Att Motorazr v3xx with New T-Mobile SIM crashes on startup


         When I used a new T-Mobile sim (which should be 3g compatible) in my Razr v3xx, it hangs on startup. Because it's an AT&T locked phone, I need the phone to boot all the way so I can enter the subsidy and unlock codes. But because it keeps crashing, I can't get to that point. However, when I use an older T-Mobile sim, it gets to that screen just fine.

         If you're wondering why I can't just use said older sim, it's a 2g sim card that was in my razr v3. I'm also not using AT&T because I'm using a pay as you go plan and T-Mobile is cheaper.    

      All replies

      • tmo_mike_c

        Oh man, this phone brings back memories! I've seen this happen on a Nokia phone I had that was T-Mobile branded. Quiet frankly, I'm not 100% confident trying another new SIM card will help get past that frozen screen. Did you happen to have any other unlock instructions that would allow you to use an AT&T SIM card to get the phone unlocked?

        • jamesw

          I have the same problem with the same model phone (unlocked AT&T Motorola RAZR v3xx).


          It boots up fine with an old full sized T-Mobile SIM or a new AT&T 3-in-1 SIM, but unfortunately the old T-Mobile SIM cannot be activated as the number has been recycled.


          With the new T-Mobile 3-in-1 SIMs it hangs on boot up.


          A T-Mobile representative told me that some older phones (including smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S2) are not compatible with the new 3-in-1 SIMs.


          I have a unlocked China Telecom RAZR v3xx that does work with the new T-Mobile 3-in-1 SIM so I'm using that until T-Mobile comes up with a fix.

            • turnipturnpikes

              TLDR: The V3xx won't work with new T-Mobile SIMs because the phone was designed to work with AT&T. If you need T-Mo, get a V3, V3i or comparable T-Mo phone because still 2g works on T-Mo (but not att).


              I went to a T-Mobile store to ask them, they just said that it was a problem with the phone, not the SIM. My best guess would be that because the V3xx was only made for AT&T in America, Motorola never bothered to future proof it on the T-Mobile side, hence it only works on AT&T in America. I think that the best solution for you would just be to get a V3, V3i or other 2G phone that was already locked to T-Mobile. My T-Mobile V3 works with the 3-in-1 sim and it can make calls because T-Mobile wasn't being stupid and is keeping their 2G networks up until 2020.

                • jamesw

                  Interesting. I don't believe T-Mobile is correct about this, however.


                  My problematic v3xx is actually an Australian market phone with a front-facing camera (never imported into the US) that was flashed with US firmware (AT&T). It hangs in exactly the same way yours does. Perhaps this is a firmware issue, not a hardware one.


                  The thing is, I previously used this exact phone on T-Mobile. This was couple years back, with a full-sized T-Mobile SIM. It worked fine.


                  So, based on this, I continue to believe this is a 3-in-1 SIM card problem, not a hardware/firmware problem.


                  A friend of mine has a T-Mobile phone with an active full-sized SIM. I will try this SIM to see if it works in my RAZR and report back what I learn.

                    • turnipturnpikes

                      Pretty much, what I was trying to say is that the phone doesn't work with new T-Mobile SIM cards. I presume that your full sized SIM was an older card. The thing about the V3xx is that it doesn't work with the new cards (3-in-1) but it does work with older ones. So what I'm saying is that yes the phone does work on T-Mobile, but Motorola never bothered making sure the phone would work on future SIM cards. Given that 3-in-1 is the only one you can buy today, you're pretty much screwed. The full sized SIM works because it is an older card, it's only the newer ones that don't work (at least that's what I think it is, take this thread with a grain of salt. If you find a solution, please let me know. AT&T GoPhone is WAYYYY too expensive).

                • jamesw

                  I agree we're on the same page, @turnipturnpikes.


                  The weird thing is I have a China Telecom RAZR v3xx and it works fine with the new 3-in-1 SIMs.


                  I've tried four different T-Mobile 3-in-1 SIMs in my other RAZR and it hangs at the same place as yours.


                  Perhaps something changed hardware-wise, perhaps it's the AT&T firmware, which is what our inoperable RAZR's have in common. I may see if I can figure out a way to flash this RAZR with different firmware.


                  Given some of the biggest news coming out of MWC in Barcelona this year was the relaunch of the Nokia 3110 feature phone and what T-Mobile is doing with DIGITS, I can see a lot of people pulling old feature phones out of drawers as devices they can use to "unplug" a bit. Hopefully, T-Mobile figures out a way to accommodate these handsets.

                  • jamesw

                    Here is a video of my unlocked RAZR v3xx with AT&T firmware successfully booting up with a full sized T-Mobile SIM.


                    As you can see, it ends up with a 3G signal. I also placed a phone call with it and it worked fine.


                    It appears the problem is with the new 3-in-1 SIM cards.


                    I don't know how Motorola would of future-proofed its phones for new SIMs. It seems like the T-Mobile should make sure its new SIMs are backward compatible. AT&T's new 3-in-1 SIMs work just fine.


                      • tidbits

                        There is nothing special in the 3-1 SIM cards. Something tells me it's your device specific. Can you find any other instances of your scenario happening online?

                          • jamesw

                            tidbits, a T-Mobile rep specifically told me that the new 3-in-1 SIMs are not fully backward compatible. He cited his own Galaxy S2 as one example of a device that wouldn't work with the new SIMs.


                            @tmo_mike_c cites the same issue with his older Nokia above in this thread and turnipturnpikes and I are having the exact same issue.


                            I have several T-Mobile 3-in-1 SIMs and none of them work in this RAZR. All of the full-sized T-Mobile SIMs I've tried work fine. Any AT&T SIM also works.


                            So, this makes me believe it is a SIM card problem, not a device problem.


                            I came to T-Mobile in part because the promos for the DIGITS beta touted being able to use "old reliable" (meaning any old phone). I think T-Mobile should investigate its SIM cards and if it can't source backward compatible 3-in-1s (like AT&T) it should offer full-sized and micro SIMs as necessary so customers can use older devices.

                              • tidbits

                                Here's why that argument doesn't fly


                                If the standard is changed with that sim then ALL sims around the world wouldn't work with older devices. The standard are regulated and changed be changed. You couldn't put an old sim and viola have it work if t doesn't work in reverse. SIM are supposed be to backwards compatible or else why even make an adapter built into the card design?


                                So if the new 3-1 sims are not backwards compatible then any new sim made as of 2016 wouldn't work on older devices. My Note 7 when recalled I had to use a Galaxy S because I wasn't anywhere near my office and I finally switched to the newer sims. The only difference between the 2016 sim and the ones you get this year is graphics and packaging. :)


                                Try flashing back the factory firmware and see what happens. If it works then it's something with the device switching firmware is causing the problem.

                                  • jamesw

                                    I think we're both arguing proof by (limited) selective instance(s).


                                    I'm going to go with what T-Mobile told me, which is that their new 3-in-1 SIMs have compatibility issues with some older devices.


                                    I used this phone for over a year on T-Mobile and showed again today it still works.


                                    If all SIMs are the same it shouldn't boot and work with older full sized T-Mobile SIMs, but it does.


                                    Further, the old Nokia that I borrowed the SIM from today (sold by T-Mobile and unaltered) DID NOT work with any of my newer 3-in-1 T-Mobile SIMs. If this phenomenon was a hardware issue with my and turnipturnpike's RAZR's this should not be the case.

                                      • tidbits

                                        At the same time any device made pre 2016 should all have the problem with the new sims as they were never updated to support the new sims if the standard was not followed by T-Mobile. So putting the new sims in say a Nexus 4 would cause problems or even a Galaxy S3, S4, S5 down to the S7 is all I am saying. It sounds like a problem with the device more than the sim.


                                        Trying to track down my Galaxy S or anyone in my office has one laying around(Don't work for T-Mobile but we work with mobile manufacturers and US governments)

                                          • jamesw

                                            See above comment about the problem with the Nokia I borrowed the SIM from.


                                            I'm not suggesting all older phones are incompatible with the new SIMs, just some of them.

                                              • tidbits

                                                What I am saying then someone isn't following the standard. The way SIM works if the standard is being followed there would never be this problem. So either T-Mobile didn't follow the standard or the ones that don't work have a variation in the standard which breaks it.


                                                To fix the problem have to know what the problem is. Even if they made the new ones in that size the problem will still be there simply the outer portion is plastic.  To me the fact that a super small set of users post 2016 are having problems tells me it's the devices and not the sim. If the sim didn't follow there would be a huge problem and the fix it would require T-Mobile to get new sims which would lead to a lot of bad publicity.

                                                  • jamesw

                                                    The metal contact patch of the older full sized T-Mobile SIMs is different than that of the new 3-in-1 SIMs.


                                                    I agree it's not about the actual size, but rather something else that is going on.


                                                    I'll take a photo of the contact patch of the two SIMs and post it later.

                                                      • tidbits

                                                        The metal portion is smaller yes but the contact points are still the same. Regardless of how small it is. I believe it's 10% smaller. If the sim tray contacts are set to standard it wouldn't matter if it is 10% smaller.

                                                          • tidbits

                                                            The center is supposed to be 10% smaller or whatever, but if you take out the sim slot in whatever phone and looked at the contacts they'd fit in the right spots needed to work as they are supposed to be backwards compatible and the standard for the slot hasn't changed.  It could be a simple bent pin without realizing it may work for one, but not the other is the only alternative I can think of.


                                                            • jamesw

                                                              The contact points are also shaped differently (the lines are different).


                                                              Something has to account for the issue impacting the two RAZRs, Nokias, and Samsung Galaxy S2s we've been able to identify thus far.


                                                              I appreciate your skepticism. But you seem pretty quick to dismiss out of hand that the SIM cards could be the issue.


                                                              Since the phones having issues are all over 5 years old, it doesn't seem unreasonable to infer that T-Mobile might not have bothered to test the phones that are being impacted. Particularly given SIMs are supposed to be standard (as you pointed out).


                                                              A bent pin for one phone, sure. But several of them seems unlikely.

                                                              The Nokia I tested yesterday had a SIM inserted exactly three times. Once at purchase, once to test the 3-in-1 SIM (that failed) and once to replace the original SIM after the test.


                                                              Once DIGITS comes out of beta and people start bringing in their old feature phones with the hope of putting them into service as backup devices, I think this issue will get a lot more attention.

                                                                • tidbits

                                                                  contact points have not changed is the thing.  If you take apart the S2 and look at the contact points they should line up exactly where they need to be on the new sim. 

                                                                  Carriers not make the sims.  They do not regulate the sims either.   Everything has to follow the UICC and any phone 2003-present all follow the newest standard which is still backwards compatible with the older systems as to why majority of devices still work.  It would make sense for example a Nokia 3300, 5100, or even the 6100 not working as that standard was retired.

                                            • jamesw

                                              I've solved my problem with my RAZR v3xx and remain convinced it's the newer 3-in-1 SIMs.


                                              The SIM on the left from my son's iPhone is a 2015 era T-Mobile SIM (shown inside a current 3-in-1 adapter).


                                              The SIM on the right, another 2016 era SIM does not. Note the different in the contact areas.



                                              The older SIM works fine in my RAZR as shown.




                                              I asked T-Mobile to swap the SIMs between these two lines and I'm now set.


                                              My solution was predicated on the possession of an older SIM. Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to do this.

                                                • tidbits

                                                  The lines mean nothing.  You can grab one from Europe and it will look different. You can grab one from different carriers and they'll look different.


                                                  As I told you before the pins are what matters and how it retrieves the data. They all follow the same standard which hasn't changed since 2003. If it doesn't read then it means the phone didn't follow the standard. The fact a small number of phones are affected over ALL phones not being affected is the dead giveaway. That's how scrutinized the standard is.

                                                • jamesw

                                                  Hey Tidbits, thanks for all your great insight.

                                                  • jamesw

                                                    You are argumentative AF. I am telling you what T-Mobile told me.


                                                    I am unsubscribing from this thread.

                                                      • tidbits

                                                        the facts are there you can easily search and find the information. The rep told you something he doesn't know about. So instead of having information being passed around that is incorrect then it should be corrected. This is how misinformation gets passed around through the internet and then is troublesome to correct. The next person could run into this thread and believe everything to be true and regurgitate it and then spreads like wildfire.


                                                        Case in point search Lumina 950 and Verizon. A lot of people believe Verizon is blocking that phone from getting on their network. The fact is even Microsoft stated themselves they didn't talk to Verizon nor did the do the work to make it work on Verizon. Verizon under regulation can't block a device from connecting to their network if someone made it work.


                                                        If you want I can check and see if I still have the white papers for SIM cards and the UICC so you can read over it.

                                                      • turnipturnpikes

                                                        I decided to try flashing the phone with the default firmware. Could someone tell me how to do it and provide the files to do so?

                                                        • madal

                                                          Same problem.

                                                          Sorry, but it absolutely, positively IS a new SIM card issue.

                                                          Have an unlocked V3xx, worked fine previously with an older T-mobile SIM. Works fine with an AT&T MVNO Sim.

                                                          Just tried to bring it back online with a new T-mobile SIM. Crashes at the same point as everyone else here.

                                                          Interestingly, this new SIM works just fine with an unlocked V3x AND an unlocked (previously Cingular!) V3r. Would really be happy if I could get it to work with my V3xx.


                                                          What are my options here?


                                                          Mad Al