Nov 05 AT 1:52 PM Dima Aryeh 17 Comments

Update: Fixed! Sprint is having problems activating the Nexus 5


Amazingly, the Nexus 5 supports three different carriers right out of the box. There is only one model, yet it works on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. It’s an impressive feat Google pulled off, but it looks like Sprint isn’t quite ready to support the Nexus 5 on its network.

Many have been having trouble activating the Nexus 5 on Sprint’s network. The problem stems from the fact that the Nexus 5 MEID numbers are incompatible with Sprint’s authentication system. This is simply a problem of these numbers not yet being added, rather than the phone itself being incompatible with Sprint’s systems, and it seems that the 32GB model is especially troublesome.

Sprint customer service has given varying responses on the issue. Some say that it should work and have been trying to activate people’s phones on the network. Some say that Sprint will only support the 16GB Nexus 5, so the 32GB model will not be activated. We highly doubt that last part, honestly, but it’s possible.

This issue doesn’t seem intentional, like Verizon denying people the use of the Nexus 7 LTE on their network. It simply looks like an issue with their authentication system that can be fixed. The device launches on the Sprint network on November 8th, so there is a good chance it’ll be fixed before then. If you’re having trouble activating your Nexus 5 on Sprint, give their customer service a call and maybe someone can help you out. Are you having any such issues?

Update: The issue has been fixed by Sprint! Their activation service now recognizes all Nexus 5 devices and they will have no problems activating your device. So if you were not able to before, try again now and report back!

Source: XDA-Developers, Google Groups
Via: Android Police

Dima Aryeh is obsessed with all things car and tech. His time is split between gaming and fixing his racecar. He also does photography in his spare time.

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  • Randy

    I have had issues with Sprint about this last night and today. I just now was told that the N5 requires a Sprint Sim card to activate. I was caught off guard since my previous Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus did not require one. I was told a new Sim card and activation of the phone would be free.

    • koorsr

      Yep, I had to go visit a store this morning to get the SIM card and have the phone activated. They seemed to have a little trouble just because they hadn’t been really given instructions on what steps were needed to activate the phone or exactly what SIM card to use. I would expect most of those problems to clear up once the phone is actually sold in the Sprint stores.

    • price

      my Aunty Madison recently got a new Volvo C30 by parttime working online from home. my explanation……..

  • mattcoz

    Yup, I was going to stick with my current Sprint plan for a little while to test out their LTE network before trying out T-Mobile. Well, so much for that idea, took it to a Sprint store yesterday and they were clueless. I’m now switched to T-Mobile and I’m happy to leave Sprint behind.

    • Steve Barry

      What area are you in if you don’t mind me asking? I’m on Sprint right now and have suffered through all the Network Vision stuff around Chicago for the past year. They say this area is one of the most complete rollouts to date, and I’d still rate it as…okay. It’s better, no question, but still not what I expected. LTE is still pretty darn slow relatively speaking and I know it’s because their frequency is garbage. With the local US Cellular buyout, I’ve been reading that will help a lot, but I still have my doubts.

      TMob will be choice #1 if I switch, but I wonder about the whole unlimited data and such I have now. Does TMob really offer unlimited data the same way Sprint does? No caps and no throttling?

      • DitchedSprint

        Yes, they guarantee it’s unlimited data transfer, that is if your plan is postpaid. I spoke to a T-Mobile retail store representative and he told me that the data plan is unlimited. However, depending on your plan, e.g. $50/m will get you 500MB data at 4G speed and after that it will throttle your speed accordingly. You will still have your unlimited data, it’s just the speed will throttle down to 3G? That, I’m not so sure. If you’re worried, just upgrade to the $70/m plan and you’ll get unlimited 4G speed. :)

        I already switched from Sprint to T-Mobile last week and currently using a loaner’s phone as I wait for my Nexus 5 to come this Friday. I can hardly wait anymore. I check for the UPS tracking number very often!! I’m just glad that I ditched Sprint (I actually have 2 months 1 week left with them but decided to switch now and pay the ETF so I can enjoy the new Nexus 5 with Android 4.4).

  • DragonPhyre

    Poor Sprint… They just can’t get a break, can they? Stuck with this image problem from the MCI days, nobody really trusts them, and since they bungled the WiMAX rollout allowing Verizon and then AT&T to leapfrog them with the LTE rollout which they then had to play catchup by abandoning entire lineups of phones.

  • bdenny

    They can’t activate mine. Called today and tried No luck.

  • Andy

    Go to and use their chat support. They are aware of the situation unlike most of the stores and can even send you a free sim. Then just use the online activation. The 32GB models should work now as well. The hardest part at the moment is getting the sales reps to understand that you need the sim even though Sprint uses CDMA and that the SIM is not some special NExus 5 SIM. It is just a micro sim like the HTC One or GS4.

    It would help if their repair techs would answer the phones instead of the clueless sales people.

  • Jay555

    Or you could just take that shiny Nexus 5 and connect it to a real carrier and not bother with Sprint or their crappy authentication system. :p

  • pete

    I have Tmo and cant get a IE connection, calls and texts dont seem to be a issue went through all the settings but cant figure it out (nexus 5 32g). Never had a issue with any unlocked phones I have bought but this time Tmobile customer service really has no answer, except your phone is no good or to new what ever that means.

  • John Bailey

    Yeah the Google Play version doesn’t shop with a SIM card so you either need to go to any corporate Sprint store or any store with a repair center to get a free SIM. Easy as that. To find a corporate store, go to the store locator on Sprint’s website and look for any store that says “Sprint Store” not “Sprint store by (insert private company name here)” or you can visit any location listed as having repair service available to get the SIM as they ask had SIM card shipped to them for this very purpose. I only know this because I work at a Sprint repair store. Good luck!

  • Colin

    I called my local sprint corporate store and they told me they don’t have SIM cards at their store because they aren’t a repair center. So I read a forum post that said customers could use the Sprint chat support to get a free sim card. So after waiting 30min to get an agent I told them I had bought the 32gb white version from Google Play. The immediately added a SWW Senior Specialist to the chat. After I sent them my address for the FREE sim card I was told that they are BACKORDERED and no estimated date. Hilarious.

    So I will attempt to physically go to the Sprint Corporate store today at 10am and see WTF is up. Luckily my old Nexus S still works but it’s frustrating that sprint wasn’t prepared for this… Wish me luck…

  • bob

    Sprint stores in Indianapolis are denying any knowledge of having or needing sim cards for the nexus 5. I can’t get any information from them about adding my n5. Time to go to Tmobile

  • donger

    Sprint, when are you getting another android exclusive phone?

  • Joe

    Still not working for me. On a chat with Sprint now.

  • Dustin

    Had my Nexus 5 32GB activated at a local Sprint store today. It took them about an hour but got it done. Had I remembered what I read a few days ago, it might have been faster. Here’s a tip: If they are having trouble activating the phone, have them omit the last digit of the IMEI.