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Repair a Fairphone 2 or buy a Fairphone 3 (in Canada)?

Hi,

I have a dillema: I bought a Fairphone 2 about a year and a half ago, and it’s showing it’s age already. The camera is frequently disconnected (I have to push it in to reconnect) and the screen is showing signs of weakness as well (it sometimes “burns out” and then loses touch). In general, the FP2 doesn’t have good coverage in the house and I can’t make many calls (in Montreal, with Fido telco).

So I’m considering buying a Fairphone 3, even though it’s kind of against the spirit of the whole thing. Really, I should have been able to keep the FP2 for longer than a year and a half… But finding parts is hard, and even if I would, I’m kind of disappointed by the camera and the whole thing (see this post for details).

So what should I do? Should I get spare parts for the phone? Should I buy a Fairphone 3? Where from? (I know that Vireo, Clove and /e/ now ship the FP3 to Canada, any other options?) Will spare parts be easier to get?

I’m also tempted to get a rooted Samsung S9 from /e/: that I am certain will work locally… But then I wouldn’t be supporting an ethical project…

Thanks in advance!

PS: oh and before someone asks about this, yes, i have just filed a support ticket about this. :slight_smile:

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Ethical dilemmas indeed. I would suggest that you embarked upon your Fairphone 2 journey rather late in the day and unfortunately support responses are now rather protracted due to impact from Covid 19 upon a relatively small company. With regard to screen issues I would be loathe to spend further money upon new parts, as if reciprocal wear upon “core module” where screen contacts it any repair would be doomed to failure.

Hopefully someone from “Canadian Fairphoners” can step in to re-assure you as to Fido connectivity upon an FP3 or FP3+.

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is there actually a difference in the frequencies supported between the two models? I had the FP3 as:

Technology Bands
4G (LTE) Type - Cat. 13, MIMO - 4x2, 2CA Carrier Aggregation, VoLTE + VoWiFi Bands - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13, 20, 26, Max download 300Mbps, Max upload 150Mbps
3G (HSPA+) HSDPA - Cat 24, HSUPA - Cat 6 Max download 42Mbps, Max upload 5.76Mbps 800, 850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 Mhz
2G GMS, GPRS, EDGE) Type - Cat. 33 850, 900, 1800, 1900 Mhz

is that about right?

in the Canada Fairphoner’s thing, they talk about LTE band 66 missing, and here band 12 and 17 seem to be important as well, but I a frankly somewhat out of my depth when it comes to those things… That’s one thing the S9 seems to do much better, here’s the frequency bands supported by the device according to gsmarena:

technology bands
2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2 (dual-SIM model only)
CDMA 800 / 1900 - USA
3G bands HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100 - Global, USA
CDMA2000 1xEV-DO - USA
4G bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66 - Global
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66, 71 - USA
Speed HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A (6CA) Cat18 1200/200 Mbps

Look at that LTE channel list! Why didn’t the FP3 focus on that? Apart from regulations and all that, it would have certainly increased adoption worldwide…

Is fido.net the network carrier, that you use. There I found this info on compatibility:

So it’s

  • GSM, UMTS, HSPA and HSPA+ at 850 MHz and 1900 MHz and
  • LTE one of theses
    • 700 MHz on Band 12;
    • 1700/2100 MHz on Band 4;
    • 2600 MHz on Band 7

Network wise, there is no difference between the Fairphone 3 and 3+. Take a look at the comparison document linked on the FAQ page for Fairphone 3(+)
According to that, the FP3(+) supports both 3G frequencies and the 4G bands 4 and 7, but not 12.

Regarding your general dilemma, I feel for you.
To be honest, though my FP2 is working just fine for years now, it has quite a few design flaws, as it took modularity a step too far. The FP3(+) has been designed in a way to stop such troubles from happening. And it seems, that the main troubles right now are caused by a troublesome OS (update); i. e. Android 10. But that can be fixed; other than design flaws.

Coming by spare parts and the like might be easier for the FP3(+) in the longer run, simply because it is sold in much higher numbers. If I recall it right, they already sold as many Fairphone 3 in the first year, than they sold Fairphone 2 in all 3 years.
And if Fairphone considers shipping overseas (i. e. USA most likely), they hardly won’t ship any FP2 parts. For the FP3(+), there is a (small) chance at least.
But right now, you will always have the problem of importing stuff.
And regarding batteries, that’s especially troublesome to neigh impossible.
Fairphone won’t ship outside the EU; not even for resellers.


Good luck for your support request.
I just fear, they won’t service it, since you are not in the EU; or you will have to pay shipping etc, making it a quite expensive repair.
I really keep my fingers crossed for you.

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Yes, thanks!

So here’s the rub: the FP3 doesn’t support Band 12. But it supports Band 13, which is also 700MHz!? In this wikipedia page, the bands look basically identical in terms of region except B12 is LSMH and B13 is USMH… does that mean those are incompatible with each other? What do all those acronyms mean?

From what I know about radio, not supporting B12 is kind of a big deal, because it cuts off the precious 700MHz frequency, and what I know about the radio spectrum is that the band is more likely to reach farther away than the higher frequencies…

That’s exactly what I feel: the interconnects feel like they are the problem in my device, and “take it apart and back together again” doesn’t fix anything…

As for international shipping, I’m not holding my breath… They’ve been tempting us about this for a long time now, and nothing has changed so i’m not really counting on it.

Thanks for the advice!

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Hello everyone! I’m near Montreal and I have a few FP2 new spare pieces that I do not need:
-screen (new)
-bottom module (new)
-orange cover (new)
-camera (original one)

Let me know if this may help you!

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That’s really nice, thanks! Unfortunately, I saw your comment a bit too late and I have since then bought another phone. I’m selling my phone, maybe you could use it for parts too?