How To: Activate an Unlocked G1, With or Without a T-Mobile SIM

If you purchased a new G1 and you don’t want to be stuck with T-Mobile for 2 years, there are a couple of possible ways to bypass the initial activation so you can use the G1 on your AT&T or other carrier’s SIM card.

The first involves using a friend’s T-Mobile SIM card (via loveforbiz.com):

  1. Insert friends activated T-mobile SIM into G1 along with battery
  2. Power on and wait for setup screen
  3. Go through setup process to link any Gmail account
  4. Go to Settings > Wireless Controls > Wi-Fi Settings > Enable Wi-Fi
  5. Connect to nearby Wi-Fi network if one is available
  6. Optional: Stop the phone from syncing with Gmail account by going to Data Synchronization and unchecking Auto-sync, Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts
  7. Once done, take out friends SIM card and insert unactivated SIM that came with G1

The second method activates and unlocks your G1, assuming you have purchased an unlock code (via modmygphone.com):

  1. Purchase the unlock code for your G1.
  2. Put your carrier’s sim in the phone.
  3. Turn on your phone. It will ask you for the unlock code. Simply type in the unlock code.
  4. The phone will tell you to touch the Android after which you need to setup up a new Gmail account or sign in with an existing Gmail account. This is the activation process and it will of course fail since we aren’t using a T-Mobile SIM in our G1.
  5. After the activation fails, press Try Again and it will take you back to the screen where I needed to enter in my Gmail account and password. This time instead of providing the information, press the Menu button on the phone. A nice little pop up will appear for APN Settings. Select it.
  6. Now you have a list of carrier APNs showing and they are all T-mobile. Select one and you will see all the Settings for that APN. From here you can either press menu to add a new APN or edit the settings for the existing one you are viewing. I chose to edit the existing one since I wont need it. Here is the trick. You need to enter in your carriers APN Settings when you create a new APN or edit an existing one. If you don’t know your carrier’s APN settings, the folks at modmygphone have put together a nice list here.
  7. You have now entered in your carrier APN settings so hit the Menu button and select Save.
  8. Press the back button on your phone until you get back to the sign in or create gmail account. Follow the steps. This time assuming you have entered in the correct APN settings for your carrier instead of the “There is a problem communicating with the Google servers” error you will get a nice signed in screen. Congrats! Your Andriod phone is now unlocked and activated running on the network of your choice. You should be able to use all the phone’s features and be totally good to go!


Ben is the owner/editor of The Android Site, as well as the main writer. He has been writing about Android related news since 2009 and obsessed with everything Google and Android related. You can find him on Reddit, Twitter, Google Plus and most other websites under the username benmarvin

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  • Derick

    So unlocking it will only work if you have the data plan, right?

  • http://www.theandroidsite.com Ben Marvin

    You will need a data plan or a wifi connection to do a first-run activation with Google.

  • http://www.britco.co.in shaheer

    sir i have a g1 , but ican’t open menu with this mobile ,how to possible, i think thi unlocked piece

  • Jan

    do you think that a simple family plan can get me throughout the initial activation. Please reply.. Thnx..

  • Jimmy

    omg =D Thankyou SOOO MUCH !!! i was getting frustrated because i didnt know how to get my phone activated =) and now im loving the android OS … clearly better than an iPhone =)

  • Javier

    I still can not activate my phone. I want to do it with WIFI since i do not have a data plan. Is that possible? How?

    Thanks in advance.

  • http://www.masterchan2000.homestead.com Master_Chan Two Gee

    Ben Marvin has perfectly allowed and shared this walk thru, which is perfectly accurate, professional, time saving and not 100%, but 1,000,000,000 (million percent)totally accurate!!

    My hat goes off for Ben Marvin i’m assuming the pupil whom posted this valuable info.

    Thank you; I’m a happy camper!!!! :D !!! yaeeey!!! :o :D :D

  • http://www.levid.com innovatedmind

    Ben Marvin, can you please give me a few answers to my questions? My friend is giving me her G1 that she never uses anymore (she got a new phone) but I have AT&T… I don’t have a data plan and my parents went so far as to block data on our family plan! We do have wifi though! On your first one you said that if the phone has been activated already then it’s a done deal, my question is, what do i do when i get the phone? I told her not to do a factory reset!

    Please message me back as I would really like help on this!

    Email is at alternaterealm@mail.com

    – Joey!

  • Janelle

    I have a G1. Can i set up my Google account so i can activate it,,by usinq my friends sim card,she has a data plan..Just not a G1 data plan..so can i?

  • Mario

    THANKS AT LOTTTTTTTTTTTT we have almost 12 hours trying to enter and finally did it thanks to your second recomandation. Did I said thanks already ? :)

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