How to Verify a Clean Sprint ESN

By Susan Reynolds

Updated September 15, 2017

You need a clean ESN to activate a Sprint cell phone.
i man on cell phone image by Cora Reed from

A cell phone's ESN is a unique combination of letters and numbers that lets the phone company activate it. The ESN can also show the history of the cell phone. If a phone is reported missing or stolen, the cell phone company can disable the ESN so that nobody else can use the phone, or they can simply lock the ESN so nobody else can activate it. There is only one certified way you can verify a clean Sprint ESN.

Turn off the Sprint cell phone and remove the battery cover. Take out the battery and look at the sticker label underneath it. The ESN starts with "DEC." Write down this number.

Call the Sprint phone company at 800-639-6111 to reach the ESN department if you need to check a Nextel phone. Call 888-211-4727 for a Sprint phone ESN check.

Tell the Sprint representative your ESN and ask if it is clear. He will tell you if you are able to activate the phone.


Always verify an ESN before you buy a used cell phone online.