First, the USC Moto E4 appears to be very much the same as the Retail Unlocked E4 being sold for $130. It has the same SKU of XT1768, can be bootloader unlocked, rooted, and appears to work with most carriers out of the box. I picked up my USC variant for $50 on eBay, and, as of this post, USC has them for $20 plus $35 for 1 month of service. Quite a deal if you can get one.
My thoughts/experiences are:
1. The USC Moto E4 (XT1768) appears to be fully unlocked*.
A. Out of the box it worked with my Tracfone AT&T sim for calls, text, and data WITHOUT having to configure anything.
B. It passed IMEI checks for Page Plus , Verizon, and Tracfone Verizon.
C. It passed IMEI checks for Ting GSM.
D. It, however failed for Tello, which is Sprint only.
EDIT - Thanks to @shogunreaper. He says the phone is compatible with Sprint & Tello once you ask Sprint to add the imei to their list. See here.
* Conclusion: The US Cellular E4 is almost fully unlocked. The retail version says it’s compatible with Sprint, but the US Cellular does not appear to be. It seems that it would/should work for all the other carriers. There is speculation that Moto may have not yet released IMEI numbers to Sprint yet, thus the reason the IMEI is failing for Tello/Sprint. Apparently this was the case for previous unlocked Moto phones. Not a problem for me as I will likely never use Sprint.YMMV.
2. BOOTLOADER UNLOCKING
I followed these instructions.
Unlocking the bootloader will cause the bootscreen to display "Bad Key" when you turn on the phone. THIS IS NORMAL. It will boot normally and your phone will work fine. Currently looking for a method to replace the bootscreen so "Bad Key" isn't displayed.
3. Flash the US Retail Stock Firmware
I did this to see what would happen, if anything, and to de-brand the phone as much as possible. To be fair the USC E4 only comes with 4 bloat apps and a modified Boot Animation with the US Cellular logo. The Retail Stock firmware removes all that. THIS IS OPTIONAL. To flash the retail firmware:
A. Download RSD Lite. This is similar to Odin, for those that have/had Samsung phones.
B. Downloaded firmware. I used the “Retail” version.
C. Unzip firmware to separate folder, install RSD Lite, & put phone into fastboot mode, & connect to PC. In RSD Lite, search for folder with firmware and select the “Flash” file. Process should take about 10-20 minutes.
4. Installed TWRP
A. Used the TWRP image from @squid2. I permanently flashed it with twrp-perry-3.1.1-r2.img
B. It wasn’t obvious to me, but the TWRP image should be placed on your PC, in the same folder you run ADB from, meaning put the TWRP img to be flashed in "platform-tools" for ADB. I originally placed the TWRP image on the phone’s SD card and it didn’t work. Don’t be dumb like me!
C. When you enter the command fastboot flash recovery twrp.img, make sure the twrp.img part matches the file name you downloaded, such as fastboot flash recovery twrp-perry-3.1.1-r2.img or fastboot flash recovery twrp-perry-3.1.1-r3.img.
D. Flashing TWRP to your phone will cause the bootscreen to display "N/A". THIS IS NORMAL. Currently looking for a method to replace the bootscreen so "N/A" is no longer displayed.
Followed @KyleBryant guide (bottom of Post #1).
A. Download pph’s su zip.
B. Download no-verity-opt-encrypt.zip.
C. Flash both Superuser & No-Verity in TWRP.
D. Reboot the phone and INSTALL phh’s SUPERUSSER FROM PLAY STORE.
@KyleBryant says to format data in TWRP, reboot to TWRP, then flash the zips. I wound up doing this because after flashing the zips, Root Checker said I didn’t have root…but I think that’s because I didn’t install the SuperUser apk. DUH! Also, formatting data wipes your phone clean. Wasn’t a problem for me as I was doing this on a new phone. So…decide if you want to format data or not. For a new phone it’s not a big deal. If you’ve been using the phone for a while and have all your data, etc…, backup what you need first before formatting data.
6. Remove N/A on boot image
Thanks to @mikaleee, we now have a template to replace the logo.bin. Guide is here.
7. Disable/Remove Increasing ringtone. I posted the procedure here.
Hopefully this helps.
I went so far as to order one from US Cellular, but was rejected because my mailing address is not in their service area.