No Voice or Text on Inland Cellular (non-MVNO) but Internet Data Works!
#1
I have an Inland Cellular SIM card. Inland is NOT an MVNO and Inland owns the only towers and provides the only cellular service in my part of rural Idaho, US. I really wanted PinePhone to work and I'm very disappointed. (I will give up mobile phones entirely rather than use a spy phone, even though the telecom networks still spy on those of us using PinePhones.)

I hope someone here has a few ideas or suggestions that will help me.

My PinePhone receives an Inland 4G signal and Internet data works, but voice and SMS text are completely non-functional (inbound and outbound). The Inland tech was very helpful and even loaned a Samsung phone to me that, of course, works reliably on their network. I use the loaner phone to check SIM settings, signal strength, and functionality. (I appreciate the "hometown" feel and personal support of this carrier, compared to my previous dealings with Verizon, AT&T and a couple of their MVNOs. The tech was very interested in my PinePhone too!

I also tried my old, no longer subscribed Verizon SIM card some miles away where Verizon towers are visible. It too produced a good 4G signal bar indication, but I have no idea whether or not Verizon would work because the subscription has expired. Guess I could have tried calling 911! Big Grin

The Inland tech told me that Inland does not support VoLTE but they are working on it. The following Inland frequency and band specs are posted at https://www.signalbooster.com/pages/what-are-the-cellular-frequencies-of-cell-phone-carriers-in-usa-canada.

Inland Cellular

3G Frequencies / Wavelengths
3G : 835 - 845 MHz, Block B Band 2 (CDMA2000). 880 - 890 MHz, Block B Band 2 (CDMA2000).

4G, LTE, 5G frequencies / Wavelengths
4G : 800 MHz ESMR, Band 26 (LTE700). 1900 MHz PCS, Band 25 (LTE700). 2.5 GHz BRS/ EBS, Band 41 (TD-LTE700/ LTE Advanced).


The following PinePhone specs are summarized in the wiki: https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone#Specifications

Communication: G25-G

LTE: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B12, B13, B18, B19, B20, B25, B26, B28, B38, B39, B40, B41 WCDMA: B1, B2, B4, B5, B6, B8, B19 GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 (MHz)

Though I'm a retired electrical and computer engineer, I find cellular freq / band and modulation specs to be baffling. Are these Inland and PinePhone specs compatible? What is the difference between CDMA and WCDMA?

I tried Manjaro Phosh (I updated to Beta2 level using pacman) and I also tried UBports Ubuntu Touch (Lomiri) and Mobian (Phosh) from the p-boot build and multi bootloader. Actually, I tried all the OS images on the p-boot SD but only Ubuntu and Mobian worked to check or set the APN and establish a connection. They worked far better than Manjora Beta2, in fact.

Manjaro Beta2, updated from OEM and booted from eMMC, was barely usable to set the APN and connect to the Inland network, because the Manjaro Beta2 cellular settings are unstable. I never figured out how I sometimes managed to get a connection (accompanied by Internet data) and Manjaro always required a lot of setting, resetting, and turning the modem off and on. Sadly, the effort was always lost at each reboot.

But these OS configuration utility issue are subjects for other bug reports and p-boot Mobian and Ubuntu seem reliable enough to test any suggestions forum members might prescribe!

My next step will probably be to download the factory test image and boot it from an SD card. Factory-loaded Manjaro build with testing utility. Maybe the test utilities will detect something wrong with my hardware.

Although I was mostly a hardware and signal integrity engineer before I retired, I did a lot of low level programming (boot ROMS, device drivers, diagnostics) during my career and a good deal of it was for *NIX operating systems. I'd very much like to solve this partial, but critical, Inland non-functionality (Internet data IS working). Hopefully I'll then find the spare time to contribute to this project as a developer. (I'm actually busier than ever in retirement on this old rural Idaho homestead!)

Thanks so much for reading and thanks for any help that you may be able to provide to me!

-Cal
#2
(11-13-2020, 02:01 PM)calinb Wrote: I have an Inland Cellular SIM card. Inland is NOT an MVNO and Inland owns the only towers and provides the only cellular service in my part of rural Idaho, US. I really wanted PinePhone to work and I'm very disappointed. (I will give up mobile phones entirely rather than use a spy phone, even though the telecom networks still spy on those of us using PinePhones.)

I hope someone here has a few ideas or suggestions that will help me.

My PinePhone receives an Inland 4G signal and Internet data works, but voice and SMS text are completely non-functional (inbound and outbound). The Inland tech was very helpful and even loaned a Samsung phone to me that, of course, works reliably on their network. I use the loaner phone to check SIM settings, signal strength, and functionality. (I appreciate the "hometown" feel and personal support of this carrier, compared to my previous dealings with Verizon, AT&T and a couple of their MVNOs. The tech was very interested in my PinePhone too!

I also tried my old, no longer subscribed Verizon SIM card some miles away where Verizon towers are visible. It too produced a good 4G signal bar indication, but I have no idea whether or not Verizon would work because the subscription has expired. Guess I could have tried calling 911! Big Grin

The Inland tech told me that Inland does not support VoLTE but they are working on it. The following Inland frequency and band specs are posted at https://www.signalbooster.com/pages/what-are-the-cellular-frequencies-of-cell-phone-carriers-in-usa-canada.

Inland Cellular

3G Frequencies / Wavelengths
3G : 835 - 845 MHz, Block B Band 2 (CDMA2000). 880 - 890 MHz, Block B Band 2 (CDMA2000).

4G, LTE, 5G frequencies / Wavelengths
4G : 800 MHz ESMR, Band 26 (LTE700). 1900 MHz PCS, Band 25 (LTE700). 2.5 GHz BRS/ EBS, Band 41 (TD-LTE700/ LTE Advanced).


The following PinePhone specs are summarized in the wiki: https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone#Specifications

Communication: G25-G

LTE: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B12, B13, B18, B19, B20, B25, B26, B28, B38, B39, B40, B41 WCDMA: B1, B2, B4, B5, B6, B8, B19 GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 (MHz)

Though I'm a retired electrical and computer engineer, I find cellular freq / band and modulation specs to be baffling. Are these Inland and PinePhone specs compatible? What is the difference between CDMA and WCDMA?

I tried Manjaro Phosh (I updated to Beta2 level using pacman) and I also tried UBports Ubuntu Touch (Lomiri) and Mobian (Phosh) from the p-boot build and multi bootloader. Actually, I tried all the OS images on the p-boot SD but only Ubuntu and Mobian worked to check or set the APN and establish a connection. They worked far better than Manjora Beta2, in fact.

Manjaro Beta2, updated from OEM and booted from eMMC, was barely usable to set the APN and connect to the Inland network, because the Manjaro Beta2 cellular settings are unstable. I never figured out how I sometimes managed to get a connection (accompanied by Internet data) and Manjaro always required a lot of setting, resetting, and turning the modem off and on. Sadly, the effort was always lost at each reboot.

But these OS configuration utility issue are subjects for other bug reports and p-boot Mobian and Ubuntu seem reliable enough to test any suggestions forum members might prescribe!

My next step will probably be to download the factory test image and boot it from an SD card. Factory-loaded Manjaro build with testing utility. Maybe the test utilities will detect something wrong with my hardware.

Although I was mostly a hardware and signal integrity engineer before I retired, I did a lot of low level programming (boot ROMS, device drivers, diagnostics) during my career and a good deal of it was for *NIX operating systems. I'd very much like to solve this partial, but critical, Inland non-functionality (Internet data IS working). Hopefully I'll then find the spare time to contribute to this project as a developer. (I'm actually busier than ever in retirement on this old rural Idaho homestead!)

Thanks so much for reading and thanks for any help that you may be able to provide to me!

-Cal
Ignore my other response in the other thread. If I recall correctly, CDMA support is not functional at the moment and probably never will be because cdma networks are being retired. I have two suggestions:

-See if inland has or is willing to set up sip service for you. If not, then

-Consider using a VOIP company that is sip based and use that for your calls via Inlands LTE network. Or forward your calls to you via Google Voice until they get VoLTE up and running.
#3
(11-13-2020, 02:46 PM)rocket2nfinity Wrote: Ignore my other response in the other thread. If I recall correctly, CDMA support is not functional at the moment and probably never will be because cdma networks are being retired. I have two suggestions:

-See if inland has or is willing to set up sip service for you. If not, then

-Consider using a VOIP company that is sip based and use that for your calls via Inlands LTE network. Or forward your calls to you via Google Voice until they get VoLTE up and running.

Thanks for your prompt reply, rocket2nfinity but I'm still confused, because Verizon is CDMA and the PinePhone is reported to function with Verizon--at least under Arch:

https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone_A..._.28USA.29

Arch doesn't work in p-boot for me (I get an error logon terminal screen that would require a keyboard to attempt to use) but should I try to get Arch working and try it with Inland?

Or is Verizon CDMA simply a different variety than Inland CDMA. The band/freq table I linked lists Inland as "CDMA2000." I've also heard the acronym WCDMA.  Are CDMA, CDMA2000, WCDMA all different?

Yes, it appears that WCDMA and CDMA2000 are different: https://durofy.com/differences-between-wcdma-cdma2000
The article implies to me that "CDMA" is a general term for the general modulation method but WCDMA (Verizon) and CDMA2000 (Inland and others like FreedomPop and Google Fi) differ.

But then the PinePhone wiki says Google Fi (allegedly CDMA200 works for SMS and text:

https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone_A...#Google_Fi ("These are settings that Google provides for their "data-only" SIM cards, but also appears to work fine with the normal SIM card for texting and calling.")

whereas FreedomPop doesn't not work for voice and text (except via their VoIP service):

https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone_A..._.28USA.29

Arrghh! Again, I sure find this to be very confusing and I very much appreciate that you're helping to educate me!

I also don't see how Inland can help me with SIP service, because it's just the protocol under which VoIP phone operate. AFAIK, I'll still need VoIP software on my PinePhone, because it doesn't contain VoIP hardware. Shouldn't I just be looking for VoIP software than runs on a PinePhone Linux OS of one sort or another and see if it works okay over Inland LTE? I don't see how Inland can help me (except maybe to get VoLTE support working)!

I'll also ask the tech now long he thinks VoLTE will take to rollout (for whatever it's worth) but VoLTE appears to be hit and miss on the PinePhone too, and I think I read somewhere that VoLTE was considered "unsupported" not long ago.

Again, many thanks!
#4
(11-13-2020, 03:35 PM)calinb Wrote:
(11-13-2020, 02:46 PM)rocket2nfinity Wrote: Ignore my other response in the other thread. If I recall correctly, CDMA support is not functional at the moment and probably never will be because cdma networks are being retired. I have two suggestions:

-See if inland has or is willing to set up sip service for you. If not, then

-Consider using a VOIP company that is sip based and use that for your calls via Inlands LTE network. Or forward your calls to you via Google Voice until they get VoLTE up and running.

Thanks for your prompt reply, rocket2nfinity but I'm still confused, because Verizon is CDMA and the PinePhone is reported to function with Verizon--at least under Arch:

https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone_A..._.28USA.29

Arch doesn't work in p-boot for me (I get an error logon terminal screen that would require a keyboard to attempt to use) but should I try to get Arch working and try it with Inland?

Or is Verizon CDMA simply a different variety than Inland CDMA. The band/freq table I linked lists Inland as "CDMA2000." I've also heard the acronym WCDMA.  Are CDMA, CDMA2000, WCDMA all different?

Yes, it appears that WCDMA and CDMA2000 are different: https://durofy.com/differences-between-wcdma-cdma2000
The article implies to me that "CDMA" is a general term for the general modulation method but WCDMA (Verizon) and CDMA2000 (Inland and others like FreedomPop and Google Fi) differ.

But then the PinePhone wiki says Google Fi (allegedly CDMA200 works for SMS and text:

https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone_A...#Google_Fi ("These are settings that Google provides for their "data-only" SIM cards, but also appears to work fine with the normal SIM card for texting and calling.")

whereas FreedomPop doesn't not work for voice and text (except via their VoIP service):

https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone_A..._.28USA.29

Arrghh! Again, I sure find this to be very confusing and I very much appreciate that you're helping to educate me!

I also don't see how Inland can help me with SIP service, because it's just the protocol under which VoIP phone operate. AFAIK, I'll still need VoIP software on my PinePhone, because it doesn't contain VoIP hardware. Shouldn't I just be looking for VoIP software than runs on a PinePhone Linux OS of one sort or another and see if it works okay over Inland LTE? I don't see how Inland can help me (except maybe to get VoLTE support working)!

I'll also ask the tech now long he thinks VoLTE will take to rollout (for whatever it's worth) but VoLTE appears to be hit and miss on the PinePhone too, and I think I read somewhere that VoLTE was considered "unsupported" not long ago.

Again, many thanks!
Yes, CDMA2000 and WCDMA are different. But neither is supported on pinephone. The people who have gotten cdma based carriers working have done it via VoLTE only. It does work, but needs set-up on the pinephone. Manjaro and arch both work on pinephone. I would suggest using Mobian or Manjaro (Manjaro is arch based). Both have Voip apps, but success has been mixed. I've been meaning to research the succesful ones myself.

Google Fi uses t-mobile gsm for their data and voice networks. Only Nexus/Pixel phones still have access to their cdma network, and that is being terminated with the Sprint merger.

Some carriers offer sip service. Search mobile voip in google. Otherwise, yes, you'll have to subscribe to a Voip service in addition to Inland. This will be required for any phone that does not support VoLTE by Jan 2022, as all maijor US carriers will be VoLTE only by then

Although sip is a protocol for VOIP, VoLTE uses a compressed protocol that is more efficient, and routed within the modem. Sip based Voip just uses the regular 3g/4g/5g data network and call handling is done via the app, not the modem
#5
(11-13-2020, 04:03 PM)rocket2nfinity Wrote:
(11-13-2020, 03:35 PM)rocket2nfinity Wrote: Yes, CDMA2000 and WCDMA are different. But neither is supported on pinephone. The people who have gotten cdma based carriers working have done it via VoLTE only. It does work, but needs set-up on the pinephone. Manjaro and arch both work on pinephone. I would suggest using Mobian or Manjaro (Manjaro is arch based). Both have Voip apps, but success has been mixed. I've been meaning to research the succesful ones myself.
Google Fi uses t-mobile gsm for their data and voice networks. Only Nexus/Pixel phones still have access to their cdma network, and that is being terminated with the Sprint merger.

Some carriers offer sip service. Search mobile voip in google. Otherwise, yes, you'll have to subscribe to a Voip service in addition to Inland. This will be required for any phone that does not support VoLTE by Jan 2022, as all maijor US carriers will be VoLTE only by then

Although sip is a protocol for VOIP, VoLTE uses a compressed protocol that is more efficient, and routed within the modem. Sip based Voip just uses the regular 3g/4g/5g data network and call handling is done via the app, not the modem

Okay--now you've straightened me out, rocket2nfinity. I marked this thread "solved" (though the solution will not be immediately forthcoming). I will look into VoIP. I've had a Google phone account and phone number since it was released and, though I now despise all things Google, it might work under Firefox until Inland gets VoLTE up and running. Google phone voice, email and text work on my MX-Linux (Debian-based) laptop system but our WISP Internet service performance is not quite good enough to make it 100% reliable with "10 by 10" audio fidelity. It works better than Magic Jack here in rural Idaho though! After three years here, I hate to accept that we probably need to pony up the cash and get our phone landline connected at the central office (crazy expensive fees here for just throwing a digital switch).

Perhaps I can become a PinePhone wiki editor and make a small contribution here: https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone_C...patibility

I think that simply adding the information contained in your comment, "The people who have gotten cdma based carriers working have done it via VoLTE only. It does work, but needs set-up on the pinephone." would be most helpful to PinePhone users and potential users!

Best,

-Cal
#6
Also, I tested audio and mic on Anbox (Manjaro phosh). It works, so android sip apps and maybe the official google voice app could work if someone builds in microG or the playstore.

Video still not working but people are working on that.
#7
(11-14-2020, 11:42 AM)rocket2nfinity Wrote: Also, I tested audio and mic on Anbox (Manjaro phosh). It works, so android sip apps and maybe the official google voice app could work if someone builds in microG or the playstore.

Video still not working but people are working on that.
I assume you're saying that video on Anbox is still a work in progress.

I've been researching SIP and DID providers (don't know the acronym but DID appears to be the SIP to POTS/phone number bridge). It gets a bit complicated and expensive, if you want a phone number. From what I gather, the "free" solutions are gone, though I found a couple that are paid-for by accepting ads deals (don't really know how that works). I guess ads are better than nefarious spying!

I'm also worried about NAT and other routing gotchas that might present problems with SIP when connected to hotspots. I read somewhere that one requires a number of open ports. Considering that Inland costs $45 per month, I'll probably drop the idea for now and re-visit Inland once they get VoLTE working. In the meantime, I'll try my prepaid H20 (an AT&T MVNO) SIM card, which I use when I travel to the big city! Maybe it will work (GSM network). Unless I travel often, $10 worth of prepaid service lasts me 3 months at 5 cents per minute or text!

I tried running Google Voice in Firefox under Arch on my Pinebook and it didn't work. It works on my MX Linux laptop though, as I mentioned. Maybe Chrome would work on the Pinebook but I'm not holding my breath. Also, Firefox uses a lot of power on the Pinebook and it gets very hot. I'll have to recheck the other Linux OSs for that hot Firefox effect. (FIRE--fox is right!)

As far as usability and functionality goes, I'm glad you mentioned Arch to me, because it works better for me than all the distros on my p-boot SD card or Manjora Beta1 that shipped with my phone or Beta2 (both stable and unstable). I would've written Arch off for now, because it doesn't boot from the p-boot SD (it boots to an error terminal from p-boot) but I wrote the latest Arch image from github to an SD card and it installed. It even updated just fine without breaking anything. HDMI works, headphones work (Manjora Beta2 enabled my HDMI but broke headphone output), menus size better on various aps under Arch, my Inland 4G connection is more stable (but still not perfectly stable as it sometimes drops out and it's still a bit difficult to get it back). Geary even still works under Arch (though Geary has some bugs like "compose new" launches and crashes the editor immediately. I can, however, open an existing email, remove its contents and "To/CC/BCC" entries, replace with new contents, and "forward" it to whatever new email address(es) I please.

It's strange that Arch is the most stable and bug-free distro I've tried, yet Manjaro is based on Arch and Manjaro mobile seems to have a larger development team than Arch mobile (which might be really only one guy, from what I saw on github). BTW, Arch didn't come with Geary by default, but Geary installed just fine from the repo using pacman, along with a few dependencies. I'd actually call Arch "beta" level software (though "alpha" vs. "beta" level criteria are not normally formally defined within open source dev communities). Everything else I've  tried on my PineBook performed no better than "alpha" in my book--just my opinion! Blush
#8
Although based on Arch, Manjaro is one step behind by design. They have their own repository of stable software. That's what normally makes Manjaro a pleasure to use - just a little less bleeding edge than Arch, so less likely to crash. But the Pinephone is all about the bleeding edge, so things get broken until there is a stable reference point. I truly think that point is coming soon.

Try Ooma, AXVoice, 1-voip, or any other Voip provider that offers actual phone numbers and sip service (i.e. accepts softphones). Ooma has a very inexpensive service, no adds, just the regulatory fees. AxVoice has a nice comparison of residential voip providers, slanted as to why they are the best of course. And they are highly rated. Some cable/fiber internet services still offer sip service.
#9
(11-13-2020, 04:03 PM)rocket2nfinity Wrote: Yes, CDMA2000 and WCDMA are different. But neither is supported on pinephone.
According to the specs in the wiki (https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone#Specifications):

Communication: G25-G

WCDMA: B1, B2, B4, B5, B6, B8, B19

WCDMA (Wide CDMA) is supported on the above bands, but, in my study, I've concluded that WCDMA is actually a GSM "thing" and it's not actually used by the "CDMA providers." WCDMA enabled the GSM providers to achieve G3 performance some years ago. Inland, a CDMA provider, uses CDMA2000, which is being phased out more rapidly than thought only a year or two ago and, as you said, will never be supported in a PinePhone.

From https://www.techopedia.com/definition/24...cess-wcdma

Although WCDMA is designed to operate on evolved GSM core networks, it uses code division multiple access (CDMA) for its air interface.

I'm just trying the understand the lay of the land here so I might be able to make useful contributions to the PinePhone wiki pages.
#10
Without having my notes in front of me, from recollection, the problem is three-fold:

- First, the modem must support wcdma

- Second, the telephony software on the phone must be able to work with wcdma. I know Ofono does not. I'd have to look again at nmcli to be sure., but I don't think so.

- Third, the network must support wcdma. In the US at least, most carriers have, or are retiring their cdma and gsm telephony networks and refarming the bands that held them to 4g VoLTE and the rest to 5gNR. 

This is a big change from the traditional carrier switched telephony network to a purely data driven packet switched network. Being the future, each party really has no interest in supporting a dying network technology. So we remain with broken cdma support for Pinephone and all other linux based phones.


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