Ask Sourcely: What Is Phone Flashing?


You’ve heard the word, but what does “flashing” mean exactly?

(And we’re not talking about the kind of “flashing” you might encounter on the subway.)

Flashing a cell phone means reprogramming it to work with a carrier other than its intended provider. This sounds a lot like unlocking, but flashing is actually quite different.

The Pros and Cons of Phone Flashing

How different? About as different as the two main cellular technologies: GSM and CDMA.

Unlocking applies to GSM phones only. The process entails getting a code that “unlocks” the SIM card slot and lets you put in a different provider’s SIM card.

CDMA phones, on the other hand, require flashing. And this means essentially hacking into the phone. This means too that if you wish to go back to the original carrier, it will be difficult, if not impossible. And there’s a good chance too that your phone may lose certain features or respond negatively to certain software updates.

Yet flashing also allows you to reduce your phone bill through a no-contract service. That’s why many customers opt to flash their phones; the benefits far outweigh the risks.

So next time a customer asks you the difference between flashing and unlocking, make sure to list both the benefits and the risks of doing so. You’ll have a happier customer–and a happy customer, as we know, if often a repeat customer.

Got more industry questions? Then contact us today.


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Ask Sourcely: I’ve Got a Bad ESN. How Can I Fix It?


First things first: What’s an ESN? The ESN is a number similar to a car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) in that it uniquely identifies a cellular phone to a cellular network and system. ESNs assist in recovering the phone should it be lost or stolen, and it serves to identify an authorized subscriber to the cellular network and allows cellular carriers to properly bill for calls.

Bad ESNs can happen because of a number of things, including:

  • A client purchased a phone from a carrier on a contract that had a delinquent balance.
  • The client is out of contact, and the carrier places a hold on their account.
  • The phone had been lost or stolen.

This second reason is a bit more complicated. When a phone is reported lost or stolen, the carrier places the phone on a special list. This marks it as having a invalid ESN. It will be unable to be activated on its original carrier, as well as other carriers. Reputable repair stores do not work on such phones.

But things get complicated when a phone is lost or stolen and then recovered — and yet the bad ESN flag remains.

What to do then?

Most phones can be flashed to work with another carrier. (Don’t know how to flash? Then check out our post on it.) So long as the phone is legitimate (that is, not truly lost or stolen), then you can make it functional. The only catch? GSM phones. You’ll have to find a carrier outside your original network to make it work, and even then there’s no real guarantee it will.

Got more questions about the repair trade? Or do you want to boost your repair business? Then contact us today!

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Ask Sourcely: What Is Recommerce?


This post begins our Ask Sourcely series. Got a question about recommerce, maximizing your business success, attracting new customers, or anything else? Just send it our way.

What is recommerce indeed? At first sight, it looks a lot like a simple misspelling of e-commerce (as in electronic or digital commerce, also known as online shopping). (more…)

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