One or any other "Iconic" devices that are less than one year old. Here's the text of the PrepaYd Wireless message:

"We regret to inform you that neither we nor any other Sprint MVNO can activate the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, or any of the newer iconic Sprint Devices with Sprint’s Bring Your Own Device Program as of November 15, 2013.

Many of these Devices have been activating since February 2013 due to an error by Sprint on blacklisting new models and since the program is new, there has not been a well-documented list of non-approved models provided to PrepaYd.

Since thousands of these devices have been approved and activated, we assumed they were eligible for BYOD by Sprint.

As these models are less than one year old, Sprint’s opinion is they should all be under contract with Sprint still which is why Sprint is blacklisting them from PrepaYd Wireless and all other Sprint MVNO for Activations.

We recommend you activate these models on Page Plus, Next G or any other CDMA Carrier until we have approval to activate these Devices on PrepaYd Wireless. We appreciate your loyalty and hope to have a more competitive BYOD offering for you in the near future."

PrepaYd also shared shared a list of the blacklisted phones which are the HTC One and 8XT; Kyocera Hydro Edge; Motorola Moto X; Samsung Galaxy Note 3, ATIV S Neo, Galaxy S4, Tab 3, L520 S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega; ZTE Vital and N800 Awe and LG L2.

The Google Nexus 5 was originally banned but Sprint is now allowing activation of the Nexus 5 provided it was purchased from the Google Play Store. Nexus 5 phones purchased from Sprint are still banned.

The blacklist will take effect November 15, 2013 at 6 PM Eastern Time.

As they always have been, iPhones, BlackBerrys, Palm OS and WebOS phones and Push To Talk phones are also blacklisted from activation on Sprint MVNOs.

I surprised by inclusion of low end phones like the LG F3, ZTE Awe and Kyocera Hydro Edge that can hardly be called "iconic". I'm less surprised that the Nexus 5 is blacklisted. I wonder if that applies to Nexus 5s from the Google Play Store or only ones purchased from Sprint under contract.

I think this a dumb move on Sprint's part. It makes them look like a bully for no gain. Savvy customers who use prepaid are unlikely to switch to Sprint postpaid at twice the monthly price. Instead they will go with an AT&T or T-Mobile based service that doesn't impose arbitrary restrictions on which phones are allowed to be used on prepaid. Even Verizon, which limits the phone models that can be used on its own branded prepaid service, lets its MVNOs activate flashed Sprint and Verizon flagship phones.  I believe that this policy change will cost Sprint much more in lost wholesale MVNO revenue than it will gain on postpaid side.

As for what will happen to the newly prohibited phones that have already been activated, PrepaYd reassured its dealers that "You can activate between now and then (15th) and the devices will stay on PrepaYd as long as they're not swapped, or deactivated from the accounts." So if you want to get that S4 or Nexus 5 on a Sprint MVNO do it before 6 PM EST Friday Nov 15.

Updated 4:20 PM 11/13/13 with a list of blacklisted models and assurance that currently active banned phones will not be de-activated.



33 comments:

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  1. How about the Nexus 5 from Google Play? I was thinking of activating that on Ting.

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  2. Is this just about BYOSD or are the MVNOs no longer allowed to sell these devices as well?

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    1. BYOSD only, if the MVNO sells the phone you can use it as it was purchased from Sprint Wholesale and already in the PLBL database and can't be used on Sprint anyway.

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  3. Why does anyone bother with Sprint? I always had the worst call quality and reliability in the DC/Baltimore corridor. There always seems to be a lot of popularity with them and I couldn't fathom why.

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  4. This a boneheaded decision! I don't know quite where it came from but I wonder how Softbank will react to this. I never understood decisions like these because they are absolutely self-defeating.

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  5. Ting has told me both the LG Optimus F3 and Sprint (ZTE) Vital are blocked by Sprint as well. What this does not specify is after the "one year" will they be allowed? Ting is saying this "should be" the case. That said, Ting tells me the Sprint (ZTE) Flash is blocked and it is over a year old. From what I can tell it seems anything newer than the LG Optimus G is blocked at this time.

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    1. That's crazy. There's no way the F3, Flash or Vital can be considered "iconic".

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  6. It's not a dumb move or one of a bully, Dennis--it's a 'boss' move. 'Boss' as in 1) Sprint owns the towers/spectrum from which these MVNOs operate, and 2) simple *business* savvy in banning still-competitive phones to be activated on MVNO brands that can undercut you.

    It isn't about anyone from prepaid switching to premium contract service, it's pretty blatantly about MAINTAINING a premium (and profitable) contract service. And that's Sprint's prerogative to do--they aren't exactly stopping anyone from activating 'elderly' Galaxy S3's or iPhone 5s.

    Great for those who got their devices activated, but Sprint is merely closing a loophole--not declaring war on wireless consumers. The carriers aren't in the dumb pipe business (why aren't there more Nexus 4/5-like ventures?) and don't want to be.

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    1. The reason it's a dumb move is that someone who really wants an S4 on a prepaid plan will now go to another carrier and Sprint will lose that customer, possibly forever.

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    2. Sprint doesn't allow BYOSD iPhones either so no elderly iPhone 5 (or 4s or 4). Sprint may think it's a boss move but I think it's bad business to deny potential customers something that your competition offers.

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    3. Ting now has a beta BYOD for the iPhone 4/4s

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    4. That's true. When Ting started the iPhone Beta I thought that it signaled that Sprint was moving toward a more liberal BYOSD policy. The new blacklisting seems like a reversal and makes me wonder how much longer Ting will be able to active iPhones.

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  7. I couldn't activate the HTC One on Ringplus last Saturday. Ringplus Support told me Sprint has added the S4 and HTC One to the blacklist.

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  8. Wow, isn't sprint already bleeding all it's users away? Last quarter they were the only one of the major four to lose subs. I don't know why someone would actually select Sprint proper over any other provider. Their coverage is horrible (It's been suggested that T-mobile actually has better nationwide coverage than Sprint now), and their prices are poor. These pre-paid users will just go to more friendly GSM providers. Dumb move Sprint.

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    1. T-Mobile is still an uncarrier, leaving huge sections of the country without any service (including SMSAs) while Sprint, bad as it is, covers a lot more.

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  9. Bottomline line relative to the other big four in mvno terms is this. Sprint has the worst byod of all of the big four. always have. This isn't going to help them very much.

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  10. I currently have a Nexus 5 on StraightTalk. Was considering checking out Ting (used them in the past and really liked the company) after the holiday travelling is over, but this puts the brakes on that real quick.

    Too bad Sprint, you just knocked yourself down a few notices in my mind.

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    1. To the Anonymous who has a Nexus 5 on Straight Talk - if you bought it directly from Google, you should still be able to take it to Ting. See https://help.ting.com/entries/28441553?page=3

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  11. My understanding is that you can activate Nexus 5 bought at Google Play on Ting.
    You cannot activate a Nexus 5 bought at Sprint website on Ting.

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    1. That's true today but it may not be tommorrow. Phonenews.com is reporting the Sprint told them that Play Store Nexus 5s are blacklisted too. What the BYOSD? Sprint Blocks MVNOs from Using Nexus Devices They Don’t Even Subsidize

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  12. This is why CDMA carriers suck. They can really say "This phone is too good for a prepaid customer so we won't let you use it." I'll stick to T-Mobile and AT&T or their MVNOs.

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  13. I guess no Ringplus for me then...

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  14. Is there another Verizon MVNO besides Page Plus (and the odd Straight Talk or Tracphone arrangements)? Page Plus cannot activate a 4G phone unless it is flashed to dumb it down, and 4G is not available from them at all.

    Straight Talk's BYOD requires an unlimited plan. The same for Net10.

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  15. Byosd is better then nothing which is how it was as recently as 2012. The bottomline is most non iphone/blackberry /ptt/Sprint prepaid group/Palm devices more then a year old should work.

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  16. Since this is coming from Prepayed Wireless, what is the word from them of when these blacklisted devices will be able to BYOSD? I think this is the more important question! Up until this official blacklist Ting has maintained that after 12 months from its initial release Sprint devices will then be able to be brought over to an MVNO. If in fact the restriction is for 12 months, then the HTC One will be able to be BYOSD in FEB. S4 - Force MAR. Vital - F3 - 8XT JUN ....... and so on. Great line up of phone to satisfy most who want a great device at a substantial discount to new off contract prices.

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    1. PrepaYd sayss they are working with Sprint to get the restriction on activating these phones removed but they have not provided an ETA.

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  17. I had been using 2 LG855 (Marquee) phones for a year with TING. I wanted to replace one with an identical model (my current one is giving me problems). I bought it on eBay. Today I learned that it could not be activated, it is "black listed". I was told I could keep my current phones as they are grandfathered, but cannot replace one with the same model.
    If this isn't the most ridiculous thing I don't know what.

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    1. The Marquee is a fairly old 3G phone. We moved our Ting Marquee to Ecomobile with no problem. Sounds like maybe your phone is on the stolen/no pay list at Sprint? Have you tried running the ESN though the checkeshfree.com website?

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  18. Yes, I ran the ESN through the checklist and it confirmed that it cannot be activated.

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    1. Too late to get your money back from eBay seller? Can you use PayPal protection to get it back? Credit card chargeback if you used one to buy the phone?

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  19. Am I correct in my observation that the phones Sprint has banned from use on MVNOs are all of their phones with removable SIMs (or UICCs, as Sprint calls them)?

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    1. The ZTE Awe and Hydro Edge are not LTE phones and don't have a SIM removable or not. With the others I think it's a coincidence, Sprint is blocking phones from activation on MVNOs for one year after release and Sprint stopped specifying embedded UICCs about a year ago.

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