How To Chose Your Modem Selection

In the US, we have a few major cell phone carriers and many MVNO (resellers of these few major) carriers. I don’t know which carriers use which channels and I get conflicting and ambiguous information (lots of unanswered questions) when I try to do the research myself. I will probably use either T-Mobile or Verizon or one of their MVNO’s for the rest of my life. I am with Mint Mobile (a T-Mobile MVNO) now. I am hoping that I don’t need to become an expert on the cellular systems to make a decision about which modem I want with my L5. But I don’t want to make the wrong selection of Modems either. How does the average person make the decision about which modem you want to have shipped with your L5?

There was a comprehensive thread on this a while back:

The supported frequency bands need to match what’s available in your area. Take a look at the first post on that thread to see which ones Verizon and T-Mobile support. You can also look at to get a map of where certain frequency bands are used.

In general the Broadmobi 818-A1 seems to have the best coverage, but the Gemalto PLS8-US should still work. I’ll be going with the Gemalto modem as it’s made in Germany rather than China, but if country of origin is less important to you then you may find the Broadmobi modem more appealing.


Wow, those charts are extremely helpful. I heard that the Broadmobi modems use proprietary blobs but that the Gemalto modems do not. Are the Broadmobi modems still FSF compliant?

The BM818-A1 north american variant has the most tower channel coverage . Theres an american modem but it didnt have all tower channels around me .

To my knowledge, all modems use fully proprietary code onboard. The modems themselves aren’t FSF compliant, but because the modem is a closed system as far as the phone is concerned it’s allowed for the Librem 5’s FSF certification.

As far as the modem requiring a binary blob driver in PureOS, I’m not sure, but I don’t think Purism would be considering the Broadmobi modems if they had that requirement. As I understand it that would disqualify the Librem 5 from FSF certification.

The L5 also has a built in separate hardware for dealing with that pesky modem … so take the one that will prove useful for YOU …