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Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

Journeyman

Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

These are some features that do not have clear answers after researching online and these forums have no direct answers. I called Sprint customer service today to have each specialist not understand, have the product knowledge, or provide me a different answer.

 

Best Buy recommended for me to Pre-order/ the UNLOCKED version of the new Samsung Galaxy S9/+ because i do not want to have to lease my phone, change my Legendary plan, or have to add on additional cost to my monthly bill. I also have more flexibility on how i can pay for the phone since i am paying Best Buy directly and not Sprint Smiley Happy

 

 

My questions are

 

1) Do UNLOCKED phones receive the new Android version updates and also the Samsung updates at the same time other Sprint Locked phones do (Unlocked Galaxy phones Vs the Sprint Locked Galaxy phones) ?  

  • There are many reports online and some posts on these forums where customers indicate they do not get the Galaxy series Android/Samsung updates at all or receive them on a delayed schedule. My understanding is also that each individual carrier releases the updates to their customers but because i will be owning an unlocked phone, not Carrier specific, will sprint release these updates to me, or will Samsung? If Possible please post the policy or credible link/information on this so i am not receiving just "heresay" responses. I dealt with wrong and different responses today with several specialist and it was not a good experience. 

2) Since Unlocked phones are not tied directly to Sprint, customers do not have the pre-installed bloatware on their phones like the Sprint App, Wi-fi Calling capability, or Visual/Voicemail App.

The Voicemail app is not available on the Android Play store although a Sprint Representative by the name of Sprint_Jeffrey @ Sprint Social Care posted on these forums that it would be released in 2017. I checked today, and it's not there. Is the Sprint Visual/Voicemail app going to be released via the Android Play Store? 

 

If not,

How are Unlocked Galaxy Phone Customers supposed to have access to see their Voicemails on their phone without having to install an App from a 3rd party other than Sprint? To be clear i am referring to the App on Sprint carrier phones with the current version being T.9.0.0.26 developed in part by Smith Micro Software (this can be found on the Settings > About section of the app). 

 

I prefer not to have to call my own # to hear voicemails and i much rather get the notifications on my notification bar and be able to see the phone #'s and play the messages in the App. This is a huge convenience but it is looking like this will not be available on UNLOCKED Phones. I do not like installing 3rd party apps that have ridiculous permission requirements.

 

Will Sprint release Apps or provide the capability for Unlocked Phone customers to have access to Wi-fi calling?

 

3) There are different posts that signify that unlocked Phones may have more network problems than Sprint Carrier phones. Do Unlocked, Galaxy Phones in specific, work differently on the Sprint network or have reliability issues as opposed to Sprint Carrier Phones when purchasing from the Sprint Store?

 

(I highlighted my questions that need answers and would greatly appreciate if someone from Sprint can provide me the correct information).

 

Thank You

38 REPLIES 38
Community Manager

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

Hey, @B-Spence I have some of these answers, have sent off to get the answer to another and you can ask follow ups if you need to do so.  Also, I'm sorry for the delay.  Our Spam filter caught this post, and held it for review.  Now that I've certified it as 'not spam' it should be fine Smiley Happy

 

Do UNLOCKED phones receive the new Android version updates and also the Samsung updates at the same time other Sprint Locked phones do (Unlocked Galaxy phones Vs the Sprint Locked Galaxy phones) ?  

 

Factory unlocked devices receive Android version and Samsung updates just like Sprint locked phones.  While Sprint tests these updates for our branded devices to ensure they perform well with our network and our unique settings/apps, the actual update comes from the OEM in any case.  That I know of, there isn't a link that spells this out, certainly not a Sprint official link but that's generally how it works in the industry.

 

Is the Sprint Visual/Voicemail app going to be released via the Android Play Store?

Sprint's version of the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ will be the first factory unlocked devices that will have access to Sprint's branded visual voicemail.  Assuming all goes well (because sometimes launches of new features can be delayed), you should be able to download it as an app from the Play Store at launch.

 

Will Sprint release Apps or provide the capability for Unlocked Phone customers to have access to Wi-fi calling?

This can vary by OEM and even by model but because again, WiFi calling, Calling Plus and Voice Call Continuity are Sprint proprietary clients, typically, unlocked devices won't have the features and they won't be available through download.  I'm not 100% sure that the S9/S9+ won't have it, so I've sent off to the folks who will know to verify.  Expect an update before the 16th.

 

(Edited to add this because I missed it the first time round)

Do Unlocked, Galaxy Phones in specific, work differently on the Sprint network or have reliability issues as opposed to Sprint Carrier Phones when purchasing from the Sprint Store?

Your mileage may vary, conditions and coverage may obviously vary but there shouldn't be a significant difference in performance.

 

A note about Factory Unlocked (or open world) phones in general:

Certainly, one part of the appeal of a factory unlocked phone is avoiding the 'bloatware' that comes with carrier branding of a device. Unfortunately, that carrier branding is the key to accessing several clients and/or features that, because they're Sprint specific, may not available on factory unlocked(open world) devices. There are also certain features standard on a Factory Unlocked version that aren't available on the carrier branded (Samsung Video calling on the S8 is a recent example). 

 

When deciding whether to buy carrier branded or factory unlocked, one will definitely want to take that part into consideration. I've run a couple of Nexus devices and they were certainly great but I did miss some features that are only available on carrier branded phones.

 

 


SeaWolf
Sprint Community Manager & Customer Advocate
Captain of the Vicious Cream-puff
I encourage you to post your questions on the community, give Kudos when earned and always mark the correct answer as "Accepted Solution".


Journeyman

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

Thanks for the responses.

My main thing is not wanting to get an unlocked version of the s9 plus and having issues, specifically network connection issues. This would be my first unlocked device in over 8 years with sprint so ive never tested this before. If possible, could you elaborate on this

"Your mileage may vary, conditions and coverage may obviously vary but there shouldn't be a significant difference in performance."

 

Milage, conditions, and coverage to me, means that data and phone coverage could be spotty and unreliable. If this is not expected to be significant, then i wont worry about it. It also sounds like that if i have issues say for an example with Data (not having enough bars) that the Unlocked Version of the phone would be to blame by sprint. I hope thats not the case or there isnt a stigmatization for unlocked devices and technical issues. Is this the case? And am i required to pick up a SIM Card from sprint after getting my device?

 

Its good to know that a voicemail app may be available as the convenience of using it is appreciated.

 

One last thing and i know this one is a stretch, but since i pre ordered my device from Best Buy and if i were to have issues with the unlocked device, would i be able to trade it in for a Sprint branded one at a sprint store or BB?

 

I dont like the idea of not being able to have an option to choose between an Unlocked and Carrier Branded device because of the fact id rather own it outright and pay it off immediatley (purchasing at best buy also offers me additional savings, discounts, and financing options which is why i did not get it directly from Sprint this time around). For what this feedback is worth, i believe customers, especially those who are dropping $950 for a new phone should have the option to buy a carrier branded device and not forced to get the unlcoked edition at participating  retailers. This may help prevent them from buying something that may have its own conditions or less support.

 

Thank You

 

 

Journeyman

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

Good morning B-Spence. Phone coverage may vary based on your location and how the network is performing in that area and also since the phone is not a branded Sprint device, it could have network band limitations, however as mentioned there shouldn't be a significant difference in performance. You have the option to visit a Sprint Store to order the SIM card, you can also do it online, just click here to verify the compatible SIM card ad order it. In case you have an issues with the unlocked device we will not be able to replace it for a Sprint branded device, you will need to get in contact with BestBuy.

 

   


Palmira
Sprint Social Care
Journeyman

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

Y'all keep saying that the Visual Voicemail App is available for download on Google Play .  However, you FAIL TO PROVIDE a link, a name, anything that associates the VVM apk with the Sprint Voicemail App.

 

In other words if I go to Google Play and enter Sprint Visual Voicemail for Samsung S9 it shows nothing!!!!  Nor does Sprint Visual Voicemail.

 

Please provide the link to your customers ASAP!!!!!!

Community Manager

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

I did a quick search and pulled this up, @slabar

 

Sprint Visual Voicemail

 

Let us know whether or not that works for you.

 

Note to others reading: the VVM app is compatible only with the S9 and S9+, it's not designed for other devices. If you're using another device model, results may not appear on a search or may show up as incompatible for your device.

 

 

 


SeaWolf
Sprint Community Manager & Customer Advocate
Captain of the Vicious Cream-puff
I encourage you to post your questions on the community, give Kudos when earned and always mark the correct answer as "Accepted Solution".


Journeyman

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

That worked, thank you!  It's funny on four other devices it does not show up I Google play only on my s9 when I search.

 

You may want to sticky a link. 

Journeyman

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

Well, I was able to install Visual Voicemail however, it will NOT authenticate my account.  Ideas?

Sprint Social Care

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

Good morning @slabar, do you receive a specific error code? If so, let us know and attach screenshots of the message received.


Jeffrey
Sprint Social Care
Community Manager

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

Looks like there are a couple extra steps @slabar.  Do you still have your previous device?

 


SeaWolf
Sprint Community Manager & Customer Advocate
Captain of the Vicious Cream-puff
I encourage you to post your questions on the community, give Kudos when earned and always mark the correct answer as "Accepted Solution".


Journeyman

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

Seawulf,

 

Yes I do have my old phone still.  What are the next steps??

Sprint Social Care

Re: Clarifications needed for purchasing an UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Phone at participating retailer

You should go to your old phone and dial ##RTN#. After the reset, go to your new phone and try to activate the Voicemail App again.


Jeffrey
Sprint Social Care
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