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In simple terms, flashing a cell phone essentially means reprogramming it to work with a carrier other than its intended provider. ... Unlocking applies to GSM phones, which is the process of obtaining a code that “unlocks” the sim card slot and allows you to put a different provider's sim card in place of the original.


All cellphones are identified by an ESN, also knows as an Electronic Serial Number.  GSM phones are commonly referred to by their IMEI, while modern CDMA phones use an MEID.  All of these are unique to the phone they are assigned to. What does it mean to have a bad ESN, and what can be done with a phone in such condition? This article will explore both of these questions and give advice to those who might be stuck between a rock and a hard place.


First of all, what exactly is a bad ESN? Well, it can mean a couple things:  One meaning of a bad ESN would be a phone that was purchased from a carrier on a contract. In some cases, the account is cancelled with a balance that does not get paid off.  When this happens, carriers will often flag the ESN or place it on a blacklist, preventing the phone from being activated within the same carrier, and sometimes even on other carriers. The other reason a bad ESN can arise is through theft or loss. When a person loses a phone or has it stolen, if reported, the carrier will place the phone on a lost/stolen list or a blacklist, making it a bad ESN, and unable to be activated on at least it’s original carrier, if not others as well.  FLASH2UNLOCK does not support phone theft and will not work with known stolen equipment.


Sometimes, though, a phone is lost and recovered the bad ESN flag remains attached to the phone. Other times, even when a person is out of contract, a carrier may place a bad ESN flag on an unpaid account. In these cases, the phone ownership is legitimate. How can these phones be used if they have a bad ESN?


Most VERIZON and Sprint phones with bad ESN’s can be flashed to work with Pageplus or MetroPCS. Visit our article about flashing phones here. GSM phones with bad ESN’s get a little trickier, but options may exist as long as you find a carrier outside the original network. If you have a phone with a bad ESN and feel that is not accurate, you may want to contact your original provider as well. Some of us have bought phones on eBay or Craigslist with bad ESN’s and are left with no options.  Well, through these avenues, there may be some use for the phones after all.



What can I do with a phone that has a bad ESN? 

Once your cell phone has been jailbroken/rooted, you would have full read, write, and rewrite permissions, enabling the ability to do more advanced things, such as:

Install new leaked releases of operating systems

Modify hardware systems

Install more advanced apps


Tethering is when you turn you smartphone into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and share your phones 3G/4G data connection. Once you've turned tethering on, any device with a wireless connection can connect to the internet via your smartphone's connection.