Recommendations for pre installed /e/Phones in US and Canada

We are frequently asked to recommend /e/OS compatible phones in the US and Canada.

This list of recommendations is specifically for phones we sell though the eSolutions Shop

As you may be aware we sell our pre-installed /e/ Phones in EU, US , Canada and Australia

You can check the list of countries and phones available in each by scrolling on the drop down list in the navigation bar on the eSolutions Shop

Recommendations for the US and Canada

  • /e/-Fairphone FP3+ and FP3:
    :no_entry:Not recommended.

  • /e/-Gigaset GS290:
    :no_entry:Not recommended.

  • /e/-Galaxy S9+ and S9:
    :ok_hand:best choice.

Reasons why FP3+ and FP3 are shown as not recommended

:white_check_mark: Both FP3+ and FP3 are FCC certified.
:x: Lack all necessary network US and Canadian bands to guarantee there will be coverage everywhere.
:x: Fairphone has no repair or service centre in the US of Canada.
:x: Fairphone isn’t looking for partners (us) to sell to US and CA customers per the above reasons.

Note: a European user travelling to the US and Canada will be able to place calls if they are in an area where the right band is available

Reasons why GS290 is shown as not recommended

:x: The GS290 is NOT FCC certified.
:x: Lack the necessary network US and Canadian bands to guarantee coverage.
:x: Gigaset has no repair or service centre in the US of Canada.

Note: a European user travelling to the US and Canada will NOT be able to place calls as the phone lacks the required bands.

Recommended for the US and Canada

:ok_hand: /e/-Galaxy S9+ and S9:

All phone recommendations are based on information as available with us as of today. If our users have any information that contradicts this please share the same.

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone

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While the S9/S9+ will work well in most areas they are a little less reliable in more rural areas here in the USA (at least on TMobile/its MVNOs as also verified here). I have driven 4 phones utilizing /e/ (S9, S9+, OnePlus 6T, Motorola G7+). For me (I am in more rural areas regularly) the OnePlus 6T and Motorola G7+ have been better because they support all TMobile bands. This advice might be different for AT&T/MVNOs as I haven’t tested this network.

HERE is some additional info.

One thing I dislike about the OP 6T and MOTO G7+ the ugly warning splash screens when booting due to the boatloader not being relocked after the flash. HERE IS HOW TO FIX . The S9/S9+ don’t have any if these ugly displays. My speculation leads me to think this is because of Samsung’s added Knox protections.

*Of course, if you want to use phones other than the S9/S9+ you will have to flash yourself. The majority of people will be good to go on the S phones from my experience.

*It would be great if anyone using AT&T/MVNOs could comment on that network. Edit: HERE you go

Hello,

I believe the Terracube 2e would make a great option as it supports a lot of bands in the US and it can be had pretty cheaply. This gives newcomers the ability to test out /e/ OS without a large investment and not worry much with their carriers options. With the phone being so affordable, I could see it being appealing to not just for the everyday user, but also for business user. The business users can take advantage of the dual sim card slots available as well as micro sd card support. Given the price of the phone, it may encourage them to sign up for the higher tiers of the cloud storage as overall it’s still not a large investment.

Just my two cents,

Braillynn

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Seems similar to FairPhone but for the US market. It would be very cool to see a similar situation between Terracube and e. A ROM with a locked bootloader like FP and strong e support would be great!

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Can’t speak to Canada but as far as the US is concerned, Motorola phones are much easier to unlock then Samsung and, after trying LineageOS and AOKP, /e/ has been the most stable ROM on my Moto G4. An even larger plus is that /e/ for G4 is still being maintained, while it has been largely abandoned by the other ROM providers. Frankly, I can’t recommend /e/ enough. I have even toyed with the idea of purchasing Motorola phones, installing /e/ and selling them (with some compensation for my time) on EBay, although I don’t know if that would be kosher.

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Do your research before buying an S9 and expecting to install /e/! With surface level research I can’t even tell if you can unlock the bootloader on the G960W, the Canadian variant. I know it’s impossible on the G960U, the US variant.

If the bootloader can’t be unlocked, you can’t manually install /e/ or any other ROM on them. So just ensure that you can before you buy one.

Both of the Samsung models available from /e/Foundation currently lack VoLTE. In the U.S., VoLTE is required to activate a phone with T-mobile/Sprint, and will eventually be required with AT&T (in early 2022, I think). This applies to all the MVNOs that resell those two networks, too.

That said, if those Samsung models originally had VoLTE when Samsung released them, and they were designed to work on T-mobile and/or AT&T, then an IMEI check of the /e/Samsungs will probably still register as authorized on those networks, even if VoLTE is not working. That would eliminate one hurdle, but the second hurdle is connecting calls/texts after the 3G network is gone. That leaves 2G, while it still exists. And I believe AT&T has already shut their 2G network down.

The Sony that I installed /e/ on shows the VoLTE setting in the menu when a T-mobile SIM is inserted, but I couldn’t test it, as it was an old, inactive SIM. My regular service with an AT&T MVNO works fine, but calls are over 3G (which AT&T hasn’t shut down yet). The VoLTE setting disappears from the menu when an AT&T-based SIM is inserted, which is apparently normal behavior, as Sony probably didn’t design for AT&T’s VoLTE.

Edit: I don’t know what the situation is with Verizon activation.

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Hi, here are my two cents.

  • Missing all the necessary US and Canadian network bands to ensure there will be coverage everywhere.

According to the network operator, some bands should meet the specifications of the Fairphone 3 (and 3+ obviously). I lack experience for the US, but as a Canadian resident and Fairphone 3+ owner, I have no network issues (I mean no more than anyone else) with this cell phone for the entire country. Whenever I’ve spent a few days in the US, I haven’t had any problems either. So if you want this product, you just have to look for a good carrier.

  • Fairphone does not have a repair or service center in the US or Canada.

That’s right, the company has stopped supporting the North American market since the Fairphone 2. If you have friends or family in Europe, it is still possible to send/receive new replacement parts by giving Fairphone their address. In return the delays and costs may increase.

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There may be some overlap in frequency usage, but as the networks are currently evolving, compatibility may become a problem.

Fairphone 3’s LTE frequencies, from Connectivity of FP3/FP3+ outside of Europe – Support 4G / LTE Advanced Band 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 13 / 20 / 26

VoLTE capability is already a requirement for T-mobile activation, and will soon be required at AT&T. Sprint has been bought by T-mobile. Sprint and Verizon originally used CDMA technology vs. GSM, but are mostly converted to LTE now. FP3/FP3+ VoLTE & VoWi-Fi – Support
“FP3/FP3+ is technically capable of using VoLTE and VoWiFi technologies but we are still working on completing the partnerships with some network providers.”

These are the 4 major networks in the U.S. (T-mobile and Sprint are merging their networks under the T-mobile brand) and their listed LTE frequencies. 3G networks are shutting down across the U.S. in the near future, and AT&T has already shut down its 2G network:

T-mobile: T-Mobile - United States - Wireless Frequency Bands and Device Compatibility
Sprint: Sprint - United States - Wireless Frequency Bands and Device Compatibility
AT&T: AT&T - United States - Wireless Frequency Bands and Device Compatibility
Verizon: Verizon Wireless - United States - Wireless Frequency Bands and Device Compatibility

U.S. resellers/MVNOs all operate on the above major networks.

A 5th independent network is U.S. Cellular, which offers activation in only some regions, but has roaming agreements with other major carriers: U.S. Cellular - United States - Wireless Frequency Bands and Device Compatibility

All Fairphone devices’ frequencies & country compatibility: Fairphone Device Frequency Band and Carrier Compatibility Information

I wouldn’t expect Fairphones to work well in the U.S. for very long, unless things change…and I hope they do.

Here are Canada’s networks: Canada Wireless Frequency Bands and Carriers

2 Likes

Thanks for this info @Taurus . From what I see FairPhone is not something that could be used reliably in the US even today because it doesn’t support enough LTE bands for any particular provider. I would love to use FP as a daily driver. I think Teracube is a good alternative but as other’s have posted more robust hardware is needed for many (hope this happens with the 3e model). It will be interesting to see how Dish Network shakes the landscape up.

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to make these Galaxy 9 devices capable of daily drivers without VoLTE support. As I have tested them when out driving in my car, on calls the signal drops regularly. I assume this is happening because the calls are falling back to 2G/3G spectrum because VoLTE isnt supported. Coverage is spotty unless i am in a fixed location with good signal on whatever non VoLTE band is being used for voice/plain text messaging.

I’m leaning to use a VoIP app solution but still need to figure out which is the best.

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Have you tried an AT&T MVNO yet? (You may have said before, but I don’t want to go look it up right now.) AT&T still works without VoLTE because they haven’t started shutting down their 3G network. That could tide you over until the /e/Samsungs get sorted. (Assuming you have good AT&T signal where you live, work, and go about.) I’m using Red Pocket on AT&T’s network with no issues whatsoever.

Dish Network bought Ting’s mobile division, by the way. (EDIT: And Sprint’s prepaid businesses, including Boost Mobile.) Ting is still running it for Dish, though, at least for a couple of years. (Ting runs on either T-mobile’s or Verizon’s network, your choice, based on available coverage.)

Ting is an outstanding company with great, personal, human customer support and great pricing. I used to have service with them, and may switch back at some point. I hope Dish doesn’t ruin it.

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My plan setup is complicated with multiple lines and excellent pricing so I am a bit constrained to TMob. Just adds more constraint to the situation. :worried: There has to be a way…

Frustrating how complicated this gets. Though its pure speculation on my part, it feels that the carriers and hardware manufactures make it this way purposely to hold their oligopoly. This, in addition to the constraint of limited wireless spectrum that is split up amongst the highest bidders all being overseen by a federal bureaucracy.

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I hope VOIP can help in the meantime. It’s pretty simple to set up with Callcentric. You can use the Linphone open-source client (or any other) and add cheap service from Callcentric (or any other): Supported device adapters, softphones, and PBXs

Linphone is available on F-Droid.

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Thank you for this education. I will see if this will work👆.

Yes, I just want to be able to verify x hardware supports y mobile operator’s bands. From here I can determine my wireless LTE coverage. The next step, a VoIP app (preferably FOSS, I’m fine with a paid component to keep it supported) that will have solid functionality on any chosen network bands. I feel like those who created such an app would be pleasantly rewarded because we would be more free to move from network to network, phone to phone without relying on this type of situation :point_down: that I found example of on another forum.

" * IMS services (VoLTE, VoWiFi, etc). Samsung has their own proprietary implementation. It is not really possible to easily port that to LineageOS."

EDIT: Said app would need to be completely app/network agnostic. ie can receive incoming calls/plain text messages and send outgoing to any phone number.

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Linphone also provides this free service, by the way: | Linphone

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Thank you. You may have provided me a solution. :+1:

Do you know if it also supports plain text messages to offer a complete replacement of a phone/carriers default functionality for calls/unencrypted plain text messages?

I’m not up-to-date with Linphone’s current services or the client, unfortunately. You could probably email your questions to them for complete answers.

Callcentric offers to add a texting service to your VOIP account for, I think, $1 per month, but MMS don’t work, and 2FA codes (from banks, etc.) might not work, either.

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Well unfortunately it appears the default “Phone” application has been hard coded to be the only fully functioning dialer that will work within /e/OS. I have tried 2 functioning VoIP applications that work great on my other ROMs but on /e/ the “Phone” app holds them hostage and interferes when trying to make any outbound calls from the applications. I can receive calls and send/receive SMS. I see no way to “Disable” the default “Phone” application…:weary:

Has anyone deleted or disabled /e/OS system applications via ADB successfully without causing instability?

This is frustrating

If I can get this corrected these Galaxy series 9 phones would work great till the coming 2021 roadmap plans are implemented.

Good news… User error. Once I inserted my SIM and did a reset I was able to correct this. I also can verify that the VoIP apps are functioning well over my LTE connection so this IS a way to patch VoLTE till it is integrated into the /e/OS for S9 starlte, S9+ star2lte, and Note 9 crownlte. :+1:

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