Does the FP3 *NEED* an FM radio?

Most FM also contains commercials, or is funded by public money or donations. The hardware is costly, it costs money to maintain, to have someone DJ or broadcast, etc. All costs money somehow, and licenses.

True, but expensive to maintain, and if you want to get rid of backwards compatibility it sometimes makes sense to do so actively (by deciding not to support a technology).

4G will use the current 3G frequencies for higher speed, better latency, and more secure connection. If your issue is bad connection, 5G won’t help (not with radio, but would with say Netflix if you’re on a railroad station; I know on Utrecht CS the telcos already share the antennas to distribute the load). More antennas will eventually be used (and these can be used for a myriad of functions on this thing called “the internet”, including listening to radio).

That you decide to use a different smartphone instead of a small device with FM such a headphone, DAP, or USB stick is your decision.

You could probably claim they did false advertising and return the device on that grounds (you got two weeks as well, within EU). But lets not pretend that this is more important than the device being fair.

Probably regulatory requirements. The Nokia N900 included a FM transceiver which could also broadcast a few meters. This allowed you to broadcast your own music, right from your car. However, one had to unlock this from within the software.

Wow, you really are on a crusade there, are you? Is it the financial point?
The important word is the if, that - obviously - is not what everyone here wants.
And please don’t take the Netherlands for all of Europe. There are areas much less industrialized and less dense populated, where you will not get any 2G/3G/4G or 5G signals.
FM/AM-radio on the other hand …

And SERIOUSLY, one should split this thread and make this discussion a new thread like “Is FM/AM-radio still needed or is it obsolete?


Yes, I do find it important.

Do you have a map of 2G coverage of Germany?

First nostalgia, now these two - you seem to be full of ideas about psychological reasons why somebody does not (fully) share your opinion about this topic. But this only avoids the point: there are differences between modern, digital, high complex technology and long-lasting, analog, relatively low complex technology. Some of these differences might affect such different questions like availability (for example in case of a crisis), freedom and privacy. Modern technology of course has innumerable advantages, nobody wants it replaced by old technology. But there are issues where old technology scores. For example a portable radio can run on battery for weeks or month; wich widespread digital device survives a power outage of more than a day or two? What about network outages? Yes, radio stations can suffer outages too, but in this scenario they are backup - hopefully one of both will stay alive, digital or analog. Another example for a difference: FM can be used anonymously, streaming via smartphone can’t easily; you need a contract for the SIM card, and its very unlikely not to be tracked while using internet services. FM is not just an old protocol, as you label it, but it’s a completely different technology whose characteristics might complement digital technology.

I presume nobody advocates for FM instead of digital technology, but it’s worth discussing if analogue radio broadcast should be kept alive.


We are talking Europe or even World here, not the most industrialized countries to work as an example for the rest of the world.
And even here it will change shortly.
I found this article with a list of announced 2G-shutdowns by carriers worldwide.

  • T-Mobil (Netherlands) is switching off 2G in November 2020.
  • Telekom (T-Mobil Germany) is switching off 2G at the end of 2020.
    There you go with coverage even in middle-Europe.

I moved a lot of posts here from the topic about whether the FP3 actually has an FM radio to keep it on-topic there.

If you are interested in discussing whether the FP3 actually has an FM radio rather than whether it needs one, please see over there:


No, I’m full of ideas why someone finds FM overly important. Also, that was one argument; not two. I’m not the one who brought up the scenario about FM being necessary during a catastrophe.

I can give you another one: refusal to adapt to new situation. Typical something elder people suffer from.

I also gave several alternatives to the situation, which was conveniently ignored. There’s headsets which have FM functionality (heck they existed 20 years ago as well). You could use such a thing, if you find this feature very important. That one believes they need to carry their SGS3 around with FM, for this reason, is overly dramatic. Although, to be fair, different smartphones have different pros/cons, and its reusing an old device; in essence something to applaud. As you see, you can explain such things positive or negative. Entirely up to you.

Yes, there are differences, but that does not equal that FM is somehow still required. I argue it isn’t in The Netherlands. I don’t know exactly about other countries, probably going to be different there.

I frankly don’t care about a country like Romania or Serbia (technically Europe) or other East European countries. Fairphone does not cater to them, and they’re as corrupt as I find it unwise to use your normal smartphone there (ie. use a burner, like with China). The coverage where Fairphone officially does sell the FP3, that does matter indeed, but mainly what you use a smartphone for: 4G.

Uh, there’s tons? My smartwatch lasts a month. My e-reader lasts months, and has on-demand WiFi (if I keep that on, yes its going down fast). There’s 2G dumbphones which last months as well. Then there’s LoRa devices, and other IoT, 2G, 3G, even 4G devices. Besides, there’s powerbanks. The notion that you need a FM radio for in case of a catastrophe is ridiculous. We have an ample amount of alternatives. If you want to argue the 2G towers are down, well you don’t know if in such a case the FM transmitters are still working.

Yes, one-way analog services can be used anonymously (though it can be detected that the receiver receives). However, in case of protocols like FM they can generally only be used to receive (due to license reasons).

You sense the pattern? T-Mobile. I don’t know about EU, but T-Mobile Netherlands (and Tele 2, formerly) has excellent 4G coverage. Their 3G coverage has been notoriously weaker though, where KPN and Vodafone have good 2G/3G/4G coverage with Vodafone’s network being clogged (logically, as they’re the cheapest AFAIK). However, sunsetting 2G has the advantage that the frequencies can be used for 4G/5G. Modern smartphones (including FP2 and FP3) will only gain from that, as the very same frequencies will continue to work on the smartphones, with 4G. 4G is better for the battery, data-wise, and has native IP stack and VoLTE. Its a bold move by T-Mobile (might lose them customers on short term) but on long term they’ll be the first ready for 4G/5G on more frequencies.

TL;DR FP3 with 2G being put off to make room for 4G/5G is gonna be no problem for reception; it will probably increase throughput and decrease latency.

From the same source:

So if you’re in Europe and your smartphone does not support 4G, or 4G coverage is bad, you could consider Vodafone. Again: you can stream perfectly fine over 2G. Internet radio with an efficient codec such as AAC or OGG Vorbis is going to deliver good enough quality; better than FM.

True, if you find tracking important, then your cellphone being connected to 2G/3G/4G allows an adversary to track your movement approx (at the very least based on GSM triangulation), or nefarious things if its unencrypted data. That could be a valid concern. However, that’s a given when you own a smartphone without killswitches, like a Fairphone 3. If that is a valid attack vector for your use-case, then I would say don’t get a Fairphone 3, or just remove the battery at times. It is actually an argument for a dedicated device like a SGS3 or headphones with FM or DAP/walkman/… with FM.

Let’s just cut it short:

  • You can find other solutions for everything.
  • I (hopefully) never stated, that FP has to offer a FM-radio.
  • I just wonder, why FP seems to have decided on disabling that functionality, they first listed as available.

And you really come across like a missionary on a trip.
To be honest, in my humble opinion such a statement like the following one is gross and unfriendly:

And I really find it a bit strong, that you, as FP-community-moderator, are in fact telling me to get new and different devices or switch providers to get something, that FP - for some unknown reason - chose to disable. Since that to me seems neither sustainable nor reducing electronic waste.

Since I don’t see anyone here trying to convince you that SmartHome (LoRa), spotify, podcasts etc. are something to avoid, please stop trying to tell everyone, that FM/AM-radio is next to the downfall of mankind (extreme exaggeration on my side!!).


Here you are completely mistaken:

You will find on this list:
Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary and Croatia as well.
So FP does cater to them.
But hey, us living in the Netherlands and Germany don’t need to care about those corrupt countries. Wow, that’s what I would call a chauvinistic statement (at least).

And I - now truly - will refrain to add anything else to this kind of discussion.
(Gladly listening to FM-radio on my FP2.)


I really don’t see how this way of arguing is appropriate for an “Community Moderator” and “Fairphone Angel”:

This is not a discussion about the “need” of FM any more, this is a discussion about deficits of people. I tried to persuade you that seeing arguments in favor of FM does not necessarily have psychological reasons - but for the third time in succession you insist to “give another one”. Obviously you are not willing or not able to separate your psychological speculations from the technical, social and political aspects of the topic. That makes a discussion impossible.


If you find posts inappropriate, you can flag them.


What I did not think of yet: Have fun paying 10 Euro per megabyte or so, should you be outside the EU roaming area.


To add my 5 cents: I always think that if the hardware can do it, it should be there. So when I shopped for a new smartphone, I’ve seen that there is no FM radio, and it is OK, I don’t listen to FM radio much. But reading here that the hardware could do it makes me feel that it should. Let’s see if the engineers surprise us at some point… Unless they did not build the necessary circuitry into the phone.


Since this a public question, my response would be no, I personally don’t see the need for an FM radio in a smartphone like FairPhone.

I think the entire discussion is moot. Just take a look around at this forum and see how many things people deem ‘necessary’. In fact, I think it’s a modern-day problem that consumers feel they ‘need’ everything and are even entitled to everything. I teach teenagers and they seem to feel it is unsafe to go outside without a phone. Their parents, who went to school before mobile phones were even a thing, seem to agree with them. Frankly, I think it’s unhealthy how much contact my students have with their parents while at school. They’ll have nothing more to discuss when they get home and nothing they do happens without their parents knowing about it. I guess it’s easy to become dependent on technology, but we shouldn’t forget generations managed to get by without it. So, no, you definitely don’t need an FM-radio. Or LED-notifications. Or a smaller FP model. Or an een open OS. That you might want them is an entirely different thing, and I respect your opinion, although I must admit I have some difficulty respecting people’s choice to buy a phone that was produced under bad working conditions using materials sourced from god knows where, just so they can have their coveted LED notifications.


This, said by a Fairphone evangelist, made me sincerely laugh.

This argument would keep being valid if you extend it to “you don’t need a smartphone”, including Fairphone.


…and just to add my last 2 cents, I find it a bit egocentric, if not elitarian, to look at technology needs as “what me, or my friends, or my city” needs.

Just as an example, the whole city of Rome (not exactly your typical mountain village) literally lives in symbiotic relationship with their amazingly high number of FM radios. It’s the pulsing hearth of the city, it’s were people meet and discuss. “Which FM you listen” is a typical question.

World doesn’t end at the border of your backyard.


Oh but I definitely agree I don’t need a smartphone :slight_smile:


We should open a new thread: “Does my FM radio need to make phone calls?” :wink:


We’re going down on a bumpy road which will end up with “what’s the meaning of life” :upside_down_face:


It could be good if FP3 could have a FM Radio.