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Verizon Refusing to Activate the New Moto X Pure Edition

Users who pre-ordered 2015 version of the Motorola Moto X Pure Edition have started receiving their new phones. The latest Moto-X is a flagship class phone for a non-flagship price of $399.99. It features a 5.7 inch 1440x2560 px screen, 1.8 GHz hexa-core Snapdragon 808, 3 GB RAM, 16 to 64 GB internal memory, 21 MP camera and a memory card slot.

Like the Nexus 6 and the unlocked iPhone 6 and 6s, the latest Moto X is supposed to be a universal phone that will work on all four major US carriers. But guess what, Verizon is refusing to activate the Moto X Pure Edition. There's a workaround so read on if want to run Motorola's latest on Verizon.

I received an email from a reader who just got his Moto X and took it to a company owned Verizon store to buy a SIM and activate it. He was told that the phone's IMEI was not in Verizon's database and therefore could not be activated. The Prepaid Phone News reader is not the only one having problems activating the Moto X on Verizon. There's a long Reddit thread about the issue. A few Redditors managed to get a Verizon store to activate to activate a SIM in one of the store's Verizon phones and then swap it into their Moto X. That works and if you already have an active Verizon SIM you can do the same without even visiting the store. One possible wrinkle is the the Moto X uses a nano SIM rather than the more common, at least in the Android world, micro SIM size. SIMs can be cut, preferably by a dedicated SIM cutter tool, but why does Verizon make it so hard for customers with a compatible phone to give them money?

This is in spite of a Verizon spokesperson telling Droid-Life last week that Verizon would activate the 2015 Moto X. There seems to be a corporate communication issue here. Interestingly, Verizon pulled the same stunt of refusing to activate a compatible device with the Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 were launched.

SIM based carriers really just need to activate SIMs, not phones. GSM carriers around the world have been doing that for decades. But unlike just about every SIM using operator in the world, Verizon refuses to activate a SIM unless it's inside a Verizon-blessed device.

The issue of the Moto-X Pure Edition only being able to work on Verizon with a SIM activated in a Verizon branded phone not only affects Verizon postpaid and prepaid but also Verizon MVNOs like TracFone, PagePlus and Selectel which also are only allowed activate SIMs in phones whose IMEIs are in Verizon's database.

Last month, Verizon finally started allowing SIMs to be activated non-Verizon iPhone 6 and Nexus 6 phones. I wonder how many months it will take before Verizon will do the same for the Moto-X Pure Edition?

For more about the Moto-X Pure Edition check out Kevin Tofel's review on ZDNet.

Update 9/18: I was contacted by a Motorola spokesperson who says that the compatibility issue has been resolved. Hopefully that's true. Anyone still having trouble activating their Moto X Pure Edition on Verizon?

46 comments:

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  1. Looks like Motos decision to go direct-to-consumer isn't going so well.

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    1. I beg to differ as we are very happy with our Motorola phones. The trick is to stay away from Verizon. ATT service, through Pure Talk in our case, works just fine for us.

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  2. The SIM-swap process is legally, all Verizon is required to do, to comply with C-Block provisions.

    But in fairness, their new policy takes time to implement. Each phone's IMEI block has to be obtained from the manufacturer, and often times, that's in flux until the phone is shipping.

    It would be fair to complain that Verizon isn't honoring their own, self-defined policy, say, in a few weeks after a new device launches. When the device is not in their database, it can't be loaded overnight... there are tons of security layers around that database, for obvious reasons.

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    1. Except for the part where if you simply put in already activated Vzw sim card into a Moto X pure, it works just fine. It's not the the phone isn't in a database. That's just the excuse Verizon is using to be D-bags, so they can sell you a much more expensive comparable phone already tethered permanently to their network.

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  3. It probably has more to do with incompetence at the retail store. Many of these employees are only interested in selling new service AND a device. They are probably incentivized to behave this way so I'm not surprised. Corp though should extensively communicate with the drones so that they don't turn away new customers.

    Anyway, does this phone work 100% with this work around? I figure LTE should work fine, but how about CDMA voice / data? Does this workaround ultimately result in the phones IMEI being entered into Verizon database which, excuse my limited understanding, I assume is required in order to it fully function as far as CDMA is concerned?

    I'm surprised Verizon suffers from what I consider Sprintitis. I think it's ridiculous I can't activate my Nexus 5 (previously used on T-Mobile) on a Sprint MVNO because the IMEI is not in Sprint's database. It's the identical device Sprint sold, but apparently my money is not good enough. At least Verizon eventually figures things out. Dennis do you know if there's a way to get the Nexus 5 (bought from T-Mobile) to be activated on Sprint?

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    1. I bought moto x pure 2015 to replace galaxy s5. Brought it to local store. They charged me for sim card, because different size and a transfer fee to transfer everything from the galaxy (I am no tech savvy). I have no problems.

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  4. Well, Vzw can be pretty stubborn. They would not activate a couple of ST iPhone 5 phones with clean MEIDs for service on Vzw prepaid, Selectel, Pageplus, ST (LTE) or Tracfone.
    I was able to swap these phones onto active Pageplus CDMA accounts, where they work fine. And they also accept active LTE sims with no problem.

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  5. Why would anyone insist of using Verizon (or Sprint) when you can use AT&T, or T-Mobile, and activate ANY compatible phone, no questions ask.

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    1. Ummmm, coverage maybe, tmobile vs Verizon , are you serious?

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    2. Well...depends where you are. In the metro Las Vegas area Verizon has many more dead spots than T-Mobile.

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    3. Agreed to the first reply. If you don't travel much then one company might work for you while others don't. Use what works for you, it doesn't mean you are a "Verizon supporter", it just means that company works for you. Believe me, I would LOVE to save some money and use an AT&T MVNO but in Nebraska, going outside of Lincoln or Omaha the phone would be useless. Same goes for Sprint (not any of the MVNO's), tried it for a month, worthless outside of the two cities. Hate it when some people think everyone is "dumb" for not going with a cheaper carrier, carriers aren't created equal in some places.

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  6. In fairness, T-Mobile's prepaid SIM activation process does also require an IMEI, and I similarly never understood why-- I agree that they should just let us activate SIMs instead of phones. That said, I never had any problems switching active SIMs between devices, nor have I had devices rejected due to their IMEIs.

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    1. True, T-Mobile and AT&T both require an IMEI, but unlike with Verizon it can be one that's already active on the network and you don't have to put the SIM in the phone with the matching IMEI to complete the activation. Also AT&T will accept an IMEI of 15 zeros and T-Mobile will take 15 9s as the IMEI.

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  7. Google "ESN Repair Sprint" if you insist on getting your Nexus on Sprint. You will need a donor ESN. Altering your ESN might be illegal. If you own both phones and legitimately pay for service I doubt you would be prosecuted but I'm no attorney.

    If you are unable to do it yourself a guy by the handle of Deathtrip has more experience doing ESN changes than anyone I know. I don't know how to reach him anymore. He works in St. Louis and lives in rural SW Illinois. He is banned on Howard Forums but he still has a ton of friends in the Boost section. Post there and one of his friends will put you in touch with him. Howard Forums no longer permits discussion about ESN changes.

    That's all I got.

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    1. ".... by the handle of Deathtrip has more experience...."

      Imagining a guy who looks like Deadpool or something...

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  8. And this is the reason I REFUSE to do business with Verizon Wireless.

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    1. Interesting priorities, I had trouble activating with tmobile, but not Verizon, go figure, and that's after tmobile hiding certain prepaid plans.

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    2. Knowing you SD you'd probably cost them money to be a customer.

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    3. Go with Verizon if you need their customer service to babysit you. You pay the premium price for the hand-holding.

      @ Anonymous September 16, 2015 at 3:36 AM - I happen to be a smart and sensible consumer. My reward for that is getting more for less. You are the type that probably need help budgeting your minutes, data, and bills properly. Here's a hint for you: go post-pay, that way you can pay Verizon the dough to your heart's content.

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    4. It all stems from them refusing to give SDLock service when they see him walk in and hand out flyers on the T-Mobile secret plan to everyone in the Verizon office.

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    5. "Go with Verizon if you need their customer service to babysit you. You pay the premium price for the hand-holding."

      I've had pretty bad customer service from them, and in some cases it seemed like I'd know more than they did. But the real reason to go with them is the super service. Blanketing the nation. A little better than AT&T. Leaving T-Mobile and Sprint in the dust. Verizon is the service to get if you want the best and don't mind paying a lot for it.

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  9. I got my X last Friday. I had a Tracfone SIM that I had previously activated in a Verizon branded phone. The X then was able to make and receive calls and use Verizon LTE DATA.

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  10. I don't like dealing with Verizon. The stores are frustrating - take a number and wait in a slow line, then watch 5-6 employees standing around goofing off. I preordered Verizon Vehicle in Jan for delivery in April. It arrived late August, but the app (Hum) was not in the App Store or Play store. CS had no clue, even the app name, just told me how to search. They refused to search themselves, or locate it and call me back. My account was active in pay status but I could not use all features. I returned the system, and got two emails, with two different addresses to return equipment. The app showed up in app stores a week later.

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    1. And they force you use this unergonomic white laptop keyboards. With a trackpad located on the side where it can't be used instead of in the center front like is standard. Impossible to use.

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  11. This is happening to me at sprint if i cant find a sim ill have to return the phone

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    1. Ting and RingPlus sell Sprint SIMs. You can find them on eBay too.

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  12. And guess what, MOTO X Pure....no bloatware.
    Verizon Wireless loves their bloatware.

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    1. Bingo! You hit the nail on the head.

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  13. Verizon doesn't have to activate anything to make you happy. Maybe motorola should have have worked with verizon beforehand if they wanted their phones activated. They are not the powerful company apple is to dictate to verizon.

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    1. Correct, foreign phone companies not that big of deal for U.S. carriers except for Samsung.

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  14. I was able to activate mine yesterday by putting the sim into one of their devices to activate, then popped it into my moto x and it worked. I was prepared to cut down my current sim to nano size but thought I'd give my local store a try first.

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  15. Verizon does activate the Moto X Pure Edition. I got mine activated September 25 with a new nano sim card at the store. They did send me a nano sim via mail, but they didn't send a 4G LTE nano sim...this is why I went to the store to get it done. All in all at the Verizon store it took about 5 mins tops. Now it works flawlessly and I have their unlimited data since I'm "grandfathered" into that package. I received my custom designed 64gb & Saffiano leather Moto X Pure Edition on September 22 via Motorola and activated on Verizon the 25th.

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  16. The pure plus currently DOES NOT handle voice and data on Verizon... Wtf

    Does anyone have a work around or know why? Thank you

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    1. No recent Verizon LTE phone supports simultaneous voice and data on Verizon Prepaid or any Verizon MVNO. That's because the phones have a single radio and can't simultaneously transmit and receive both 1xRTT voice and LTE data. On postpaid simultaneous voice and data is possible using VoLTE but Verizon hasm't enable VoLTE for prepaid and MVNOs.

      A workaround is using WiFi for data which frees up the cellular radio for voice.

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  17. Just left the store and found out that Verizon won't activate the device due to me being on an unlimited legacy plan??? Rep scratched his head and pointed me towards the SIM trim route, next store tried to strong arm me in to upgrading plans and had his commission in mind over assisting.
    Am I wrong in assuming the cell plan is an accounting tool for how to bill me versus a restriction on how data flows to my device? I logged into the Verizon website and found the same data; "We no longer support unlimited data plans, you must choose an upgraded plan to use this device". Anyone else hitting these obstacles? If so, any luck getting the phone up and running without getting the shakedown?

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  18. Unable to activate the Moto X Pure at a Verizon owned store. Spent 45 mins with staff who tried workarounds like attempting to con the network into thinking it was a regular Moto X. I have the 3G prepaid account. Sprint had the same issue on the same day. I am encouraged tho by earlier comment on someone who got it activated at Verizon

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  19. There should be no problems using a Moto X Pure Edition on Cricket.

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  20. Ok im wanting to buy a moto x pure, and i use straightalk, so as of nov 7th is this company activating them when you buy the 4g lte sim kit?

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    1. I'd love to know the answer also. I have ST and must go CMDA due to inability to get AT&T in my area. I wish AT&T would beef up their service in my area, BUT.......

      I contacted ST and their customer service is horrid!!! They have to have the IMEI or serial number for the phone. Like I'd have either if I haven't bought one yet (smack head). Also contacted Motorola and spoke with a tech support rep. Of course he says I should have no trouble at all. All he needs to do is a google search and he'll see all the problems people are having.

      Does anyone else get the sense that the world has been overtaken by clueless people that couldn't care less about the customer???

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  21. Verizon STILL can't activate the Moto X Pure 12/12/2015, Florence, SC, USA.

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    1. Same here, no moto x pure activations as of 12/28. Took 6 calls to finally find someone to suggest trying to activate the nano SIM in another phone. Also a non-starter as the online-authentication blocked the process.

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    2. I don't understand. If you use the MEID of a Verizon LTE phone to activate the SIM at what point is it failing? When you put the activated SIM in the Moto X?

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  22. I just had my moto x swapped at Verizon without a hiccup...

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  23. It would be nice to have an official word on whether we can use the Moto X Pure on Verizon Prepaid.

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    1. The statement from the Motorola spokesman isn't official enough?

      I've also heard of people using the Moto X PE on Verizon Prepaid and MVNOs.

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