Who Is My Carrier?

I've got an enigma. I've got an old Moto Z3 that I got from Verizon a long time ago. It's paid for, and according to Verizon, unlocked. I've never reactivated the phone on any other network, although I did briefly put an AT&T SIM in the phone. Now, I'm trying to activate the phone on Tracfone (Verizon). They keep getting a message that the phone "is active on another carrier." I can't figure out who that carrier might be, and I can't find a search service that will tell me, running the IMEI.If anyone has any ideas, I'm game. TIA

I'm not aware of a service that can do this by IMEI.
The possibilities: maybe it didn't get released properly from your Verizon account? Long shot, but if you still have working login access, you might remove the phone from that old account. (Or see if Verizon can release it: that sounds like several not-so-fun phone calls....)

I don't think this can be due to the temporary AT&T SIM. I don't think GSM, with the possible exception of Metro, ties up the IMEI so it can't be activated elsewhere, even if they believe it's still active on another GSM line. Only a current (and in this case phantom) Verizon activation should cause this problem.

Another long shot: Have you ever used this phone on Tracfone before? It might be possible that having the phone still showing as an 'inactive' phone on an old Tracfone/Total/Straight Talk account might also tie up the IMEI.

Thanks for responding. I've been on the phone with Verizon, and they assure me that the phone does not appear anywhere in their system. Never been on Tracfone before. Getting pretty frustrating.

Another thought: try activating the phone on another company (not TracFone related) and see if they can activate or if they get the same error.

Are you trying to activate new service with tracfone or switch existing tracfone sim to the moto Z3?

I've ran into similar issues with Tracfone with BYOP. They always tell me my phone won't work on the network. I'll tell the to just go ahead and try it (not sure if they get the same error you mention), but in the end I'm always able to get it activated. Do you have another device you can tell them to use for activation just to get the sim activated and then just switch the sim into the Z3 after it's activated?

Also, can you just try putting in an active sim from another carrier to verify it works?

Good suggestion here! As a first step, just check the IMEI on another provider's test page.
Twigby's (Verizon) test tool seems decent: Twigby - Bring Your Phone to Twigby
If I test a phone that is active on Tracfone/Verizon, it tells me "Your phone is compatible! However, your phone is active with another provider.", and gives me a choice of porting in my number or cancelling my 'other' line first. This is what I should see, since the phone is actually active on a Verizon-network line.

Just to confirm my earlier thought that being active on a GSM carrier shouldn't matter to be accepted for activation on a new Verizon line, I ran the IMEI of the same model phone that's currently active on an AT&T network line. No hesitation there: it clears the Twigby IMEI test with no restrictions on activating it.

I tried running the active Tracfone/Verizon IMEI on Verizon's own test page: https://www.verizon.com/sales/digital/byod/selectMakeAndModel.html#requiresIMEI=true Surprisingly, Verizon's own test page doesn't warn about the phone already being active on a Verizon-network line. Twigby's tester, and Tracfone's tester, are pulling the info from Verizon's database, but Verizon isn't sharing it on their own test.

SIM-swapping on Tracfone/Verizon service has been risky for the last year or so. There's a possibility they might object, and some people have had service suspended. Some people run into roadblocks, some don't.

Yeah, that's my problem here. I'm active on FreeMii, and they're pretty strict on swapping.

I tried the Twigby IMEI checker, and got the "however" message. I spend a long time online with the Verizon crew on twitter last night, First time anyone has really tried to help...they couldn't find that phone anywhere in their system. I'm going to try to get with AT&T, but they're harder to get in contact with than Verizon, and that's saying something.

I'll keep y'all posted....thanks for the input.

dnoonan, I don't want to miss the obvious.... the Z3 isn't active on FreeMi/VZW is it?

Following up with AT&T isn't a horrible idea, but I don't believe it's possible for that to cause your problem with the Z3 being locked out of a new VZW activation. (It should be possible to activate the Z3 on a Verizon line even if it was also simultaneously active on an AT&T network line-- you'd just need to switch SIMs to select using either line. IIRC, only legacy Sprint and Verizon networks have the single-activation limitation. )

My money is still on Verizon not having properly released the IMEI when you deactivated the Verizon line long ago.
If you get tired of banging your head against this wall, I'd file an FCC complaint against Verizon, in the hope that it would encourage them to dig further.

For BYOP, TF doesn't active devices, it only actives sims. So just tell them to proceed in activating the sim. Verizon sims can be swapped just like ATT/T-Mobile sims with no issue(with the exception of FreeMi for some reason). I was on the phone the other day with Tracfone for an issue and they tried to tell me I had to get a new sim since I switched devices (they only knew I switched devices as I gave the the imei of the device). To move forward, I told them I had put the sim back in the old phone (I never did). If they won't take the imei of the Z3, give them the imei of any other verizon capable phone, even the one that is on FreeMi.

^^ This - I had no knowledge about, and I have not experienced yet with TracFone. I suppose this is a new thing now. Just recently, I swapped a SIM using that network configuration and the line made it without issues. It did take several minutes to show in service though. I am going to have to be careful now.

Not sure anyone really cares, but I think I solved this. For a while, I had activated a Palm as a "companion phone", which was tied to the Z3. I cancelled it long before I cancelled Verizon altogether. The Palm sat in a drawer for a while, I briefly put a FreeMii ATT SIM in, it worked, but when I pulled the plug from Verizon, the SIM went into my Pixel 3.

So, the other day, just screwing around with a few of the phones I've got laying around, I powered up the Palm. Got a message that, "Activation is complete, Your phone number is ### ### ####" And the damn thing works! I don't have an account any longer with Verizon, so don't know how it's working, but it is. Guess I'll play with it for a while, then contact Verizon and get it deactivated, which I think will free up the Z3. Tempted to just see how long I can use the Palm, but don't want to incur the wrath of Big Red.

dnoonan, thanks for sharing that update! That would be a truly unusual situation for the Z3 IMEI being tied up, and excellent detective work to recognize that possible cause..

Yeah, I'd be tempted to play with Palm a little too-- always wanted to try one. If/when you have Verizon kill that line, it would be great if you could share the results on freeing up the Z3 IMEI.

Yeah, I'd be tempted to play with Palm a little to-- always wanted to try one.

It's a neat little phone...only two major drawbacks to having it be my daily driver....the battery life isn't great...not terrible, but daily charging to be sure. And, no NFC. Good quality on Verizon, okay on ATT This thing isn't even supposed to be able to operate as a stand alone on Verizon. I'll keep you posted.