How to activate a phone with a bad esn

Written by jade blue
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How to activate a phone with a bad esn
Flashing your handset can remedy a bad electronic serial number. (cell phone full view image by Melking from

A phone with a bad electronic serial number is a buyer's nightmare. The device cannot be activated because the previous owner has an outstanding balance with the service provider. Even if the new owner wishes to settle the account, information will only be released to the original account holder. The new owner can never confirm the amount due on the account. Flashing the phone to another mobile provider is a simple method to activate phones with a bad ESN.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flash Software
  • Universal Serial Bus Cable
  • Computer Running At Least Windows 2000

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  1. 1

    Take the handset to a location that flashes devices to your selected wireless network. During the process, handset programming is rebooted to work on another mobile network. Device memory is not erased. Customers flash handsets when they wish to take advantage of another mobile service provider but do not want to purchase another handset. Flash services are advertised at mall kiosks and storefronts.

  2. 2

    Select a flash plan. The flash type selected depends on desired services and the type of phone being flashed. A basic flash allows handsets to make and receive voice calls and standard text messages. Higher level flashes allow handsets to send and receive picture messages and access the Internet. Flash fees start at £9, as of 2010, and the process takes about 15 minutes to complete.

  3. 3

    Activate the handset. The flash reseller can provide plan information and activate the device. Ask about mobile plans and select the one that best suits your needs. Ask about discounts for new service activation. Activation is typically a one-time fee of approximately £16, as of 2010.

  4. 4

    Receive a text message five to 20 minutes after activation from the wireless customer service department stating your phone is ready for use.

  1. 1

    Select the online flash software for your desired mobile service provider or handset model. A membership fee may be required to access a website that provides flash software. Download software to your computer desktop.

  2. 2

    Click on the software icon to open the program. Select the "Read Me" document and carefully read all directions. If a flash is performed incorrectly, the handset will not restart.

  3. 3

    Connect the handset to the computer using the USB cable. The smaller end of the cable is inserted into the handset. The larger cable end is inserted in the computer's USB port. Follow software directions to begin the flash procedure.

  4. 4

    Activate the handset by contacting the wireless customer service department of your selected provider. Find contact information at the company websites. Discuss required plan features and ask about discounts for new activations. Activation is typically a one-time fee of approximately £16, as of 2010.

  5. 5

    Wait for a text message from the wireless company stating your handset is ready for use. This occurs five to 20 minutes after activation.

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