I’m ready to order a Librem 5 today but before I do so I’d like to be confident that phone calls and SMS would work on my network provider. I live in New Jersey, USA. My network provider is Ting, which is an MVNO that uses T-Mobile’s GSM infrastructure.
Hardware: Yes / Software: Yes, but not yet enabled in the UI, as they’re still working out the kinks.
Checking a Librem 5’s IMEI (BM818-A1) on the T-Mobile BYOD compatibility page indicates it’s approved. (This modem is commonly used in automobile systems.) T-Mobile doesn’t really have to specifically whitelist a phone (although the other networks do, I believe). As long as it’s compatible, they’ll activate it.
Thank you, @steve and @amarok! I’m a bit concerned about what Kyle_Rankin said about outgoing calls. If Librem 5 + T-Mobile in USA does not have reliable outgoing calls on VoLTE, then I cannot move forward with ordering the phone. (What the phone can and cannot do on 3G is not relevant given that all the major carriers are phasing it out in favor of VoLTE.)
My must-haves in a phone are few:
Phone must use free software and answer to its owner (not FAANG or anyone else)
Receive calls and text messages reliably on my network
Make calls and send text messages reliably on my network
It seems that Librem 5 checks items 1 and 2. I will wait it out until I can have all 3. I don’t think these 3 items are too much to ask from a $800 phone.
Hi, steve. Don’t feel dirty–information wants to be free
I appreciate all the valuable information. I have been watching both Librem5 and Pinephone for a few years. I’d rather support Purism if they can manage to satisfy my short list above. I will wait another year or so, then will move ahead with Pinephone if Librem5 is still not checking all three boxes.
The Pinephone has a soldered on modem (Quectel, IIRC) that is completely different from the currently available modem module for the Librem 5 (Broadmobi).
Why VoLTE on the Librem 5 works with some mobile network operators and not with others, works in some scenarios, not in others, well that’s all the fun of debugging. I’m sure Purism will get there in the end. Patience is a virtue.