Parallel imported Samsung Galaxy S20 5G, no software updates

TheEdge76

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As per the thread title, I recently purchased one of these, It's a parallel import (seems to have an AT&T ROM on it) as this handset isn't available new anymore where I am (New Zealand). Looks nice and seems okay - however...

I've connected it to my wifi but it won't update the actual software version of the device itself. It's stuck on Samsung UI 3 and an old version of Android OS.

Note that I haven't transferred everything (photos, etc) over from my old handset yet as I'm waiting on a case, screen protector, etc to arrive so I can do all that. But should I be concerned that it's not detecting a newer software version? Or does it actually pick up all that sort of thing once I sign in with my Google/Samsung account? GSMArena tells me this handset should be "up to Android 13 (and) One UI 5.1".

No issues with totally blowing this phone away and starting from scratch as I don't have anything on there yet, I'm just a bit wary that I may brick the phone if I do it wrongly (or it doesn't work). Would also be nice to get rid of all the AT&T apps on there that I won't/can't use as I'll be connecting this handset to (formerly) Vodafone NZ.

I did find this page: https://www.sammobile.com/samsung/galaxy-s20/firmware/#SM-G981U and it's got my handset on there but I have no idea how to do any of this, and would it even work?
Thanks in advance :)
 

TheEdge76

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You can try PC Smart switch and see if updates are available or flash with Odin tool and Frija tool for the current firmware
Thanks for this - can you please point me towards some sort of step-by-step to do this? I'm a complete novice at this kind of thing :( what would be the chance of it working?

As an aside, I'm currently using an A41 I imported from the UK, and despite it not being sold here at all, I'm able to get everything functioning just fine. I was hoping to have a similar experience with this phone too 🤞
 
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mustang7757

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Thanks for this - can you please point me towards some sort of step-by-step to do this? I'm a complete novice at this kind of thing :( what would be the chance of it working?

As an aside, I'm currently using an A41 I imported from the UK, and despite it not being sold here at all, I'm able to get everything functioning just fine. I was hoping to have a similar experience with this phone too
Sure definitely can help
Reas this over , I made a sticky in each Samsung forums on how to , you would benefit from carrier firmware to the unlock and won't have to Odin again, go over this and any more questions let me know

 
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smvim

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Go back to that sammobile site you posted and click on the listing for your model:
Be sure you've chosen the AT&T version. ROMs are very specific, they're not interchangeable. Each ROM is created to match up with one model. Plus in your case the phone is apparently a carrier-locked model. So don't expect a T-Mobile version SM-G981U ROM to work out.

As for how to flash the ROM, when you follow through to the download page, there are basic instructions on the process. The download might take a bit, depending on your bandwidth speed, so that's a good time to read through the instructions a few times to get familiar with what you need to do.

Regarding the mentioned Odin utility, it is a useful tool for Samsung phones. And you may or may not need it but before installing Odin you might need to install a Samsung driver first so your phone is detected by by your WinPC:
However, if you don't have access to a Windows PC, Odin is a Windows application, you might find the Heimdall utility a good alternative.
Heimdall is free and Open Source, and has versions for Linux, Mac, and Windows computers. It's not a direct clone of Odin but provides the same functionality (some options use different wording and phrasing).

It will feel a bit daunting to do your first ROM flashing but just do everything one step at a time following the directions. They're been written based on lots of previous instances.
 

TheEdge76

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Thanks both of you for your replies. I did have a look at that firmware page and that has helped a bit, I'll read through it more thoroughly when I have some free time.

I did have a few questions I wanted to ask in relation to doing all this:
(1) Is there any way to backup the current AT&T ROM/config that's on it? Just asking in case I need to roll it back (say, if I need to return it to the shop for some reason).
(2) If I'm installing a like-for-like ROM, will it include all the useless AT&T apps currently on the phone? I was told this phone was unlocked, and would really like it if there were no carrier apps installed on it at all, apart from the My Vodafone one.
(3) Will 5G still work on it on Vodafone if I go ahead and do this? I was told that 5G depends on (a) the correct band and (b) carrier profile. Is there a specific one I should be downloading/installing for Vodafone NZ?
(4) Come to think of it, will all the other bands on it (2G, 3G, 4G) still work if I go ahead with this?
(5) I can see on that sammobile page a firmware for Vodafone NZ, however that appears to be for a SM-G980F, and I have a SM-G981U. I'm guessing I can't just install the Vodafone one on my phone and expect it to work, right?

Again sorry for the newbie-type questions - I should have really bought one of these when Vodafone NZ were selling them in 2020 but I missed out, and they don't sell them anymore :(
 
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TheEdge76

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Forgot to add, just checked my handset and it has the following software versions:
One UI: 3.1
Android version: 11
Baseband version: G981USQU2DUJ6
 

mustang7757

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Forgot to add, just checked my handset and it has the following software versions:
One UI: 3.1
Android version: 11
Baseband version: G981USQU2DUJ6
Back your device up through PC Samsung Smart switch and can make multiple copies and restore at any point.

You want to go on the unlock firmware from your carrier version because you're not in the US, Att firmware which is the carrier firmware U at the end of your model number will need a Att sim registered to get updates. You want to get firmware G981U1 which unlock and use CSC TMB/XAA either will work but your going need to use Odin Prince Comsey (AKA patch B) to do so. When you extract the firmware and download to your computer from Frija or sam mobile then put the corresponding firmware into the audience slots with the CSC being home CSC so it doesn't factory reset Don't use the regular CSC, don't use last slot in Odin.
 

smvim

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Thanks both of you for your replies. I did have a look at that firmware page and that has helped a bit, I'll read through it more thoroughly when I have some free time.

I did have a few questions I wanted to ask in relation to doing all this:
(1) Is there any way to backup the current AT&T ROM/config that's on it? Just asking in case I need to roll it back (say, if I need to return it to the shop for some reason).
(2) If I'm installing a like-for-like ROM, will it include all the useless AT&T apps currently on the phone? I was told this phone was unlocked, and would really like it if there were no carrier apps installed on it at all, apart from the My Vodafone one.
(3) Will 5G still work on it on Vodafone if I go ahead and do this? I was told that 5G depends on (a) the correct band and (b) carrier profile. Is there a specific one I should be downloading/installing for Vodafone NZ?
(4) Come to think of it, will all the other bands on it (2G, 3G, 4G) still work if I go ahead with this?
(5) I can see on that sammobile page a firmware for Vodafone NZ, however that appears to be for a SM-G980F, and I have a SM-G981U. I'm guessing I can't just install the Vodafone one on my phone and expect it to work, right?

Again sorry for the newbie-type questions - I should have really bought one of these when Vodafone NZ were selling them in 2020 but I missed out, and they don't sell them anymore :(
1 -- As Mustang7757 suggested, use Samsung's Smart Switch to make a backup of your data.
Smart Switch will address your saved data in your phone's current user account, it will not save the installed Android operating system. The OS config and settings data should get saved to your Google account and/or Samsung account.
If you're expecting some kind of cloning of your phone, that requires you to root your phone and is more involved.
2 -- Yes, the ROM you're downloading from sammobile will contain the same AT&T ROM as what was originally installed on your phone. All the ROMs that site provides are stock firmware obtained by their original manufacturers.
If you want to use a cleaned version of Android, there are various third-party ROMs available, LineageOS being one of more popular. I'd recommend you focus on using a stock, Samsung ROM in your situation but third-party firmware is a solid option to consider.
3 -- Here's a good site to show the supported 5G band/frequencies of your model:
You need to then note which bands your branded AT&T phone supports and go to Vodafone's site to see what 5G bands its cellular network uses. Hopefully there's a match.
4 -- The bands and frequencies your phone supports is based on a cellular radio chip soldered to the logic board inside your phone. It's not the SIM card, nor the firmware that determines what bands are usable, it's a low-level hardware thing tied to that fixed in place chip.
So no don't expect you can flash a different version of firmware to change what bands the phone can connect with.
5 -- Just going to repeat an important point -- ROMs are not interchangeable, each one is specific to a particular model. Using a SM-G980F ROM instead of the correct SM-G981U ROM isn't recommended. If you're really lucky it will work out and you'll only lose functionality of some obscure phone options; if you just lucky you'll soft-brick your phone and then all you need to do is re-flash with the correct ROM to restore the phone to working condition again' if you have bad luck, you've hard-bricked your phone. In that case, you need to pay for a technician to maybe/maybe not repair the damage.
Each ROM contains only the required software, drivers, and apps to exactly match up the unique hardware configuration of each phone model. Smartphones may appear to be more or less similar but their internal components are quite different from each other. Again, use the exactly matching ROM.
 

TheEdge76

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Thanks for that, I appreciate the point-by-point reply.
I think for the moment before I potentially launch into all of this I might just pick up a Vodafone NZ prepay SIM (they're only about $5) and make sure this handset can actually get 5G - as far as I can tell, they use band 78 for 5G; 3, 7 and 28 for 4G; 1 and 8 for 3G.
That way at least if it doesn't work I can take it back to the shop and tell them I've tested it but it doesn't get 5G - the guy at the shop categorically said this was covered under their warranty, so let's see 🤞 I'll test it and report back.
 
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TheEdge76

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Well. An interesting morning.
I picked up the Vodafone NZ SIM card and installed it in the phone.

Where I live doesn't get very good 5G coverage, so I walked up the street a little and viola, full 5G signal, which is great!

However I've noticed a couple of things missing compared to my A41:
(1) does this phone have the option to select which band (2G, 3G, 4G, etc) that you would like to use? Or does it automatically select the highest available one?
(2) does this phone support wi-fi calling? My A41 did but I can't find an option for it on this one
(3) VoLTE - this works on my A41 (only 4G) but only seems to work on 5G on the S20 - otherwise I guess calls are connecting over 3G (which will be switched off soon).

If I upgrade to the latest firmware as per above, would this resolve/change the situation/status of any of the above points?

Thanks in advance for all the help so far, this has certainly been a learning experience I must say! :)
 

mustang7757

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Well. An interesting morning.
I picked up the Vodafone NZ SIM card and installed it in the phone.

Where I live doesn't get very good 5G coverage, so I walked up the street a little and viola, full 5G signal, which is great!

However I've noticed a couple of things missing compared to my A41:
(1) does this phone have the option to select which band (2G, 3G, 4G, etc) that you would like to use? Or does it automatically select the highest available one?
(2) does this phone support wi-fi calling? My A41 did but I can't find an option for it on this one
(3) VoLTE - this works on my A41 (only 4G) but only seems to work on 5G on the S20 - otherwise I guess calls are connecting over 3G (which will be switched off soon).

If I upgrade to the latest firmware as per above, would this resolve/change the situation/status of any of the above points?

Thanks in advance for all the help so far, this has certainly been a learning experience I must say! :)
That will be in settings>mobile connection
The stock Att firmware with its sim doesn't show those
dc3df0a2856ef9477d3286bfb21eede2.jpg
 

TheEdge76

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Thanks for that - point 1 is not such a big deal, I just find it useful to be able to change if I'm in a poor coverage area (like my Mum's place, she lives rurally).
2 and 3 would be good to have, probably 3 and 2 if I'm going in order of preference :)
 
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mustang7757

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Thanks for that - point 1 is not such a big deal, I just find it useful to be able to change if I'm in a poor coverage area (like my Mum's place, she lives rurally).
2 and 3 would be good to have, probably 3 and 2 if I'm going in order of preference :)
Yeah I agree, that's my unlock on T-Mobile screenshot
 
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smvim

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Cellular connectivity is confusing and conditional mix of a lot of variables so something else you need to take into consideration is not just what country you're in and which carrier you happen to be using.
2G and 3G cellular networks are being phased out so with a lot of carriers 4G/LTE is their minimum baseline with 5G gaining more and more usable coverage. At this point if there isn't any mention of 3G (or it's greyed out and not accessible) in the Settings menu that's probably because the carrier you're using at the time no longer supports 3G
 

TheEdge76

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Thanks for that. I know at this stage Vodafone (or One as they call themselves now) are still running 2G and 3G; 3G is being switched off next year sometime, 2G not long afterwards: https://one.nz/3g-switchoff/
leaving 4G and 5G only.

That just leaves the two queries I have (at this stage) then:

- does this handset support VoLTE on any band other than 5G? (my A41 seems to have it enabled all the time)
- does this handset support Wifi calling?

I seem to recall that when I got my A41 (in mid 2021) it didn't support VoLTE, but then Vodafone must have done something with their network, and it's been available ever since. Would be nice if it was supported on this one as well.

I'm curious to know if I update the ROM to the latest AT&T one off the link above if it would be supported.

This page: https://deviceguides.vodafone.co.uk...10-0/calls-and-contacts/turn-volte-on-or-off/ seems to indicate that the option for VoLTE is available - although I do realise that is a Vodafone UK page, so the ROM on that phone may be specific to them.
 

TheEdge76

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Okay this is a bit odd - I just went into the settings again and there's a VoLTE option for calls now. I have this switched on but it doesn't show as VoLTE unless I'm in the 5G coverage area, however I know it works over 4G as the A41 can only get 4G, but it has the VoLTE setting on the status bar. Hmmm...

I tried these steps:
  1. Dial *#*#4636#*#*
  2. Click on Phone Info.
  3. set Preferred network type > LTE/UMTS auto(PRL)
  4. check VoLTE Provisioned Enable or not.
  5. Tap Run Ping Test.
  6. Switch on the Radio option. Set it to On.
  7. Reboot device when prompted.
and I think I had VoLTE working on 4G. However the indicator disappeared then came back...with a 5G signal next to it :D I think I'll test it by travelling to a 4G only area and see if VoLTE hangs around (I hope it does).

If that works my last thing to sort out (for now) will be the Wifi calling, if possible. I'll test 4G coverage and report back :)

Thanks again for all the replies, I do appreciate your assistance here.
 
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TheEdge76

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While I'm waiting to test out the 4G VoLTE thing, I did come across this tonight re the Wifi calling question (and this is from AT&T's website):

So it looks like Wifi calling should be supported on this device...just I don't see the option to activate it. I wonder if it will appear when I update the ROM? I might give it a try and see what happens - I have a feeling it wasn't on my A41 when I first got it as well, but after updating the software I think it appeared and has been there ever since.

Edit: tried downloading from the Sammobile website, despite being setup and logged in with a free account, I keep getting "User not logged in" (although I am) so am getting one from here:
However I won't go ahead and install it until I can be sure it's all good (if one of you can please run your expert eyes over it I would appreciate it) - otherwise does anyone know a way to download from the Sammobile website that works?

Thanks again :)
 
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mustang7757

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While I'm waiting to test out the 4G VoLTE thing, I did come across this tonight re the Wifi calling question (and this is from AT&T's website):

So it looks like Wifi calling should be supported on this device...just I don't see the option to activate it. I wonder if it will appear when I update the ROM? I might give it a try and see what happens - I have a feeling it wasn't on my A41 when I first got it as well, but after updating the software I think it appeared and has been there ever since.

Edit: tried downloading from the Sammobile website, despite being setup and logged in with a free account, I keep getting "User not logged in" (although I am) so am getting one from here:
However I won't go ahead and install it until I can be sure it's all good (if one of you can please run your expert eyes over it I would appreciate it) - otherwise does anyone know a way to download from the Sammobile website that works?

Thanks again :)
WiFi calling should be under settings>connection

I would use Frija tool for the firmware, samfirm is also good you can try that also
5e88dd59c49775d43d3764541b736026.jpg
 

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