1. kinar's Avatar
    TL;DR; Visible wireless has told me my phone is bad. Prior to that, TotalWireless told me they "have tried everything they can do". Is the phone really dead?

    Full Story (it feels like a nightmare you only hear about happening):
    I had been with TotalWireless for about 3.5 years and happy with the service. I have two phones on the service. Until about 3 months ago I had always used their cheap phones (mostly the Galaxy J7 Crown). Then I ran my phone through the washing machine and decided to try a cheap-ish upgrade. I bought a pre-owned Galaxy S8 from ebay. TW sent me a BYOD sim and everything activated and worked fine.

    A month ago after this has been working for a couple months and happy with the service, I decided to upgrade my other phone as well. Same deal but different seller on ebay. However, this time, the phone didn't activate properly with the BYOD sim they sent me. After spending a couple hours with their online (chat) support, they told me I would get a call from another department in 30mins to continue. I've later found out that was a complete lie. There was never a callback scheduled and the department that was supposed to be calling me back doesn't exist at TW support (which is likely some outsorced/shared support service center).

    Things we tried (terminology may not be accurate):
    re-provisioning
    reset network settings
    factory reset (it was a brand new to me phone afterall, nothing to lose)
    change APN settings - didn't work - changed them back.
    There were also countless times that they "did something on their end" and had me restart/remove & reinsert sim/etc.

    Anyway, a couple hours later, I call them from my working phone to try and get the non-working one working. After trying a couple things that I had already done with the online chat and obviously following the same script, I asked the agent if we could skip this part due tot the circumstances. She got snippy with me and said "I'm transferring you to my manager because you refuse to do the steps". I tried to explain that I was simply asking if it was possible but I decided I was happy to speak to a manager anyway after the whole non-existent callback situation. The manager tried a couple things and then put me on mute (there was no music) to "research something". 15mins I was still muted and I tried getting his attention but I suspected he got distracted doing something else and wasn't actually there anymore. Anyway, as you might expect, he never returned and hung up on me eventually. Here's the kicker, when I tried to call back (immediately), I got a message saying my phone was not connected to the network. Rage ensues.

    After 15mins to calm down, I gather both phones and get back in chat support. A wonderful agent very quickly verifies that the "manager" made a mistake and sent an update to my working phone instead of the non-working one. She was able to get both phones working (or so I thought) in about 20mins. I was able to call and text from both phones just fine. Happy, and sick of dealing with it, I relaxed.

    But this story isn't over....not by a long shot. Next the quarantine happened. Been stuck at home on WIFI so I never noticed that my mobile data speeds are literally dialup. fast.com measures in Kbps and never above 100. This makes it impossible to use my phone outside my house which pretty much defeats the purpose for having a phone. My son likes to play PoGo and when we go for walks, I would tether his non-service phone to mine so he can play. That is no longer possible.

    So back to support I go. After several hours again on chat (this time troubleshooting my once working fine but now barely limping along phone) I get the same "we will call you back line". Knowing there is no callback coming but sick of dealing with it that day, I called back the next day. Another couple hours and I can tell the tech is exasperated. He obviously can't fix the issue. I have gone through everything listed above that we did last time trying to fix the other phone. He actually stops trying. He tells me he doesn't know what to do? I ask if I need to switch providers and he tells me he can't confirm that but he can't fix my phone.

    OK. So the switch to another provider search starts. I'm assuming at this point that the problem is with TW since I have two phones with the same issue starting at the same time and one of which was working fine for a couple months prior. After evaluating everything, I settle on Visible (another Verizon MVNO). I signup online, they mail me a BYOD sim, activate and nothing. It won't even connect to the mobile network.

    Ok, off to their online support. Let me tell you, their support is incredible. All of the stuff that took hours with TW support took a matter of minutes with Visible. They are friendly and responsive, it's amazing. I'm actually enjoying talking to their support. Alas, they couldn't fix it. They ask for 24hrs to research. I happily oblige and give them 48hrs (still stuck at home on WIFI so not a huge inconvenience) and get back in touch with them. Unfortunately, when I get back they tell me that their highest tier of support has reviewed the account and said the service is working and that my phone is the problem.

    After chatting for a bit, their best guess is that an android update or a samsung update is what broke the phones. Not gonna lie, it's possible. We do always do the updates when prompted and there was a recent update to both phones but I don't know if it was before or after the problem started.

    I am a technical person. I am VERY PC savy (both hardware and software) but I've never delved into phones/android because until now, I've never had a problem with them that I really needed to troubleshoot. I tried searching online a bit but without knowing the terminology of what I want to do, I feel like I'm so far behind the curve that I can't find the starting point and I don't really have months to delve in and learn everything like I want to. I obviously don't have a warranty to worry about nor do I have any data left on the phone to worry about. I'm ok with flashing a custom ROM but I don't know which one. Or rolling back to an older version of android (currently running 9) but I'm not sure if that's the right choice either.

    I've got a Galaxy S8 blank slate here that I just want to work and I'm hoping you guys can help. Where do I start?

    TIA
    04-26-2020 10:09 AM
  2. mustang7757's Avatar
    [Merged duplicates and changed over post owner]
    04-26-2020 11:09 AM
  3. B. Diddy's Avatar
    What's the exact model number of your phone? This may be important, since certain phone variants might not support the network bands of the carrier you want to use.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    04-26-2020 06:38 PM
  4. kinar's Avatar
    Thanks for the attention and sorry for the late reply.

    Exact model number of the phone on Visible is SM-G950U1
    The other phone (the one still on TW) is SM-G950U

    How would I go about looking up the information you are referencing? Google doesn't seem to be much help but I also don't know exactly what to search for either.
    NVM. Using the actual model number plus "network bands" seems to have found the info I was looking for.

    https://www.frequencycheck.com/carri...-united-states

    To me, it looks like the device should be compatible assuming that Verizon is not different than the Verizon MVNOs?
    04-27-2020 07:22 PM
  5. B. Diddy's Avatar
    That model number doesn't seem quite right . SM-G950 is the S8, and variants typically have a letter at the end. Are you looking in Settings>About Phone​?
    04-27-2020 07:46 PM
  6. mustang7757's Avatar
    The model number you put doesn't exist, double check that
    04-27-2020 08:38 PM
  7. kinar's Avatar
    Sorry guys, you must have seen it before my edit.

    The one im working with right now is SM-G950U1.
    04-28-2020 09:01 AM
  8. mustang7757's Avatar
    Sorry guys, you must have seen it before my edit.

    The one im working with right now is SM-G950U1.
    Ok , you have the unlocked version
    04-28-2020 12:02 PM
  9. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Hmm, that should work. Try reinstalling the stock firmware using Smart Switch: https://wccftech.com/how-to-install-...-smart-switch/
    04-28-2020 12:03 PM
  10. mustang7757's Avatar
    Does it populate a APN?
    Have you tried another sim in the phone?
    04-28-2020 12:05 PM
  11. kinar's Avatar
    I must have my forums settings messed up, I keep missing the replies here.


    Does it populate a APN?
    Have you tried another sim in the phone?
    I have tried a lot of APN settings. Both with guidance of TW (before switching) and then Visible's support and settings (that should work) I've found online.

    Current status is if I reset the network settings, the phone auto populates with a list of hundreds of different APN but none of the select automatically. If I create a new one with the settings Visible's support says to use (just VZWINTERNET but no other settings changed) then all the others disappear as soon as I click save until I reset the network settings and then theh come back. I've tried just selecting various ones of those but I really dont know what to look for there or if any specific ones are the ones I should be trying.

    Well, technically I've tried two different SIMs. One for TW (which worked fine until their support tech accidentally sent an update to the phone that was meant for the other phone). The other is the one Visible sent me when I activated which has never worked at all.

    Hmm, that should work. Try reinstalling the stock firmware using Smart Switch: https://wccftech.com/how-to-install-...-smart-switch/
    I'll try this now.
    04-30-2020 07:48 PM
  12. mustang7757's Avatar
    I must have my forums settings messed up, I keep missing the replies here.




    I have tried a lot of APN settings. Both with guidance of TW (before switching) and then Visible's support and settings (that should work) I've found online.

    Current status is if I reset the network settings, the phone auto populates with a list of hundreds of different APN but none of the select automatically. If I create a new one with the settings Visible's support says to use (just VZWINTERNET but no other settings changed) then all the others disappear as soon as I click save until I reset the network settings and then theh come back. I've tried just selecting various ones of those but I really dont know what to look for there or if any specific ones are the ones I should be trying.

    Well, technically I've tried two different SIMs. One for TW (which worked fine until their support tech accidentally sent an update to the phone that was meant for the other phone). The other is the one Visible sent me when I activated which has never worked at all.



    I'll try this now.
    I haven't seen putting a sim give lot of options on APN , usually the sim you put automatically puts just the one for its provisions.
    04-30-2020 07:59 PM
  13. kinar's Avatar
    I haven't seen putting a sim give lot of options on APN , usually the sim you put automatically puts just the one for its provisions.
    With TotalWireless it was as you describe. This behavior is new since the switch to Visible but their support seems to think it's normal.

    Samsung Smart Switch to reinstall stock firmware
    I can't figure out how to make this work. Following the guide, everything seems to work with the app except the firmware installation. I can do backups, it shows the correct phone, I even tried reinstalling the device drivers for the "more menu" But the Emergency Software Recovery screen never populates (see attachment). Everything I've found online seems to think that the box should populate with my phone to select before clicking ok.
    Need help troubleshooting signal issues beyond what Service Provider will provide..-annotation-2020-04-30-210725.png
    04-30-2020 09:11 PM
  14. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Ok, how about this? https://www.sammobile.com/forum/thre...place-firmware. The difference is that they say you need to connect in Downlaod Mode.
    04-30-2020 10:11 PM
  15. mustang7757's Avatar
    With TotalWireless it was as you describe. This behavior is new since the switch to Visible but their support seems to think it's normal.


    I can't figure out how to make this work. Following the guide, everything seems to work with the app except the firmware installation. I can do backups, it shows the correct phone, I even tried reinstalling the device drivers for the "more menu" But the Emergency Software Recovery screen never populates (see attachment). Everything I've found online seems to think that the box should populate with my phone to select before clicking ok.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Go to top corner where it says more> then tap preferences >updates> check the box where you number is and above it will show updates when they are available for your device
    04-30-2020 10:14 PM
  16. mustang7757's Avatar
    Also with visible sim right next to APN 3 dots upper corner should say reset APN ? Do that with that sim in
    04-30-2020 10:43 PM
  17. kinar's Avatar
    This doesn't seem to help. The instructions I found for download mode actually boot into safe mode on an S8 but SmartSwitch refuses to work in this mode because you cant access the smartswitch app on the phone.
    05-01-2020 08:41 AM
  18. kinar's Avatar
    Go to top corner where it says more> then tap preferences >updates> check the box where you number is and above it will show updates when they are available for your device
    Yes, every indication I have anywhere in the smartswitch app is telling me that the phone is up to date and there is nothing I can install.

    Also with visible sim right next to APN 3 dots upper corner should say reset APN ? Do that with that sim in
    That resets it back to the full list of APNs but none are automatically selected.Need help troubleshooting signal issues beyond what Service Provider will provide..-screenshot_20200501-072503_settings-1-.jpg
    05-01-2020 08:44 AM
  19. mustang7757's Avatar
    This doesn't seem to help. The instructions I found for download mode actually boot into safe mode on an S8 but SmartSwitch refuses to work in this mode because you cant access the smartswitch app on the phone.
    Smart switch only works when phone on , download mode is for flashing in odin
    Yes, every indication I have anywhere in the smartswitch app is telling me that the phone is up to date and there is nothing I can install.

    That resets it back to the full list of APNs but none are automatically selected.Click image for larger version. 

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    So none of those work when you select?
    05-01-2020 10:04 AM
  20. kinar's Avatar
    The list has hundreds of APNs. I've only tried a few of them but the ones I've tried have not worked.
    05-01-2020 10:07 AM
  21. mustang7757's Avatar
    The list has hundreds of APNs. I've only tried a few of them but the ones I've tried have not worked.
    So at this point what you like to do ? Flash the firmware ?
    05-01-2020 10:08 AM
  22. kinar's Avatar
    That is an excellent question. The generic answer of "fix it" doesnt help either but part of my problem is that I'm not knowledgeable about what options I really have.

    Ultimately I'd like to find out if the device really is bad before I bite the bullet and buy a new phone.

    If this were a PC, I would wipe it clean and start fresh and if that didnt work, start replacing parts until i found the problem component.

    But i cant exactly swap out parts on a cell phone like i could on a PC to find a faulty part. Other than the SIM anyway.

    Is it possible that flashing the firmware will allow me to to connect to mobile networks when the stock firmware from samsung isnt working?

    Is it possible to roll back to an older version of android? And if so, is there any chance that will work?
    05-01-2020 10:21 AM
  23. mustang7757's Avatar
    That is an excellent question. The generic answer of "fix it" doesnt help either but part of my problem is that I'm not knowledgeable about what options I really have.

    Ultimately I'd like to find out if the device really is bad before I bite the bullet and buy a new phone.

    If this were a PC, I would wipe it clean and start fresh and if that didnt work, start replacing parts until i found the problem component.

    But i cant exactly swap out parts on a cell phone like i could on a PC to find a faulty part. Other than the SIM anyway.

    Is it possible that flashing the firmware will allow me to to connect to mobile networks when the stock firmware from samsung isnt working?

    Is it possible to roll back to an older version of android? And if so, is there any chance that will work?
    Usually you cant roll back after certain security patch has been downloaded .
    Flashing a firmware will only correct if firmware was corrupt, So your flashing the stock firmware . Me personally I think you have a issue with carrier or its sim possible, it should not auto populate that many APN . If you have another phone or can try that sim in another phone like family members see if it work properly there.
    05-01-2020 11:04 AM
  24. kinar's Avatar
    OK, here's the latest update. This past weekend, my other phone (the one on TW service) started working again on the old provider (literally out of the blue, no noticeable changes on my part).

    As a result, I swapped the sims of the two phones. Just to recap here.

    Phone 1 (all info in this post is about this one other than mentions of the other one)/SM-950U1/dialup speeds on TW, switched to Visible and can't connect to network
    Phone 2/SM-950U/now working on TW.

    Shut both phones down, swapped sim cards, rebooted
    They both did the "new sim detected" dance and rebooted again.

    Phone 2 (now with Visible sim) immediately starts working and a flood of texts come in from the time I was offline with my phone.
    Phone 1 (now using the TW sim) still cannot connect to network. I went into the APN settings again and the TW one was there but was unchecked. I selected it but it didn't seem to make a difference. I forgot to check the Visible APN settings on phone 2 while it was working.

    Shut down both phones again and swapped back and it went back to the previous status (Phone 1 not working with visible SIM).

    So it seems on the surface that Visible's support is correct that the sim and their service is fine. However, one thing I noticed is that Visible's support mentioned today (I just like chatting with them) that they ONLY work with Verizon's 4G towers. Perhaps the large list of APNs that gets populated with the Visible SIM in my phone because the 4G antennae is malfunctioning so it can't select the correct APN? I suppose that could explain why it is giving the appearance of the provisioning/SIM isn't working? I don't really know if this makes sense but it does in my head. Happy to be set straight?

    And the final question here is...if my guess above is correct (4G antennae not working), what are the odds that it's a firmware problem rather than a hardware problem? Any chance that re-flashing the current stock Firmware (or any other custom firmware for that matter) will fix it?
    05-04-2020 11:43 AM

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