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Sprint customers running into some activation problems with Nexus 5

While Sprint recently clarified that Nexus 5 handsets purchased through the Play Store can be activated with the Now Network, it looks like some folks are still running into a few troubles along the way.
November 5, 2013
Nexus 5 press image

nexus 5 official
Although the Nexus 4 only supported GSM networks such as T-Mobile and AT&T in the United States, Google officially revealed last Thursday that the newly announced Nexus 5 also works with Sprint’s CDMA network.

Considering the last Sprint-compatible Nexus device was the aging Galaxy Nexus, this was pretty exciting news for Sprint Android fans. Even better was the revelation that you could forgo buying the handset through Sprint and instead could pick up the device directly from Google Play.

Some users have found success with getting the 16GB model to work after troubleshooting in-store or via phone with a Sprint rep, but getting the 32GB model working seems to be much more difficult.

Unfortunately, now that the Nexus 5 has actually landed in the hands of Sprint users, it looks like things aren’t going as smoothly as one might hope.

Reports on the XDA developer’s forum and Sprint’s community page show that a lot of confusion is surrounding the activation process.

For starters, Sprint doesn’t generally sell its SIM cards directly to Sprint users, except for in situations where existing cards need replaced due to damage. That means quite a few people are unclear on how to get their hands on a card.

While some users have been told by local Sprint stores that they would have to wait until November 8th and even then might need to return their Play order for a handset sold by sprint, the Sprint’s Community page tells a different story. Apparently you can get your SIM card from a Sprint Corporate store, where they will give you one with no charge. It’s also possible to receive a card via the mail.

The Nexus 5 requires a SIM/UICC card in order for us to activate it. The device is being sold through Google Play, but it does not include the card. Without this card, the device will not function correctly. In order to obtain a SIM/UICC card for the device, you can go into a Sprint Corporate Store and they can sell one to you at NO CHARGE. This way the device can be successfully activated.

Besides the SIM card confusion, some Sprint customers are also running into issues with the actual activation process — particularly when it comes to the 32GB model.

So what’s the hangup here? Forums like the XDA seem to suggest the problem is probably in Sprint’s activation system, which requires a verifiable range of MEID numbers. Unfortunately, Sprint doesn’t sell the device until November 8th, and so it’s possible that the number range isn’t yet in Sprint’s system.

Some users have found success with getting the 16GB model to work after troubleshooting in-store or via phone with a Sprint rep, but getting the 32GB model working seems to be much more difficult. Further complicating matters, Sprint’s own representatives present conflicting information about whether or not the 32GB model will even be supported.

At this time, we are only supporting the 16GB Nexus 5. The system is/will not recognize the serial number for any device outside of that. I deeply do apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. is a great place to stay on top of updates, should there be any.

As you can see in the quote above, one rep flat out says no. The quote below, says basically the exact opposite:

I apologize for any confusion about locating a UICC/SIM/ICCID card for your Galaxy Nexus 5 purchased through Google Play. The Galaxy Nexus 5 16GB and 32GB is supported by Sprint. They do not come with a UICC/SIM/ICCID card and would need to pick one up from a Sprint Corporate retail store.

The good news is that most of these issues will probably be worked out within the next few days, after Sprint rolls out the device to its own network. We have reached out to Sprint for further clarification on how to properly activate the device, and whether or not it plans to support the 32GB model. We will update this post if and when we hear back.

In the meantime, you might want to hop on over to Sprint’s community page for more information or to get troubleshooting help if you are running into any problems activating the Nexus 5 on Sprint’s network. Did you manage to get your Nexus 5 working on Sprint’s network? If so – which model, the 16 or 32GB version?