How do Calls and Internet Access Work on Librem 5?

I still don’t understand how making calls, sending and receiving texts, and accessing the Internet are supposed to work on the Librem 5. I’ve read conflicting information.

Does the phone come with an internal router or modem that it uses to connect to cell towers? If so, is that router or modem open source?
Does the phone need to be within range of Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet or place calls?
Are any external devices or parts not included with the phone needed for the phone to connect to the Internet or place calls?
Does the phone use mobile broadband or VOIP (or both)?
What kind of plan is needed for the phone to connect to the Internet or place calls, and which companies offer plans compatible with the Librem 5?
Does the phone need a SIM card to connect to the Internet or place calls? If so, does the phone come with a SIM card or does the SIM card need to be bought separately?

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if you buy the Librem 5 you must buy or already own a pre-pay SIM card or you will get one if you get a contract but you must reasearch what region you want to use it in and see if the modem that you want is compatible with that region. you might have certain limitations in regards to what telecom companies you can expect to be compatible with … not all of them will support the L5 out-of-the-box

the Librem 5 comes free of contract … so you are free to choose what you want … just make sure you do your homework first … the magnifying glass in the top-right is your friend…

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L5 has slot for (nano)sim card which is hooked up to M2 slot. In M2 slot you need to put broadband/gsm modem satisfying following conditions:

  • Has support for GSM bands in your country
  • Has support for GSM voice
  • Has support for standard initialisation sequence via udev (hence be supported by gnome modem manager)
  • Works without need to load closed firmware blob (either contains all necessary blobs inside or has the opensource blob)

So far purism identified two modems (in severeal band-set options) and first batches will have BM818 model only. Technically you should be able to chose any other modem satisfying these conditions.


The phone contains the equipment necessary to connect to cell towers, except the SIM card. You will have to find one suitable for you.

There will be two versions of this equipment, which you can choose based on the mobile provider frequencies in your area, check the FAQ:

The phone needs a SIM card to connect to the mobile network, including mobile internet. If you can connect to the Internet via WiFi, then you can use that without a SIM card.


Librem 5 would not be able to contract for the various companies supplying service. There is a user manual noted online the same day as your query was posted, if not before that time. It lists the business of the conventional sim-linked calls ( Wi-fi calling is also likely to be workable even before having the sim in place, but VOIP and Wifi would leave one hamstrung without SIM card utility to work while in transit.
I would note that the tray refers only to a hard SIM card. e-SIM technology is not accounted for in the manual and probably is not likely to be present in the device, should you wonder about this.

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