Home - , , , - Verizon Opens the Door to Non-Verizon Phones a Little Wider, Prepaid Included

Verizon Opens the Door to Non-Verizon Phones a Little Wider, Prepaid Included

CDMA operators like Verizon, Sprint and U.S. Cellular have traditionally been very picky about what devices they allow on their networks. Sprint, and to a lesser extent Verizon, have even restricted devices to specific plans. Verizon still doesn't allow all but the most basic of feature phones on their Pay As You Go and Pay By the Day prepaid plans. Sprint even blocks all of its own post paid phones from use on its Sprint Prepaid and Virgin Mobile brands. All this blocking has been possible because of the way devices were traditionally activated on CDMA networks.

With most GSM networks customers activate a SIM card which will work in any compatible device. Before LTE, US CDMA phones didn't have SIM cards, they were activated by the carrier adding the device's MEID serial number to a database of phones allowed to connect to the network. Operators loved the CDMA activation process because it allowed them to force customers who wanted nicer phones to higher priced plans.

LTE phones, including LTE phones for CDMA networks, do use SIM cards. That means that CDMA operators should be able to activate SIMs rather than phones and the SIMs should be swapable between phones. But things change slowly in telecom. Sprint and until recently Verizon would only activate  a SIM in combination with a device serial number and would not activate the SIM with a serial number didn't belong to one of their devices. With Verizon, once a SIM was activated it could be moved to a compatible but not officially allowed device and it would work. Actually Verizon had no choice, the Open Access provisions of it's 700 Mhz Block C LTE spectrum  prohibit it from restricting customers from using any compatible device. Sprint, which doesn't have any block C spectrum, locks SIMs to the device they were activated with so they either don't work or don't support voice calls when moved to a different device.

Until recently, even though you put but an active Verizon LTE SIM in a Nexus 6 or 7 or an unlocked iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and it would work, However, Verizon would not activate a SIM unless it was in a Verizon device. That's no longer the case. According to a story in 9TO5Mac, Verizon is now allowing at least some non-Verizon phones to be activated. You can check if your phone is eligible on this Verizon page where you can enter the iMEI or MEID of you unlocked non-Verizon device. The page will then tell you if the phone can be activated on Verizon and which Verizon plans the phone can be used on and the list includes Verizon's $45 and $60 Prepaid Smartphone plans.

So far only the Nexus 6, iPhone 6 and iPad Air have been reported to work but other devices that support Verizon's LTE bands probably do. Likely candidates include the Nexus 7, iPad Mini 2 and Mini 3 and the soon to be released Motorola Moto X Android Pure pictured above. Some U.S. Cellular phones have been reported to work with SIM swapping so it might be possible to activate them on Verizon now.

I was also hoping that these changes might mean that the "flashed" Sprint phones that used to work on PagePlus and other Verizon MVNOs could now be activated on Verizon. However, when I entered the MEID of a flashed Sprint Nexus S 4G that had been used for several years on Page Plus the checker rejected it as "not compatible with the Verizon Wireless network".

One big question for many prepaid users is if this means that Verizon MVNOs like Page Plus, TracFone and Selectel can now activate non-Verizon phones. If you have a non-Verizon phone you would like to try enter it's MEID on Page Plus' New Activation page and let us know if it passes.

Source: 9TO5Mac

33 comments:

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  1. I just entered the MEID of my Google Nexus 5 (which is currently on Ringplus) in the Page Plus' New Activation page and it took me to the next activation page with the following message:
    "Congratulations, your device is eligible for Page Plus service! Our system indicates you have a 3G device. Please fill in the information below (all fields are required), then you’ll proceed to choose a service plan"

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  2. I just checked My sprint unlocked iPhone 6 with page plus and its says that it's eligible to be activated with page plus

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  3. Now if only they'd offer unthrottled LTE to their MVNOs

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    1. although i guess not technically mvno, verizon's own prepaid service is unthrottled.

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  4. very interesting information and very well written, thanks!

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    1. Well written but for the need for additional proof-reading; something more and more common in the world of fast-to-press Blog posts. I caught at least 2 goofs during my read-through...

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    2. I'll fix the typos if you tell me what they are.

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    3. We now live in a society where great is gr8, see you is CU, and so on and so forth, why just criticize anyone for just typos. Bottom line is "you got the message" loud and clear that's it ... period!
      Keep up the gr8 work Mr. Dennis Bournique, CU around lol

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    4. Why fix the typo's? because that's how adults speak and write. We are not 16 year old school girls: like gr8 OMG. If you write an article you expect your peers to read and refer back to, it needs to follow the guidelines and have correct grammar and punctuation. Unless of course you are writing to 16 year old girls I guess.

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  5. Verizon accepts the MEID of a ST iPhone 5, but says to call CS when I try to customize a plan. This model iPhone was rejected in June for activation or ESN swap on PagePlus and Selectel, but I was able to swap two of them to existing Pageplus lines this month.

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  6. I just checked ATT unlocked iPhone 4S on the Page Plus' new activation page and its says that it's eligible to be activated with page plus

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    1. hey, just tried my sprint iphone 4S and the pageplus activation page says it's eligible. wow maybe gonna have to try this....

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    2. checking my sprint iphone 4S on the real verizon checker is a no go. yeah the pageplus esn checker probably is giving a lot of false positives.

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  7. I tried running the ESN on an inactive ZTE Force, a Motorola Photon Q that's currently active on a Sprint MVNO, and for kicks and laughs a Kyocera Domino, through the PagePlus checker linked in the article. Both inactive devices have been previously used on Sprint-based service.

    All three passed, stating they could be activated on 3G service. This was as far as I went with any of them.

    If these devices can truly be activated on Verizon network-based service, then I'd say the other CDMA carriers (especially Sprint) have their work cut out for them.

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    1. Even if Page Plus accepts the MEIDs, I doubt that any of those Sprint phones would work on Page Plus without manual programming , aka flashing.

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  8. If a Sprint LTE phone is activated on Verizon without flashing the phone data won't work right?

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    1. Without flashing even talk and text probably won't work.

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    2. I think I can get talk and text working on my Sprint phone by using the MSL to reprogram it but I don't know how to reprogram it to get data working. Does anyone know how?

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  9. Until they complete full VoLTE rollout, I wouldn't use a phone on Verizon that doesn't support their legacy CDMA modes. Perhaps getting data on EvDO or 1xRTT is not important to most of us, but I'm sure being able to make voice calls is. I know I had stumbled into a no LTE zone now and then.

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  10. If I go here: http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/nso/enterDeviceId.do?&&zipRdr=y to try to check my Nexus 5 on Verizon, it says it will not work. If I use the PagePlus link, it says it is a 3G device and can. I don't know if the Nexus 5 can be activated with only 3G.

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    1. As far as I know, an LTE SIM is required to activate the Nexus 5 . It's not possible to activate it on the Verizon network as a 3G only device. All these false positives are making me think the Page Plus ESN checker is broken.

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  11. Will us cellur pone work on verizon prepaid or pageplus. I have a note 4 us cellure

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    1. Maybe. Enter the MEID on this Verizon page and it will tell you if Verizon will activate it. Or if you have an active Verizon SIM see if it will work in your U.S. Cellular phones.

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  12. I tried my US Cellular Note 2 to see if I could activate on Verizon just to see what will happen. It says Not Compatible. But now If I had someone with a Verizon SIM willing to try it I'd see what happens. Or even the other way around lol.

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  13. I wonder if my, and all of the many converted, first-gen Boost Moto Gs that are out there would now pass the test. I tried the PPC checker and it just lay there; no results. Does it make a difference if the device is in service currently (PPC)? I did hit the VZW checker and it passed, but got other results from Swappa and CheckESN.

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    1. Good question I also have one of those Bosot VZW flashed moto Gs that I would like to activate on Verizon ( via PPC paygo)

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    2. If it passed the Verizon checker it should work on Page Plus.

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    3. It worked I will activate it on the PPC $80 pin yearly plan. - Thanks

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    4. Please don't feed America Movil (PPC). Consider Selectel $75 yearly instead.

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  14. I will.

    "AnonymousAugust 30, 2015 at 7:53 AM

    Please don't feed America Movil (PPC). Consider Selectel $75 yearly instead."

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  15. Hey Dennis. I was just offered a used sprint iPhone 6 plus. I remember you posted this and after finding it I wanted to ask you:. It's the iPhone 6 plus from Verizon technically the same as the one from spring?. If it is that means I could use it, if unlocked, as a gsm phone right? Both international and domestic?. Plus I just entered the number in an even validator and it says is available for use in page plus. Am I reading this right?. It's spring the iphone to get start Verizon's version of the phone?. Before I pull the trigger I wanted to see if you had more info on this... Thanks in advanced

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    1. The Sprint iPhone 6 Plus is model A1524 which is different than the A1522 Verizon model. It's also locked to Sprint. If unlocked it will work with an AT&T, T-Mobile, or non-US SIM. However even if unlocked Verizon probably won't activate a SIM in it because it didn't start life as a Verizon or unlocked version. A Verizon SIM that has been activated in a Verizon phone will work in the Sprint iPhone 6 if it's been unlocked.

      Getting a phone unlocked by Sprint is difficult, especially if you aren't the original owner. I would not buy a Sprint phone for use on a non-Sprint network unless the seller could demonstrate or guarantee that the phone is unlocked.

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