Update on Boost/Virgin FED/FEC check for older phones

In my circle, there were several phones that were purchased before Sprint's closing of the loophole in April 2016 that let people use new Boost/Virgin/Sprint Prepaid phones on MVNOs without prior use on the branded prepaid carrier, but were not activated on an MVNO before the loophole closed. (And have never been activated anywhere.)

There was speculation at the time that phones might "time out" of that FED check, and become eligible for MVNO use even if never used on the intended prepaid carrier.
Some # of months ago, I'd seen reports, and confirmed myself, that LG Volts started clearing FED checks.
I have access to a couple of Huawei Union (Boost) phones that I've been checking from time to time, and have consistently failed the FED check. Today, both clear the BYOD test on both Ting and Tello.

If anyone has similar never-activated Boost/Virgin/Sprint Prepaid phones sitting in a closet, it's probably worth checking them from time to time. Phones of a similar vintage might include the Moto E 2nd generation, Tribute 2 (or the original Tribute, which should have been cleared for MVNO use about the same time as the LG Volt), LG Volt 2, LG Stylo (not sue of the timing of the Stylo 2.)

I don't know whether "aging out" is related to the age of the specific device MEID, or if it's tied to when the model was discontinued in the retail chain.

I'll check on my ZTE Speed phones tonight & report back.

From my memory, the ZTE Speed is about the same age as the Huawei Union I just tested, so it would be a good one to keep an eye on.

Another possible reason for "timing out" of FED might be Sprint releasing old stock to MVNOs for resale, when it's just easier to remove the model entirely from FED instead of doing it unit-by-unit. (I know I've seen the Huawei Union in promo deals for FreedomPop a few months back-- but I think I checked MEIDs here at that time, and mine still failed......)

I had lg volt, zte speed, Moto e 2 with ringplus. How may I help?

Thanks, Hungry-Hog!
If you had those phones on RingPlus (or any other Sprint MVNO) before April 26, 2016, they are grandfathered into acceptable use on MVNOs, and never failed a FED check..
Phones that were not activated on an MVNO before April 26, 2016, became impossible to activate without being used on Boost, etc., first. (With the exception of a few outliers, like the Boost/Virgin Tribute HD that so many RingPlus members bought because it cleared when it shouldn't have......)

So it's really those phones that were never previously activated, and failed the FED check after April 2016, that are of interest for experimentation. If you have a phone matching that criteria, just go to Ting BYOD test and enter the MEID.

I have a Tribute HD that still isn't passing.

I seem to remember there's some very unusual set of circumstances with your Tribute HD? (Like it originally cleared FED via the late loophole, and then was 'clawed back' by Sprint?)

I wouldn't expect the Tribute HD to 'age out' on the FED check at the time. It's under 2 years old, and still in current retail distribution.

You remember correctly, Kent! (As always.)

I wish! Kind of easy to remember that one, since it's the only reference I could find to it happening, and it was a fear that many of us had.
If I didn't know how meticulous & precise you are, I would have suspected that you were simply confusing 2 phones. Since I do know those things..... I believe that either Sprint clawed back a number of phones, but yours is the only report I saw-- or that Sprint has it in for you for some reason.

(My wife loves her Tribute HD, and I hold my breath each time I've had to move it to a new provider......)

My 2 Boost ZTE Speed phones ($19.99 each new 2 years ago) cleared Tello BYOD check!

Thanks, jamielih!
I still don't know exactly what the criteria is for "timing out" of FED check (related to original date of purchase, or possibly to the time when the model was discontinued from retail distribution, or when Sprint wants to release older models for MVNO sales), but it's very useful news for those looking for inexpensive phones for Sprint MVNOs.

I think I recall that jamielih checked these same NIB ZTE Speed phones when we saw reports that the even older LG Volts were suddenly clearing FED. At that point, possibly 6 months ago?, neither the ZTE nor the Huawei Union were clearing.
Tentatively, I have a 'working theory' that phones 2 years old will clear FED even though they did not fulfill the prior use requirement. I don't think I have access to any other, especially later, phones to test as time goes by.
If Chelle hangs on to her troublesome Tribute HD, maybe we'll have another useful data point in another 6 months or so......

ferocious jr has had 2 huawei unions pass fed check on tello. one was an already been using one switching from R+ to tello. about 3 months after the switch over jr left it on the shop floor and it was run over by a hand cart. i went out and purchased a new one same model onsale at bestbuy for $15.99 i think ( well under $20) and it activated right out of the box on tello. that was spring 2017. infact i just came here today to ask about keeping or switching sims from the union to a galaxy s2 that when checked passed tellos byop. the sim currently is in use by the union but i want (need ) to plug it into the s2. can i do that or will i need a new sim as im going from one already activated to a phone with no sim

As a general rule, you cannot switch an active Sprint-network SIM to another phone. The phone currently using that SIM must first be deactivated, which also deactivates the SIM. (Unless things go wrong.......)
I suspect that Sprint Postpaid may be able to dodge around this issue, it's unlikely that an MVNO could do so.
I don't know if the Galaxy S2 and the Huawei Union use the same SIM #, either. Sprint network SIMs are trickier than GSM SIMs, with each phone needing a particular model SIM.

but.... I'm not at all certain that a Galaxy S2 uses a SIM card at all-- it may be non-removable.
Can you look to see if the phone has a SIM card tray, and if an ICCID shows in the phone Settings menu? I have a couple of Sprint phones of that vintage that have non-removable/embedded SIMs, and they will activate just fine. (The Galaxy S2 doesn't show up on Ting's SIM-finder page, which is the one most of us use to make sure we have the right SIM-- which encourages me to believe it may not be removable.)
Reference: https://help.ting.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/203822378-Samsung-Galaxy-S2-SIM-Card-Question

Thanks for the report of that spring-2017-purchased Huawei immediately being able to activate on Tello at the time-- this seems unusual, and may have been a database error, since it should most likely have failed to clear at that time. (Or, there's a more complicated reason why mine have failed to clear until very recently........)

Thank you for the ting link. ive had great success with using/switching around phones circa 2008 - flip/slider 2g/non internet based phones . im only dealing with one stubborn teenage ferocious jr who wants a smartphone. so i feel very very lost in the switching when it comes to smartphones.

Well, my above post regarding both of the ZTE Speed phones being now activateable on Sprint MVNO was wrong. It turned out only ONE is activeatable. So I activated it on FreedomPop for 99 cents at https://www.freedompop.com/byodpromo9?utm_source=freedompop&utm_medium=forums&utm_campaign=byodpromo9

Thanks for the update! Just for curiosity.... did you try doing the BYOD test for the currently failing unit on Ting's checker? I never gave it a lot of credence, but there are those who are convinced that a Ting check will sometimes clear up an activation issue, and the phone will then test as clear after a day or so.......

On the FreedomPop activation, I've noticed that at least some of the offers now include only a 14 day trial before billing at the 'renewal' rate instead of the 30 day trial we always used to get. You might want to check your offer carefully to make sure you downgrade on time, assuming a downgrade is your intent.


Thanks for your two notes.

I did check on Ting, and "Sorry, this phone can’t be activated right now. This device has not reached financial eligibility."

As for the FreedomPop trial period, my account says next payment on 6/23, so it appears that this one is still on the 30-day trial. Great reminder anyways about the 14-day variation.


Thanks for your two notes.

I did check on Ting, and "Sorry, this phone can’t be activated right now. This device has not reached financial eligibility."


So, maybe a modification to the working theory: perhaps the phones are removed from FED in production batches. (Assuming that your 2 MEIDs are not especially close in sequence.......) If so, the prediction might be that your 2nd device will clear soon.

Very plausible theory. I found the difference between the MEIDs of the two devices, with the unactivateable MEID as the subtrahend & the FreedomPop-activated MEID as the minuend. The difference was a positive number 71,813, which could fit your theory, as it implies the FED removal process is progressing from smaller MEID numbers up to higher MEID numbers.

A bit of insight from when I worked for Sprint: Some of these phones have their FED date set to 12/31/2099, and won't 'age out' for 80 years.