Trouble activating Sprint iPhone 4s on Sprint

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Andy Somnifac, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Andy Somnifac macrumors newbie

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    Jul 14, 2014
    #1
    I'm running into some problems activating an iPhone 4s on Sprint, after it had been on FreedomPop for a couple of months. First, some background:

    I have an iPhone 4s, purchased from Sprint, that was on my account for a little over 2 years before it was upgraded. Once upgraded, it sat in a drawer for a couple on months until a friend needed a new phone. About that time FreedomPop (a Sprint MVNO) allowed certain Sprint devices to be activated on their network, no Jailbreaking or unlocking required, just give them the ESN and if it were a supported device, they'd activate it. The iPhone 4S was on the list, so we gave it a try. It lasted maybe 2 billing cycles on FreedomPop. Last Wednesday service on FreedomPop was cancelled because the actual usability of the service was, well, crap.

    Now that Sprint allows BYOD w/ no credit check accounts on to be added to a Framily ID, we tried to go that route with the iPhone. We called Wednesday morning to deactivate the FreedomPop account and a couple of hours later tried to activate it on Sprint. No dice. They said that the ESN was coming back as "incompatible." I assumed this might mean that FreedomPop has not actually let the device go, and I may need to wait a business day or 2. No problem. I activated an old LG phone I also had so that my friend at least had a working phone with which to make phone calls and send texts.

    Fast forward to Saturday, I do a full reset on the phone, the "Your phone is not activated" message comes up on the lock screen, the Network shows "Unavailable" in General/About so I assumed this means we are free and clear. I even swapped out the SIM card (obtained from Apple that weekend), just in case. I tried to replace the LG phone with the iPhone on the website. I entered the ESN and it said that it was invalid. I tried again, thinking I'd fat fingered it, and same result. I then tried entering the IMEI, and same result. At this point it said I had tried too many times and it directed me to a chat agent. I explained the situation to the agent and s/he tried to activate it and was unable. S/he directed me to call telesales, where I spent 35+ minutes on the line with an agent who was also unable to activate the phone. He made notes and was supposed to escalate to another group for research, after which he'd give me a call with their findings. He said I should hear from him by yesterday, but I didn't.

    So, ultimately, has anyone ever seen anything like this? I need to stress that the phone is NOT unlocked, NOT Jailbroken, NOT hacked in ANY WAY. It is 100% completely stock, purchased from a Sprint store.

    Anyone have any ideas on what could be wrong, and how this could be remedied?
     
  2. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #2
    Sprint will not activate another carriers iPhone that is not sold as a sprint locked iPhone.
    They say that you can byob but they will not activate another company's iPhone.
    Good luck but your waisting your time if you keep trying. Just sell it as is and get one that works on the network you want to use it on.
     
  3. Andy Somnifac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 14, 2014
    #3
    Thank you for your response, but this IS a Sprint phone, sold by Sprint and previously activated on Sprint. This is not a device sold by another company, for use on another carrier. This is a device that was sold by Sprint and temporarily used on a Sprint MVNO.
     
  4. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #4
    Oh I thought it was locked to that other carrier.
    I'd bring it into a sprint store and have them figure it out and activate it.
    Their customer service sucks though.
     
  5. Andy Somnifac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    You're not kidding. I've been into 2 different stores with it at this point... They look at me like I'm insane when I explain the course of events that has led up to this point...
     
  6. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #6
    That sucks man.
    I think on the phone they are even worst.
    They will just tell you things and promise you stuff just to get you off the phone or put you on hold for a very long time till you give up waiting and hang up.
    They are terrible.
     
  7. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #7
    My best guess is that it's a SIM incompatibility.

    Sprint iPhones and Sprint phones with SIM cards are locked to Sprint. You state that there have been no modifications. But I bet you ended up using a Freedom Pop SIM right?

    Here's why I think it's SIM incompatibility. When Sprint locks their SIM using phones down they PAIR the phone to the SIM card. When you use the phone the phone checks to see that the ICCID (Integrated Circuit Card Identifier) on the SIM card matches the ESN on the phone. If they do not match, there is no service.

    Only Sprint stores (corporate stores, not third party stores with the Sprint name plastered on the front) and Apple stores have the ability to create this pairing.

    If you have the old, original Sprint SIM card I would try that as it would have been paired to your device. If you don't have it then you need to find a Sprint corporate store that can do this. Usually, that's one of their repair stores (not every Sprint corporate store is a repair store). Explain that you need a new Sprint SIM card. There should be no charge.

    And generally, understand that most of them will have no idea what the hell you're talking about. Sprint did not really start doing SIM cards until 2011 and it's still an arcane science to the CSRs.

    Lastly, you did realize that Freedom Pop is a Sprint MVNO using Sprint's network right? If the network went to crap on Freedom Pop it's because Sprint is upgrading the network in your area. Once you get back on Sprint, you'll still have crappy service if you're in the same area.
     
  8. Andy Somnifac, Jul 14, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014

    Andy Somnifac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 14, 2014
    #8
    That is incorrect. You can use the SIM that was in the phone when it was active with Sprint. I have since replaced it with a new SIM, sourced from Apple, as directed by an agent at the Sprint store.

    The same thing happens regardless of if I use the original Sprint SIM, or the new Sprint SIM.

    As stated above, I sourced a new SIM card to replace the ONLY SIM card that had ever been in the camera from Apple on instruction from an agent at the Sprint store were this whole saga started.

    I do understand that FreedomPop is a Sprint MVNO. That is why they allow some Sprint devices, and why I thought it was worth a try. I have been a Sprint customer since ~1998 (I continue to have 4 lines on my account) and one thing I have little no complaints about is the actual service itself (customer service is another story). FreedomPop routes all calls and texts through their app. It seems that their VOIP infrastructure wasn't very robust and killed call quality. In addition to this texts were delayed, or sometimes never even sent/delivered. This could all happen communicating with another phone, active on the Sprint network, standing right next to it.
     
  9. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #9
    When it comes to locking, Sprint pairs the SIM card with your phone. How that works with other Sprint MVNOs such as Freedom Pop and Ting (Ting can move over Sprint phones too) I don't know. But it is a fact that you cannot unlock a Sprint iPhone domestically because of the pairing.

    Everything else, I took a guess at. Beyond that, I don't really have anything else to suggest. You might try retentions, dan@sprint.com, but I don't hold a lot of hope for that. They'll call you though if you email them.

    Incidentally, I've been a Sprint customer since 1999 myself.
     
  10. Andy Somnifac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 14, 2014
    #10
    Thanks. No attempt has been made to unlock the phone at any point. I don't want to unlock it, I want to use it on Sprint. Any changes to the SIM have been done at the behest of Sprint.

    But I do thank you for the attempt.
     
  11. anaqvi786 macrumors regular

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    Jun 25, 2013
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    At iOS planet
    #11
    Hi Andy!

    Try calling (888) 743-8107 and ask for your device to be cleared from their system. Remember that the device must be cleared for at most 30 days to allow activation again.

    Sorry for reviving a 4 day old thread everyone!
     

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