AT&T cutting off my LG flip phone in 30 days
#1
Today I received a free 4G replacement flip phone from AT&T due to 3G service being phased out in February 2022. I did not ask for the phone, they just went ahead and sent it, and as expected it is a stripped-down Android phone filled with Google spyware. Trouble is I thought I had until February to switch over but the paperwork with the new phone said if I don't activate it myself it will automatically be activated in 30 days. (It has a new SIM and my old one will be deactivated.) I called AT&T support with my concerns, and my preference that my current SIM stay activated to install a phone of my own choosing (Pinephone). Needless to say there was nothing they could do to stop the automatic activation.

I really don't even want to turn this thing on but it looks like I'll have to let the spyware phone activate the new SIM and hopefully it will work in the Pinephone like the old one does. So it looks like assuming it works I'll be going with the Pinephone as my daily driver six or seven months faster than I thought. Since calling has been working well it shouldn't be a problem. If it doesn't work I'll be looking for another provider, as I will if AT&T cuts off the Pinephone for not being on their whitelist.
  Reply
#2
From my own experience, modern flip phones are running an outdated de-Googled Android with a shell to work with a keypad (which doubles as a trackpad).
But when tinkering around with it, I found no Google software in it at all.
One nice feature is the built-in TV functionality, except TV is either anime, or drama, or propaganda.

But if you want to check, I suggest to turn that phone on without inserting that SIM card, and without connecting to WiFi.
And wrap your living room in aluminium for paranoid mode.

I remember someone (I think it was you even) who said that AT&T won't support a Pinephone, so you can already start looking for another provider.
母語は日本語ですが、英語も喋れます(ry
  Reply
#3
Apparently there is an AT command that let's you change the IMEI of your PinePhone's modem, e. g. to an IMEI of another phone of yours that you know is working with the carrier. Haven't tried it myself. Just saying ...
  Reply
#4
(06-25-2021, 01:45 AM)ryo Wrote: From my own experience, modern flip phones are running an outdated de-Googled Android with a shell to work with a keypad (which doubles as a trackpad).
But when tinkering around with it, I found no Google software in it at all.
One nice feature is the built-in TV functionality, except TV is either anime, or drama, or propaganda.

But if you want to check, I suggest to turn that phone on without inserting that SIM card, and without connecting to WiFi.
And wrap your living room in aluminium for paranoid mode.

I remember someone (I think it was you even) who said that AT&T won't support a Pinephone, so you can already start looking for another provider.

Looking at the feature sheet that came with the new phone the first thing it talks about is "Google Assistant" in your face, so I don't think this particular phone has been de-Googled.

I'm really not quite paranoid enough to worry about turning the thing on long enough to activate the new SIM card if that's necessary, I just don't want to be using the blasted thing as a daily driver. The whole idea behind having a Pinephone is to get out from under the Google and Apple spyware empires.

Others have brought out that the Pinephone is not on AT&T's whitelist and I think a few have reported being kicked off of services that use AT&T's network. So far I have not had a problem. Of course I've just been using the Pinephone for testing thus far, it's not in use every day.

My main problem with moving to another provider is losing AT&T's "outcall notification" feature which I depend on to be able to leave my phone off most of the time. (It alerts a simple receive-only pager when someone leaves a voice message.)  No one else seems to have this, which is really a legacy feature from the early days of cell phone service.  Otherwise I would have left AT&T for a less expensive service some time ago. (I started out with a bag phone around 30 years ago and never changed service providers, though the original I signed up with has long since been bought and sold multiple times before winding up with AT&T.)

(06-25-2021, 03:49 AM)kqlnut Wrote: Apparently there is an AT command that let's you change the IMEI of your PinePhone's modem, e. g. to an IMEI of another phone of yours that you know is working with the carrier. Haven't tried it myself. Just saying ...

Very interesting, I'll have to look into that, thanks!
  Reply
#5
(06-25-2021, 07:13 AM)Zebulon Walton Wrote: Looking at the feature sheet that came with the new phone the first thing it talks about is "Google Assistant" in your face, so I don't think this particular phone has been de-Googled.
Sounds like you guys on the other side of the Pacific are getting very different types of flip phones then.
Odd.
But probably because you're living in the country the very company came from, so I guess it can't be helped.(仕方ない)
母語は日本語ですが、英語も喋れます(ry
  Reply
#6
Looking more at the phone that AT&T sent, it's an AT&T "Cingular Flip IV" model U102AA. Downloading the manual and specifications I'm somewhat surprised to find that it is not running a version Android, it is running KaiOS, which is an open-source fork of a previous fork of Firefox OS. It does have Google Assistant installed but that's an application that you don't need to use, so it may be that Google is not deeply embedded into this thing. (Though I note that Google as well as Facebook have partnered with KaiOS Technologies.) According to the Wikipedia entry on the OS it is possible to jailbreak KaiOS, though it remains to be seen if that's possible on this particular phone.

So while there is still reason to be suspicious of this device it may not be as bad as I thought and could be seen as an acceptable temporary backup phone if something happened to my Pinephone.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KaiOS
  Reply
#7
(06-25-2021, 09:24 AM)Zebulon Walton Wrote: Google as well as Facebook have partnered with KaiOS

https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/15/21370...ne-browser


You'll find as you go not many of the privacy advocates turn down whatever Google seems to offer

I bought my Pine as my flip/minute phone has become costly and still contains BS i'd prefer to not have

But, I did get a new number until the Pine proves reliable, so far... not so much, issues seem to change day to day, I had an update on Manjaro cause it to longer boot except from the SD which I run

https://github.com/dreemurrs-embedded/Pine64-Arch
  Reply
#8
(06-26-2021, 01:15 PM)KABA Wrote:
(06-25-2021, 09:24 AM)Zebulon Walton Wrote: Google as well as Facebook have partnered with KaiOS

https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/15/21370...ne-browser

You'll find as you go not many or the privacy advocates turn down whatever Google seems to offer

I bought my Pine as my flip/minute phone has become costly and still contains BS i'd prefer to not have

But, I did get a new number until the Pine proves reliable, so far... not so much, issues seem to change day to day, I had an update on Manjaro cause it to longer boot except from the SD which I run

https://github.com/dreemurrs-embedded/Pine64-Arch

Google seems to invade just about everything these days. I definitely don't trust the new AT&T flip phone but it appears to not be as bad as I'd assumed. I would only use it on a temporary basis if the Pinephone was lost, damaged, or just stopped working. Would be nice to have a spare Pinephone as a fallback but money's too tight for that.

My Pinephone running Mobian has been good for a while now as far as basic functionality of making and receiving calls. I have it running from the internal drive but periodically do a full image backup so I can get back to a working setup if something goes wrong with an update.
  Reply
#9
i don't know all the catches of u.s. operators, be warned!

first i thought it was android, in that case you may turn device on before activation and see what's inside. of course, do not connect wifi networks and others. that aluminum foil, i don't think is needed or useful!

but it's kaios. i don't think it's that bad. however i would like to hear some things about kaios if possible. is kaiaccount mandatory or half-mandatory? half-mandatory means it's practically required for basic services like google account on most android phones. can default apps be uninstalled? is there fastboot? can it be unlocked?

what i know kaios is better than average android. however kaios could have apps, like facebook, whatsapp, google apps, so on. i don't know about uninstalling though, especially if there are default apps. it seems that bootloaders in kaios devices are totally locked, but someone could verify. kaios usually requires some drivers and firmware which are closed software.

i still have one android with unlocked bootloader with modified android. zero close source google stuff in it. although android is google's project even it might have open source basis. cleaning android device starting to be too big headache.

finland and maybe e.u. has a law which requires operators to support all capable devices. of course, assuming they do not cause interference or other problems and conforms technical standards like gsm, umts, lte and nr5g. putting shortly, devices cannot be banned.

slightly offtopic, probably should be in own thread. devices and services starting to be too much dependent on big tech closed eco systems like google and apple. i heard that even banking services may require android or ios. in my view democratically controlled governments should start making laws against requiring these closed eco systems.
  Reply
#10
Reading the manual, it appears that a KaiOS account is only needed if you want to be able to remotely lock or wipe the phone, presumably if it is lost or stolen. It is not needed for normal phone operation. So far all I've done has been to remove the SIM and charge the battery.

As I mentioned the phone does have Google Assistant, which is worrisome, but it appears to be a standalone application that does not need to be used. Of course I have no idea whether Google also has its spyware burrowed into the OS. On the plus side the battery can be removed so it can be turned off fully.

So as I said this new AT&T flip phone is not as bad as I initially thought but certainly it is not going to be totally under the user's control and is worthy of some suspicion. So the Pinephone will be my primary and the new AT&T phone an emergency backup. So far no problem using the Pinephone with AT&T but if they block it I'll try changing the IMEI as has been mentioned.
  Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Pine phone Junior, message phone ? bcnaz 14 409 5 hours ago
Last Post: nelstomlinson
  New phone - setup - only landscape - KDE plasma westsamoa 2 38 Today, 02:23 AM
Last Post: Uturn
  GCI data on Pine Phone nelstomlinson 0 37 Yesterday, 04:04 PM
Last Post: nelstomlinson
  Hypothetical Pine Phone 2.0? ragreenburg 18 721 09-22-2021, 11:55 PM
Last Post: ryo
  Writing apps/programs for pine phone katesfb 3 211 09-10-2021, 07:43 PM
Last Post: TRS-80
  Pine phone CPU sleep katesfb 3 226 09-09-2021, 06:57 PM
Last Post: NW_Dev
  Phone bottom end got hot, plastic melted, fire concern mronell 5 671 08-25-2021, 12:57 PM
Last Post: megous
  What OS will actually work with phone calls? Nutmeg 16 1,820 08-07-2021, 11:01 AM
Last Post: mouffa
  Size of the phone PierreB 1 509 08-07-2021, 06:52 AM
Last Post: amosbatto
  Using magnetic automotive phone holders henrythemouse 5 600 07-24-2021, 10:16 AM
Last Post: henrythemouse

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 3 Guest(s)