Librem 5 carrier compatibility thread


#8

The modem I referenced is the Gemalto PLS8. See Purism’s chart for the Gemalto PLS8. In the left hand column under the, “Standard” heading GSM is used for the 2G frequencies and WCDMA is used for the 3G frequencies.

I linked Telstra’s Wikipedia page for a reason - it spells out that Telstra is a GSM carrier. It was once a CDMA carrier, but not since 2008.

Enjoy your Aussie 2G! I’m done trying to help you people…


#9

Fair enough. I was going off the spec sheet from the manufacturer.

It is my belief, possibly erroneous, that CDMA and W-CDMA are different things (with confusingly similar names).

2G network was closed down.


#10

Don’t forget the rumour mill has Telstra shutting down the 3G network starting in 2020. As it is rumour don’t forget your grain of salt.


#11

As I said in my post above, I was only pointing out that it was stated on the forum that it is a WCDMA network. I also saw a Telstra financial report that said the same but I thought the link I provided was quicker to see.

I referenced in my chart from here, also linked above, that:

Mandatory handset 3G band support

Telstra – 3G 850MHz (B5)
Optus – 3G 900MHz (B8)
Vodafone – 3G 900MHz (B8)

I presume that means the PLS8-E wouldn’t work for Telstra, at least with 3G. I haven’t tested this myself though.

I was originally planning to update the post with more regions fairly soon after but then life got in the way. I’ll see what people think of the new layout first.

Well, I hope it doesn’t happen as soon as that…


#12

Does anyone know the post character limit? I’m wondering if I should delete this thread and start a new one where I can reserve the first few posts.


#13

My Librem 5 chronology did not hit a character limit yet and you can update it about 60 days.


#14

Thanks, that’s good to know. I didn’t realise it was that long! Oh is there a limit on how long you can update it? That’s unfortunate…


#15

I think this is fine. I just came to the Sprint section which is what is relevant to me and I hope we can talk about it in the “Replay” tab.
This is what’s going on with me and I hope Purism read this: According to the sources you cite here, my option goes to BroadMobil 818-A1. Now… What worries me is that I asked a customer representative in my local Sprint store about the possibility of me using my Librem5 with them. The guy had no idea what Librem5 is or anything about Linux or a cellphone using something different than iOS or Android. His answer was to bring the phone to the store. Later on when I had the information about the modem (by that time it was only PLS8) I went back to the store and tried again, this time mentioning the modem I would be using. The answer was the same (from a different person not knowing anything about Linux, Linux phones or Librem5): “You have to bring the device for us to be able to tell if you could use it with Sprint”.
I don’t know how Purism is going to play it but I hope I can opt for the BM818-A1 BEFORE I get the phone. This is what I wanted to address here. I hope Purism plays it right and I don’t have to buy a second modem and deal with installation.


#16

Yes, that modem would give you full coverage for LTE. frequencycheck.com says that Sprint only accept approved devices. I have no idea if it is approved but I am sure Purism are well aware of that. If it isn’t, I’m sure they will be working on it.

I presumed they would ask before sending them out, but here is confirmation.


#17

I feel better now. Thanks. She probably meant to say “census” instead of “survey”.


#18

No problem. Glad I could help.


#19

Just one more or less minor addition to that - we (as in Purism) currently have no plans to get additional carrier approvals. Getting carrier approvals is a PITA and in most cases bound to very high restrictions on the device and a very expensive qualification process. Especially the restrictions carriers in many cases impose on handsets and their features or access of the carrier onto the handset (for remote configuration etc.) are “features” we do not want to have on our device. We want the users to have the maximum freedom on their device and not being forced to have locked down parts.

So if Sprint is not supporting our modem, I am sorry, the Sprint is not an option. In the US I know that e.g. T-Mobile is very open, in Europe it is the law that carriers must accept all 3GPP compliant devices.

Cheers
nicole


#20

I’d like to know what US carriers support the Broadmobi modem. Looking on their website I’ve found no references to any carrier support information. Really hoping I ordered something that’s actually usable as a phone.


#21

Okay.

Can you (in time before shipping starts) make sure that you guys provide us with details on which carriers approved modems you offer to choose from?
As you see all over the forum here, ppl have a hard time finding certifications for BroadMobi modem. For many of us in US, Gemalto doesn’t cover all LTE bands and Chinese modem looks like a great alternative. But, if not certified by Verizon for VoLTE , we won’t be able make a call on the phone.


#22

Yes, we will work on this.

But why do you think that if Verizon would switch to VoLTE only calling? AFAIK VoLTE is an option at most carriers and many even do not support this yet.

Cheers
nicole


#23

Ack, sorry for advising with an assumption like that. I should have chosen my words more carefully. Thank you for clarifying!


#24

This might be related. https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/knowledge-base-218813
Important bit I think some people are worried about is that if the baseband is not certified for Verizon 4G and VoLTE then you won’t even be able to activate the device on their network at all. Thats one of the big reasons I was interested in the Quectel EM06, in the specifications they at least make it clear that certification for Verizon along with other major US carriers was in progress. The check mark for certifications on the broadmobi site doesn’t seem very specific.


#25

Verizon doesn’t have a GSM fallback for voice calls - Only cdma, which is getting completely shut down in December this year.
I know that based on the experience with them , using different unlocked devices. And in many cases where the phone had CDMA , if I had a poor coverage, calls wouldn’t go through, even though I had 4 bars on LTE and perfect internet connection.


#26

So should pressure be put on Purism to get certified on Verizon’s network which may include allowing Verizon to control certain aspects of the software on the phone and absolutely will increase the cost to everyone to distribute that cost? Or should pressure be put on Verizon to support all capable devices and not have a costly and intrusive certification process?


#27

The US needs a law like that…