Taking my Nexus 5X to Sprint - Much frustration and advice needed


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Feb 10, 2012
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Hi everyone, (long story ahead)

I received an unlocked Nexus 5X as a holiday gift from my company last year in 2015. I signed up for Project Fi and popped the SIM card in. During this time, I'm using a Nexus 5 with Sprint. After a year, I decided to cancel my Fi service and use the 5X to replace the 5, which by this time was truly showing its age. So I ordered a simglw446c SIM card (which multiple sources say works for the 5X on Sprint) and got it today. I cancel my Fi service, confirm with a Google representative that the MEID is free and I can use the device with any other service.

I hop on Sprint, log in, and activate the 5X. The MEID works and is accepted! I then enter the ICC ID of the SIM card I ordered and it also works! These two were huge obstacles when I tried to activate my 5, so I'm ecstatic this is working. I click "Activate", and everything else looks good...

Except after 2 hours, my 5X is...not behaving as I expect. I see an indication that I occasionally have cell service, but no data (in the upper left corner I see "Sprint", though). I constantly see the "Configuring cellular network" notification and it'll cycle to 3G momentarily, sometimes I'll just lose all service, and other times I'll see a pop-up of "SIM card has locked, etc." When the latter two happen I restart my phone and go through the same dance.

Frustrated, I call Sprint and after a hour on the phone with them they tell me that the SIM card cannot be used with the phone and that I need to bring it to a Sprint repair shop or otherwise use a Sprint SIM card. I pressed for more detail and was told it has to do something with it being used on Project Fi before. They concluded by saying there's nothing more they can do over the phone. Then I call my local Sprint repair shop and explain the situation to him: That I got the Nexus 5X as a gift from my company, I signed up for Project Fi, used it for a year, then canceled it and now I want to activate it for Sprint. I emphasize that I'm a current Sprint customer.

Their response was that they've seen people come in with similar problems and they haven't been able to resolve it. They said I can come in and they'll put in a ticket/e-mail, but it'll be a crapshoot. I ask, even if I use a Sprint-provided SIM card? They said, yes others have tried to go from Fi to Sprint and it's something to do with how the device gets flashed when you use a Fi SIM card. I said, that sounds...like it shouldn't be possible, but can I un-flash it? They said no, but I'm free to come in and they'll give it a shot.

I thank them and hang up. I tried to Google around but I haven't seen anything relevant. The ticket/e-mail thing was something that I had to go through with the Nexus 5 because it had been used at T-Mobile, but that was because the phone itself was not in their system. I'm wondering why the rep at the repair shop said it "probably won't work" and that it has something to do with Fi messing with the phone.

I basically lost half a workday of productivity trying to figure this out and it's incredibly frustrating. Can anyone speak to whether or not the representative at the repair shop is wrong? Should I go to the shop and ask them to help me activate it? I'm willing to eat the cost of buying the SIM card from a third-party at this point. I just want it to work...


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