Taking Fairphone 2 to USA

I have been in the US with my FP2 and got a T-Mobile card ($30 for 4 weeks, 1000mins, unlimited texts, unlimited data, 2 GB LTE), but 4G did not work and 3G only worked very poorly in Washington DC. This might have been a consequence of the tower updates.


Hi all, since this is a topic that might be relevant to more people, I just wanted to post an update.

I have moved to the United States (Seattle) from Switzerland in March 2017. For the first two months, I was running with data roaming on my Swiss SIM Card (which by the way was cheaper than a local mobile contract). After that time, knowing that there are limitations with the FP2 and the available bands, we signed up with T-mobile.

This was working fine at 3G speeds for two months, but after that suddenly we only got 2G connections, and doing phone calls also was virtually impossible without interruptions. It took quite a while until we found a qualified T-mobile person who told us that they “upgraded their network”, i.e. along what jc636 has reported for NY, the bands wont fit any more.

As of yesterday, we ported our number to AT&T, which seemingly is still operating 3G on Band 2, 1900MhZ. As of today, no problems, good 3G data connection and no problems doing phone calls. I hope that AT&T will continue to operate these bands.

I will let you know in case this should change. Otherwise, using the FP2 in the USA is fine. Be aware though that Fairphone does not even ship any spare parts to the US.


Update: Back to Boston, where I had data / internet problems with a French SIM card earlier. I have a new French SIM card from a different provider (switched from SFR to Orange), and the internet is amazing this time.

For those who didn’t scroll the rest of the post: Internet worked with a US SIM last time, but not the French one.

It is well possible that your old French operator had no roaming agreement with the network in Boston that you are currently using (AT&T or T-Mobile, probably).

Issues like that can happen everywhere. I have travelled in remote areas in North England, where it often happens that Vodafone is the only network with coverage; the other networks covered remote places far worse. But my operator had no roaming contract with them so I couldn’t use the network.
This could have been changed though, it happened before I had a Fairphone.

1 Like

Albert, Good point. I did not add the US network I was on. This year I’ve
been consistently on AT & T. Last year, nothing worked.
Before using the Fairphone, I had never had any problems with international
roaming anywhere. People keep asking where it works, so I add what
anecdotal evidence I can. I know there is https://willmyphonework.net/ ,
but it’s definitely not perfect.

1 Like

5 posts were split to a new topic: Why does the FP2 not support US frequencies?

To share another US fairphone experience: I am using my FP2 with a T-mobile traveler pre-paid card in Portland, OR, and everything works great. Set US SIM as default for data and texts, for calls I chose to be asked before each call so I can easily switch between my home and the US number as needed. Great advantage of double-SIM slot: I am accessible via both numbers anytime!
One other thing I want to share: Be prepared to receive an emergency message test monthly. First time it happened, I had no idea and thought it was a virus. These messages are provided to inform people in case of a life threatening emergency or child abduction. You can easily shut this off, though. I am still undecided about this. Any opinions?

1 Like

It’s a system and awareness test message, to be used in case of earthquakes, tornadoes, public safety alerts, etc. You shouldn’t need to worry about it.


2 posts were merged into an existing topic: No U.S. Fairphone?

I am a mobile phone novice. I am in the UK and visiting the US. Will my phone work there and do I have to do anything?

You will have to be careful if you are buying a local SIM card, but if you use your UK SIM card it will just connect to any compatible network by itself as European operators tend to have a multitude of roaming contracts with local operators. If your operator has a roaming contract with AT&T you should be able to use their 3G service, otherwise you will likely end up on a 2G network.


Thank you Albert, I’ve been in touch with my provider and I should be able to use my phone.

1 Like

Is there any update on when FairPhone will come to the USA?

Love this podcast btw: https://teamhuman.fm/episodes/ep-30-bas-van-abel-fingerprints-on-the-touchscreen/

Hi there!

My name is Nicole and I have been doing a lot of research into Fairphone over the past few weeks. I wish to get rid of my iPhone and switch over to a more ethical smartphone, and Fairphone seems like the perfect match.

I was wondering how many American Users of the Fairphone are out there? How has it been working for you in the U.S. and with a U.S. service?

I know that if I get the Fairphone I will not have 4G/LTE service (which I am okay with), but I just wanted to see how the Fairphone has been holding up for any American users!

It would be even more helpful if anyone has any experience with using the Fairphone with AT&T (that is the service I use).

I hope someone out there can give me some input and perspective, seeing as the majority of Fairphone users are European.

Thanks so much!
Please feel free to respond with any type of help or comments!


You can also have a look at this topic

I use the AT&T network, and it works fine. I confirm I don’t have 4g, though I pay for it…

There is something confusing me related to the 4G functionality in the US with FP2.
Most users state by their personal experience not having had 4G data connectivity independent of the network provider.

But then again…

Now, how is this?

On https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-4988, you can see that T-Mobile calls HSPA+ a ‘4G’ technology. While it may be fast, technically it actually just a newer version of 3G and the FP2 supports it on the same frequency bands as 3G, which includes 1900MHz.

Edit: whether 1900MHz HSPA+ is offered nationwide, I don’t know. Apparently it is available in Boston, but the coverage map of T-Mobile only shows LTE coverage…


T-Mobile USA should be compatible, yes.

Wikipedia FP2 [1]

2G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE): 850/900/1,800/1,900 MHz
3G (UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+): 900/1,900/2,100 MHz
LTE: 800/1,800/2,600 MHz

GSMArena US [2]

2G capabilities GSM 850, GSM 1900
3G capabilities UMTS 850, UMTS 1900, UMTS 1700, UMTS 2100
4G capabilities LTE 700, LTE 800, LTE 1700, LTE 1900, LTE 2100, LTE WCS 2300 (30), LTE 2500

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairphone_2

[2] https://www.gsmarena.com/network-bands.php3?sCountry=United+States

But the problem is that the frequencies differ per provider. So you need to check the USA providers specifically.


Good find, it really is kind of complicated, you always learn something new …



I just got a HSPA+ connection myself (not because I’m in the States but because I’m in a place not reached by LTE) and can confirm the FP2 displays “3G” at the network icon when this happens.