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[Q] Using Nexus 5 with tablet (data-only) sim (on T-Mobile)

3rd May 2014, 12:53 AM   |  #1  
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I currently have a Nexus 5 (I was previously using it through MetroPCS), however I recently ordered a "Tablet (data-only)" sim card from T-mobile and tried to get it working. At the time, the T-mobile rep told me that it SHOULD work. However, after running around in circles for a few days with them, I've finally found out that it does not work (...YET!).

When I try to get the Nexus 5 to use this SIM card, it just keeps giving me a "Sign into network" notification, and never lets me use any data. (and no amount of signing into my account from my phone has helped)

According to the T-mobile rep, "this SIM card will ONLY work with a tablet". However, this is Android, and there's not much difference between a phone, and a tablet. There must be some kind of setting I can change to get my phone to think it's a tablet, or at least to get it to use this tablet-only sim card!

So I'm wondering what do I have to do to trick my phone into using this data-only sim card?

Things you may need to know:
I'm already rooted
I'm running stock Android 4.4.2


Lastly, because I'm sure people will ask: "Why do you care?, why don't you just get a standard phone-sim card?!?"
So, preemptively, here is my answer: "Because, they're giving me a data-only plan for $10/month! (and $20/month after the first year). AND, if I were to switch to a phone plan, the CHEAPEST they will allow me to have is $50/month, which is HUGE! That's a $40 difference per month!"
3rd May 2014, 01:39 AM   |  #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meadowsjared

I currently have a Nexus 5 (I was previously using it through MetroPCS), however I recently ordered a "Tablet (data-only)" sim card from T-mobile and tried to get it working. At the time, the T-mobile rep told me that it SHOULD work. However, after running around in circles for a few days with them, I've finally found out that it does not work (...YET!).

When I try to get the Nexus 5 to use this SIM card, it just keeps giving me a "Sign into network" notification, and never lets me use any data. (and no amount of signing into my account from my phone has helped)

According to the T-mobile rep, "this SIM card will ONLY work with a tablet". However, this is Android, and there's not much difference between a phone, and a tablet. There must be some kind of setting I can change to get my phone to think it's a tablet, or at least to get it to use this tablet-only sim card!

So I'm wondering what do I have to do to trick my phone into using this data-only sim card?

Things you may need to know:
I'm already rooted
I'm running stock Android 4.4.2


Lastly, because I'm sure people will ask: "Why do you care?, why don't you just get a standard phone-sim card?!?"
So, preemptively, here is my answer: "Because, they're giving me a data-only plan for $10/month! (and $20/month after the first year). AND, if I were to switch to a phone plan, the CHEAPEST they will allow me to have is $50/month, which is HUGE! That's a $40 difference per month!"

"However, this is Android, and there's not much difference between a phone, and a tablet. There must be some kind of setting I can change to get my phone to think it's a tablet, or at least to get it to use this tablet-only sim card!"

this is wrong. they absolutely know that youre using a tablet, and a bunch of other things about your device as soon as it connects to their network. in order for them to let your device use their network, they need this info. and wont let any device connect to their network without the proper info. the network isnt some generic highway of data, its owned by tmobile, and only gives access to it if tmobile allows it.

anyways, i have a question, how much data do they give you for $10 a month?
3rd May 2014, 01:44 AM   |  #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simms22

anyways, i have a question, how much data do they give you for $10 a month?

They give you 1GB of data for $10/month, however it jumps to $20 after the first year. Seems pretty cheap to me.

I'm still holding out hope that there must be some sort of hack, or maybe editing my build.prop or something like that to trick it into believing it's a Nexus 7 or something :-\
3rd May 2014, 02:09 AM   |  #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meadowsjared

They give you 1GB of data for $10/month, however it jumps to $20 after the first year. Seems pretty cheap to me.

I'm still holding out hope that there must be some sort of hack, or maybe editing my build.prop or something like that to trick it into believing it's a Nexus 7 or something :-\

na, wont work, build.prop edits. there are other files it reads, not the build.prop. it also creates files in root. which is funny, when you delete them, they reappear within 5 minutes. plus there is stuff in our radios as well, that tmobile reads, that we cant get to.

---------- Post added at 09:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:05 PM ----------

anyways, $10 then $20 for 1gb data is not very cheap! lol, i use 1gb data within 2 days on my nexus 5(lte)
3rd May 2014, 04:04 AM   |  #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simms22

na, wont work, build.prop edits. there are other files it reads, not the build.prop. it also creates files in root. which is funny, when you delete them, they reappear within 5 minutes. plus there is stuff in our radios as well, that tmobile reads, that we cant get to.

---------- Post added at 09:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:05 PM ----------

anyways, $10 then $20 for 1gb data is not very cheap! lol, i use 1gb data within 2 days on my nexus 5(lte)

What about changing the IMEI number? I believe that can be done, and I know when I was talking with a service rep, he was talking about how their system was registering my IMEI number. Maybe that's how they know it's a Nexus 5 and not a tablet? :-\

Also, you mention that 1GB/month for $10/month isn't cheap? (btw it's 1GB for $10, 3GB for $20, 5GB for $30) How do you figure? I know you're saying you can burn through it in a day, I'm sure I could too streaming netflix or something! That isn't the point though. Can you find a cheaper standalone data plan elsewhere? If so, where? I'd love to know
3rd May 2014, 04:58 AM   |  #6  
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I have found some hope!
After doing further research, I found this article, which supports my IMEI theory.
http://www.cnet.com/news/using-a-tab...a-only-device/

In fact, according to the article, if I can find somebody with a 4g enabled tablet, I should hopefully be able to stick my sim card into their device, activate it, then pop the sim card back into my device, and hopefully that will work. (In the article she states that it works with verizon, wont work with at&t, and may, or may not work with T-mobile.)

Sadly, I don't believe I know of anybody with a 4G enabled tablet. Therefore my only option I know of would be to find a way (using root of course), to spoof, or change my IMEI number, which I'm sure should prove to be extremely fun!

Now I'm off to research that and I'll report back here what I find.
3rd May 2014, 09:16 AM   |  #7  
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Just go into the store with your sim and pop it into one of their tablets to activate it
3rd May 2014, 03:27 PM   |  #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frigidazzi

Just go into the store with your sim and pop it into one of their tablets to activate it

That's not a bad idea, thanks!

Although, what I might do, just to be thorough (and if the sales rep is watching me like a hawk, since they might not like me shoving my SIM into the demo unit), is go into one of the stores and instead, write down the IMEI number of one of their tablets (which would be simple to just pick up the tablet, and go to settings>about device>status), and then, make my phone's IMEI number match that. That way I think it's less likely to have problems (it's possible that if the IMEI number changes, that will cause them to turn the service back off).

I dunno, I might try my thing first, and then, when that doesn't work, I'll try the more invasive, sticking my SIM in their tablet. Thanks for the idea
5th May 2014, 12:01 AM   |  #9  
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It's finally over!
Ok thank you for trying to help me but I finally resolved this problem.

Previously it was caused by a t-mobile rep having me order a tablet-only sim card for my phone.

I WAS going to try and change my IMEI number to match a tablet because (and I still believe) that would have tricked t-mobile into thinking my phone was a tablet, however, after much digging I have found the following which A: suits my needs, and B: no longer requires any trickery

I'm going with the T-mobile prepaid $30 unlimited text and data plan. With that you get:
100 minutes (10 cents a minute thereafter)
Unlimited Text
5GB of data, thereafter they throttle you, just like anybody else does
all for $30 bucks a month. BUT, you have to have a phone that you own, it can't be something under contract etc.

It is WAY more data than I need, but it's the cheapest they offer so I'll take it!
I should note: you MUST get your SIM card from Walmart if you're going with this plan, just FYI

Thanks again for trying to help me.
Last edited by meadowsjared; 5th May 2014 at 12:04 AM. Reason: revising minutes

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