Trying to find out if my device will work at T-Mobile...


    I bought a phone online and it's not compatible with my current carrier. I need to switch but I want to make sure that T-Mobile can provide a SIM for this device. I cannot chat with Support because they won't send a text to a non-T-Mobile number for answering support issues. Not a great first impression.


    Hmm. There is no way for my to type in the device number myself and just check either. I can call in the morning but so far I'm a little underwhelmed. Maybe already heading to anywhere else if I can't get support...

      All replies

      • drnewcomb2

        What model phone is it? Many devices are "compatible" but only to a limited extent. Most devices have a general model number (e.g. iPhone 7) and then a specific model number (e.g. A1778). The specific number tells a lot more than the general one.

        2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • phoenixrisn

            This is a phone from out of the country. The bands are compatible but because it isn't branded to one of the networks, I cannot find out if it will work until the SIM card is in it. Turns out it *works on T-mobile but they don't know how to set it up in even though it carries all the bands to be fully compatible.

              • drnewcomb2

                Considering that you have not even told us the make and model of the phone (at least I didn't see it) I've helped you about as much as I can. In order for me to be of any more assistance, I need to have at least that much information.


                Since there are literally hundreds of different models of phones on the global market and probably at least thousand variations of sub-models with different bands and capabilities, it would be impossible for T-Mobile to keep up with all the possible variations and train their staff how to deal with them. When a customer provides their own device (which I have on many occasions) it's incumbent on the customer to aware of the technical characteristics of the device. T-Mobile provides generic instructions for customers wanting to do this but can't provide detailed support in all cases. Compare this to Verizon, who won't even activate a device unless it's on their short list of approved devices.

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • phoenixrisn

                    Oops sorry. It's a Ulefone T1 Android 7.0 

                      • drnewcomb2

                        Here are the specs I found on Ulefone's website for the "Global Version" of the T1:

                        2G GSM: 1900/1800/850/900(B2/3/5/8)

                        3G WCDMA: 2100/1900/1700/850/900(B1/2/4/5/8)

                        3G CDMA2000: BC0

                        4G FDD-LTE: 2100/1900/1800/1700/850/2600/900/700/700/850/800 (B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/19/20)

                        4G TDD-LTE: 2500/1900/2300/2500(B38/39/40/41)


                        I've added emphasis for those bands that are needed (or are particularly useful) with T-Mobile in the USA. This phone appears to be highly compatible with T-Mobile's current bands. In particular it has all the LTE bands currently used by T-Mobile except bands 66 and 71, which are quite new. Band 66 is not terrably important right now. There are only two phones currently available that support band 71 and they are in the >$800 flagship price range. Your phone probably doesn't support T-Mobile's WiFi calling but that's not a show-stopper. If you travel abroad with this phone you might want to install some VoIP client (e.g. Skype, Viber, Hangouts) to have an independent way of making WiFi calls, just in case roaming doesn't work. Otherwise it looks good.


                        If you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost?

                          • drnewcomb2

                            It may actually have WiFi Calling. I understand that's now standard with Android 7.

                            • phoenixrisn

                              My phone cost $260 on Amazon. I bought it because the battery and camera is better than the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8 and you can't beat the price. I know it's compatible with T-Mobile but it seems like no one knows how to program it so that I'm on their network correctly. I've brought it into the store to show that I have all the bands and should be able to connect as well as a "T-Mobile" device but I've been told that because it's a "unlocked" phone bought out-of the country that I should expect dropped calls and poor service.


                              That doesn't seem right when all the bands are compatible. I think everyone's just ticked I came in with a cheap phone. If everyone starts buying brands like this that offer more than iPhone and Samsung does at their astronomical rates, then it'll hit the industry hard. It's phone racism, so wrong.

                                • drnewcomb2

                                  I think they're frustrated that they don't know how to help you. The only user settings are: SMSC (which should be automatic any more), the APN, the MMS APN and whatever settings you need for apps, like e-mail clients. Beyond that, there's really no "tweeking" that the customer can do. If you are dropping calls and not getting texts (after adjusting the settings), then maybe the phone is not really all that compatible. This is the difference between T-Mobile-branded devices and BYODs. Yes, at one time all you had to know is if it had GSM-1900. It was just that standard. My first 7 phones with T-Mobile were BYODs.


                                  If you are experiencing dropped calls, you might (as an experiment) lock the phone in 2G/3G mode for a few days and see if that helps. If it makes a difference, then there is some nebulous VoLTE incompatibility. You might also try looking for a VoLTE enable/disable switch and try the same thing. This will limit where your phone can work to areas with 2G/3G coverage but it may answer a question.

                      • tmo_chris

                        Just checking in here to see how things are going. Did you still have any questions on this?

                        • tmo_marissa

                          Howdy! Were you able to get the info you needed from the links above?