Sunday, July 10, 2022

Privacy phone, part 2

I posted last weekend about my foray into a privacy phone, trying to use a Teracube 2e phone running /e/OS I bought from Murena. And it didn't go well with the first two carriers.

Briefly, I put a working Tello SIM in, and it worked for texting and phone calls, but the data didn't do well, because I'm in an area where T-Mobile is very weak. I need Verizon or AT&T.

Next I tried Cricket, since that runs on AT&T. Data worked, but it wouldn't send or receive calls or texts.

So, I tried an AT&T carrier that their Website says will work. Yeah, I shoulda done that to start with, right? Well, I didn't. But now I did. Only, that didn't go well either.

Red Pocket runs on AT&T and says they are supported. Red Pocket support says the phone works with their setup. Only, it didn't. Data? Fine. Texts? Fine. Calls? Not so good. In fact, it won't send or receive calls.

I worked with Red Pocket a couple of days on this. The testing went poorly. I ended up putting it in a Google Pixel 4a device I have, and the same thing happened. I then put it in an iPhone 12. Same thing. Everything worked except sending and receiving calls.

Red Pocket's solution was to change the GSMA SIM (AT&T network) to a GSMT SIM (T-Moble network). Well, T-Mobile service here is awful. And the phone I'm wanting to use doesn't work with Verizon.

So what's next? Honestly, I don't know. I'll try another AT&T carrier, other than AT&T -- the cost of AT&T is the problem -- I think. But heck, I might just try AT&T itself just to see. I mean, it could be that the phone is bad. But the fact I'm getting similar results on a Google Pixel 4a and an iPhone points to the carrier, or the SIM.

I'll try another AT&T carrier, maybe even AT&T itself, and try again to get it to work. But, if it doesn't, I still have two other options.

I have been considering a Pine Phone. Those run a mobile version of Linux. Yes, I know, Android is built on Linux, an iOS is built on BSD, a cousin of Linux. But an actual Linux phone may be something I want to try.

There is one further option, and that's installing an OS, such as LineageOS, on my Google Pixel 4a phone. Not sure if I'm comfortable with that. I'll kick that can down the road a bit and try another carrier or two before I risk that.

I'll end up with a privacy phone when it's all said and done. I just hope it's worth all this aggravation.

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