Sim cards and carriers, discussion
#71
(07-02-2021, 02:09 PM)Nutmeg Wrote:
(07-01-2021, 11:14 PM)rocket2nfinity Wrote: For US Mobile Black SIM APN is vzwinternet

You have to register it with an android phone, then transfer the SIM to your Pinephone



thanks @rocket2nfinity   When we signed up with US Mobile they said the White card was for GSM and the Black Card was for CMDA, so we were using the white card.  Perhaps the black card would work.  We did not try that.  
Ahhh, the white SIM https://usmobile.helpdocs.io/device-setu...se-android
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#72
Wow, thanks to everyone for all of the amazing tips! We have had the new phones for about two weeks. Here is our experience so far:

Initially had old Verizon flip phones. Service started to fall apart and we discovered the dismantling of the 3G service. Verizon is it for us in Northern, rural US. We ordered cards for Puretalk.

With Puretalk, we finally got it to work on Arch and Mobian fairly consistently. Arch was doing some dropping of service, had to turn off auto rotate or it would drop calls. Text worked for the most part, but some would get missed if phone was off or sleeping, and occasionally, text would get crossed and show up under the wrong contact. The biggest problem was that our area is only really covered by Verizon consistently, so we could not get calls at our house, which is kind of useless. Too get it to work, we just had to set the APN to RESELLER. It had to be in 4G only to get and make calls.

For USMobile, I currently have it running on Mobian and have sent and received text, made and received phone calls. I had to register the black SIM with an old phone and then switch it to the Pinephone, as suggested by others. So far, so good. The service is excellent and I will try It out over the next day or two before porting my old number. This may be the solution for us in rural (Midwest) america. I could send text on US Mobile recommended APN of pwg, but had to switch to vzwinternet APN to get and receive calls.

Thanks so much for all of the amazing help!!
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#73
(07-02-2021, 09:05 PM)Nutmeg Wrote: Wow, thanks to everyone for all of the amazing tips! We have had the new phones for about two weeks. Here is our experience so far:

Initially had old Verizon flip phones. Service started to fall apart and we discovered the dismantling of the 3G service. Verizon is it for us in Northern, rural US.  We ordered cards for Puretalk.

With Puretalk, we finally got it to work on Arch and Mobian fairly consistently. Arch was doing some dropping of service, had to turn off auto rotate or it would drop calls. Text worked for the most part, but some would get missed if phone was off or sleeping, and occasionally, text would get crossed and show up under the wrong contact.  The biggest problem was that our area is only really covered by Verizon consistently, so we could not get calls at our house, which is kind of useless. Too get it to work, we just had to set the APN to RESELLER. It had to be in 4G only to get and make calls.

For USMobile, I currently have it running on Mobian and have sent and received text, made and received phone calls. I had to register the black SIM with an old phone and then switch it to the Pinephone, as suggested by others. So far, so good. The service is excellent and I will try It out over the next day or two before porting my old number. This may be the solution for us in rural (Midwest) america. I could send text on US Mobile recommended APN of pwg, but had to switch to vzwinternet APN to get and receive calls.

Thanks so much for all of the amazing help!!

Here in rural N. Central Idaho, Verizon and/or Inland Cellular are a must. (Inland is not an MVNO and has its own towers and roaming agreements with Verizon.) Unfortunately, Inland and Verizon are CDMA networks and the Pinephone is a GSM phone that does not support CDMA.

Making things worse, the WCDMA specs for the Pinephone, as listed, probably mislead many newbies, as I myself experienced. To understand the plethora of cellular technologies requires decoding a minefield of information. Any online website FAQ on the subject that says "it's simple" so just read THIS explanation and you'll be enlightened and claims to provide an accurate and comprehensive tutorial is lying!

In my research of the history of WCDMA, I learned that it is actually a GSM "thing" that originally enabled GSM networks to achieve "Gen4" performance. It is useless for connecting a Pinephone to a "CDMA cellular provider" so, for the Pinephone to connect to a CDMA network, the Pinephone user must have a useable LTE signal available from that cellular provider so VoLTE can be used for voice (possibly, if not blocked by black/white lists).

Verizon supports LTE of course and also VoLTE so its networks and MVNOs have reportedly functioned with the Pinephone. Sadly for N. Central Idaho, Inland does not yet have VoLTE support. Though Inland has purchased infrastructure that should allow them to bring up LTE (my impression is mostly software systems are still required), Inland does not respond to my written inquiries about planned VoLTE availability dates. Without VoLTE, my Pinephone does not function for voice or SMS anywhere in the vicinity of my home, but Inland 4G LTE data works.

rocket2nfinity and I have searched for VoIP / SIP solutions for the Pinephone that could be used as an alternative to VoLTE on LTE data networks but, so far, nothing appears to be even close to usable on the Pinephone.

The AT&T GSM network works with my Pinephone in larger towns and cities (within an hour drive) and AT&T is expanding its rural 4G LTE where I live, but the AT&T LTE bands recently rolled-out for rural use (I think B17 is primary in the roll-out) are unsupported by Pinephone too. Sad
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#74
(07-02-2021, 02:09 PM)Nutmeg Wrote: thanks @rocket2nfinity   When we signed up with US Mobile they said the White card was for GSM and the Black Card was for CMDA, so we were using the white card.  Perhaps the black card would work.  We did not try that.  
For the first time since I received my Pinephone 10 months ago, it finally works as a phone at my rural homestead and home in Idaho using my new US Mobile white SIM card. Big Grin Previously, my Pinephone only worked reliably in larger towns and cities an hour's drive or so away from home.

Here's my background story and information. Though lengthy, it might motivate other Piners to keep trying different providers, particularly in rural areas, or possibly understand a few of their own peculiar and similar experiences and problems. Sadly, the Pinephone does not have the extensive GSM and CDMA band support of my old unlocked and rooted Moto G4+ Android spy phone.

When I first moved here 3-1/2 years ago I was a Verizon prepaid service subscriber on the unlocked Moto G4. I found that the service and hardware combination worked on the Inland Cellular towers at my new home via an unusual routing of calls that requires a user to redial a number once a connection is established to an Inland robot. (Inland is a small regional provider and not an MVNO.) The roaming system is the result of an agreement between Inland and Verizon.

Pre-paid Verizon accounts could be setup with reserve funds on deposit, which Verizon applied to any Inland roaming surcharges. Post-paid Verizon accounts received roaming on Inland for free. I think it's the same Verizon/Inland deal today. Verizon coverage maps often do not distinguish between the Verizon tower areas and the Inland tower areas that provide the roaming service. My recent experiences have confirmed that this roaming agreement and system is still in place.

3-1/2 years ago, an AT&T SIM card received no signals here at home. Pinephone doesn't work with CDMA but, after buying my Pinephone and knowing that AT&T has expaned its network, I tried new SIM cards in my Pinephone:

My H2O (an AT&T MVNO) card has never produced a signal at my home until a few months ago when my Pinephone suddenly received AT&T tower signal with one or two bars of 4G LTE annunciated strength. Despite what appeared to be a usable signal, all H2O calls near my home (and also in other areas away from large towns and cities) are dropped the instant the phone application attempts to place a call.  SMS messages don't go out either; they are queued until I drive to a city. Strangely, these problems are with ~50% signal strength being reported!

Shortly after my Pinephone began to pick up these unusable rural 4G LTE signals from the AT&T network, I began to suspect that AT&T had rolled out new B17 equipment in our area.  B17 is absent from the Pinephone wiki specification but I read somewhere that B12, which is on the Pinephone's list, is a superset of B17. Apparently the superset B12 is not enough to provide B17 compatibility, which is not a surprise to me.

I continue to suspect that, while the Pinephone is able to detect and report B17 signals, it is unable to use B17. Thus, B17 signal strength commonly displayed and reported via annunciation at the top of the screen or various modem utilities, can be most confusing and misleading to users (at least in my rural area). I also found that my pay-as-you-go H2O account was deducted for all instantly dropped phone calls so there's some sort of account  communication occurring over B17 that impacts accounting.

Next I tried an Inland Cellular SIM card, because all the towers around here are Inland towers. Like Verizon, Inland is CDMA so voice only works with VoLTE. Unfortunately, VoLTE isn't yet supported by Inland. Inland 4G data worked great though.

Based on US Mobile reports here in the Pine64 forum, I ordered a free US Mobile SIM kit a week ago (coupon code FREEKIT), which contains their "Super LTE" SIM card (black card/Verizon system) and a second "GSM LTE" SIM card (white card/T-Moblie system). When the card arrived yesterday, I found that the US Mobile activation webpage would not even permit me to activate the white T-Mobile card using my zip code. (It reported that service is unavailable in my zip code).

I suspected that the US Mobile black SIM card (Verizon network) would connect to nearby Inland non-VoLTE towers instead of Verizon towers, which don't exist here, but I decided to first activate my black card in a Moto E4 phone and try it with my PinePhone anyway. 

As expected, the US Mobile black SIM card activated and my outbound calls were routed to an Inland tower, automated bot and a the bot's message told me that I needed to buy an Inland PIN account in order to roam on the Inland system. So much for the US Mobile service area maps (like all cell provider maps)!

Finally and as expected, installing the black SIM card into my Pinephone resulted in no signal or service, because the Pinephone doesn't support CDMA and Inland doesn't support VoLTE. Unlike the CDMA compatible Moto E4, the Pinephone couldn't connect to Inland and access the Inland roaming service bot to pay the roaming surcharge.

Finally, wishing to try US Mobile MVNO's white T-Mobile SIM card, I started a chat session online with US Mobile.  US Mobile customer support confirmed that the white SIM card was not recommended for my zip code but admitted that entering a different zip code into the online activation page would permit me to activate a second line. Regardless of the result of my two paid SIM activations, the US Mobile 14-day free trial policy would apply and one or both of my account charges would be refunded, upon request.

Once again using my Moto E4 for activation, I activated another US Mobile phone number on my account, this time for the white T-Mobile system SIM card, and then installed it into my Pinephone. It works! As with my H2O/AT&T SIM card, US Mobile white SIM 4G LTE signal strength runs about 50% but it's on a band that's Pinephone-usable!

I still need to do more testing but voice calls work, SMS works, Internet data works. I'm Heart 'n US Mobile right now. Tongue
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#75
Wonderful! Glad you found a solution.
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#76
(08-07-2021, 05:22 PM)rocket2nfinity Wrote: Wonderful! Glad you found a solution.
Thanks, rocket2nfinity! It's been a long and sporadic research project and much of your work here has been most helpful to me.

My white SIM card has been working great all around my neighborhood all day. I've tested inbound and outbound SMS and voice calls and I was able to setup voice mail with a nice and stable voice connection for the entire process. It's funny that the solution turned out to be the white SIM card that US Mobile doesn't even recommend for my zip code. Imagine that. It's the opposite of what the cell providers usually try to sell rural customers (optimistic maps and wishful hope-ium)! On the other hand, the US Mobile-recommended black SIM would not be terribly useful in my area with any phone, due to the Verizon / Inland roaming agreement and the additional roaming charges imposed on US Mobile customers by the deal. Inland also throttles data to roaming phones at "1x" or "2x" speeds

Resurrecting a subject we've discussed in the past, the US Mobile white T-Mobile network SIM card supports VoWiFi. The US Mobile chat support rep told me their black Verizon network SIM card will support it soon. Of course it's promoted as a service for Android and newer iOS phones only. Do you know if this is a SIP service? It would be nice to be able to take advantage of it on the Pinephone. I just got my Pinephone "phone" working but I'm already getting greedy for more functionality! Wink

My advice for anyone planning to give US Mobile a whirl is to make sure you get the dual SIM card kit and don't rule out trying both SIM cards.

Oh...following your lead in your post above, for US Mobile white SIM, APN is pwg:

US Mobile
pwg
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#77
We're still not sure if the modem can do VoWifi. But, it is being researched. It is a type of dedicated SIP service, so even if it can't, if we can get any SIP client to work, then you have it's equivalent just using the data connection.
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#78
I've had my Beta Pinephone for about 24 hours. I was using Gnu/Linux exclusively since 2004 and Trisquel, Hyperbola, etc. since 2011.

Then the covid happened. Then an illegal landlord lockout. Everybody's got problems.

I don't want to die, so I currently have a tracfone (Motorola E7) and was wondering if I could just put the SIM card in the Pinephone?

If not, can anybody recommend a no-contract provider? I currently use public WiFi for data and just need to be able to make and receive phone calls and sms messages so that I can pay my bills.

Thank you for your time.
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#79
I have a Google Fi nano SIM and have been able to easily move it between Motorola G7 Play, iPhone and Pinephone. It just works. Sometimes on Android or iOS it will ask to be set up again, but it is a trivial step quite abbreviated from the initial setup. I've even put it into an iPad and had the data work. No contract and they charge to the penny for data used instead of rounding up to the next GB.
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#80
(08-23-2021, 12:34 PM)Humgrrl Wrote: I've had my Beta Pinephone for about 24 hours. I was using Gnu/Linux exclusively since 2004 and Trisquel, Hyperbola, etc. since 2011.

Then the covid happened. Then an illegal landlord lockout. Everybody's got problems.

I don't want to die, so I currently have a tracfone (Motorola E7) and was wondering if I could just put the SIM card in the Pinephone?

If not, can anybody recommend a no-contract provider? I currently use public WiFi for data and just need to be able to make and receive phone calls and sms messages so that I can pay my bills.

Thank you for your time.
If Tracphone doesn't allow it, Mint and Red Pocket have good cheap plans that work with the pinephone
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