Librem 5 carrier compatibility thread


My problem is, Caliga, that I don’t know what you know. But anyways… I spoke to one of my nephews this afternoon. He owns and runs a small local communication store. He sales T-Mobile and Verizon services among other things. I asked him to look into this and he told me not to worry about it. He thinks it won’t be a problem. I’m counting on him now. The other thing is he is fed up with the privacy problem and wants to know more about L5. That’s a good thing for me :slight_smile:


Carrier: T-Mobile
Freq/Band: 700Mhz Band 12
Current Hardware: Motorola MotoE(4) unlocked.
Choice for Librem 5: most likely the BM818 - A1 (if this is in-fact a real option)
Region(s): Northeast United States, Arizona United States
Comment: Excellent connectivity in the areas above. I especially like the lower frequencies (like 700Mhz) because I find that I tend to have better signal that others around me that do not have the lower frequency bands (12, 13, 17).


My local tower only runs on B12


Added Japan info here:

Feel free to add it to the first post in this thread.


According to, “Starting 1/1/2020: No Longer Allowed: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), providing a CDMA device to activate on an existing line.” I hope that doesn’t affect Librem 5 users. Is there going to be something like a grandfather clause? I’m wondering if it’s time to switch carriers.


The way I read this is no new CDMA devices can be activated, you can still bring your own LTE devices.


As long as it’s 4G and supports VoLTE. Is how I understand it.


Oh, okay. That makes sense. Thank you.


I’m confused… if there are two modem options, at which point is the one to use picked? I haven’t seen any option to choose between them, so are they both just shipped with the phone?


No. Having more modem options is a very recent change that was not originally planned.
At some point, they’ll probably integrate it in the shop, but until then, everybody will be asked before shipment. They are probably preparing the mail / web interface to make that choice, and will announce it in the upcoming days or weeks.


yea I what Caliga said . I recently spoke to a Purism rep due to an email issue i was having and he said my email needs to work because at some point purism will contact me to ask which modem im going with before its shipped.


I have 1 family member who does not yet have a 700Mhz phone - it still works, but looses signal in many areas where my other 2 family members no longer do.


At some point also hopefully the shop would choose a sensible default modem too - so that if someone who doesn’t have a good handle on what bands are used where orders, they get something that is likely to be the best option in their country.

To be honest until I backed the Librem 5 I never really thought about bands. I have had a succession of phones and they all just worked, including in out-of-the-way locations.

The user should still be able to override the default and ideally also order without a modem at all and also order multiple make/model/variants of modem.


Welcome to linux. I know this is more of a modem issue than OS but the limited availability of modems is due to linux drivers to my knowledge . But nuances of dealing with linux can manifest in these annoying but usually solvable problems.


(driver has to exist for Linux and be open source)

Also hardware form factor i.e. require M.2 card. (Potentially also hardware interface e.g. not PCIe e.g. probably want USB.)

Also functionality e.g. need voice calling (not just data calling).


this is the price we pay for FOSS .


For the record, my current phone is an unlocked “Verizon-approved/certified” phone. Even though this should entitle the phone to be a 1st class citizen on Verizon’s network, they won’t allow it to make video calls or Wi-Fi calls and they only barely allow you to use VoLTE (it has to be activated in a roundabout way). I recently had to reactivate my phone with Verizon and the IMEI is now listed as being incompatible with their network, so I had to go to a Verizon store and use their in-store phone to activate the cell phone manually with customer service. The phone was supposed to get an update to Android Oreo but Verizon ended up blocking the update (the same phone model on other carriers got the update).

So I’d say Verizon’s certification of unlocked phones isn’t worth much.


Seems like here in USA the 818-A1 would be best. Right now im on tmobile but I been on At&t before so for me that works. hope my phone ships with that. Unless there another.


No mention of Cricket Wireless for Pacific northwest? They use both AT&T and Verzion towers.


I don’t plan to list every Mobile Virtual Network Operator because it would make the list exceptionally long very quickly. If Cricket Wireless uses both AT&T and Verizon towers, you can probably look at either chart because they are pretty similar. If you can find out what bands Cricket uses in your area that would give a clearer picture.