All I want are calls and text... does that work?

Wow that is news. Is the modem user replaceable? If not the phone could be non-working or crippled in la year or so, if it is not “whitelisted”. We need to know before we buy a phone. Please someone assure us that our phone will work for more that a couple of years.

I wonder if the “existing SIMs work” (and ability use non-VoLTE) could be related to:

So I have to admit that I’m finally disappointed.

I supported the campaign fairly early and have been pretty understanding of the delays and lack of functionality. I kind of enjoy that because it’s fun watching the technology mature.

But as I read through this, I see on the wiki that Purism won’t even try to get the Librem5 whitelisted on any major US carrier. I have to wonder why…

I get that they’re up to their eyeballs in just getting their product out the door, but at the same time, they’re basically locking their customers in to their own specialty cell service at a much higher rate.

Not that I mean to accuse Purism of acting like big tech, but at very least, they ought to try to ensure as broad a compatibility as possible with their hardware in their major markets, and if they can’t / won’t, at least explain why. It may be that no one saw this coming, but if I had known that this would be my option for cell service, I wouldn’t have supported the kickstarter - at least not at the level I did.

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Well, yes, the modem is replaceable - this is one of the L5’s USP’s. Nevertheless, it would still be a bit of a bummer if one receives a phone that is not allowed on a network, or is banned within a few months.
We would be obliged to buy a new modem. If such a modem would be available. It isn’t at the moment.

Purism coming up with Awesim did nothing to ease my worries. On the contrary. It somehow feels like a stop-gap measure.
Since I did not want to come across overly critical or even suspicious, I gave it a rest. Weeks later, there is still no official response to the volte matter, and I am no less worried. So I couldn’t resist mentioning it after all.

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I assume you’re talking about the non-official, community currated wiki?

I actually have not read of ONE AweSIM customer here yet.
They’re all using “normal” carriers, without too much problems.
(For a list customers who received their Evergreen, see here)

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Maybe this would be a good time for Purism to ease our worries with a straightforward explanation of the current state of affairs(?)

(“I’ve decided to be an optimist from now on.”
“Then why do you look so worried?”
“What?! Do you think it is easy being an optimist?!”)


I am. If that’s not the official word from Purism, then it would be nice to know that. The language implied that this is Purism’s official position - though I see no citation for it, looking at it now.

That’s good to know, and that’s the impression I have currently. But I get the impression that making it run on Verizon is difficult, if not impossible and I have seen no evidence that it works at all at this point, unless I missed a thread somewhere? Verizon is the best carrier in my area, though I can use another if I must. Still, as I’m reading through this, it seems that there are two major issues for the Librem5: No access as the major carriers move to VoLTE-only networks and no access because of whitelisting requirements. The first case may be solvable in time with software / hardware upgrades, but the second case is troubling to me.

Honestly, just some clarity from Purism on how they’re looking ahead at these issues would go along way here, I think.

Exactly. Just tell us how it is…

Quote from the wiki:

This page addresses questions which aren’t answered in the official Purism FAQ and the Librem 5’s Developers FAQ. It is written by community members, who have their own opinions, so don’t take the answers in this page as the official word from Purism, unless links are provided to an article on the Purism website or a Purism employee is quoted.

I don’t see where the language implies that it’s official.

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Another issue is that some cellular providers have whitelists of phones that they allow on their networks, and Purism has indicated that it will not try to get the Librem 5 certified on any cellular networks. For US customers, where many of the major cellular providers do have whitelists, Purism will be offering its new AweSIM service.

I’d say that actually directly states an official position from Purism, though it lacks a citation and, thus, any context for why Purism appears to have taken that position. Also I’m going to assume getting the phone “certified” is synonymous with getting it “whitelisted”, unless someone had their language confused when they wrote this question.

Well, there are several things. To my knowledge, at least some of the modems are pre-certified with major networks!? Not sure, maybe @amosbatto can shed some light on this.

Secondly, I seems very plausible to me that, if VoLTE is not yet supported, but possibly a requirement for certification, then it wouldn’t make sense to try to get certification right now.

That seems plausible and makes sense. If that’s the case, it would certainly put me at ease about the situation.

IT should go fine!

Interesting. Maybe i should try that first…

I did a Google search for PLS8 and BM818 and “certification” or “certified” or “whitelist” or T-Mobile or AT&T or Sprint or Verizon, and I can’t find any mention of these two modem models being certified for any cellular networks. BM818 doesn’t publish much public info about its modems, but it also seems to be mainly focused on the Chinese market, so I think it unlikely to be certified for any carrier. There should be some mention in the Gemalto forum if the PLS8 has been certified for a carrier.

I based the wiki text on this comment by Nicole Faerber in August 2019:

we (as in Purism) currently have no plans to get additional carrier approvals. Getting carrier approvals is a PITA and in most cases bound to very high restrictions on the device and a very expensive qualification process. Especially the restrictions carriers in many cases impose on handsets and their features or access of the carrier onto the handset (for remote configuration etc.) are “features” we do not want to have on our device. We want the users to have the maximum freedom on their device and not being forced to have locked down parts.

So if Sprint is not supporting our modem, I am sorry, the Sprint is not an option. In the US I know that e.g. T-Mobile is very open, in Europe it is the law that carriers must accept all 3GPP compliant devices.

That was a long time ago, and maybe Purism’s plans have changed since then, in light of the announced blocking of non-VoLTE phones by T-Mobile and AT&T, and the fact that the one person who has tried to use Verizon with the Librem 5 had problems.

If Purism is going to provide the AweSIM service on the T-Mobile and AT&T networks, it has to be in conversations with those two carriers, so I think it likely that Purism will have to work something out with them if they decide to restrict access to only whitelisted phones in the future.

Reading between the lines from what @dos posted (see the wiki for links), it sounds like BroadMobi can update the firmware to support VoLTE, and I imagine that is what Purism is waiting for, but it also sounds like BroadMobi isn’t the most responsive company.


I added more text to the FAQ to explain the situation with VoLTE and whitelists.


You got a point there. For me this is only 25 per cent more on my current plan.

Then again I got one of those unlimited plan for all my phones because I was using my phone as a modem for a few months and my wife was traveling. That gig is over and my wife is back and I should probably go back to a cheaper plan.

From the PLS8 datasheet:

They come with full type approval (FTA) and they are certified by the largest global network operators.

I knew I had read that somewhere :cowboy_hat_face:

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So according to Nicole Faerber, in Europe (presumably the EU + selected other countries), all 3GPP-compliant devices must be supported, but what exactly does “3GPP-compliant” mean in this case, and would the BM818 qualify? From a cursory glance at Wikipedia, there are a lot of incremental 3GPP standards, ranging from GSM to 5G – so would anything that implements GSM/2G already qualify as “compliant”?