- The phone has been fully paid for.
- The current and previous owners don't owe any money to Sprint.
- If the phone is a prepaid phone (Boost, Virgin or Sprint Prepaid) it must have been used on that prepaid service for at least a year.
- The phone has not been reported lost or stolen.
Be extremely careful about purchasing phones for use on Sprint MVNOs. Check that any phone you intend to buy is clear by using the Ting ESN checker, RingPlus checker or FreedomPop checker. Other checkers, including Swappa's, may not have been updated to be aware of Sprint's new financial eligibility requirements.
As long as you have Sprint coverage where you need it, Sprint MVNOs have a lot going for them. Plan prices are generally good, especially for data. Most Sprint MVNOs offer inexpensive international calls and texts. And to top it off, used Sprint phones tend to be less expensive than equivalent models for other carriers.
Unfortunately, Sprint has very strict rules about which BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) devices their MVNOs are allowed to activate. Like all carriers, they block activation of so called "bad ESN" phones, devices that have been reported as lost or stolen or where the last owner owes Sprint money for service or an early termination fee. Sprint also blocks phones made for its Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Assurance Wireless prepaid brands.
All carriers block activation of bad ESN phones and Verizon blocks its MVNOs from activating branded prepaid phones. But Sprint goes beyond the other US operators by blocking compatible CDMA phones from other operators as well as all BlackBerrys, all Push To Talk (walkie-talkie) phones and all Palm OS and WebOS phones.
Most annoyingly for users who like to have relatively new phones, Sprint MVNOs are blocked from activating all phones that Sprint released in the last twelve months.
That means that you need to wait at least a year to use the latest and greatest phones on Sprint. Here's a handy table listing which recent Sprint phones allowed and which are blacklisted and when the 12 month blacklist ban is expected to expire.
|Phone||Status||One year anniversary||Notes|
|Apple iPhone 5||Allowed||LTE|
|Apple iPhone 5c, 5s||Allowed||Sept 20, 2014||LTE|
|Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus||Blacklisted||Sept 19, 2015||tri-band LTE|
|Google Nexus 5 purchased from Google||Allowed||tri-band LTE|
|Google Nexus 5 purchased from Sprint & retail partners||Allowed||Nov 8, 2014||tri-band LTE|
|Google Nexus 6 purchased from Google or Motorola||Allowed||tri-band LTE|
|Google Nexus 6 purchased from Sprint & retail partners||Blacklisted||Nov 14, 2015||tri-band LTE|
|HTC 8XT||Allowed||July 19, 2014||LTE, Windows Phone 8|
|HTC Desire 510||Blacklisted||Sept 19, 2015||tri-band LTE|
|HTC EVO LTE||Allowed||LTE|
|HTC One (M7)||Allowed||LTE, Original HTC One from 2013|
|HTC One (M8)||Blacklisted||Apr 10, 2015||tri-band LTE, New 2014 model|
|HTC One Max||Allowed||Nov 15, 2014||tri-band LTE|
|LG Optimus F3||Allowed||June 14, 2014||LTE|
|LG Optimus G||Allowed||LTE|
|LG G2||Allowed||Nov 8, 2014||Tri-band LTE|
|LG G3||Blacklisted||July 11, 2015||tri-band LTE|
|LG G3 Vigor||Blacklisted||Sept 19, 2015||tri-band LTE|
|LG G Flex||Blacklisted||Feb 7, 2015||Tri-band LTE|
|Motorola Moto X (1st gen)||Allowed||Sept 6, 2014||LTE|
|Samsung Ativ S Neo||Allowed||August 16, 2014||LTE, Windows Phone 8|
|Samsung Galaxy Mega||Allowed||Nov 8, 2014||Tri-band LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy Note Edge||Blacklisted||Nov 14, 2015||Tri-band LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy Note II||Allowed||LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 3||Allowed||Oct 4, 2014||LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 4||Blacklisted||Oct 17, 2015||tri-band LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy S III SPH-L710||Allowed||LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy S III Triband SPH-L710T||Blacklisted||May, 30 2015||tri-band LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy S4 L720||Allowed||Original single band LTE version|
|Samsung Galaxy S4 L720T||Allowed||Dec 17, 2014||Tri-band LTE version|
|Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini||Allowed||Nov 8, 2014||Tri-band LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||Blacklisted||April 11, 2015||Tri-band LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport||Blacklisted||July 25, 2015||Tri-band LTE|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 3||Allowed||Oct 11, 2014||7" LTE tablet|
|Samsung Galaxy Victory||Allowed||LTE|
|Sharp Aquos Crystal||Blacklisted||Oct 17, 2015||Tri-band LTE version|
|ZTE Vital||Allowed||June 14, 2014||LTE|
Phones are generally removed from the blacklist about a month after the "One year aniversary" data listed in the table. I will do my best to keep this list updated as new phones are released and older ones reach their first birthday.
If you don't see the phone your are interested in, check Sprint MVNO RingPlus' or Ting's lists of allowed and banned phones.
Last updated 12/16/14: Samsung Ativ S Neo, Samsung Galaxy S4 L720T, Motorola Moto X (1st gen), LG G2 and HTC One Max are now allowed.
Sprint and Sprint MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared
The Nexus 5 from the Google Play Store CAN Be Activated On Sprint MVNOs After All
Updated: Effective Nov 15, Sprint to Block Its MVNOs from Activating Galaxy S4, HTC One, Note 3 and Others
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