Boost Mobile, operated by Nextel in the early 2000s, became a part of the expanded Sprint Nextel family through Sprint's purchase of Nextel in 2006. Boost and Sprint are operated separately, but customers of these carriers have found ways to switch their devices from network to network. Lower bills, more features and a wider selection of phones are just some of the reasons for doing so. Another advantage is Sprint phones generally do not have to be flashed, or unlocked, to work on Boost since both companies use the same CDMA technology on a few of their plans. In a few steps, a Sprint phone can be activated on Boost's network.
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Purchase a CDMA Boost phone, such as a w385 or KRZR, to set up the CDMA plan that you will need. This plan will be used on your Sprint phone. Ensure that you have the CDMA and not the iDEN Boost plan, since there are two different technologies that Boost phones can use.
Visit a cell phone enthusiasts' forum, such as HowardForums or SprintUsers, and purchase or borrow a Boost phone ESN, if you do not want to buy a new Boost phone for this process. If the ESN has already been used, a $10 fee will apply to "reactivate" the ESN on Boost but will later be converted to a $10 credit on your bill to make it refundable.
Wait about two weeks and call Boost to verify that the phone you intend to use can be activated on its system. Do not do this as soon as you purchase the Boost phone, since Boost more than likely will not activate the Sprint phone. Talk to a customer service representative, who should be able to give you the two codes needed to switch your phone from the Sprint to Boost network. It may take a few tries to get a representative who is willing to help you.
Give the customer service representative your Sprint phone's ESN/DEC. Find this 16-digit code under your phone's battery or on the box in which it came. Follow the instructions given to navigate to the fields in which the codes you are given need to be entered.
Power on the phone so it can program itself if the representative does not offer to walk you through the process. Ask for the instructions to program it manually, even if told the phone will program itself. Usually, the process will involve dialing ##XXXXXX# (with your Master Subsidy Lock replacing the Xs), selecting "Edit," and entering your phone number, then the MSID (Mobile Station ID). BlackBerry phones will have a similar process, with some of the keys being different.