How to Activate a Used Sprint Cell Phone

By Techwalla Electronics Editor

Although you may want to save money on your cell phone, you have to practice caution when buying used Sprint phones. Although you may get a deal on the phone, you can run into problems during the activation process. Practice the following to successfully activate a used Spring cell phone.

Step 1

Buy a used Sprint cell phone from a legitimate source. If you don't know the origins of the cell phone, you may end up with a stolen phone or a phone that's connected to a bill with an outstanding balance. People who have purchased from Replace Your Cell online have experienced few problems with their pre-owned Sprint phones (see Resources below).

Step 2

Find out the ESN of the used phone. Before you buy and attempt to activate a used Sprint phone, you'll want to run a check on the electronic serial number (ESN). You can typically find the ESN in the battery compartment of the phone.

Step 3

Call Sprint's customer service line. Ask them to run a check on the ESN to see if it's clear for activation. If it's a phony ESN or stolen phone, you'll won't be able to activate the phone.

Step 4

Activate the phone through the customer service line of Sprint. If the phone's clear, ask the rep to start the activation process or transfer you to someone who can.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also choose to activate your used phone through a Sprint store. However, many stores charge a nominal fee for this service.
  • You may have to wait as long as 4 hours for activation to go through.