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Thread: Cross-carrier hotspot device unlocking question – need help with this (ambitious) undertaking!

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    Cross-carrier hotspot device unlocking question – need help with this (ambitious) undertaking!

    (I didn’t know if cross-posting in two forums is allowed, so posting this here).

    So this is about the AT&T-Prepaid grandfathered plan that I’m helping elderly family members with (the details are in this thread if anyone’s interested https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...plan-extension).

    Given that they are going through difficult times financially, the only suitable ATTPrepaid plan for them seems to be the hotspot plan so that they can save money by replacing their current home internet.

    But that will require buying a new AT&T hotspot device. So I was thinking of giving them a Tmo hotspot. There’s two of them I could give them to use – Coolpad Surf, and T9.

    Both hotspot devices are old Tmobile test drive devices. The 30GB data was used up long ago. I saw this wiki with instructions on unlocking a Tmo test drive (https://slickdeals.net/e/14675033-t-...#post143628917) and have a question that I hope someone knows the answer to.

    Can I still unlock either of those Tmo test drive devices – given that the data on the sim is long gone? Is it too late to unlock those? Thank you!

    Any other thoughts and suggestions on how to best solve this whole situation much appreciated too!
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    Can't you simply reactivate one of the T-Mobile hotspots on T-Mobile? Is the AT&T coverage much better?

    I also got one of those T-Mobile freebie hotspots and it worked fine. Like everybody else, I just took it out for a test drive but didn't renew.
    If you think the pandemic is bad now, just wait. Doctors tell us the next variant plays the accordion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    Can't you simply reactivate one of the T-Mobile hotspots on T-Mobile? Is the AT&T coverage much better?
    OP here. I wish it was that simple! The elderly couple need a solution that doesn't require spending more money on new service with TMo.
    So the (ambitious!) objective is to unlock the TMo hotspot so that it can be used on ATTPrepaid to use up the existing $150+ ATTPrepaid balance - without having to spend on buying a new AT&T hotspot device.

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    Shirt answer is yes. The unlock code is an algorithm that is built into the device firmware, and is independent of the subscription being active.

    Note that T-Mobile pushed a firmware update to some of these devices to block unlocking. But once unlocked it should stay that way. If the devices haven’t been used in quite a while, it’s very likely they did not get the update. So no harm in trying — instructions are quite easy for the t-9 which i unlocked with this method.

    Also note that the unlocking algorithm varies by manufacturer so make sure you are using the right method for the right device.

    Entering an incorrect code too many times will lock the device permanently. If you don’t get it right on the first or second attempt, STOP to make sure you’re using the right method for your device.

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    If they can afford $25/month with $5 for 1st month there's Visible with unlimited hotspot to one device.
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    OP, do you even know if that TM Hotspot has the bands for ATT ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpz1 View Post
    OP, do you even know if that TM Hotspot has the bands for ATT ?
    The Coolpad Surf has LTE Bands 2, 4, 12, 66, 71. Of those AT&T only uses 2 and 4. It might not work very well.

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    AT&T also uses LTE bands 12 and 66.

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    Are you sure it would be worth it converting this AT&T prepaid plan to use as the hotspot because how much hotspot data would you get because you said they have $150 balance in the plan.

    I think you said one of them has another unlimited talk/text but no data plan so what is the monthly cost of that plan. I would look at canceling that plan and get a visible plan for $25 a month that gives unlimited talk/text/data and could be used for home internet.

    I have visible and I am using it for my home internet with the hotspot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by high technology View Post
    Shirt answer is yes. The unlock code is an algorithm that is built into the device firmware, and is independent of the subscription being active.

    So no harm in trying — instructions are quite easy for the t-9 which i unlocked with this method.
    Thanks for this info!
    Alright!, now to get my hands on those two Test Drive devices (they're at a relative's place). Hopefully, the T9 will cooperate!

    brad4cell, the plan is to save them money by using up the existing ATTPrepaid balance - they'll suspend their home internet during the months that they use up the ATTPrepaid balance with the Hotspot plans. The unlocked T9 means that they'll save money they would otherwise have spent on buying a new hotspot device from AT&T.

    Yup, I realize it has a lot of moving parts, but I really want to help them save whatever money they can.

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    The T9 is easiest -- I have one of these and someone posted a modified firmware on 1311 that will prevent future updates, and it preserves the setting tweaks. That is the latest firmware that has all functional tweaking and before they started removing some of the hidden menus. The unlock calculator is simply an online portal someone posted.

    You don't need to do the SSH stuff for anything you want to do. The hacked 1311 firmware has everything you need/want for this use case. Please pull the T-Mobile SIM out before you reboot it (to make sure it doesn't update to a later version even without active service) and you can do the unlock and the firmware flash right from the web pages with your computer (you'll need to just put the IMEI into one of the calculators for the T-9 and then download the hacked firmware to your computer and flash it right from there).

    The only thing you might want to do is tweak the band priorities from the Engineering menu IF (and only if) the speeds aren't good. We can cross that bridge when we get to it, if necessary. Again, this is fully accessible from the web interface.

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    One more minor caveat -- the device isn't on the AT&T whitelist, so there is no guarantee that it will work, or for how long. FWIW, I put my Tracfone AT&T SIM in it, and after setting the Tracfone APN and rebooting the hotspot, I got LTE data at about 50Mbps speed. I didn't try any band priority changes as this was about what I would expect from this device during the evening in a residential neighborhood (it doesn't aggregate bands, so this speed is indicative of 10mhz bandwidth with low usage).

    They really shouldn't block internet devices but they might decide to (one reason they block incompatible phones is because they won't be able to make calls, and there are concerns that AT&T might be sued if someone couldn't dial 911 while connected to the network). Internet devices either have a data connection or they don't, and there aren't other functions like calling that won't work.

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    I tried using t-mobile SIM on prepaid internet in their TMOHS1 hotspot but it doesn't work. it connects to the network and signal bar indicator turns green. But there is a message "cannot connect to T-mobile" and no data connection.

    Test drive SIM worked fine.

    Prepaid internet SIM works fine in other devices including Cool pad surf t-mobile hotspot.

    Any ideas?

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    Hey, what you are asking for is access to the unlockers forums. People that buy squid boxes and token boxes etc... It's all gray area stuff but is blocked by people. The forums regularly get DMCA'd etc... The information is censored wherever they post it.
    Most of the unlocking forums are pay walled. Most people will not help you unlock the device.
    You can search GitHub for TMOHS1 root, there are a few scripts that can help you but your knowledge of computers, soldering, and voltages will have to be up to par to get it all working.
    It's just easier to bite the bullet and buy an unlocked device, but if you have more time than money then I understand, going the other way is totally possible but time consuming.

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    OP here. So turns out I got wrong info on the Test Drive devices

    The owner had said they were the T9 and Coolpad Surf. I picked them up today and have been fiddling around with what I thought was the T9 -- but it turned out to be a TMobile HS1.

    The unlock instructions were really easy to follow, but there was no SIM unlock entry in the Admin menu. So I went and read through the Slickdeals thread, and found out that the HS1 can't be unlocked. Neither can the Coolpad Surf.

    (One thing I learned was that the HS1 allows multiple failed password entries. All you have to do is reset the device, and it lets you attempt more logins. Didn't do me any good of course! )

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