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
  • Insert friends activated T-mobile SIM into G1 along with battery
  • Power on and wait for setup screen
  • Go through setup process to link any Gmail account
  • Go to Settings > Wireless Controls > Wi-Fi Settings > Enable Wi-Fi
  • Connect to nearby Wi-Fi network if one is available
  • Optional: Stop the phone from syncing with Gmail account by going to Data Synchronization and unchecking Auto-sync, Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts
  • 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
  • Purchase the unlock code for your G1.
  • Put your carrier’s sim in the phone.
  • Turn on your phone. It will ask you for the unlock code. Simply type in the unlock code.

Setup New Gmail

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.

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.

Chose The APN

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.

Just Follow The Steps

You have now entered in your carrier APN settings so hit the Menu button and select Save. 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!