Current Situation With Setup and Carrier Activation With Tracfone Verizon T-Mobile
#1
There is a lot of dated information on this forum and elsewhere. The information below is current as of this posting.

I bought a Pinephone beta edition within the past few weeks and had multiple hurdles before i had a working phone. The included version of Manjaro OS is dated so upgrading the OS is mandatory. Found that the JumpDrive tool can be useful to erase and prepare the internal eMMC storage from a laptop. I was able to use a MacBook Pro with macOS to make boot microSDs and manage things, did not need Linux. Current versions of Mobium, PostMarketOS, and Manjaro do not need a boot manager installed such as Tow-Boot, they will install on their own and boot. Mobium and PostMarketOS have Tow-Boot functionality at boot with the correct button combination which exposes the eMMC storage as a USB device. It would be good workflow if this functionality can be extended to the external microSD so one can perform complex file management from a laptop. Be careful inserting and removing SIM cards, the slot is delicate. Expect to do a lot of microsSD and SIM card inserting until you find out how to make things work.

The swapping of an activated SIM card from another phone does not work with Tracfone anymore, calls are blocked although one can receive text messages. When attempting to make a call you will get a pre-recorded message saying something like the phone device does not match the activated SIM. With any further calls nothing happens. Tracfone support looked up the phone IMEI and said the carrier that permits the Pinephone is T-Mobile. Tracfone said that in order to use Tracfone service one must use a T-Mobile SIM and they will accommodate the SIM. They said that Tracfone still uses T-Mobile as one of their service carriers until sometime next year ( probably until contracts run out and then Verizon only). Verizon acquired Tracfone a few years ago, so Verizon is not permitting the Pinephone on their network.

At a local T-Mobile store, the rep used a test SIM to see if the phone could connect to the T-Mobile network. It took around 10 minutes for the phone to finally connect. During troubleshooting i rebooted the phone, rep checked settings, rep explained that data must be turned on in order to get everything working. The phone has current version of Mobian with Phosh. I will note that PostMarketOS with Phosh is also good. Manjaro with Plasma had some show-stopper bugs athough the UI has some good design ideas that should be migrated to Phosh, such as showing apps as a single list, hiding the search app box, closing apps with a close button, and more. After that i paid for a service plan, inserted the T-mobil SIM card and.... phone does not recognize the SIM card, get question mark icon. Took the phone home, played around a bit and the phone starts recognizing the SIM and working, no explanation. I will likely have to change phone numbers as the number assigned is already getting junk calls and texting. T-mobile has low cost pre-paid plans and do not require any information to be provided for service except a PIN number that is used to make payments for service. Although i do not have the need for this kind of anonymity currently, the information may be useful to others.
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