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Q-Link Screws Up Bigtime With 5G Rollout

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by puppykickr, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Q-Link, one of the largest providers of free cellular service via the government plan, has recently switched from 4G to 5G.

    Unfortunately, what I and many (if not most) of the users of this service have found is that Q-Link was woefully unprepared for such a switch.

    Not only were the majority of devices in use not 5G compatible, they send out new SIM cards anyway- even to people that had not received devices at all yet.

    To top it all off, there is absolutely no customer service available suddenly.

    Whereas before, a caller may be on hold for 30 minutes or so, it is now common to be on hold for multiple hours- only to be hung up on or to even have your 'approximate wait time' increase as you wait.

    This has left many people completely without a phone, and of course the only way to reach customer service is to call.

    Obviously, this is not possible if the device is no longer working.

    I can't help wondering if this doesn't have something to do with Sprint being busted for fraud regarding the government phone program.

    Q-Link service, at least around here, was via Sprint- and it actually worked very well.

    Now it is supposedly through T-Mobile (who supposedly merged with Sprint), and it seems to not work at all.

    For a sense of what is going on, and of Q-Link's pathetic automated responses, you can check the Q-Link Wireless page on Facebook.


    Dannydet likes this.

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  2. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

  3. Frankwv

    Frankwv Lurker

    I received my SIM card, and installed it, but the phone says "Invalid Card". I called their tech support and was on hold for 5 hours, and 10 minutes. I was told to check certain settings, which I had already done several times before calling them. I was then told that my phone which is a Hot Pepper phone which I bought less than a year ago was not 5G compliant. I am trying to find out if this is true. And to top it off, when I reinserted my old card back in, it would not work. Not a great experience.
    puppykickr likes this.
  4. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Your experience mirrors mine, right down to the device.

    Of course the Hot Pepper is not 5G compliant. Mine is dated Oct. 2018.
    I knew this before I installed the card, and so I called customer service first.

    I was assured- in very broken English- that the card is mearly an upgrade that is both 4G LTE and 5G compliant.

    Obviously this was not true.

    The worst part is that I was going to buy a new phone.
    But their system would not allow me to until I had activated the new card.

    Something about 'A shippable order is available.'

    I was assured that as soon as I activated the card, that I could then order the phone.

    Now the phone I wanted is not even available, and I read story after story about people ordering phones that they never receive.

    What was great service has died with the 5G rollout.

    I must say, as I live in a rural area, 5G is nothing but misery- and will be so for years to come.

    My area will not be 5G capable until urban areas are already using 6G or 7G.
    With technology moving so quickly (mostly without good results, btw) I see my area becoming a cellular deadspot as it was 10-15 years ago.

    There are still wide areas not far from here without reliable 3G or 4G service- in fact, there was no good service there even back in the 850mhz analog cellular days.

    5G, with its pathetic range, will always be useless in areas like this.

    These areas are only like 5 miles from me, so it's not like I am making this stuff up.

    This is what it is like to live in a town of 25,000 people.

    Imagine what it is ro live where I grew up, where there is less than 6,000.
    Frankwv likes this.
  5. Frankwv

    Frankwv Lurker

    That mirrors my situation.
    Your correct that once was a good service for folks has created a quagmire of problems.
    You know the old saying. "Don't stick your hand in a rattlesnake's mouth and not
    expecting to get bit." QLink has gotten themselves bitten.
    puppykickr likes this.
  6. cwcheese

    cwcheese Member

    ---off topic comment---
    Just saw the mention of Q-Link and had a flashback to the predecessor of AOL, a service called Q-Link (aka Quantum Link) a dial-up service that resided on the mainframes of Quantum Computer Services. I was one of the early Q-linkers, having answered an ad in Byte for testers to try out a new bulletin board (BBS) like system.
    Whew. I'm. Old. ☺☺☺
    puppykickr likes this.
  7. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    Has Q-Link turned off their 4G network, and forcing their users to switch to 5G capable phones, really? I've never heard of that before with any carrier.

    Carriers I know run their 5G networks, alongside their 4G/LTE networks, and 3G as well. Although if one is using a 3G only phone, it must be pretty old by now.
    #7 mikedt, Apr 7, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
    puppykickr likes this.
  8. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Not so off topic, really.
    I am not positive, but I think that I read somewhere that Q-Link used to be called Quantum Link.
  9. Frankwv

    Frankwv Lurker

    I operated a BBS for years, so I guess I am old too..LOL
  10. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    You are correct.
    AT&T still has 3G up and running for a short while longer.

    As far as Q-Link goes, everything was fine until the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile.

    That, and then within the newest stimulus bill, there is a requirement for government phone plans to be on 5G and for a 'Free Tablet' for qualified individuals to be issued.

    Now, add to that the fact that carriers only get just under $10 a month per Lifeline customer, and now, because off this Covid mess, are also required to provide unlimited calls, texts, and data- and then Sprint just forked over millions in a fraud case- and it really paints the picture that they just want rid of the free players in this game.

    The way the paperwork was worded was that you were eligible for a fee tablet if you upgraded your SIM card.
    Nothing about the merger, maybe some side note about 'improved performance with 5G', but after I called they told me that it was just to get a 5G SIM compatible card into everyone's device.

    No mention that a 5G device was required.

    And I know we have no 5G service, as both cards- although inactive- will allow emergency calls.
    For this to work, however, you still need some sort of signal.
    The old card still gives the same amount of signal I had before, while with the new card there are no bars of service at all.

    I find it both amusing and infuriating at the same time that the response from Q-Link is for me to call Customer Service.

    If I had a phone that worked, I would.

    Actually, if I had a phone that worked, I wouldn't need to.
    mikedt likes this.
  11. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter


    Well, as it turns out, the 'shippable order' that was preventing me from ordering a new device was the SIM card that they had sent me, and it takes days for their system to understand that the order was shipped and received.

    So, I went ahead and ordered another device, which was to be capable of use with their new system.
    It was $20.
    I figured that at that price, 8t really doesn't matter what I get, because knowlege of any sort is rarely any cheaper than $20.

    Anyway, the SIM card for the device came days before the device.

    Odd, I thought.

    When the device arrived, I was annoyed to discover that it was not the device that I had ordered.

    Worse yet, when I inserted the SIM and followed the directions, the phone will not work.
    In fact, I actually get a message from T-Mobile stating that the device is NOT compatible with their system.

    I have now been without cellular service for more than a month.

    My sole source of communication is Wi-Fi, where I use Telegram and Dingtone.

    As far as cellular, (aside from my emergency pre-pay from AT&T) I have basically given up altogether.

    I may try Straight Talk, as the service seems to work much of the time and an unlimited pre-pay plan can be had for $35 a month.

    But for someone that is cash strapped, and who more than qualifies for the governmental phone plan, that is a payment that I really shouldn't have to make.
  12. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Well, as you may find in another thread, my quest to use Straight Talk was fruitless.

    Not only did I purchase a device, but also was required to purchase airtime in order to activate it.

    After wasting 12 hours I gave up, and requested a refund.
    Of course, the device is not returnable- devices out of the box are only able to be exchanged- all I wanted was the money I spent for the worthless airtime.

    That was another multi-day struggle and debacle that wasted multiple hours online as well as 2 hours of Dingtone credits for phone calls.

    I have since tried to get my free cellular service transfered to another carrier, as Q-Link cannot seem to be reached or get it together.

    This caused more frustration, as Q-Link is not only unreachable by customers, but by anybody.
    They have not turned off my service (law requires them to after 30 days of non-use), and will not respond to requests for transfer from other companies.

    As you can only have one free government cellular plan, and Q-Link refuses to follow the law and disconnect mine, all the carriers see that I already have an active device on the program.

    It matters not that I have had no useable service since morning, April 2nd.

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