The question is whether T-Mobile and AT&T will start implementing whitelists in the future. T-Mobile said last year that it would start restricting its network to only phones that have VoLTE support in January 2021, but I haven’t seen any reports that this is actually happening.
I gathered most of the info on that wiki page from what people have reported on this forum, so you can ask the people who reported that info whether they have seen any restrictions from T-Mobile so far.
Since nobody in the community has done much testing on those networks, it is hard to know. Somebody in the US has to test and report their experiences. TLG reported that he couldn’t get Verizon to work. However, historically those networks had whitelists, so I assume that they won’t work with the Librem 5.
Thanks, Amos. I’ve looked at that wiki list which is really short. Actually, it only shows a single U.S.A. L5 user on Reddit who reports voice, text, and data on T-Mobile. He apparently gained access in December. That same user comfirms Ting does not support the L5 on T-Mobile because Ting requires a VoLTE-enabled device.
There are a couple challenges with that list:
The reports of network access don’t specify when it was obtained. Anyone getting onto T-Mobile with an L5 yet during 2020 may not have had any trouble at the time, but we don’t know whether they are still able to place voice calls since January 1st. Having a date stamp cell in that spreadsheet to document the time of the access report would be helpful.
We need more data in the list. For example, there actually isn’t anyone on it yet who reports getting onto T-Mobile during 2021. Also, we only have two MVNOs on the AT&T network reported so far that have allowed L5s, PagePlus and Red Pocket.
It seems to me that the right questions aren’t getting asked and answered about the L5, VoLTE, and network access. Here’s the questions that we all should all have answers for, from Purism or the community:
–Is AT&T now the only network that will allow L5 access for voice, text, and data? If so, then is this because AT&T is the only network that will allow both unlocked and unapproved devices, or is it because it is the last network to still allow non-VoLTE enabled devices as of 01/01/21?
–As long as AT&T allows the L5 for voice, text, and data, then will all MVNOs on the AT&T network therefore also allow the L5?
–Has anyone with a new L5 since 01/01/21 been able to access voice, text, and data on any network besides AT&T?
–Is there something about the AweSIM MVNO that would allow the L5 to access the AT&T network for voice, text, and data after 02/01/22, even if Purism is unable to enable VoLTE on the L5 before that date?
Lacking further clarifications, it still seems to me that a new L5 since 01/01/21 will now only be allowed on the AT&T network for voice, text, and data, and that this access will end after 02/01/22, even with AweSIM, unless Purism is able to enable VoLTE on the device before that date, which they are apparently working on with at least the BroadMobi BM818-A1 modem.
Interesting. A report like this raises more questions than answers as it seems inconsistent with T-Mobile’s own pronouncements. It seems their dates for no longer allowing non-VoLTE phones to access their network are “soft” targets and that certain devices are at more immediate risk of being denied access than others due to esoteric firmware/software reasons. It could be that they’re doing their best to preserve customer service and bending over backwards to help everyone migrate to a device with the new standard enabled instead of just “cancelling” everyone with legacy devices so as to avoid all kinds of tears and tribulations and pissed off customers.
Still, all of us paying attention to VoLTE developments deserve some clarification from Purism. They are not out in front of communicating which networks the L5 is currently able to access as a new device on the network, and how long that access can be considered safe without firmware/software upgrades supporting VoLTE.
As far as I can tell, it’s only the AT&T network for full voice-text-data with the L5 right now, and then only for one year from now without VoLTE enabled.
On the one side, networks will set and change the various dates around device VoLTE support as they see fit. (“How long that access can be considered safe”)
On the other side, modem manufacturers will support VoLTE if and when they choose to.
I suppose it is accurate to say that right now the only available modem (BM818) does not officially support VoLTE.
However, anecdotally, the support is there and it is only the network configuration and testing (with each network in each country) that is missing. If you really know what you are doing, it may be that you can get it working today.
I think Blind Freddie can see that VoLTE is a problem that will need to be addressed, but perhaps not more urgently than getting the phone to customers who have already ordered.
I like to preserve CSFB compatibility support for 2G here in Europe, but for those (still) using 3G (WCDMA) within Asia Pacific and Latin America (adopting the APT700 band plan) regions/countries, like you @irvinewade or @BarryK, and looking forward to use VoLTE on their Librem 5 might take a look at SIM7912G-M2 (MDM9240, S2-1085D, Cat.12, M.2 card, Global) as it should be RCM approved (or will be soon).
For the rest of us (including average joe under FCC umbrella) might be that Purism is the only one to provide some update on M.2 card(s) that will be provided or not. Therefore my question here: why or why not to consider usage of THALES DIS AIS Deutschland GmbH Cinterion PLS83-W (GCF Reference: 9540) module (LTE Cat.4 with 2G/3G Fallback)?
Also, MDM9607-0 (LTE Cat.4) supports VoLTE (like within SIM7600G-H R2 module, for example) so expecting that the BM818 M.2 modem variants will do the same is not something to dismiss, but not to forget that:
For additional info, my Red Pocket (AT&T) SIM had already been activated in another phone, so all I had to do was insert it into the L5 to have full functionality. So I suppose you could say that “AT&T allowed” it; there was no approval process for the L5 specifically, though.
Almost certainly. If you pop in the appropriate SIM.
Three. As noted before, I’m now using the Truphone prepaid SIM, which runs on AT&T in the U.S. (as well as major foreign networks when traveling abroad).
Assuming T-Mobile hasn’t shut down 3G yet, his situation could change suddenly when they start refarming. In the last 2 locations I have lived (I moved over the summer), I had problems with incoming and outgoing calls with a T-Mobile reseller (which was also Red Pocket service). [Clarification: That was with my Android.] It turns out that it was because the 3G signal was weak (or possibly degraded?), even though T-mobile had not shut down 3G totally at the time. That Reddit user may actually have issues without knowing it yet. I didn’t realize it at first, until I found out people had called me and not reached me, and then when I tested by watching my phone. (I saw a drop to 3G happen, but not a peep from my phone.) And when the Reddit user happens to move around in non-3G or weak-3G areas, he could find himself without call connectivity…maybe without even realizing it.
Just a guess, but he must have attempted to check the IMEI, and it was rejected. This is no surprise, since no network will recognize this modem, most likely. It’s an unknown device to them. I wonder if he just popped in an already-activated T-Mobile SIM or actually got them to activate it for him…?
(re AT&T) In my opinion, yes.
Surely impossible. Purism would have to construct their own nationwide network, build towers, buy spectrum, etc. AweSim is an MVNO service.
Almost certainly true. With the caveat that “allow” may entail using a SIM that’s already activated in another phone, at least until the L5’s modem starts getting recognized by the carrier as compatible.
(re T-Mobile) Their public statements about the “small” number of affected customers seem to gloss over all their customers with unlocked (non-T-Mobile-branded) phones, but we’ll see.
Agreed, although I believe they’ve said they’re investigating that now.
So, that list so far shows L5 voice-text-data success on AT&T, Truphone (AT&T), Red Pocket (AT&T), and T-Mobile. But not Page Plus (Verizon) or Ting (T-Mobile). And, I’m skeptical of whether the user who got on T-Mobile in December is still getting on since 01/01/21.
I added a 2G wrist watch phone to Mint Mobile (a T Mobile MVNO) just a month ago or so ago. It works fine now. When I activated the SIM card, the customer service person asked what the IMEI number is and I told him I just wanted to activate the SIM card for now and didn’t have the IMEI number on me at the time. He said okay and activated the SIM. When I was completing the activation from my PC, they sent me a code via text message to the watch itself. I typed it in online and then everything just works now. I was shocked when the text came in to the watch since I hadn’t set anything up on the watch yet, other than inserting the SIM in to it. The customer service person probably doesn’t care most of the time. If they refuse to activate your SIM, just call back in a few minutes and try with a different customer service person.
If T-Mobile stopped allowing non-VoLTE phones on its network in January 2021, then we should have seen a ton of angry comments on the internet about it. The lack of a public outcry indicates that T-Mobile is still allowing non-VoLTE phones on its network. It is clear that T-Mobile wants people using its network to upgrade to VoLTE phones, but it isn’t clear when it will stop allowing non-VoLTE phones on its network and whether it will have a strict whitelist of allowed phones or not.
I believe that T-Mobile is putting out these statements so that it has something to tell irate customers when it shuts down a 3G network in their area, but the shutdown of 3G will be piecemeal and T-Mobile doesn’t want to deal with the huge customer backlash of not allowing any non-VoLTE phones on its network. It would overwhelm its support staff and cause T-Mobile to lose a lot of customers to AT&T. Instead, T-Mobile drops scary announcements to get its customers to change their phones, but considering that T-Mobile only announced its change 7 months ago, I don’t think January 2021 is the real cut-off date for non-VoLTE phones. Since T-Mobile isn’t clear with the public about its VoLTE policy, I don’t think that Purism can tell you what T-Mobile is planning.
From @mladen’s email to you, we know that the spec sheet for the BM818 now says that it has VoLTE support, but it doesn’t sound like the MB818’s VoLTE is configured for specific carriers, so Purism is going to have to add software that configures for the carriers. That is how I interpret Mladen’s email, but I would appreciate an official statement from Purism to confirm that.
As for testing other cellular modems which @mladen also mentioned, it doesn’t look like Thales is offering Linux drivers for the Cinterion PLS83-W, so that one seems to be out of the question.
Also just to add, but the T-Mobile news about dropping support was leaked to the press early - during a pandemic where they’re looking to still turn a profit is a bad time to not be able to control the narrative.
Id’d not be surprised if this stops being a goal for them for a little while longer, while they continue to refarm existing spectrum without risking any sort of official action until it can be seen as more politically correct to do so.
The fact remains, though, that if you’re on T-Mobile or a T-Mobile MVNO, and the 3G signal where you live, work, move around, or travel is either very weak or non-existent, and you’re using a non-VoLTE phone, then your incoming and outgoing calls will probably not connect. Your phone will likely not even ring (in or out) as it drops to 3G and looks for the signal. That’s what was happening with my Android on T-Mobile MVNOs…and I didn’t even realize it for weeks.
For what it’s worth, I have been testing out VoLTE over T-Mobile networks by enabling the VoLTE mode on the Librem 5 modem (which is disabled by default right now). Once enabled, I can successfully receive calls over 4G.
Unfortunately when I attempt to place calls, the carrier disconnects them, sometimes after the other side rings, sometimes before. When in this mode I have to go into modem settings and tell it to be 3G only and then I can place an outgoing call.
This leads me to believe that it could simply be a matter of having the carrier add the modem to the allow list for VoLTE. Or at least that’s the next step we are pursuing. We’ll know a lot more once we get past that point and can test outgoing VoLTE calls once the carrier allows them.
Not having read the whole upper part in detail, one question:
Which modem? Thales or Broadmobi?
I thougth first one is not available for Evergreen while the latter does not support VoLTE.
That’s why I am confused.
This is with the Broadmobi BM818-A1 modem that we ship in all North American phones. If you look up the specs for that modem you’ll see that it does claim support for VoLTE and indeed includes a toggle for it with an AT command, there just hasn’t been extensive testing of it, or adding it to allow-lists throughout global carriers yet.