How do I confirm a clean ESN on a GSM phone?

Last Updated:

  1. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    Long story short, I'm looking at purchasing a phone that the seller says is unlocked and I'm wanting to use it on TMobile. How do I confirm that the ESN is clean? Do I need to contact ATT (where I think the phone is from) or T-Mobile (where my brother wants to activate it) to confirm this? I don't want to buy a phone and find out it's stolen. I've always dealt with CDMA phones so I have no idea where to go with this.

    Edit: Also, is there any way I can confirm the phone is indeed unlocked?

  2. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Well-Known Member

    I don't think GSM phones have ESNs. They have IMEIs. As for whether it's blocked or not, so far there's no central database of stolen phones/blocked IMEIs in the US (although I think there's a move by the FCC and carriers to create one). Your best bet is to try calling both AT&T and T-Mobile to check if the IMEI is good.

    Not until you get your hands on it and pop a SIM card in.
  3. Demache

    Demache Well-Known Member

    GSM phones don't have ESN's. They have an IMEI number instead. However I'm not sure how you could look up if its blocked or not.
  4. PhoneFanatic1

    PhoneFanatic1 Active Member

    Yes, the FCC just announced they were working with the 4 major carriers to finally build a central US database. They haven't seemed to be in too much of a rush since people who have had their phones stolen are suddenly customers in need of a new phone.

    Before you pay for the phone, make sure you can activate it. Even if the initial check comes back that it's clean, it can always be reported stolen in the time before you get it. Once it's activated, you're in the clear..

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes..
  5. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    I don't think this sale of mine is going anywhere. The guy I'm trying to deal with claims he has an unlocked GSM iPhone, but he also claims he's using it on VZW at the moment. I think he's either lieing or clueless. Probably the latter.
  6. sdrawkcab25

    sdrawkcab25 Well-Known Member

    Like others have said even if you verify it is clean right now... it doesn't keep the seller from committing insurance fraud by claiming it was stolen right after you've paid them. If possible, only be willing to submit a payment after you've activated the phone.

    And just to clarify, all new phones do use an IMEI number or MEID number, ESNs are the older standard and manufacturers basically ran out of ESNs to give out, so the MEID is used or the IMEI for GSM
  7. PhoneFanatic1

    PhoneFanatic1 Active Member

    If you get the number you can check it for free on this site: - The worlds only free instant online ESN checker!

    It sounds like it's too much trouble though. There's 30,000 smartphones sold on Craigslist a day.. :D
  8. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Well-Known Member

    If he's selling the latest iPhone 4S, then it's one of the few "world phones" that work with both CDMA and GSM. I believe there were reports back when it was released that Verizon didn't bother to lock the GSM portion. If it's locked, then you can ask Verizon to unlock it for international use (e.g. you want to go vacationing in another country and plan to use a local prepaid SIM card for cheaper rates).
  9. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

    also any ID number he sends you for the phone so that you can check to see if it is good... MAY NOT BE THE PHONE HE FINALLY SENDS TO YOU.

    that is why i would only buy from local.. meet at the carrier store.. check it, activate it... then pay
  10. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    He says it's a 4S. What kind of 4S I don't know. I wasn't aware there were different versions. I'll have him send me the ESN.
  11. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Well-Known Member

    From a hardware perspective, there's just one version of the 4S (well, 6 if you count the different colors and capacities). However, you can't use the AT&T or unlocked versions with CDMA carriers. Don't really know why. However, it's possible to use the Sprint and Verizon 4S with GSM carriers (as long as it's unlocked).
  12. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    Here's another question then. If I burn my upgrade and buy an iPhone 4S from VZW would I be able to activate it on T-Mobile?

Share This Page