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[Q] Using an N5 with China Mobile

3rd September 2014, 03:54 AM   |  #1  
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Hey folks,

I'm looking for some advice on using my N5 (should be North American model; purchased from Play Store at home before I left for China) on Chinese 4G networks. I have done some research and it appears that all three major carriers in China (Mobile, Unicom and Telecom) use TDD-LTE pretty much exclusively (though I've heard Unicom plans to pursue some sort of integration with FDD).

I will be located in Xi'an (Shaanxi province) for about one year. Last week, I purchased a China Mobile plan that includes 4G (I think about 1gigabyte/month) and the plan took effect on Sept. 1. Currently, my N5 only works on 2G/EDGE. I've read that this is because China Mobile uses TD-SCDMA for 3G, so I can't get that. However, as per this post it seems like I should be able to follow the steps dr2001 outlined and get 4G thru TDD-LTE working on band 41.

I've tried the steps in that post to no avail (switching to "LTE ONLY" and waiting does nothing; the phone doesn't pick up a signal). I'm not sure what dr2001 meant about sending a text to activate 4g, and I haven't found any information on the China Mobile site that tells me how to do that.

Here are my questions for how to proceed:

1. Could it be that China Mobile is using band 39 or 40 in the Xi'an area rather than 41, so I'll never get any service? (I have no idea how to determine this, though I've tried through some various searches).

2. Is there anything else I can try to make my N5 4G-compatible? I'm OK with switching carriers if for some reason Unicom's (or Telecom's) 4G will work with the N5, but as per this list it seems like everybody's using band 41.

3. If I'm completely hosed, would the HTC One E8 (purchased no-contract) be a decent option? The prices here for it aren't awful (about $450 US) and it seems like it'll function OK with all of China Mobile's networks.

Random information that probably isn't relevant:
- I'm running the L developer preview/am unlocked, but my device is otherwise stock.
- baseband: M8974A-2.0.50.2.08
- serial: 04b3ea9625273eb1
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