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Activating Your Phone With AT&T. T-Mobile, Verizon, and Other Service Providers

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

By: Keegan Mathias, Marketing Specialist, August 9th, 2021

Pictures By: Anne Sullivan, Marketing Specialist

Jethro cell phones are compatible with most of the major cell phone service providers. Our service provider, Jethro Mobile, runs off T-Mobiles networks, but our devices work with other providers as well.

The networks that work with Jethro devices are:

Jethro Mobile

  • Any Jethro Mobile plan will work with our phones

  • SIM card included with every phone or plan purchase


  • Jethro phones will work with T-Mobile, as Jethro Mobile runs off of T-Mobiles networks.


  • We recommend using the T-Mobile or AT&T net work options TracFone provides. It is possible to use the Verizon network but it may give you some trouble to set up.


  • AT&T can be compatible but it can come with complications. Plead read AT&T blog here to learn more.


  • Likely to encounter issues in set up, we will walk you through how to deal with these later.

Networks that will not accept Jethro phones (or other outside phones) include:

Cricket Wireless

  • We do not recommend using this network, as Cricket allows very few phones outside of their networks on their service. Any phone not included in these service providers mentioned will be sent directly to customer and told their phone is not compatible.


  • Sprint is incompatible with Jethro phones, as their bands and infrequencies differ.

  • Sprint runs on a CDMA network, while Jethro SC490 uses GSM.


  • We do not recommend using this network with Jethro phones, as they, like Cricket, only allow a few phones from outside their network to work. They will send you directly to customer service as well and not allow you to activate on their network

Why do some carriers say SC490 isn’t compatible with their network?

Why do some of these networks cause a hassle and others don’t? The simple answer is a lack of understanding about outside phones. Also, another reason is that they want you to purchase their phones instead. For the price conscious consumer or those who need a basic phone such as the Jethro SC490, this means you may need to explain to their staff what to do, but you’ll save in the end. For most of the carriers, this issue comes from a misunderstanding about a carrier locked phone. Our phones are unlocked but include a Jethro SIM card. With the Jethro SIM card inserted in the phone, it will display T-Mobile on the screen which often makes other service providers believe the phone is locked to T-Mobile. To activate with another service provider, all you need to do is remove the Jethro SIM and insert and activate your preferred carrier’s SIM card.

Why is it Difficult to Activate with Verizon?

Verizon has pushed their network to not be as easy to activate a non-Verizon locked phone, which makes activating a Jethro phone with Verizon service harder than another network. They have done this to boost their sales of in-house phones and motivate smartphone purchases. If you are planning on using their network, we recommend reading our blog on how to activate your phone with a Verizon SIM and providing it to the staff at the Verizon store. If you do choose to go with Verizon, please read over our blog on activating with Verizon, and even bring it with you when you go in.

AT&T 3G/4G System Update

Jethro customers have encountered issues with AT&T not being able to activate their phones. This issue is due to the confusion of our phones being both 3G and 4G capable, causing AT&T employees to believe they are 3G only. With 3G phasing out, AT&T is notifying their customers that they will need to upgrade to 4G or higher generation compatible device. This may cause them to notify you that your phone is not compatible with their changing network.

After much testing and speaking with our customers, we noticed some customers using the Jethro SC490 on the AT&T network are encountering sudden service interruptions.

After looking into the situation and researching the problem our customers are facing, it appears that AT&T is limiting the phones they allow on their network. By allowing a limited number of phones on their network, they can require those who want to use their service have an AT&T phone.

Read more here on our blog about AT&T updates

What do I do if carrier says SC490 isn’t compatible?

If you’ve run into an issue with activating your phone in any of these networks, there are several strategies to get your phone up and running.

1. If you are told your phone is locked:

  • All Jethro phones come with a Jethro Mobile SIM card, so if you choose to go with us, the process is painless. However, this means that you need to remove this before attempting to bring your device to a new network, as it will make your phone appear locked from their network. Removing the SIM card will allow the employee to replace it with their network’s SIM card.

2. If you want to use this phone on Verizon but need help setting it up:

  • The previous steps can help here too, but if they are still not allowing you to activate the SC490 on Verizon, we recommend showing them this blog, and if they are willing, they may be able to activate your service:

3. If the network won’t recognize your IMEI number for a new activation:

  • We recommend that you try to use a phone that is already registered with the network you have chosen, as it will have an IMEI that is registered with them, allowing your new SIM be activated easier before you put it back into your Jethro phone.

How do I check if my IMEI is compatible with a network?

Below are links to check at major networks, with a T-Mobile example to make it simple:



  • Does not have an IMEI checker available.


US Mobile


  • Activation can be tricky, but you can get the phone to work on Verizon. See this blog for more information and customer reviews.

What do I do if this is all so complicated?

Jethro Phones include a SIM card, which makes using our service easy. If you choose to go to another carrier, we recommend removing our Jethro Mobile SIM card before trying to activate your cell phone. If you don’t, the carrier may think your phone is locked to us, but that’s only the SIM and taking it out will resolve this issue easily.

If this is too much of a hassle, Jethro Mobile may be what you’re looking for. The SIM card included in your phone is ready to be activated with us, meaning an easy process to get a working phone. Simply call us or go online to for simple and efficient activation. You can even bring your existing phone number to our service. With Jethro you can choose your plan, your data, and how long you want to stay, there’s no contracts here! We also offer a generous return policy: you may return the plan for a full refund for up to 14 days with limited usage. Limited usage is allows you 30 minutes of talk, 30 texts, and 30MB of data to be eligible for a refund.

Choosing Jethro Mobile gives you affordable prices, no hidden fees, and the freedom of leaving if you want, when you want.

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