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Samsung Gear S2 Activation

I have a Gear S2 from Verizon.  It's been working fine for a little over a year until I started experiencing severe battery drain.  I sent it to Samsung for repair and now I cannot re-activate the device on Verizon.  The phone number says:  (000)000-0028 under "Gear Info".  I've contacted Verizon Tech Support (who also spoke with Samsung) and they believe it's a "software" issue.  Meanwhile, Samsung believes it's a "carrier" issue.  Everything else works fine - it pairs with an S8 via bluetooth, however I bought the device for it's standalone capability making it useless.  Anyone else experience activation issues after a Samsung repair?  I've seen a couple posts where people from T-mobile experienced issues but haven't found any from Verizon.  I'm wondering if the wrong carrier software was loaded on my watch (?).  I dunno, but I'm at my wits end with being pawned off from company to company without anyone actively trying to figure out what's wrong.  It worked prior to repair!!!

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