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Thread: Complications (of my own making) with the $30 HSN Moto E5 bundle – please help!

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    Complications (of my own making) with the $30 HSN Moto E5 bundle – please help!

    I hope the knowledgeable folks here can tell me what to do in my situation -- I have always wanted an affordable all-carrier phone, and was so tempted by the recent HSN Moto E5+1500 min/text/mb offer that I ordered the bundle without checking if my zip has Verizon coverage.

    My grand plan was to keep the phone for 12 months and get the phone unlocked after that -- giving me an all-carrier phone at the end of 12 months for a mere 30 bucks.

    Turns out there is no Verizon coverage here. I haven't received the phone yet, but of course I will have to activate it after I get it, so which of these two paths would you suggest I follow with respect to activating the phone?

    Option 1 - At the time of activation (which I will do over online chat), instead of giving them my zip that has zero Verizon coverage, give them a zip code that has good Verizon coverage. Will the phone get activated if I do that? And more importantly, will the phone get registered in Tracfone's system so that I can unlock it after 12 months?

    Option 2 – At the time of activation (over online chat), give them my zip and tell them there is no Verizon coverage, so can they please send me a T-Mo or AT&T sim so that I can use the phone. Then, after they send the sim, activate the phone with the T-Mo/AT&T sim. Will Tracfone count this as a “married” sim and unlock the phone after 12 months?

    I should add that I don’t care if I can’t use the included 1500 min/texts/mb. What I want is an all-carrier phone at the end of 12 months. Which option would you folks suggest for me? Thank you much for your time and insight!

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    Just call them and ask... preferably calling Miami not India or South America.

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    Not a good situation here....

    Option 1: You will not be able to activate unless having a connection with a Verizon tower. How far are you to that? Even if activated, you must make a call every 6 months to maintain service.

    Option 2: The phones come locked to a particular carrier, and TF usually will not change that. You can re-brand between the TF companies, but only if on the same carrier.

    Do you really want to maintain a service for a year that you can't even use? Especially on a low end phone like the Moto E5.

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    Back in the days of dumb phones, it used to be the case that, if you truly had no coverage on a particular carrier, Tracfone would send you a replacement phone for a carrier that does give you coverage. Note that they only did this if you had absolutely zero coverage on the original carrier. Now that we are using (more expensive) smart phones, I don't know how they will handle it, and I don't know if the phone is locked to Verizon or just Tracfone. If it were me, I would try to activate it, and then if I couldn't activate it, I would chat with Tracfone Customer Service.

    Edit: I just noticed Loboheeler's post where he says it would be locked to the original carrier (Verizon), so it would not be a simple case of sending you a different SIM.

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    After it is fully activated, I believe you can then use one of the other TF sims in it. Maybe not. It should theoretically be possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    ...Option 2: The phones come locked to a particular carrier, and TF usually will not change that. You can re-brand between the TF companies, but only if on the same carrier.

    Do you really want to maintain a service for a year that you can't even use? Especially on a low end phone like the Moto E5.
    Usually TF branded phones are not all carrier phones even if they're supposed to be. They are specially made crippled for TF.
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    They will NOT send you a ATT sim, their records show that it is a Verizon only sim.
    You can put a BYOP att sim in the phone, but that won't count towards unlocking.
    If you truly want a unlocked phone, search Amazon or eBay.

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    You would have the task of getting Tracfone to agree to both switch the service provider to AT&T and to unlock it after the one year.
    But first you must activate the Verizon SIM to get the bundled airtime and verify no service where you most use it. Then you can transfer to AT&T.
    The E5 comes with a Verizon SIM but is not locked to Verizon. It is only locked for use with a company outside of the Tracfone family of Companies. To activate the Verizon SIM you will have to drive to a location with a signal, after you begin the activation process. It may be useful if you had computer access at that location.
    If you do not plan to ever use it outside of a Tracfone Company just forget about unlocking it and activate a Tracfone AT&T BYOP SIM with a transfer of service off the activated Verizon SIM. After you decide what to do, ask for instructions on doing it the correct way.

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    You have to activate the HSN phone with the SIM card that comes with to get the 365 service days (and minutes/texts, which you don't care). Regarding unlock, here is a question that I don't know if anyone has answer - Will TracFone unlocks both GSM and CDMA or just CDMA (in this case)? And with the unlock experience I have (a Rebel 2 CDMA phone unlocked by TracFone), the phone still can't be with Verizon directly or its non-TracFone MNVOs (fails the compatibility check).

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    My opinion is as others have said just get a TF BYOP SIM kit and use the ATT or TM sim (assuming the E5 supports the required bands).

    You don't care about the plan. It's a $30 phone, which for the phone alone is a good price now, but in a year it'll be even longer in the tooth, it''ll be a throw away. Maybe no more os updates even now. You'll likely want something newer in 12 mo. Not worth worrying about unlocking on cheap phones.

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    OP here. Thanks for the replies. So based on the replies, and given that my primary objective is to get an unlocked phone that can be used on all carriers, looks like this is what I should do --

    1) drive to an area that has Verizon coverage,
    2) do the activation online through chat like I had planned, giving them a zip code with good Verizon coverage,
    3) make a phone call using the phone (because that seems to be a requirement for activation),
    4) drive back.
    5) within six months, drive to an area that has Verizon coverage, and use the phone to make a call or whatever,
    6) finally, ask Tracfone to unlock the phone after 12 months.

    I don't want to mess around with trying to get service transferred to AT&T or TMo because that may jeopardize the unlocking. Call me crazy, but all I care about is getting a $30 phone that I can use on any carrier after 12 months have passed.

    Do you folks think the six steps above will let me achieve this objective?
    TIA for your help!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jettable View Post
    Do you folks think the six steps above will let me achieve this objective?
    Again, why do you want to pay for service for 12 months on a phone you can't use just to get it unlocked? Just buy an unlocked phone to began with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jettable View Post
    Do you folks think the six steps above will let me achieve this objective
    That should do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    Again, why do you want to pay for service for 12 months on a phone you can't use just to get it unlocked? Just buy an unlocked phone to began with.
    I think the OP paid $30 on HSN for that bundle. You can’t buy a new unlocked Moto E5 for that amount. The fact that he can't use the bunled time is unfortunate, but he didn't plan it that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    I think the OP paid $30 on HSN for that bundle. You can’t buy a new unlocked Moto E5 for that amount. The fact that he can't use the bunled time is unfortunate, but he didn't plan it that way.
    It's a common mistake in purchasing items to not take into account the real (net) cost. Example: I often buy from Walmart online and pay the shipping cost, because a drive to the store for pickup (40 miles away) will cost more in gas and time.

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