Home - , , , , - The Nexus 5 from the Google Play Store CAN Be Activated On Sprint MVNOs After All

The Nexus 5 from the Google Play Store CAN Be Activated On Sprint MVNOs After All

Wednesday's news that Sprint will no longer allow its MVNOs to activate recent Sprint smartphones left many wondering if the Nexus 5 from the Google Play Store could be activated on Sprint MVNOs like Ting, PrepaYd or RingPlus. It looks like the answer is YES!

Even though the Nexus 5 is on the list of newly blacklisted devices, Ting is reassuring customers that if a Nexus 5 was sold by the Play Store, it can be activated on Ting now and in the future. Presumably that should also be true for other Sprint MVNOs that support BYOSD ("Bring Your Own Sprint Device").

The statement about the Nexus 5 comes from Ting Product Manager Justen Burdette and reads;

"Hey everyone!

We've double-checked with Sprint. The short version is that unsubsidized Nexus 5 models purchased from Google Play should continue to be eligible for activation with Ting.

As we have said before, devices purchased from Sprint, Amazon, and Best Buy are not eligible.

We have a great relationship with the team at Sprint and we value them as an incredible partner. They make an investment in every retail device and customer, and part of the reasoning for the "iconic" device delay is to make sure that investment is not lost. We respect that goal.

We also love that the Nexus 5 gives customers a front-and-center choice to skip subsidies and choose what they want in a wireless provider."

Activating a Nexus 5 on Ting requires a special Sprint LTE micro SIM, part number SIMGLW206R and these are hard to get. At least some Sprint stores have them but all but a few are refusing to give or sell a SIM to anyone who isn't a Sprint customer. The cards are available on Ebay for $15-$20 and at some BestBuy stores for $30.

Getting a SIM, at least for Ting customers should get easier and less expensive soon, according to a post on the Ting Blog, Ting is in the process of getting a batch of SIMs that they will make available to Ting customers for free or at a nominal cost. You can sign up here to be notified when the SIMs are available from Ting.

If go have a Nexus 5 that you are trying to activate on a Sprint MVNO this thread on Ting's help forum and this one on RingPlus' forum look like good sources of information. There are lots of challenges getting everything working but several users have managed to get their Nexus 5s fully functional on Ting, RingPlus and PrepaYd.

Update: Ting has published a blog post announcing an open Beta for anyone who wants to activate a Play Store Nexus 5  on Ting. According to the post, Ting has started shipping LTE SIMs to interested users and will be providing email and telephone support for Nexus 5 users starting later next week.

Updated: Effective Nov 15, Sprint to Block Its MVNOs from Activating Galaxy S4, HTC One, Nexus 5 and Others
The Best Prepaid Plans for the Nexus 5

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  1. Is the nexus 5 a gsm and CDMA phone? Or are there different versions from google/lg? I would like to try out ting, but if my use/ experience is not ideal, then I would like the option to use on AT&T or T-Mobile. Does this phone have all the correct "band" support for these carriers?

    1. The nexus 5 is both GSM and ATT it will not show the CDMA part without the Sprint 4G LTE SIM in it.

  2. It's ridiculous that a company (either Ting or Sprint) expects customers to leap through hoops in order to have the privilege of using their service. The first rule of sales is "the customer is always right." I strongly suspect potential Sprint and Sprint MVNO customers will be voting with their wallets on this asinine policy.

    1. I suspect it's probably more because Sprint doesn't want to give an advantage to its MVNOs over its own branded premium contract service. Either that, or corporate hasn't been clear about its policies with its stores--it wouldn't be the first time that kind of thing has happened! Of course, when a policy like this isn't clear, it's usually because it isn't a top priority for the people in charge to clarify, either.

  3. Sprint acts as if they have vzw's cache.

  4. Ting works hard with Sprint to bring great phones to their customers. They worked with Apple for almost a year to get the iPhone and now they are the only MVNO that can activate it. Give them some credit for going out of their way to get a good deal for customers on Sprint LTE SIMs, and providing phone and email support to get the N5 working.

  5. I have been a Sprint postpaid customer in the Bay Area for years - what keeps me is I have a cheap grandfathered SERO plan, even though data is spotty and calls drop all the time. I just bought a Play Store Nexus 5, and have used it on Sprint and am now playing with a Straight Talk AT&T SIM. What a world of difference - many fewer dropped calls, and data works everywhere.

    I don't know why anyone would use a Sprint MVNO - Sprint has crappy coverage and dropped calls, and the Sprint MVNOs are no cheaper than the AT&T MVNOs. Plus on AT&T MVNOs you have the whole world of GSM phones that you can use, without all of those finicky CDMA activation issues.

  6. Todd Robert KrivosheyNovember 16, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    I know I am going to get criticized for my opinions. Which honestly I don't really care. But Ting should really stay away from smartphones and go basic. I mean if you can't afford to buy a decent smartphone which most are under $100, then why do you have one to begin with. Virgin Mobile's coverage in my area is great and $35 is affordable. I don't get some people.

    1. 1. It all depends on carrier's coverage in your area.

      2. What kind of phone that suits you.

      3. Your choice for postpaid or prepaid.

      4. What kind of talk, text, and data plans that fit them as well as price.

      Ting fits perfect for most people who don't want to go overboard. Pretty much all smartphones now have Wifi so people don't have to use their data much.

      Personally I use Boost because Sprint is great where I live and I am on their android shrinkage plan. I just switched to the iPhone 5c 16GB and I love it.

  7. I really appreciated having roaming on Verizon included with Ting. I missed that when I switched to Virgin. Just sold my Virgin iPhone, and will probably go back to Ting now that they take Sprint iPhones. Ting customer service is the best I have ever experienced, and their plan cost me less than my Virgin $40 ($43) plan, even with the taxes included. The Virgin $30 ($32) plan only included 300 minutes, so I usually would have had to pay more than Ting with that plan too. Sprint has upgraded many towers in my area for better coverage and speed.

  8. This posted on HoFo:
    This email arrive from PrepaYd Wireless today:

    "After further investigation on the Blacklist changes, we have been informed that the new Blacklist will take effect as of November 15, 2013 by 6pm Eastern Time. What does this mean for new, potential, and existing customers?

    Until removed from the Blacklist:

    You cannot activate or perform any ESN Changes to one of these Devices including any warranty replacements
    You cannot use BYOSP to convert Devices to PrepaYd or any other Sprint MVNO (PLBL) OR back to Sprint

    This means the following:

    • Devices currently active will be unaffected as long as you do not change Devices, port-out, or deactivate the number associated with the Device
    • You cannot activate these Devices on PrepaYd or any other Sprint MVNO that has these Devices on their Blacklist
    • PrepaYd and Sprint MVNOs are blacklisted from converting these Devices back to Sprint
    • You cannot Activate these Devices back on Sprint until they are removed from PLBL
    • Sprint Retail and Sprint Customer Service most likely will not be able to activate these Devices as they appear as belonging to one of Sprint’s MVNOs (PLBL) which are devices that cannot be activated on Sprint

    This puts these newly Blacklisted Devices in what we are calling a “Black Hole” Status when non-Active where Sprint where they will be unusable until manually sent to Sprint’s BYOSD Department to override the errors and manually convert back to Sprint.

    Knowing this potential risk we have developed and launched an Application for both our Dealers and Customers affected by this Black Hole scenario to submit their Blacklisted Devices to be removed from PLBL and converted back to Sprint by doing the following:
    - Go to to prepaydwireless.com
    - Then go to the BYOSP Drop-Down Menu
    - Select Release Device to Sprint.
    -Enter the ESN that you need released back to Sprint

    This is a manual effort on both PrepaYd and Sprint and this process make take up to 3 business days for these Devices before these Devices can be re-Activated on Sprint. We appreciate the patience and understanding and all of the support we’ve received from our Dealers thus far and we’re hoping we can have these Devices approved for PrepaYd Activations again soon in the near future."

    Posted in response to the above on RingPlus Discourse forum:
    Hey guys - it's actually even more complicated than PrepaYd is saying. We actually already do these steps automatically: Sprint policy says that any phone not currently in active wholesale status should be switched back to Sprint Retail as a "holding status." However, their new Blacklist prevents blocks this (sigh) and we receive an error when that occurs. We've built our system from the ground up so this all happens immediately and transparently in the background.

    Going forward, we're going to start parsing those errors and actively email/reaching out to consumers who are attempting to migrate devices away. Both to help them convert, and also to be sure they understand that once removed from wholesale, they cannot be used in wholesale again until allowed by Sprint. Same goes for inbound customers; if you're selling a phone on eBay now and you mark it "compatible with RingPlus/Ting/PrepaYd!" it may actually get you more dollars than not.

    All that being said, it's still possible to buy these higher-end devices that are already provisioned for PLBL from the primary distributors. RingPlus doesn't sell them directly, but others do. Those S4's, HTC One's, etc... will work just fine. While it's not exactly BYOSD, it is a way to get the latest and greatest while still running with us cool MVNOs.

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