Freedom Mobile support in Canada?

Hey folks, is there any Canadians out there who have experience using the Librem 5 with Freedom Mobile? I bought a European model on Ebay (since I’m still waiting for mine) and I wasn’t really expecting it to work as is. Anyways, it puts me on Nationwide roaming but never actually registers the SIM card. I’ve tried other SIM cards such as Virgin Mobile which do work just fine.

I was looking at the modems available for the Librem 5 and it’s unclear to me whether any of them support the AWS band that Freedom requires, however if I understand it correctly, the Asia model is actually a better choice than the NA model as is appears to support all required bands. My question is, can anyone, preferably a Canadian who uses Freedom, confirm whether this is the case? Or is Freedom just a really weird carrier that won’t properly work with the Librem 5 yet?


Did you already see this?

It looks like the European modem lacks the B66, but I don’t know whether that is critical, since Virgin Mobile also lacks it, while Freedom Mobile does have it.

And the European modem also lacks B4, which both Virgin Mobile and Freedom Mobile use.

If is up-to-date.
(I’m not in Canada.)

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I will check that out, thanks!

So according to this, B4 (AWS 1) is the one that is missing on the EU modem that I need. I think both the NA and Asia one support B4 but it’s unclear if this is AWS 1 or if there is even any difference. I’m not super familiar with how bands work. However the NA modem does list B4 and B66, but not B7. The Asia modem lists all three, but again no clear indication of AWS support, which according to Freedom’s official website, is ESSENTIAL for functionality.

The thing that worries me aside from the AWS concern is that Freedom does this thing where outside major cities, they don’t actually have their own towers yet, so they rent other networks and call it “Nationwide roaming”, in the same way that you are roaming when you go to a different country. I’m just not sure if the Librem 5 would know how to handle that sort of roaming, or if it even knows the difference between roaming and non-roaming currently.

Thanks for your help!

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About AWS, for those who are interested:

Thanks that’s very informative!

So based on this is it probably a bad idea to go for the Asia modem, even if, on paper it appears to have better support?

The MNO that I use (in Australia, in connection with the specific SIM that is in my Librem 5) does the exact same thing.

Without checking, I believe that a year ago it did not work … but …

I have noticed it more recently working.

It’s going to depend on the exact arrangements between the MNOs but I see on my Librem 5 right now that it took a lot longer to register with the secondary MNO and came up as 3G rather than 4G. The network shows as “Roaming” (whereas normally it would show up as the primary MNO’s name and would come up as 4G).

For the avoidance of doubt, I am inside Australia right now. So this is not international roaming.

NB: In case it’s not obvious, this is not something that I can test “at will”.

I understand. So this information is provided just as a data point that sheds light on what is possible on the Librem 5, not what will happen for you in Canada with your specific mobile provider.

This is actually quite helpful so thanks a lot for your input! Interesting that Australian carriers do the same thing.

Convergent evolution in technology? Large country. Low average population density (comparatively speaking). The economics for having your own towers make sense in urban areas but the economics for roaming onto someone else’s towers make sense in rural and regional areas.

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Yeah that sounds a lot like Canada. Ontario, where I live is fairly dense (and fairly well covered by towers), but the rest of the country is here and there.

Some hours later … my phone is now again able to receive signal from a tower of my primary MNO - and the Librem 5 swapped back automatically to the primary.

(I am completely unclear over how much of this functionality is within the Librem 5 software itself and how much of this functionality is in the cellular modem. Either way though it seems to work happily in the background, with the only thing being that maybe initially, after power on, it has to time out trying to find the primary MNO, before reverting to the secondary, but thereafter it will keep listening for the primary while using the secondary.)

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This is very interesting and helpful info. Thanks so much for your input! Based on everyone’s input I get the feeling that it would be best to go for the NA modem for now and hope that works. The phone I had originally ordered for myself should come with the correct modem already installed though.

When your phone is ready for shipping, they’ll ask you which modem you want. (And to confirm your address as well.)

Oh, that’s great to know! I kind of figured that was selected when you order (though I don’t remember doing that), or it was automatically selected based on where you ordered from.

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Anyone manage to get MMS working? The MMS APN set itself up automatically upon inserting the SIM, and I entered the MMS carrier settings, including the proxy. Have tried including and excluding the port number, but have not been able to send/receive MMS.

Also, does anyone have the Visual Voicemail add-on, and have it working with VVM Player? It appears vvm3 is the protocol, but I am not subscribed to the feature, just wanted to see if the settings could be set up correctly beforehand at all.

Calls work great, especially with the recent modem updates on Freedom/Videotron.

I have not heard of anything for it. AFAIK, vvm3 is only for Verizon Wireless USA.

the default protocol on the app, sorry is what I meant to say

Unfortunately, for visual voicemail, there really is no “default protocol”. Pretty much every carrier that is supported is supported because someone reverse engineered what their carrier does manually, allowing support for it. Typically the hardest one is the destination number.

Freedom Mobile works with the BM818-A1, although I have a persistent issue with audio calls where the receiver only hears garbled noises, but I can hear them clearly. I have not tested/used MMS, but texting works fine.

Indeed. I just got my A1 phone from Purism finally and it works quite well with Freedom. Haven’t got to see how roaming works yet but SMS and calls work most of the time. One minor issue (for me) is that MMS only works if I switch APNs from Freedom’s data APN to their MMS APN. Switching allows me to receive pictures and group messages but data stops working till I switch back. I don’t know if this is a Freedom thing or if it’s a bug with the Librem 5. In any case, getting a good Signal client on the Librem 5 would solve this as I don’t actually like MMS. But people use it with me anyways.

Haven’t had garbled calls yet, but speaker phone is on the quiet side. Sometimes texts don’t come through but flipping the baseband modem switch off and back on seems to fix this.

My plan is to try the Librem 5 for one month and see how much people (and myself) get annoyed with its quirks. Overall, I’m quite impressed though and having Linux in the palm of my hand is not something I ever thought I would see realized.