***Official GSM/World Phone/Sim Card Discussion Thread***General

Last Updated:

  1. TigerC10

    TigerC10 Member

    I don't think there's a GSM lock, but the phone is useless without a CDMA carrier. There's no ability for "data roaming" onto GSM networks, essentially taking the smart out of the smart phone without some CDMA carrier. If your idea was to buy the phone and use your AT&T or T-Mobile sim on it, all you'd be able to do (if it's GSM unlocked) is make phone calls.

    Motorola Atrix might be a good alternative for you, though it's not quite as good as the Photon.

  2. gum

    gum Member

    I don't think that's true:
    Motorola PHOTON 4G full specs - Phone Arena
    800, 1900
    850, 900, 1800, 1900
    850, 1900, 2100

    UMTS is GSM 3G right? However, no HSPA so no GSM 4G.
  3. PyroSporker

    PyroSporker Well-Known Member

    Wi-fi would still work too wouldn't it? Its better than nothing, but it takes the mobility factor away.
  4. KnowProblem

    KnowProblem Well-Known Member

    HSPA is a subset of UMTS and I believe the Tegra does it so it probably does have "GSM 4G" (though from a formal definition perspective HSPA is actually 3.5G, HSPA+ would be 3.75G, and LTE and WiMAX would be considered "true" 4G).
    gum likes this.
  5. SporkLover

    SporkLover Well-Known Member

    Have you tried this yet?

    Previous implementations of Sprint World Phones worked like this:

    1. Use of GSM radio not possible in US.... Voice, Data, period. If you activated the GSM radio TP2 could not find GSM towers in the us.

    2. GSM outside of the US was unlocked. You could use the Sprint Sim for the convenience of having your number world wide, but you also had the option of inserting any other sim card. Data, Voice, Texting, etc

    This of course was bypassed with a Radio unlock, which eventually allowed the phone to use GSM radio in the US.
  6. SporkLover

    SporkLover Well-Known Member


    I just put the phone into GSM only mode with a US T-mobile Sim. Confirmed.... no GSM lock to be found in the US.

    I chatted with Sprint World Wide services, the phone is GSM unlocked, so it will read any sim.... the Radio is just specially programmed so that it won't lock onto US GSM towers.

    Oh and it will Data roam as well. If you are using a SWW Sim you will have to activate that option. It is disabled to prevent costly accidental data consumption.
  7. KnowProblem

    KnowProblem Well-Known Member

    I most strongly recommend not trying to data roam with Sprint's SIM. In most instances you're looking at costs of about $17/MB which is insane. Using a local SIM in most instances would be much, much cheaper.

    Hopefully this phone will be rooted someday and someone will figure out how to disable the US GSM radio lock. The phone otherwise contains all the necessary hardware to work as a GSM phone in the US.
  8. SporkLover

    SporkLover Well-Known Member

    As I re-call the TP2 wasn't locked at all. The radio was just programmed to ignore US based GSM radios. So a custom radio had to be written and flashed.

    Not sure we'll get that with a niche moto-phone.
  9. themuffinman75

    themuffinman75 Well-Known Member

    Yep, you are exactly right.
  10. TigerC10

    TigerC10 Member

    Photon already confirmed as "triband" GSM, not "quadband".

    Eh, might as well get an iPod Touch?

    You beat me to it! I just found that there is no GSM lock too.

    The sprint representative I spoke with said it wouldn't data roam at all, but upon further consideration maybe they meant that the Sprint SIM card wouldn't allow data roaming in the US. I can certainly understand GSM data roaming in Europe. But I guess it has to be enabled to do so.
  11. SporkLover

    SporkLover Well-Known Member

  12. KnowProblem

    KnowProblem Well-Known Member

    The box clearly says it's quadband GSM, not triband.
    twospirits likes this.
  13. abirnbau

    abirnbau New Member

    Hi all,

    The Photon is one of the few Android hearing aid compatible phones rated at M4T4 (which is really good) -- so I'm very interested in it.

    I'm American but I live in Prague and can use either Vodafone or O2 as my carrier. I'm not worried about using this phone in the US. I just want to stick a Czech SIM card in the Photon and use it all over Europe. There wouldn't be any Sprint US based service.

    I need voice, web data, and the ability to run a small program which synchs my Domino mail / contact / calendar to the Photon.

    If I buy an unlocked Photon somewhere, should I be able to do the above. Again, I won't have any US Sprint service. I just want to use the phone for voice and data.

    Thanks, DB
  14. jj14x

    jj14x Guides Guide

    You should be able to - the SIM slot on the Sprint version of the photon is unlocked, so you can pop in any SIM card (non-US) and it should work.

    Note: Whether you get faster 3G speeds or slow Edge speeds for data will depend on the frequencies of the carrier that you get the SIM from.
  15. KnowProblem

    KnowProblem Well-Known Member

    Right now this is probably not a good idea because while the device is SIM lock free, Sprint appears to have locked the APN settings on it, meaning you could use it for voice with another company's SIM but not for data.

    In the long run though, given that this phone has been rooted and bootloader unlocked, someone will probably figure out some method of disabling this silly restriction. Until then, while on paper the device looks like a good one for using foreign SIMs (quadband GSM, triband HSPA+), the APN restriction probably means that practically it is useless for this purpose as a smartphone.
  16. SporkLover

    SporkLover Well-Known Member

    I've read others have had issues creating APNs for their appropriate carrier, as it doesn't stick after a save.

    I am rooted, just tried to create an APN and it worked. No way to test it though, not in Europe till this weekend.
  17. abirnbau

    abirnbau New Member

    Thanks folks for the great answers above. I think I'm starting to understand the situation better and appreciated being steered away from a voice only solution.

    Another US CDMA phone that also has a sim slot and good hearing aid compatibility (M4/T4) is the Incredible 2 from Verizon. Do you know if I could buy an Incredible 2, NOT purchase any Verizon service, and just run European sim cards in it to get voice and data?

    (I do realize that the Incredible S is gsm only phone for Europe and is similar to the Incredible 2 but, unfortunately (for reason I don't understand), its hearing aid compatibility rating is lower).

    Thanks again for all the help.

    Drew in Prague
  18. KnowProblem

    KnowProblem Well-Known Member

    If I were you and could wait a little bit to see how things develop with the Photon and ways of getting around the APN restriction I would.

    I say this because in my opinion the Photon is superior to the Incredible 2 (bigger screen, higher resolution, dual core processor, a lot more memory, etc...). I guess you could say that the Photon is like a Cadillac while the Incredible 2 is a Chevy.
  19. hodgesdodges

    hodgesdodges Member

    I want to use the photon on on walmarts family plan.. they sell the sim card on the shelf. However the phone needs to be unlocked from carrier sprint. Can this be done?
  20. drexappeal

    drexappeal Well-Known Member

    I've merged multiple threads discussing the Sim Card and GSM use, as it's been asked several times.

    As of right now, it has been mentioned that the phone will not work on domestic U.S. carriers (e.g. you can't use a sim card from a different provider). It is supposed to be unlocked so that people traveling outside the US can use a SIM card from the country that they're in at that time.
  21. SporkLover

    SporkLover Well-Known Member

    I just contacted Sprint, a lower level CSA..... they claim it's unlocked and there shouldn't be a data lock.

    Of course they didn't have the Technical Wherewithal to talk through APN settings and I didn't have the patience to continue the conversation.

    I'll take my digging to the official Sprint Support forums.
  22. SporkLover

    SporkLover Well-Known Member

    So Sprint CSA's don't seem to be helpful at all... via phone or chat.

    I took it to their forums, both the normal Motorola Photon and the Sprint Premier forums.

    Usually get good answers from the Premier team.

    I just talked to the Sprint Elevation Tech Support Team. They are stumped by the issue as well. They suggested I take the phone back to the store and swap it out and try it on a new phone.

    I am hesitant because other folks are having the same issue.
  23. SporkLover

    SporkLover Well-Known Member

    Spoke with another department in Sprint. She said according to her notes the phone is GSM unlocked for Voice Only. Data is locked. So the only way to get mobile data abroad overseas is via Sprint SIM.... $17-20 a MB...... what a bummer and a let down....
  24. lodisax

    lodisax New Member

    Hello guys, I look for someone to help me.
    I brought my 4g photon in Italy, I used a vodafone sim card.
    work if I put the network settings du "only GSM / UMTS."
    but 'when I turn off and power back up the phone loses the settings and returns to CDMA (loses settings made ​​by me). There 'someone who knows how to do?
  25. drexappeal

    drexappeal Well-Known Member

    Wish I had an answer for you. Majority of the users on here are domestic US on Sprint, but I'm glad that you posted that information on here that the Vodaphone sim card worked in Italy! that's great!.

    I'm assuming that because the phone's primary purpose is to serve as a domestic US phone for Sprint, that's why it goes back to CDMA settings after you power down and back up.

    When you go in and select "only GSM/UMTS," are you saying that everything that you've set up on the phone previously does not come back? And I'm assuming that means how you've set up the homescreens and other things of that nature, correct?

Share This Page