Fairphone owners in the USA (FP2 FP3 FP4)

Time for an update! My Mint Mobile sim (T-Mobile network) seems to work as before. So 4G and 5G data work fine. For calls, the phone still switches back to H or H+ (i.e. no VoLTE) and this still does not always go well. The situation for the foreign eSIM on the AT&T network also remains unchanged. I am not sure if T-Mobile already pushed their changes to the network or if that is ongoing right now, but I will keep a look at it and report if anything changes.

I did contact T-Mobile customer support and asked if they supported FP4 based on my IMEI. See their reply below. If I have some spare time, I might spar with Mint Mobile / T-Mobile to see if they want to enable VoLTE support for FP4, but that might be an uphill battle.

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Hello!

I live in California and recently bought a Fairphone 4 while I was in Europe. I purchased the Fairphone because I want to support this awesome company and desperately want to reject planned obsolescence in the electronics industry.

I’ve tried three carriers (ATT, Mint Mobile, and now T-Mobile) and had issues with all of them. T-Mobile has been working the best, but it still has some issues that make it almost unusable. This forum post is my last-ditch effort before I go back to some other phone that was designed for use in the USA :crying_cat_face:

Calling and Texting work well enough. My phone is almost always on E or H+ network (3g) with unusable low speeds, but if I cycle airplane mode on and off (so it has to re join the network) about 50% of the time it will “latch” onto 4g or sometimes even 5g. It will then stay on this faster network until I turn off my screen (a few minutes of inactivity), or move locations. I’ve tried this all over the bay area with the same results. It seems to be extra bad at maintaining network while moving-- on the train I barely get any data at all. Even if I latch onto a 4g network it will disconnect 5 minutes later.

Sometimes even when the phone claims to be connected to 4g it has extremely slow speeds-- like <1 mbps download and <100 kbps upload, with 60ms latency. Sometimes with H+ I can actually load websites no problem, other times it is impossibly slow (can’t even send whatsapp or signal messages).

OK, my question for the wise oracles on this forum:

  1. Does this sound like an issue with permissions in my phone, or in the network? If it’s something within the phone I’m hoping people here would know how to fix it (someone suggested maybe battery saving measures? Like the phone is switching to lower power antennas too often?).

  2. Has anyone successfully used the Fairphone 4 in the USA? If so, how?

  3. Is there some way to force which antennas the phone uses? If I could just turn on only the 4g or 5g antenna in my phone, I think it may work (and keep the 3g off). But this sounds like a hokey solution…

Thank you! Any help is greatly appreciated.

Eric

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Hi and welcome. From the comments above it seems T-mobile is the best network you could pick. As VoLTE does not seem to work (or does it work for you?) I would disable it in the settings. You could try to force 4G only by calling *#*#4636#*#* however that would cause issues for phone calls when no 4G calling available. Maybe disable at least 5G by selecting 4G/3G/2G?

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I want this phone a lot but I use Verizon’s truly unlimited plan so switching to any other company wouldn’t really get me the same experience kind of sucks

I had to configure my APN settings manually to improve my connection and get to the situation where I am right now. I got those settings from Mint mobile support. Just FYI, my situation has not changed much since my last post. I was actually in the Bay area two weeks ago, and I also had to toggle airplane mode to reconnect and re-establish connection so now and then, but your situation sounds worse.

Interesting that you mentioned the bad connection while moving, for example in a train. I did experienced that too, but I don’t think I have that much problems with that in NC anymore, maybe also due to the APN settings.

I use the FP4 as my main phone and except for calls not coming always through, it works fine for me. So I will keep using it. At a moment when I am less busy, I might bug Mint/T-Mobile to see if VoLTE can be allowed for FP4. I am also looking forward to the official FP4 LineageOS build and to see if that negatively impacts the connection quality or keeps the connection more stable. LineageOS is obviously not going to solve the VoLTE problem since that is caused by the carrier.

I have been having serious issues with getting texts and voice to work in many areas (FP3, NYC and Maryland, T-Mobile). I think it’s because of 3g phaseouts

I noticed some comments about toggling airplane mode to trigger connections. I will see if that works when I experience problems.

Toggling airplane mode helps and will usually get SMS working again

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Hi all!

I live in Italy and have happily owned a Fairphone 3 since 2020; in one month I’ll be moving to Los Angeles and working there until June 2023. I wonder if I have to purchase another phone or if my Fairphon3 will work fine, and/or if some network operators might work better than others. Does anyone have experience with a Fairphone3 in that area? I don’t mind not having 5G, but I’d like to be able to do Whatsapp calls and things like that + I like going hiking so I’m also interested in how the connection works out of city centers…

Thank you!

Hi and welcome to the forum.

I have no experience of the US but you can do research

Open up the Network section to see the bands and frequencies

Compare to those offered in LA etc.

I am trying to find a replacement USB C port and can’t seem to find anyone that ships to the US. Any suggestions? The solder on the SUB connector was not very good and it snapped off the PCB with little pressure on the USB cable. So far nobody from support will talk to me and my attempts to by a part from a company named clove just resulted in them refunding my order :frowning:

If you’re quick, you might want to get in touch with this aspiring FP4 owner: Anyone selling a FP4 (grey)? Perhaps s/he can and is willing to organize the addition of this tiny spare part to his/her shipment.

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Normally vireo.de ships to worldwide. The HP is only in German however you could contact them via mail at kundenservice@vireo.de.

In case they neither ship it, send me a PM then we can check if I you want to order to my address and I ship it to you with DHL.

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I will be flying to Denver on September 17th, so I can order the module to my address in Ulm and mail it to a US address from Denver if you want. Please contact me via PM if you are interested.

I’m also willing to bring other parts for US fairphoners if you can let me know within a few days. Preferably, no entire phones and no batteries, and only parts that are on stock in the store or that someone can bring/mail to me in Ulm before I leave.

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Thanks for all ideas and offers for help! I was able to order from vireo de and they have confirmed my order! Hopefully it will not take too long. I was considering getting the blue filter glass but I have many questions now so I ended up just getting 2x USB C component and the protective cover in green to match my phone.

Tonight I just did some quick digging into the pcb and found a way to securely attach some silicon high strand wire for a temporary charging adapter. I do NOT suggest anyone try this as it was very possible this could have resulted in the magic blue smoke getting out of my phone turning it into a brick. I had hoped to find some schematics or something but with some probing I was 99% sure I had the correct pads and polarity. I am still wondering if I can shove a wireless charging receiver inside. :grin:

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Hi everyone,

I wish I’d gone searching for info on whether the FP4 would work in the USA earlier! I had assumed from doing a frequency support check that the FP4 would work fine on T-Mobile.

We have two FP4s in the family, one just recently set up for use and the other has been in use for a month here. Both on Mint Mobile and neither support VoLTE or Wifi Calling. We asked Mint and they said the phone doesn’t support Wifi Calling (which of course it does, and we confirmed by checking with our UK SIMs which we had Wifi Calling working on, and it still works). We have now messaged Fairphone support but aren’t hopeful that this will resolve anything as the problem seems to be at the T-Mobile end.

I can only think that changing the IMEI to make the phone look like one which is supported, but of course that’s legally a very dark grey area!

I can confirm that toggling aeroplane mode off/on does create a better data/SMS connection for a period of time, but doesn’t help on the calling side.

Fingers crossed for a fix, but in the meantime we’ll have to fallback to our backup phones which do have VoLTE and Wifi Calling enabled here.

Cheers :slight_smile:

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I moved your post to this existing topic please also read above. I’m not sure that you can call it odd, as a FP is not a Pixel phone and the FP is not supported officially in the US…

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I moved your post as the above covers (all) experience of other US Fairphoners who will be notified about posts this topic, so I think you would find here a way faster answer if anyone would have one. Overall as the US community is quite small, so far we try to keep all information here in this topic.

My point was, that you cannot compare a Pixel Phone with a Faiprhone reg. reception, as the Pixel phone is supported in the US, which the Fairphone is not. You use Ting, still Ting uses T-Mobile as far as I understand, so above is a lot infomration in my eyes about the T-Mobile network and different regions especially reffering to shut down of 3G network, no VoLTE, bad call quality etc. pp. What are your settings, have you 5G enabled, if yes, disable it. Did you contact Ting to see if they can do anything at their end?
Even in supported countries the call quality is not always good depending on the provider

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I posted my issue on Reddit, which I would suggest other folks do as well to avoid such aggressive moderation tactics here.

At any rate, with the help of a couple of awesome Redditors (who also use FP4s in USA), I was able to solve my issue. If anyone else has a similar problem, please feel free to DM me.

Please post what you found here. Have you been able to get VoLTE working?

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