So I wanted to give some feedback on the flashing experience, I certainly hope this is the right place to do it. I figured someone in the Chicago area could find this helpful, I was flying blind throughout the whole experience as far as that goes.

I'm using an Epic 4g with a bad ESN. It was a contract that was dropped, so as far as I knew the phone was more or less useless. But here I am at the end of yet another contract with Verizon and honestly, I was paying waaaaay too much money for all that, so I said to hell with this I'm going prepaid.

So I started looking at my collection of phones (good lord I have way too many) and dug up my Epic 4g and started looking into my options - which is when I stumbled upon this site. Read chrisngrod's guide, A+ by the way - really awesome - and got it unlocked. I went into the store (Waukegan, if anyone's interested), purchased the $30 ZTE Chorus and managed to sweet-talk the person checking me out into not charging me full price since I wasn't porting a number. Not really sure how that happened, but it did. She put me on the $50 plan, activated my phone, and I was golden.

I wound up having to manually program my phone since I'm using Sprint towers. The guide was extremely helpful, just followed the instructions and got talk, text and data configured. Then I called Cricket and had them change my ESN (which in retrospect was stupid since you guys do ESN changes cheaper... but I didn't realize that until after the fact). This was an interesting challenge, but I told her the phone I -just- purchased died and I was 2 hours from the nearest store, and if she could please help me out. I gave her my ESN and convinced her it was some crappy Kyrocera phone. She did warn me that because it wasn't a tri-band phone it might not work, but I told her look it's just temporary, I realize it -might- not work but I'm willing to take that risk. It was done, I tested it and voila, talk text and data were all working.

The PRL I had the most luck with up here (10 miles to the Wisconsin border) is the 45713 Hybrid on the first page of the official PRL thread. That's given me great download and upload speed and reasonable signal wherever I go. I travel to the West Loop of Chicago and had good signal and data there too.

Regardless, it's overall been a very positive experience, and if you're in an AWS market - try it out!

The only hiccups / questions I came across were:

I started off on the $50 plan, when I did the ESN change they bumped me down to the $45 plan. Cool, oddly data just worked out of the box. Is this a symptom of being on Sprint's tower? If I travel to a normal Cricket area, will my data stop working?

Obviously call forwarding won't work for Google Voice. I'm actually driving to Florida next week, my plan is to just do the forward when I'm in a service area, but again my fear is the above.

I used the Epic 4g MMS fix and that worked great, sometimes it's a bit goofy but generally speaking it works okay.

So yeah, that's that! If anyone happens to read this and can answer the service question, that'd be awesome - but otherwise I hope someone finds this helpful.