US Carriers on which we'll be able to use Librem 5


#1

I am seriously considering purchasing the Librem 5 before its price goes up Jan 7, but am wondering which US carriers will permit me to use it on the network.

I saw a previous post that said it will be able to be used on the AT&T network. I currently have US Cellular. The one time I tried to have a carrier use a phone I already had was when I switched from Sprint to US Cellular, and unfortunately I had to get one of their phones due to network incompatibility.

To what extent might US Carriers resist the use of the Librem 5? Data they collect is a cash cow for them.


#2

Unless I am mistaken, I don’t believe the Librem 5 will support CDMA.

If i read correctly online, US Cellular uses CDMA. I think Verizon and TMobile also use CDMA. This just leaves AT&T, Sprint, and any MVNO’s that support those networks.


#3

This brings up an interesting question regarding the pre-sale and the idea of a “reasonable” guarantee. If Purism would put in writing that I’ll get my money back in full should the phone not work with my carrier, I’d pull the trigger right now and pre-order. Yep, I understand this would take some upfront coordination. The best way would be to actually extend the order form so a customer could input that data. I have a feeling there are many out there, like myself, who are in a “wait and see” mode. It’s one thing to buy a laptop (I did) and/or a libre key but buying a phone that WILL depend on the ability to connect is another thing.


#4

TMobile uses GSM. Interestingly enough, almost all of Europe uses GSM as well. We are dinosaurs when it comes to CDMA. Obviously with GSM, you can drop a new SIM card from a new carrier, as long as the device isn’t locked.


#5

Hi. Based on the information from this discussion:

it looks like VoLTE will be available with U.S. Cellular through the LTE B5 band,
when using the SIM7100A modem.


#6

Not all Europe use GSM not any more.
“announced plans to phase out its GSM network by the end of 2018. GSM, GPRS and EDGE will be ended by the end of 2018 in favour of expanded 4G and 4G+ coverage.”


#7

Modem still unconfirmed even the phone should be out end of january so all should be finalized only software part and bug issue with battery remaining but no communication about modem or even manufacturer of the modem or selectionned model.


#8

End of January?

No, as I understand it that has slipped to April (and I can’t wait!).


#9

Yes it’s for April because battery issue but hardware/modem/design should be choosed/finalized now.

I still not know what to do right now even all seem good !
Remaining points are modem for supported network type and dual sim yes or no.


#10

I am not a GSM or CDMA expert, but if you are saying there are plans, what technology are they using to switch to instead? I agree with coverage, but the US for instance is slowly working to implement 5G. GSM as you know have simcards and CDMA does not.

Are you saying the world is going way of “digital” simcards in the future.

I would really like to read the article you cited. Like all of us, I am really interested in the ever evolving IT market.

Thanks,

Steve


#11

The only full report found cost ~1000$…

“Mobile penetration is on a par with the European average while mobile data use among consumers has increased rapidly in line with the expended reach of technologies including HSPA and LTE. Higher data usage has also encouraged both Swisscom and Sunrise to switch off their 2G networks and utilise network and spectrum assets for LTE and forthcoming 5G services. Swisscom is among the leading telcos in Europe for trialling 5G, with plans to offer commercial services in 2020.”

They want probably retrieve 800mhz frequency but not found any more detailed article sorry.


#12

FWIW - T-Mobile and AT&T are the networks that used GSM technology. Sprint and Verizon used CDMA.

However, my understanding is that LTE is basically a merger of the two standards to create a single standard that is supported by all of the current carriers in the US. (I may be wrong on this, but it is my understanding.)

So, I would expect that the phone will work on any of the US mobile networks. HOWEVER, there are probably places that a device that supports CDMA will work that the Librem won’t. This is because the cellular providers tend to be VERY slow to upgrade towers out in the middle of nowhere.

The main question for which networks are supported is which LTE bands the modem uses, and which LTE bands the provider uses. It shouldn’t be too hard to track both pieces of that information down. (But, I don’t have time at the moment.)


#13

Was there an article that said it was not supported on CDMA. I’ve been trying to find it and nothing.


#14

Escape the big carriers and look at Ting.


#15

As of 2019, the carriers that use CDMA are US Cellular and Sprint (along with it’s MVNOs like Boost and Virgin Mobile). ATT, T-Mobile and Verizon use GSM. Purism hasn’t announced the Cellular bands that the Librem 5 will be equipped with, though it is possible and common for smartphones to come equipped with both CDMA and GSM bands.


#16

Slinky, I don’t think that’s correct about Verizon. As of Nov 2018, CDMA carriers are Verizon, US Cellular and Sprint. https://uk.pcmag.com/news-analysis/11593/cdma-vs-gsm-whats-the-difference

I don’t see how these 3 carriers could be compatible with the Librem 5 since CDMA phones don’t have SIM cards and the Librem 5 will. Verizon does have SIM cards for its 4G LTE devices, but these SIM cards are not transferrable to a non-Verizon phone.


#17

The thing about CDMA carriers,is that they do use SIM cards,although they are only for the LTE data connection. Companies like Verizon and Sprint indeed have extra software programming, but all one has to do to is look to iPhones,Galaxies, or LG devices to understand that both CDMA and GSM devices use SIM cards.Therefore,it is possible for the Librem 5 to come with CDMA and GSM radios - but that detail hasn’t been disclosed as of yet.


#18

Great points Slinky. Thanks.


#19

CDMA and GSM are not mutually exclusive, many non-carrier “unlocked” phones are built with hardware for both. However extra hardware adds cost and attack surface. Add to this CDMA is old, limited to only 2-3 north american carriers (not used outside N.America), and is inherently a centralized control technology. CDMA requires carrier permission to switch phones.
GSM is fully decentralized, all about the Sim cards, you just take the card from one phone pop it into another phone(assuming the needed antenna freq bands) and off you go, no permission from the carrier, GSM carrier plans are linked only to Sim cards not the phones. Outside of the USA you walk into a carrier store and the sell you a sim card and an allotment of time/data, no phone no contract. Next month use a different carrier super simple.
LTE[true 4g] is a replacement for both voice and data but is not available in all locations worldwide so GSM 2g/3g/3g+[falsely marketed as 4g] is still a thing for the near future. As i recall LTE is more of the GSM model than the CDMA model.
Regardless of the network protocol, you need radio hardware for at least one of the carrier’s frequency bands. (more bands will yield better general coverage, signal strengths & speed, and better roaming coverage.)


#20

Sprint sometimes uses a sim for data only. Was this way on my iPhone 6s+ when I was with Sprint last month with the service provider called Qlink. All data went through the SIM and my vpn.

Btw, Qlink’s customer service doesn’t exist!!! Went back to Straight Talk w my antenna between my legs :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Lol

Peerblock me pls!!!