Can these Galaxy S3 phones be restored?
March 22, 2015 10:18 AM   Subscribe

What happened here? Are the phones salvageable? Or have they become bricks, usable only on wi-fi for apps?

We had the Galaxies on Credo mobile plan---which has a deal with Sprint to use their towers ( . When we switched carriers, we had to purchase new GSM phones. Our contract with Credo was up, so I asked them to unlock the phones. I did NOT ask them to flash the phones, but apparently something like that happened. Both buyers emailed me stating they were not able to connect to Sprint. I called Credo and talked with their tech support for nearly an hour, and was unable to get a clear explanation. The techs gave me the MSL numbers and said that Sprint would probably be able to connect the phones using the MSL. So far, the first buyer has related that Sprint was unable to connect her phone using the MSL.
The phones are Sprint CDMA phones which do not use SIM cards.
What happened here? Are the phones salvageable?
Thanks in advance for your help.
posted by ragtimepiano to Technology (4 answers total)
MSL is some kind of access code to the phone's functions, including low-level command functions, like those mysterious codes you put in while authorizing third-party voicemail, for example. I would think Sprint, or any other carrier your buyers use, would want the IMEI number, which is a unique hardware code belonging to the radio transceiver in the phone. If the phone can be opened (I'm not familiar with that model), the IMEI may be printed somewhere inside. Looking at my own phone, an S5, I found the IMEI in the settings under "About Device" the "Status" submenu. It's a 15-digit sequence, all numerals.

Though I've never been directly involved in the process, my employer builds a mobile device which, with some carriers/countries, requires that the embedded modems (the same as your basic USB modem, but designed to be built onto a flat circuit board) get registered, and IMEI seems to be the common factor.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:57 PM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

You might want to check that Credo has released the IMEI of the phones as having fulfilled their contract and the accounts they were associated with as being clear, as in your account does not owe any money to Credo.

It may not be a technical issue with the phones but rather an administrative issue.
posted by eatcake at 6:03 PM on March 22, 2015

Generally speaking, the phone may have been "delisted" from acceptable phones by Sprint's network.

You'll need one of those "Check Sprint ESN" tools where the check Sprint's database to see if your phone's still acceptable.
posted by kschang at 2:24 AM on March 23, 2015

Thank you, everyone. Yes, the problem was that there was one final bill pending from Credo. Once I paid that, the phones were able to be activated.
posted by ragtimepiano at 12:45 PM on March 28, 2015

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