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Thread: Will 4G service not show on an unactivated Tracfone?

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    Will 4G service not show on an unactivated Tracfone?

    Because of the coming 3G shutdown I recently bought a 4G Tracfone (LG LT125DL on Verizon). It's still unactivated because it only shows 3G service (3 bars,-78dB) in areas I know have strong Verizon 4G.

    So is it because it's not activated or is the phone simply defective? Obviously I don't want to activate it only to find out it doesn't work on 4G.

    (Tried SIMs from Smartphone kit. T-Mobile had expectedly weak 1X only, but AT&T had No Service in strong AT&T area. Is there some way to make the AT&T work?)

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    Without an active SIM in the phone, the signal indicator is NOT reliable. It COULD be any tower nearby that the phone can communicate with for a 911 call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    Without an active SIM in the phone, the signal indicator is NOT reliable. It COULD be any tower nearby that the phone can communicate with for a 911 call.
    Agree. Definitely not a good method to determine reception. Once activated, the phone could attempt to connect to a completely different tower or cellular network that could be better or worse and no guarantee it would be the same tower.
    Just another day in paradise.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami_HF View Post
    Because of the coming 3G shutdown I recently bought a 4G Tracfone (LG LT125DL on Verizon). It's still unactivated because it only shows 3G service (3 bars,-78dB) in areas I know have strong Verizon 4G.

    So is it because it's not activated or is the phone simply defective? Obviously I don't want to activate it only to find out it doesn't work on 4G.

    (Tried SIMs from Smartphone kit. T-Mobile had expectedly weak 1X only, but AT&T had No Service in strong AT&T area. Is there some way to make the AT&T work?)
    Web search indicates that it it VoLTE compatible. It was released in 2020. Pretty much anything released in the past few years is VoLTE compatible.

    Signal indication from an inactive SIM means almost nothing.

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    Thanks for the quick responses. There's exactly 1 cell tower in this area, (yeah, rural), and it has both Verizon and AT&T on it. Several websites confirm that and say both are 4G & 3G. The phone's Access Point Names page says TRACFONE.VZWENTP. Doesn't that all confirm it's using the Verizon service on only that tower? I wonder why doesn't it connect to the 4G? Also I get the same results if when I drive into a city 20 miles away.

    Also a little concerned about the only 3 bars even 1000 feet from the tower or in that city, versus the 5 bars I get on my current 3G Tracfone on AT&T. I know the bars aren't really calibrated, so is -78dB bad or good? Or is it all really meaningless until I activate it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami_HF View Post
    Thanks for the quick responses. There's exactly 1 cell tower in this area, (yeah, rural), and it has both Verizon and AT&T on it. Several websites confirm that and say both are 4G & 3G. The phone's Access Point Names page says TRACFONE.VZWENTP. Doesn't that all confirm it's using the Verizon service on only that tower? I wonder why doesn't it connect to the 4G? Also I get the same results if when I drive into a city 20 miles away.

    Also a little concerned about the only 3 bars even 1000 feet from the tower or in that city, versus the 5 bars I get on my current 3G Tracfone on AT&T. I know the bars aren't really calibrated, so is -78dB bad or good? Or is it all really meaningless until I activate it?
    With a SIM that is not activated you can't tell which carrier it is connected to. Cellphones and carriers are required by federal law to provide 911 service with no active service on the phone even with no SIM if they can.

    -78dBm is an excellent cell signal, but that may not be the LTE signal. It is probably 2G or 3G voice signal since your SIM and phone are not provisioned for VoLTE.

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    The phone is basically a blank slate until it gets an activated sim with the instructions on it. The blank sim does not have the instructions until it gets provisioned during activation.

    So the phone is operating in the dark until it gets fully programmed by the additional instructions on the sim. The carrier will provide the sim with the appropriate instructions according to its contract with Tracfone.

    Meanwhile, there is enough information on the phone to call 911 as long as a compatible tower is available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami_HF View Post
    The phone's Access Point Names page says TRACFONE.VZWENTP. Doesn't that all confirm it's using the Verizon service on only that tower? I wonder why doesn't it connect to the 4G?
    Was that PHONE (not SIM) active before? If not, I'm surprised that it already shows the (Verizon) APN. The APN name and parameters are usually not "pushed" to the phone until the SIM has been activated.

    Also a little concerned about the only 3 bars even 1000 feet from the tower or in that city, versus the 5 bars I get on my current 3G Tracfone on AT&T. I know the bars aren't really calibrated, so is -78dB bad or good?
    Install the Network Signal Info app and run it. Touch the signal bars IN THAT APP and it'll change to dial/needle, makes it easier to compare signal strength. LTE and 3G signals are measured using difference scales, can't compare their numbers directly.

    Or is it all really meaningless until I activate it?
    Again, signal strength before activation is not reliable.

    ADDITIONAL INFO: after you've activated the SIM, run the Network Signal Info app WHILE A CALL IS IN PROGRESS. If it shows Voice as LTE/4G, the phone is using VoLTE. If it shows 3G/CDMA/1x then it's not using VoLTE.

    MORE ADDITIONAL INFO : If you activate the SIM and it still does not use VoLTE or has no Data, edit the APN name and change it from TRACFONE.VZWENTP to VZWINTERNET (without the TRACFONE prefix).

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    I think the OP meant the LG L125DL, the Classic Flip. If that's right, I don't know if it can run the Network Signal Info app.
    My Tello referral code is P3BSR5HV, and gets both of us 10 Tello Dollars to pay for a plan.
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenhandle View Post
    I think the OP meant the LG L125DL, the Classic Flip. If that's right, I don't know if it can run the Network Signal Info app.
    My bad, didn't look up the phone model.

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    Thanks again everybody. Sounds like I should go ahead with switching over to this phone and see what happens.

    In answer to the questions and suggestions: No, it was never activated (new from Target) and I did a Phone Reset from the settings page each time I switched SIMs. The Access Point Name changed each time, so it must come either from the SIMs or the cell site. And no, the LG LT125DL can't install apps, even though it's said it's actually running a dumbed down version of Android.

    One last question. Is it possible to make the AT&T smartphone kit SIM work, or is it stuck like this since Tracfone intended it for Verizon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami_HF View Post
    One last question. Is it possible to make the AT&T smartphone kit SIM work, or is it stuck like this since Tracfone intended it for Verizon?
    You can activate a BYOP TF/AT&T SIM and use it in a TF-branded phone instead of its original TF/Verizon SIM. It'll work but it's not sanctioned by TF, so don't tell a rep what you did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    You can activate a BYOP TF/AT&T SIM and use it in a TF-branded phone instead of its original TF/Verizon SIM. It'll work but it's not sanctioned by TF, so don't tell a rep what you did.
    Also I think you won't be able to get it unlocked in a year. But you can still use it on any TF company.

    Also, is it on the ATT whitelist? Future issues?
    Last edited by rpz1; 11-01-2021 at 07:55 PM. Reason: question if on ATT whilelist

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    I keep thinking up more questions! Is it possible to just activate it (with a new phone number) on a 90 day card to try it out, then switch my current service and phone number after?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami_HF View Post
    Is it possible to just activate it (with a new phone number) on a 90 day card to try it out, then switch my current service and phone number after?
    If you activate it with the original TF/Verizon SIM and later reactivate it with the same SIM, TF will reuse a TF/Verizon SIM. If you want to do that with a TF/AT&T SIM, you'll need to get another TF/AT&T SIM.

    I'll send you a Private Message through the forum in a few minutes. Watch for it.

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