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BYO Wireless Reportedly Deactivating Customer's iPhones, Blaming Apple

BYO Wireless is a new Verizon MVNO that launched last December. BYO offers service starting at $5/month and seems like a good option for light users. Like most Verizon MVNOs they can activate almost any Verizon postpaid phone as long as it doesn't support LTE. That does put a damper on the number of phones that can be used as just about every Verizon smartphone released since 2011 is an LTE phone.

One of latest and most desirable of the non-LTE Verizon phones is the iPhone 4s. It and the older iPhone 4 are among the most popular phones that people put on Verizon MVNOs including PagePlus, Selectel, TracFone BYOP and BYO.

Or at least they were. In the last week, three different users have posted on HowardForums that iPhones they were using on BYO where suddenly deactivated. When they contacted BYO they were told that iPhones were no longer supported. In two cases, BYO blamed Apple. Here's part of an email BYO sent to one of the iPhone users;

"BYO Wireless is not able to support IPhones on our network at this time. We expect to have an agreement in place with Apple in the next 60 to 90 days which will allow us to support these devices. If you have another device we can move service to please provide the ESN number. Unfortunately if you do not have an alternate device available we will have to disconnect this service."

BYO is also refusing to give the BYO customers whose iPhones were kicked off the network refunds. That seems rather unethical as the customers were never told that iPhones weren't allowed until after they had activated the phones and paid for service. 

iPhones do have a checkered history on Verizon MVNOs. For over two years,PagePlus' official policy has been that iPhones are not allowed. Some PagePlus dealers say the same thing. However users seem have no trouble activating iPhones through PagePlus or its dealers as long as they just provide the phone's MEID without mentioning that it's an iPhone. Selectel has no prohibition against iPhones and TracFone's BYOP Website explicitly states that the iPhone 4 and 4s can be activated..  BYO used to be iPhone friendly too. There's even a video on their Facebook page showing how to find an iPhone's MEID so that you can activate it on BYO.

I doubt that Apple has anything to do with the iPhone ban. Apple hasn't done anything about the millions of iPhones on hundreds of carriers around the world that don't have agreements with Apple. Why would they care about a few three year old iPhones on a little MVNO. Plus, Apple doesn't provide any services to BYO that I'm aware of, so I don't see how they could disable phones. If anyone is disabling iPhones it's Verizon. The question is why is Verizon picking on BYO and its customers while ignoring the much larger numbers of iPhones on other MVNOs? I sure hope this iPhone ban nonsense doesn't spread to the other Verizon MVNOs.

22 comments:

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  1. I hope the ban does not hit Selectel. My wife is on the annual plan and she would tell me to put the iPhone 5 on AT&T rather than use a different phone. We would lose our remaining time and Flex Card balance.

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  2. The Iphone ban its foolish but BYOs premature termination of customers service without a refund is fraud. I encourage everyone to drop BYO when your service expires

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    1. I activated an iphone on BYO. When they explained that iphones were not allowed they offered to transfer my service to another phone or refund my purchase. They explained that they can't allow iphones at this time and referred to their FAQ (question #5) http://www.byowireless.com/about-us/faq.cfm...there is even a field to submit your email to be notified when iphones are available. although I was bummed about my ipohone, I activated a HTC Incredible and later this month a Droid X for my wife. Saving $70 per month...so far great coverage and customer service. Hardly a fraud in my eyes.

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    2. It's good to hear that they are now offering refunds to users whose iPhones have been deactivated.

      Unless I'm missing something, the FAQ doesn't say they don't allow iPhones. It says "We are currently updating our system to offer better support for iPhones". That makes it sound like iPhones are currently supported just not optimally which might mean that iMessage, MMS or Visual Voicemail don't work like on some other MVNOs.

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    3. My guess was that they didn't have the agreement needed so that Apple would send the proper configuration files to the devices to enable some services, like MMS.

      Without that "carrier bundle" you have to jailbreak the phone (or depending on the OS, tricks like T-Mobile SIMs) to edit the info.

      So BYO decided it was not going to have half functioning devices. Too much of a support headache, with constant calls about stuff not working.

      The same issue is going on now with TF and BYOP on AT&T. The carrier bundle is not being sent (or sent properly) so no data/MMS.

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  3. This is what happens when you become a customer of an MVNO that is not a solid brand and has not been in business for a long time. You get for what you pay!!!!! That's how they start and end up like PrePaYd, Zapp ect......

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    1. I'm with you. If you want to go prepaid, like I do, just go with a major carrier. The MVNOs have forced the tier 1 carriers to come up with something more competitive or having a customer flight risk. T-Mobile, AT&T, and all of their subsidiaries are viable options. Verizon's is still expensive and lacks LTE.

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  4. You guys think BYO is lying? Amazing how whenever Apple is involved, they are NEVER EVER blamed. People always have to look for another reason. The Apple distorting field must still be going strong.

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    1. 99% of Apple hate is based on nothing factual. I would not trust any of these fly by night MVNO. When BYO is closed in 3 months it will be all Apple's fault. For some reason Verizon based MVNO don't seem to have no longevity. Again, that's Apple's fault.

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    2. Apple is a very controlling company, I dislike many things they do. But I don't believe that Apple has any legal right or ability to force an unaffiliated company like BYO to disconnect legally purchased iPhones.

      Verizon, on the other hand, controls the network and has the technical means to shut off phones on it at any time. In addition, BYO is subject to the terms of its MVNO agreement with Verizon which may prohibit them from activating iPhones.

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    3. "The Apple distorting field must still be going strong."
      The phrase is "Reality Distortion Field (RDF)" The Steve Jobs effect.
      Originally a phrase used in Star Trek, in case you are too young to remember.

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  5. I hope this is not a sign of things to come on other Verizon MVNOs. I currently have an iPhone 5 from Straight Talk on Page Plus. I would hate to lose my service which just started a few days ago.

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  6. My dealer, who handles PagePlus, Net10 and Selectel says he has no reports of problems of iPhones being kicked off by these MVNOs. He says each MVNO agreement with Verizon is different.

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  7. If history repeats itself, BYO will go the way of Next G and Talk for Good, two once promising Verizon mvnos that ended up on the scrap heap. Really, Page Plus is the only reliable Verizon option with Selectel a distant second. Nothing else really shows any promise of lasting.

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  8. Response to: Can i activate a CDMA Apple iPhone 4 / 4S on your MVNO.(BYO Wireless).CSR said that they are not able to support iPhones on our network at this time.And that they expect to have an agreement in place with their CARRIER in the next 60-90 Days which will allow us to support these devices

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  9. BYO Wireless IS Budget Mobile. My Phone Number activated an account on BOTH sites. BYO Wireless & Budget Mobile both use the Verizon Network and are owned by Budget Prepay Incorporated.

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  10. BYO CS told me they can activate iPhone 4S again since 9/17/14.

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  11. BYO is terrible. Don't ever use them. When I tried to port a number out from them to switch to another carrier, they refused the port and repeatedly citing differing reasons over the course of 5 business days. Every time they denied the request to port the number they cited a different reason...first it was wrong password (thought their CS themselves say they dont use passwords), then it was an incorrect address, then lack of the last 4 of my social, then they claimed the phone was inactive and no longer on their network (even though I was using it to call them).

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    1. I completely agree, my feeling was they were trying to drag their feet with releasing my number also, but with the help of MANY people from AT&T, someone with serious leverage convinced Budget Mobile/BYO Wireless to release my number. Budget Mobile/BYO Wireless are both on the same Number Porting System. If you try to port out with BYO, it is going to come up on your new providers system that you are trying to port out of Budget Mobile. BYO Wireless IS REALLY Budget Mobile, and that is who your new service provider really will be dealing with. Budget Mobiles' reason for TRYING not to release my number was that they are a government supported Lifeline Provider and they do not do ports/number transfers. But when AT&T turned up the heat, Budget Mobile changed their tune and started saying that they were JUST NOW STARTING to release subscribers numbers. I do not know if they truly are or are not. I am now with AT&Ts $30 Monthly Talk &Text GoPhone Plan, this plan includes UNLIMITED Picture & Video Messaging and Visual VoiceMail.

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    2. Budget refused to port my number out. I complained to the FCC; the law seems clear that they are required to. FCC said that Budget would be sending me an explanation, and closed the case. I have not received that letter from Budget.

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  12. I have read all the above and still like BYO wireless. I think they are perfect for light phone users like me. And they don't try to sell you a new phone and contract. Where CDMA phones are involved BYO uses the Verizon network. With GSM phones they use the T-Mobile network. On the BYO website, go to coverage and you will see two coverage maps... one for each network. I have a Samsung (GSM) phone and love BYO's price and coverage. Some Iphones can be set up to use either network? http://osxdaily.com/2012/11/15/determine-iphone-gsm-or-cdma/ As I understand, ATT and T-Mobile are GSM and Verizon and Sprint are CDMA. I am with BYO (Budget Mobile), but I am on the T-Mobile GSM network... the same network that told me I needed to buy one of their new phones in order to use their network. So glad I did not listen to them. Sorry to hear about you who have had bad dealings with BYO. A friend of mine had an Iphone 6 with Verizon. When he left he could not activate his phone with another CDMA carrier. (Could they have "blacklisted" his IMEI?) No... that couldn't be... they wouldn't do that, would they? http://www.imei.info/news/2013-02/52290-black-list-checker/ Well switching to a GSM carrier, (Not BYO) he is in business again. I can't help but think that we are still not getting the full story from either BYO, Verizon or Apple. I also learned a lot about which Iphone 6 to buy here: http://digwhich.com/blog/2014/09/11/iphone-6-contract-free The big carriers are playing with us!

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  13. BYOWireless is one of the worst service / carrier I have ever used. It is not cheap as they have announced $5 plan. BYO is cheating its customer. They have worst customer service. Working only during Mon - Fri normal office hour only. Saturday, Sunday and night time there is no any support. There is no toll free number to get your balance or top up your account balance, and talking to customer care count towards your minute use. There is no option to turn voice message ON/OFF and BYO charge minute for listening those messages. And they send SMS each time you received any miscall without notifying miscalled number and that add to your SMS bill and voice minute. So even you don't use your phone for any useful stuff you bill get increasing.

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