Availability and price of Gemalto PLS8 modem?

Few days back I noticed that in the Purism store there are a new listing for modems (https://shop.puri.sm/shop/librem-5-modem/). Currently there are 3 options, all are BM818 (made in China). There are no Gemalto PLS8 (made in Germany), even if it was promised long time back.

Many weeks ago I asked Purism directly about the Gemalto PLS8 (availability and price). This is what I got back:
We do intend to have this option in the future. But at this moment I
cannot specify any details.

Purism, please. Add this option now. What is holding you back? Please tell this to the community.

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I thought that someone mentioned something about how the BM818 comes pre-assembled on an M.2 card, and the Gemalto PLS8 has to be assembled onto the card by Purism.

If am remembering correctly, this may mean that they don’t have it listed because there are delays with assembly or are trying to get the phone shipped prior to assembling the cards (they only have so many people in the U.S., and having them assemble $800 phones makes more sense than $50-$100 cards).

I don’t know if anyone who got a shipping email can confirm what their options were, maybe they were given the option and Purism just doesn’t have the stock (or doesn’t want to) offer it aftermarket, or maybe they just forgot.

Maybe send in a new support email, they might be able to provide some more info.

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I’m no expert but mounting LGA modules on a card would be a job for a machine, I would think. Purism also might be outsourcing that.

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Is it my understanding that only the Gemalto will be compatible with VoLTE?

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That is an unresolved question.

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I think you mean BGA (LGA can and commonly is mounted by humans, see Intel processors), and you are definitely right (assuming you meant BGA), but (in the unlikely case that Purism isn’t outsourcing) there still needs to be a human operating the machine, or more likely there are other assembly steps (not sure what these would be, I don’t remember an elaboration on the thing that I read). It is also possible that Purism thought it would be possible to do it in-house, and later realized that it wouldn’t be cost-effective and are looking for a company to outsource it to.

It is likely that they have the machinery to mount BGA in-house (or have a company that can do it) due to the requirement of any company developing hardware to be able to rapidly prototype, but it may not be able to do it at a larger scale (the cheaper and more “simple” BGA mounting systems used by repair shops and such are not really designed to scale, my understanding is that they are rather manual, whereas a factory might have everything automated to the point where you don’t have to align everything in great detail).

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As I said, I’m no expert. :slight_smile:

The Gemalto documentation definitely says LGA.

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Hmm, ok…BGA is Ball Grid Array, and is basically a bunch of solder balls that connect the chips, while LGA (Land Grid Array) is a system of pins on the bottom/surface, and holes or pads on the chip for connection. Intel uses the latter, most chips in phones use the former because it has less overhead.

If LGA is in use, Purism could probably mount the chips in-house, although depending on how small they are, it may require a robot to have the precision.

I know the basics, but that is about it…

Edit: By overhead, I mean that BGA doesn’t require a socket, while LGA typically needs a socket and something to hold the chip in place. With BGA, the solder balls are heated up and melted into place, fusing the chip and socket together, so mounting mechanism is not required (thus it takes up less space, which is why it is commonly used in phones and other tightly integrated systems). All the chips on the Raspberry Pi are BGA, while an Intel processor on a desktop computer is LGA.

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I was considering I might also get a PLS8 modem so I am also keen to hear when it will be available and pricing. Hopefully they’ll have some news about it soon. Although, if there is any chance of a more compatible modem in the future I’d prefer to wait for that.

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