Pure OS compatibility with US cell phone providers

I would really like to purchase the Librem 5 and have been waiting with my finger on the trigger for some time now. My concern is that I spend the money only to find out that I cannot use the phone due to connectivity. It seems that some providers will not hook up a phone unless it uses android or apple OS. I want nothing to do with either. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

While someone who owns a Librem 5 can speak to that phone specifically, T-Mobile recognized my Pinephone modem’s IMEI and gave me no trouble getting it on a plan. Verizon says the IMEI isn’t compatible and refuses to activate a SIM card in the Pinephone, but if I activate the card in my Android phone and put it in the Pinephone it works fine. I would expect the experience on the Librem 5 to be similar.


Thanks for the reply. I am with Verizon now and don’t care to be, due to my location I don’t have much choice. I have tried to switch my SIM from one phone to another with no success. I will have to look into T Mobile for my location.

I’m aware of activations being rejected due to a phone’s lack of VoLTE, but never due to the OS. Do you have a source you can share about that?


I use Cricket, AT&T network I believe. Hopefully no issues there either.

I suppose most potential customers will be upgrading from an existing phone supplied by the duopoly. So at least for the first generation of Linux phones, this won’t be a problem. At least until MNOs start checking the IMEI every time, and not only at SIM activation.

See also: https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/community-wiki/-/wikis/Cellular-Providers

I use Visible currently and they only support IOs and Android. If you look at their website and phone selection it is on there. It seem that only providers with AT&T backbone support Librem 5.

Interesting. Thanks for the clarification. I see that to check device compatibility you have to first select either iOS or Android and only then input an IMEI. It seems only a specific list of devices are “compatible:”

Since they’re an MVNO of Verizon a brand owned by Verizon, the above is not surprising, I guess.

In any case, I don’t care for this in their ToS (emphasis mine):
We may change your wireless device’s software, applications or programming remotely, without notice. This could affect your stored data, or how you’ve programmed or use your wireless device. By activating your SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card, you agree we own the intellectual property and software in the SIM card, that we may change the software or other data in the SIM card remotely and without notice, and we may utilize any capacity in the SIM card for administrative, network, business and/or commercial purposes.”

Maybe that’s why they require iOS or Android as the OS.

Not to mention this, from their Privacy Policy:
" We collect information when you use our service. This includes information about the calls you make and receive, text messages you send and receive, websites you visit, mobile applications you use, and wireless network and device information, including location, Internet protocol (IP) address and connection speed, mobile telephone number, device and advertising identifiers, browser type, and operating system. Some Visible devices include Verizon-provided system applications that collect information about network and device conditions, which is used to secure and improve our network and services."

Visible | The Future of Phone Service

Sadly, all too prophetic.

I am a newbee…I hope this is not a dumb question
I am in Canada and am considering buying a Librium 5.

  1. How can I determine if the phone is supported/compatible with the Canadian networks?
  2. I suppose there is no way to stop data collection by a provider because that is in their TOS, yes?

You would be hoping that an existing customer who is in Canada updates the page that I linked to above.

I ordered my Librem 5 with cell coverage from Purism for that very reason. As I still dont have my Lib5 yet, I have no clue how well it works here in Montana which is Verizion country. I have been with VZ for almost 20 years now and I pay about 360 a month for my business cell service. Big Tech censorship is now over the top and they can all kiss my arse! If my Lib5 does not work out as hoped, you guys will find me on “SmokeSignals.com”. If it does my employees will get new phones and new cell service. Awesim Secure Cell Service


I’m thinking of doing the same thing. $99/mo might be a little high for cell service, but at least you know there’s no compatibility issue. Plus, it will help support purism and offer another level of privacy.

@rayvalley, check this list of Canada carriers, and see which LTE bands yours or the others use:

Compare to the LTE bands for the Purism modems (and I’m guessing the North America variant BM818-A1 will turn out to be the best choice):

I believe the PLS8 modems are not available yet, but you’ll have to email Purism support to find out.

In any case, just prior to shipping, Purism will probably default to the one they think is best for Canada, and give you the option to change it before they ship.

Also, be aware of this:

I doubt they would be able to track the websites you visit from the browser, but they would definitely see the phone numbers you are in contact with; the date, time, and duration of call; pings off their cell towers, which can approximate your location; etc.

Unless you turn the cellular modem off, of course.

Yes, I don’t like any of it. I was some what forced to have to deal with this. The area I’m in doesn’t work will with AT&T not sure about T-Mobile. I really want to change my service/phone.

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They use AT&T which doesn’t work well where I’m at, and I would be connecting two phones which would be expensive for me.

You could always use data only and make all calls only via data. Then use use an always-on VPN connection. Where possible connect via WiFi and keep your cellular connection turned off when not using it. The only thing your carrier would know then, would be who your VPN provider is. These measures, combined with the hardware kill switches give you some privacy.

Red Pocket resells Verizon service (in addition to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint). Not endorsing them, but they’re the MVNO I decided to go with for my main phone, based on price and matching my usage pattern. Hard to beat $10/month (hard, but not impossible).

Hopefully they will offer some kind of group discounts for family’s and business’s. I like the thought that your getting a new number that supposedly is not attached to your actual name. I need to research that a little bit better, but in a sense of data collection…it all starts with the phone number in terms of our identities. As mentioned by someone else here, if you really want to have a phone on the fly and no cell bill, VOIP is the way to go. Your in a different data stream entirely which you have more control over, end to end. I have a older Android that I gave my son with Signal loaded on it and he can Facetime me anywhere he has an internet connection, for free. There are ways to load Signal without the phone number BTW.

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