Thursday, March 19, 2015

How I activated my Nexus 6 on Verizon, and got 5GB of data for $50 a month.

So in my previous post, which can be found here I spoke about how I'm trying to transition my smartphone service over to a data-only plan with one of the major US carriers, and run all of my Voice, SMS, and MMS services through Googe Voice.

I always work best under pressure, so there's no better motivation than to cancel your cellular service and begin the hunt for a data-only plan, because it was only a matter of time before my Nexus 6 became a Wi-Fi only device.

I stopped at the corporate Verizon store today in Dubuque, Iowa to ask if they could allow me to activate service on a customer-owned Nexus 6, but only with data service enabled. They of course, told me no. There are 2 major hurdles to get past with this proposition at Verizon:

  1. They do not allow the activation of a data-only service plan with a device that's considered a phone.
  2. They do not allow customers to initially activate Nexus 6 devices that they've purchased in the Google Play store.
Luckily, I've managed to find a way to get Verizon to do exactly what I want them to do, and in a (mostly) legitimate fashion.

I spoke with a rep in the store on my lunch break, as I'd mentioned before. and after exhausting all options with the rep, he said "call technical support, maybe they'll be able to help you get this done." He gave me the number to call, even which options to select in the IVR, which were as follows:

Option 3 - Tier 2 Support for Technical Support

I spoke with a gentleman in the Tier 2 support group for a little while, explaining to him my ultimate goal of having a NANO SIM activated in an LTE device, and being able to freely transfer that SIM into the device of my choosing, including my privately owned Nexus 6 that I purchased from the Google Play Store. He acknowledged that it was technically possible, and that it can be done, but he said Verizon will not offer any support to help me with the service on my Nexus 6 device, since it's not supported by the carrier. I acknowledged that I'll be responsible for the Nexus 6 device, and I understand that service is the carrier's responsibility, however, device-related issues are my responsibility. We went through various scenarios in how we would get it to activate, including the following:
  1. Buying a new tablet device with a nano SIM and activating a data-only plan with the tablet device, and using the SIM from the tablet in the phone.
  2. Buying a used tablet and activating it with the same above listed scenario.
  3. Buying a Jetpack mobile hotspot, and activating that service with the nano SIM.
Basically, we were limited on options. I explained that I did not want to buy a tablet device, regardless of whether it be new or old, and that I just wanted to pay Verizon for a monthly data service in a mobile device. After exhausting his list of ideas to attempt, he transferred me to his supervisor.

The supervisor replayed the scenario back to me, essentially just trying to make sure that we were on the same page for what I was trying to accomplish with them. He understood, and asked me to wait on hold for a few minutes while he did some research.

He came back from hold, and told me that they DO IN FACT have a 5GB data-only plan that's designated for SMARTPHONES, not tablets. For those of you attempting the same mission I accomplished today, see below:

Plan Code: 84700
5GB 4G Data for Smartphones
NO contractual agreement
You must bring your OWN equipment or purchase a handset at full retail price.

The rep from technical support advised that in the store, they likely would NOT know about the plan, and they'd have to search for it by code, and attempt starting new service by specifically seeking out the plan code. This was very much true when I went into the store tonight to activate my new service.

The rep also told me that it was unlikely, but POSSIBLE that I could activate my Nexus 6 with them, but I would have to follow an IMEI addition request, and I'd have to fill out a form including my IMEI and submit a trouble ticket with the technical teams to evaluate the IMEI to see if it CAN be added to Verizon's database, and if it can, then they will let me activate the Nexus 6. The alternative to this was finding an LTE phone that took a NANO SIM and activating that as customer owned equipment.

Luckily, I had a friend with an iPhone 5 that he just retired in order to get an iPhone 6 Plus, so I was able to take the iPhone 5 to go in to Verizon to activate the 84700 plan with.

There IS a bit of a procedure to this though. Upon finding the plan via code search in the store, the rep was unable to start new service using this plan. He had to start a plan with one of the mainstream service plans that Verizon offers right now, and then call into the internal customer care line, and have customer care change the plan over to the 84700 plan code. All in all, it took about 25 minutes, and I walked out of there with a live Nexus 6 on Verizon LTE, 5GB a month for $50.

For those of you looking to accomplish this, it CAN BE DONE. The only thing you need is an used handset that takes a NANO SIM. Find one used in your area, pick it up and activate your new service with it. Pop the SIM in the Nexus 6, and you're ready to rock and roll.

So by combining Google Voice with my new Verizon plan, I have the following:

  • 5GB Data on Verizon 4G LTE
  • Unlimited Texting (Google Voice-based, NOT provided by Verizon)
  • Unlimited Picture Messaging (GV-based)
  • Unlimited Calling (GV-based)
  • $50/month
  • A Google Play Store Nexus 6 running on Verizon 4G LTE.
  • No 2-year agreements or contracts of any type
  • No early termination fees
Hopefully this will hold me over until Google launches their MVNO. Depending on who the Tier-1 carriers are that Google's MVNO works with, I may just stick with Verizon. We'll see!

Happy Nexusing!

1 comment:

  1. You can use the tablet only prepaid plans for tmobile with a smartphone... Use a card like the AMEX preferred to buy refills at a grocery store and get 6% cash back for even more savings.


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