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Time to take action - US-carrier whitelisting (Verizon and AT&T)


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As many people know, the situation in the US for choice of carrier has recently been obliterated.

-T-Mobile is affordable and so far, accepting of most devices. However, they have AWFUL coverage, and once they retire their old network in December 2022, they may also begin cutting off devices.

-AT&T has more or less cut off access to anybody that does not use an AT&T branded LTE/5g device as of the beginning of February. No more bring your own phone. RIP my BB Key2

-That leaves Verizon as the only remaining good option. They have the best coverage anyway, and they are mostly accepting of devices. Starting in March 2022, when they retire their old network, the issue with Verizon for users that want to use foreign devices like the Pro1-X, is that Verizon will only allow LTE/5g devices that are on their 'whitelist'. 

The old methods of using a mule device to activate a sim and transfer it etc, no longer work. They know what device you're using. This brings us to the proposal of the post.

I have read that several people, including myself, have attempted to stress this issue to Fxtec with not much of a response. That leaves the responsibility up to the users. Given persistence with tech support, it has been shown this year that Verizon is willing to work with people to have phones added to their whitelist. They want your business. 

What we are in need of here, is a group of US pro-1/Pro1-X users, or users to be (given the device gets approved), to come together on some level. We can present as a group to Verizon and push for them to approve the devices. It's easy to brush off individuals, it is hard to ignore a passionate group.

What do you people have to say about this? Any suggestions of ways to go about doing this?

Edited by EskeRahn
Edited title slightly to include AT&T
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I certainly appreciate that! I'm slowly working on the different methods in the background while we wait for the phones to enter the shipping phase. I do have one concrete option developed!

As many people know, the situation in the US for choice of carrier has recently been obliterated. -T-Mobile is affordable and so far, accepting of most devices. However, they have AWFUL coverage,

I understand your point of view, but I bet that the work it would require to persuade huge tele-companies to care about a tiny player like FxTec would far exceed any profit they could gain by addition

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Not from USA but I encourage you to try to make this happen. I suggest you try to find out first if there is any info about Verizon's whitelist acceptance policy. If it seems your idea could be beneficial, you set up a goal how many users you need and try to get maybe help from someone to write a good presentation for people to subscribe. Then make a plan how you get people (persistent presence here and maybe on other platforms you think you find Fxtex users) and how you can get Fxtec team to team up with you. If you get them to team up with you the plan may change to be more beneficial.

And then you work with people you get involved untill it happens or time is up. Decided persistent sacrifice state of mind with firm belief you can and will succeed.

Edited by Fxtecish
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I'm not sure what to do about this either.  AT&T support has been down the last 2 days, so I can't even tell them not to deactivate the Pro1 and activate the replacement they sent me just to see what happens on 2/22.

I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep this thing working.

Are we sure the Pro1 X has the same 3G/4G chipset and it won't work either?  I'm not sure about all the different bands that are listed.

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The pro-1 and pro-1 X have all the necessary tech to operate on the major carriers in the US, aside from band 66 for Verizon, but that isn't necessary. 

I believe the best place to start would be to call in to Verizon tech support, or email, and start climbing the tech support ladder. There are many levels of techs that have more knowledge and authority moving up. It may also help if the person doing this is a current customer, but I'm not really sure that matters. 

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On 2/20/2022 at 4:36 PM, adam.c.r.roman said:

I'm not sure what to do about this either.  AT&T support has been down the last 2 days, so I can't even tell them not to deactivate the Pro1 and activate the replacement they sent me just to see what happens on 2/22.

I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep this thing working.

Are we sure the Pro1 X has the same 3G/4G chipset and it won't work either?  I'm not sure about all the different bands that are listed.

The fxtec pro 1 absolutely has everything it needs to operate fully in the att network on 4g lte with hd voice.  I'm using it now.  I specifically set it to only use 4g probably 6 months ago.  I do get a couple dead spots but it's not jumping down to 3g.  I fear it won't help me come tomorrow (I had found Feb 22nd as the official day they kill off their 3g network), but on the chance they let devices that have the technology, there's a chance.

When I first started dealing with this the 6 months ago or whatever I tried talking to multiple AT&t customer service people through their 611 service.  And I got different answers people some people said it had to be on the white list or it's not going to work some people said it will either work or it won't based on technology.  But I'm fully expecting that they're only doing their specific whitelisted devices.  And as is already been mentioned in this post my reaching out to fxtec to get them to work with AT&t so that the device could be white listed as failed because they don't seem to care.  When that does happen I'll be requesting to cancel my pro1x order/funding, if that's even still possible because what good to me is a second phone that I can't use in the United States.

So if I do get kicked off of AT&t in my plan is to go to T-Mobile as I've already confirmed on their website that T-Mobile says my device is fully compatible with their Network.  And I've also ordered a mint Mobile SIM card from amazon for $0.99 which allows you to have 7 Days of service to test it out... And mint is using T-Mobile's Network exclusively so to me that proves that T-Mobile will work.. of course I don't know that it won't be a problem after the years out but I've seen nothing about them forcing the white list of phones either.

Edited by KingOfTerrible
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4 hours ago, KingOfTerrible said:

The fxtec pro 1 absolutely has everything it needs to operate fully in the att network on 4g lte with hd voice.  I'm using it now.  I specifically set it to only use 4g probably 6 months ago.  I do get a couple dead spots but it's not jumping down to 3g.  I fear it won't help me come tomorrow (I had found Feb 22nd as the official day they kill off their 3g network), but on the chance they let devices that have the technology, there's a chance.

When I first started dealing with this the 6 months ago or whatever I tried talking to multiple AT&t customer service people through their 611 service.  And I got different answers people some people said it had to be on the white list or it's not going to work some people said it will either work or it won't based on technology.  But I'm fully expecting that they're only doing their specific whitelisted devices.  And as is already been mentioned in this post my reaching out to fxtec to get them to work with AT&t so that the device could be white listed as failed because they don't seem to care.  When that does happen I'll be requesting to cancel my pro1x order/funding, if that's even still possible because what good to me is a second phone that I can't use in the United States.

So if I do get kicked off of AT&t in my plan is to go to T-Mobile as I've already confirmed on their website that T-Mobile says my device is fully compatible with their Network.  And I've also ordered a mint Mobile SIM card from amazon for $0.99 which allows you to have 7 Days of service to test it out... And mint is using T-Mobile's Network exclusively so to me that proves that T-Mobile will work.. of course I don't know that it won't be a problem after the years out but I've seen nothing about them forcing the white list of phones either.

Probably don't have to say this, but please let us know if your Pro1 quits - is it beginning or end of 2/22? -- not sure.  I wasn't able to get them to not deactivate my Pro1 on that day and see what happens, so the absolutely awful "Calypso" replacement phone they sent me should be automatically activated.

Didn't know you could deactivate the 3G band, thanks for that info, as well as the T-mobile option.  I haven't seen mention of this before.  Much thanks, and I hope you keep us updated on this thread.  Even though this phone has the keyboard repeating key problem I've babbled about, I'll be absolutely lost without it, and worst case, will have to use it as an old-fashioned PDA, LOL.

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6 hours ago, KingOfTerrible said:

When I first started dealing with this the 6 months ago or whatever I tried talking to multiple AT&t customer service people

6 months is a long time - I would hope by now proper training has been given and they would give a consistent answer?  Though if today's the day I guess you no longer need one as you'll find out for yourself.

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47 minutes ago, suicidal_orange said:

6 months is a long time - I would hope by now proper training has been given and they would give a consistent answer?  Though if today's the day I guess you no longer need one as you'll find out for yourself.

I think most major US carriers just don't care about this 0.01% of their customers to include any training on getting off-brand devices working with their networks.  It just doesn't affect their net revenue.  But, per KingOfTerrible's comments, I saw that T-Mobile does have a rather promising BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program, where they seem willing to accept any phone that is unlocked and compatible with their network, regardless of brand, so I have new hope with this possibility.  Please, everybody, share your experiences with getting the Pro1's working with US carriers.  Thanks!

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Honestly fxtec should be more concerned about getting these approvals. If I can't use the device on a carrier of my choice, I'm not going to get it, regardless of how good or novel it is. That only limits their already limited pool of buyers

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21 minutes ago, npatel1050 said:

Honestly fxtec should be more concerned about getting these approvals. If I can't use the device on a carrier of my choice, I'm not going to get it, regardless of how good or novel it is. That only limits their already limited pool of buyers

I understand your point of view, but I bet that the work it would require to persuade huge tele-companies to care about a tiny player like FxTec would far exceed any profit they could gain by additional sales.

If they felt they could sell say 10K extra Pro1(X) it would obviously be a different story, and they could ask with a punch with a little weight.

I think that the original idea of this thread with a user group is much more likely to have any leverage. It could potentially give bad press of the tele-giants not caring about customers, by stirring up commotion and thus will have much more power than a tiny phone manufacturer.

But I'm quite sure that if the group get in dialogue with say AT&T and they require some technical info, then FxTec will be glad to help.

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33 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

I understand your point of view, but I bet that the work it would require to persuade huge tele-companies to care about a tiny player like FxTec would far exceed any profit they could gain by additional sales.

If they felt they could sell say 10K extra Pro1(X) it would obviously be a different story, and they could ask with a punch with a little weight.

Right, I think the same.

However, if Pro1-X enters the market and additional manufacturing is also possible (unlike running into a similar problem what Pro1 had), then it may be a higher chance they will start working with US providers or at least there may be much more users who may also push these service providers.

However, living in Europe, it sounds very weird how much control these service providers have above their customers head and they can do it because everyone do the same there. I hope it may changes together with spreading modern networks but there should be a service provider who start a different approach and  is big enough in the playground...

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To reply to all of you, this far T-Mobile seems to be using the fact that people are getting denied from at&t and verizon to their advantage. They'll accept pretty much any compatible phone from over seas. Now when they shut down their old network this coming December.. that could change. But that's a year away. 

 

As for getting the phones working with the other big 2, bare in mind: we are not asking these carriers to SELL the phones, brand them, nothing like that. Simply, to add them to their system of approved devices so that they are not denied service. That is not much to ask. Given enough group support, I believe they would be willing to do it if brought to the top of their tech guys. 

 

On another note, I think there may also be some leverage in that there are laws about denying service to devices. I haven't educated myself on these laws, but the idea I've gotten from reading other forums is that a carrier cannot simply deny a device service if it has compatible technology.

Edited by Fullmetaljacket223
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1 minute ago, Fullmetaljacket223 said:

Simply, to add them to their system of approved devices so that they are not denied service. That is not much to ask.

My GUESS would be that if a device support some (or even most), but not all of the bands the carrier offers, they will be reluctant to let it into their net. Simply because the bad experience of "poor coverage" most often fall back on the carrier, even if it actually is the phone that can not use the bands offered in the area in question.

This dialogue is not uncommon: "I got a lousy signal here! - What carrier are you using? - XXX - Ahh, damned XXX" ...

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2 minutes ago, Fullmetaljacket223 said:

As phone getting the phones working with the other big 2, bare in mind: we are not asking these carriers to SELL the phones, brand them, nothing like that. Simply, to add them to their system of approved devices so that they are not denied service. That is not much to ask. Given enough group support, I believe they would be willing to do it if brought to the top of their tech guys. 

Right, but they may refuse it referring to an unknown behaviour or potentionally malfunctioning device which may affects the usability of their network and may lead higher load for their customer support (also because of problems potentially caused by device and also because of unsupported bands [checking and explaining it for customer] and also because having more devices, being harder to provide specific support for all of them).

The above may be a theoretical explanation of why they don't accept phones from other sources.
...but the truth it is very convenient for them having to support only specific devices and they used to have a very specific system where they could gain this high control over their customers and they do not want to release these "rights" they have over their clients.

Interestingly, service providers here in Europe can completely deal with these devices, they are not causing much problems (at least we do not know about them) and their customers have much more freedom in their networks.
Here they used to be sell phones locked to a specific provider, so the phone was not able to connect to other provider's network (these were the phones sold by these providers but phones purchased elsewhere were not locked, however they were more expensive).
However, they have also completely stopped this behaviour, as far as I know...

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On T-Mobile, my Pro1 runs fine on it (although the Pro1 doesn't have quite all its bands, which might affect coverage in some places) and now that my Pro1 is in the shop, I'm using the same sim with my Pinephone, so I guarantee you that at this juncture they don't care what you are using.  This is Pre-paid, I have no idea about post-paid, but assume it i s the same.

I'm sad that this has happened to AT&T.  It's less surprising with Verizon (after all, years ago their spokesman was Darth Vader 😉 ), but AT&T used to be (at least pre-paid) the place  to bring any kind of phone, they didn't care and provided good customer service, even if you had, say, an international phone that didn't have all the GSM bands that AT&T used,

I do think no effort will result in any changes until at least the Pro1x is available-- even if they were inclined to add an odd phone, they won't do it for a phone no longer being manufactured or available.  But, I'm pessimistic even then, because this is so top-down aimed, I'm sure, at minimizing customer support problems.  They should just offer to allow odd phones but you have to agree to no obligation for solving problems, but, of course, people would make demands anyway.

A big question is does this affect MNVOs that use Verizon and/or AT&Ts backbones? 

 

Edited by Hook
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1 hour ago, VaZso said:

Right, but they may refuse it referring to an unknown behaviour or potentionally malfunctioning device which may affects the usability of their network and may lead higher load for their customer support (also because of problems potentially caused by device and also because of unsupported bands [checking and explaining it for customer] and also because having more devices, being harder to provide specific support for all of them).

The above may be a theoretical explanation of why they don't accept phones from other sources.
...but the truth it is very convenient for them having to support only specific devices and they used to have a very specific system where they could gain this high control over their customers and they do not want to release these "rights" they have over their clients.

Interestingly, service providers here in Europe can completely deal with these devices, they are not causing much problems (at least we do not know about them) and their customers have much more freedom in their networks.
Here they used to be sell phones locked to a specific provider, so the phone was not able to connect to other provider's network (these were the phones sold by these providers but phones purchased elsewhere were not locked, however they were more expensive).
However, they have also completely stopped this behaviour, as far as I know...

And so perhaps, part of our proposal and discussion with the carriers could include a testing period to check device functionality and reception, because we don't want it to reflect negatively on the carrier. Of course that is IF they want to bring that up as a reason for denial. This could all go smoothly or we may have to fight a list of reasons they want to say no. 

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40 minutes ago, Hook said:

On T-Mobile, my Pro1 runs fine on it (although the Pro1 doesn't have quite all its bands, which might affect coverage in some places) and now that my Pro1 is in the shop, I'm using the same sim with my Pinephone, so I guarantee you that at this juncture they don't care what you are using.  This is Pre-paid, I have no idea about post-paid, but assume it i s the same.

I'm sad that this has happened to AT&T.  It's less surprising with Verizon (after all, years ago their spokesman was Darth Vader 😉 ), but AT&T used to be (at least pre-paid) the place  to bring any kind of phone, they didn't care and provided good customer service, even if you had, say, an international phone that didn't have all the GSM bands that AT&T used,

I do think no effort will result in any changes until at least the Pro1x is available-- even if they were inclined to add an odd phone, they won't do it for a phone no longer being manufactured or available.  But, I'm pessimistic even then, because this is so top-down aimed, I'm sure, at minimizing customer support problems.  They should just offer to allow odd phones but you have to agree to no obligation for solving problems, but, of course, people would make demands anyway.

A big question is does this affect MNVOs that use Verizon and/or AT&Ts backbones? 

 

The reason that prior to this year, you could use any phone with compatible tech was in the technology of the service itself. With gsm and CDMA, the carrier had no access to what type or which device you were using. You could switch sims, modify your phone settings, whatever you wanted. The service had to accept the requests made by your device by default. 

Enter: LTE/5g, which are data based. Now the carrier has effectively a "live internet feed" to your device and sim, they know everything about it. They're in a position that can allow them control over us. This is all a new thing however, so if we make a stand against that injustice early on, we may be able to prevent further infringement issues down the line.

 

That last bit, about signing a 'No Obligations' agreement, I think is a great idea to be included/offered to them. It could help ease their worries. 

Good stuff guys I think we're getting somewhere

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I'm not about to declare that I'm in the clear at all but it's now 11:30am ET on Feb 22nd and my phone is still working (phone calls and messaging) on AT&T.

@Fullmetaljacket223@EskeRahn can we get the thread title updated to include AT&T also?

I had the thought last night that this effort may have to involve complaints filed to the FCC.  FCC complaints usually get responses (at least with cable TV services).  But I suspect whatever laws/regulations allow the providers to decline service / say what is allowed.

@suicidal_orangeI probably made 4/5 calls about this subject to AT&T and then gave up.  I figured I just have to wait it out until the shutdown and see what happens with a hopeful backup plan of tmobile or worst case will need to buy a new phone.

 

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  • EskeRahn changed the title to Time to take action - US-carrier whitelisting (Verizon and AT&T)

Similar boat, so far calls and text are working, though the announcement does say starting Feb 22 so who know when that 'ends' but we will see. The challenge will actually be on activating a new device so when the pro1x arrives that will be the real test is my guess.

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Well, my Pro1 was working all day today on AT&T...  until I effortlessly switched over to T-Mobile.  Using this on AT&T for 2 years has been a nightmare, signal-wise.  I experienced constant dropouts and no data in certain buildings, and even in my home.  At times, I had to go outside on my front porch to have an intelligible conversation with someone!

For the past 4 hours on T-Mobile, data and call quality has been outstanding, especially the calls' sound quality, in general.  Some calls are way too loud on the lowest volume setting.  (Can this be adjusted?)  But I'm worried about December.  So those of you that have stayed with AT&T, I'm very curious if your devices keep working.  If so, perhaps I have hope past December.  Even though this is a 3G/4G chipset, will it continue to work in only 4G mode without issue?  Not sure of the details here.

I absolutely agree that the major carriers' reluctance to deal with obscure devices like these is due to increased support costs, but it's such a very small percentage of their customer base, perhaps they could be convinced that the difference is negligible.  Maybe this is why T-Mobile has their BYOD program, in addition to differentiating themselves from the likes of AT&T and Sprint.

Keep us posted on AT&T's service, and if they do cut you off by tomorrow, I highly recommend T-Mobile at this point.

Edited by adam.c.r.roman
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So far service continues to work without issue, even tested it with a friend with a different device on ATT that they said would not work after Feb 22, but so far so good. I do think this is on activating a new device, I think they are grandfathering in and it seems they are not targeting any specific IMEIs to disable. My hunches at least for the moment, but good to know about T-mobile if the need to switch happens.

p.s. Sprint is now T-mobile

Edited by mv
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14 hours ago, adam.c.r.roman said:

Well, my Pro1 was working all day today on AT&T...  until I effortlessly switched over to T-Mobile.  Using this on AT&T for 2 years has been a nightmare, signal-wise.  I experienced constant dropouts and no data in certain buildings, and even in my home.  At times, I had to go outside on my front porch to have an intelligible conversation with someone!

For the past 4 hours on T-Mobile, data and call quality has been outstanding, especially the calls' sound quality, in general.  Some calls are way too loud on the lowest volume setting.  (Can this be adjusted?)  But I'm worried about December.  So those of you that have stayed with AT&T, I'm very curious if your devices keep working.  If so, perhaps I have hope past December.  Even though this is a 3G/4G chipset, will it continue to work in only 4G mode without issue?  Not sure of the details here.

I absolutely agree that the major carriers' reluctance to deal with obscure devices like these is due to increased support costs, but it's such a very small percentage of their customer base, perhaps they could be convinced that the difference is negligible.  Maybe this is why T-Mobile has their BYOD program, in addition to differentiating themselves from the likes of AT&T and Sprint.

Keep us posted on AT&T's service, and if they do cut you off by tomorrow, I highly recommend T-Mobile at this point.

What area are you in? I'd consider T-Mobile, but I'm in the north Georgia mountains. In the past T-Mobile didn't have good signal here.

Also, I received two emails from FxTec support today responding to my requests. They have officially taken note of the USA carrier issue and appear to be looking into what to do about it!

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2 hours ago, mv said:

So far service continues to work without issue, even tested it with a friend with a different device on ATT that they said would not work after Feb 22, but so far so good. I do think this is on activating a new device, I think they are grandfathering in and it seems they are not targeting any specific IMEIs to disable. My hunches at least for the moment, but good to know about T-mobile if the need to switch happens.

p.s. Sprint is now T-mobile

That is very interesting, I'll be curious to see what happens over the next week or two. AT&T cut service to my BB Key2 about 2 weeks ago and wouldn't even discuss turning it back on. 

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30 minutes ago, Fullmetaljacket223 said:

I received two emails from FxTec support today...

I am aware that this is wildly off-topic, but may I ask when you contacted support about this issue? Would be nice to have an estimation about how long to wait for a reply from support.

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