I love the Motorola Defy. I have owned several and found it to be an excellent device. I have tested the ruggedized feature as thoroughly as one may ever imagine and only successfully killed one device (it fell into a hot tub and sat there kind of boiling for a while, ha!)
I currently have two Defy devices. One primary (we'll call this my A phone) and the secondary that i use for dev, testing new ROMs, tweaking, and as a backup (the backup phone's earpiece speaker died so that's why i still keep it around but only as a backup) which we'll call my B phone. Until recently, i was running CyanogenMod 7.1 on these phones.
A few days ago, my primary phone was having network problems. I was visiting rural Iowa, where a buddy of mine (who also has T-Mobile) used to live and he even prepared me by saying "get ready for some iWireless fun!"... indeed, once on the ground out there i constantly failed to have T-Mobile signal, and their roaming agreements with others seem to be a patchwork mess. I could go into...
System Settings > Wireless & Networks: More... > Mobile Networks > Network Operators
...and the "Available Networks" would occasionally show T-Mobile, it would always show AT&T, and sometimes another minor carrier (like iWireless, etc)
I successfully would "force" the A phone to select T-Mobile and it would be happy for a while, then after lots of rural driving it would seem to get lost again. When i flew home back to a proper city, all was well with the A phone again and it remained happy. Suddenly, however, just the other day it lost GSM signal. When i went back to the "Available Networks" screen i started getting the "Error while searching for networks" message. I've had this happen on other drvices before and it would often right itself after a few reboots and i never knew why.
Since i was planning on upgrading my ROM anyway, i took out my B phone (which i use for testing, etc) and fired it up. It was still running CM 7.1 and when i swapped my SIM card over, everything was fine. Just for fun, i made a nandroid backup from this phone (the working B phone) and pushed it onto the A phone. Still the same problem with the A phone... "Error while searching for networks"
I downloaded the latest nightly of CM10 (and i'm ever so distressed to see that CyanogenMod still does not have permission management replaced. How much money someone at Google paid them to take that out we'll never know) and installed it fresh on the B phone. I did a fresh install of CM10 on the B phone and really liked it. After some tweaking, installing basic apps, etc. i was pretty satisfied. I made a nandroid image of the B phone's new CM10 environment and pushed it to the A phone. Still the same problem... "Error while searching for networks"
Now i'm really stumped. These are both running with identical settings, etc...
... and as of just a day or so ago, the A phone had no problems with its radio. It wasn't dropped or otherwise subjected to anything funny. People have made reference in other threads to tweaking the baseband somehow (although this wouldn't seem to be an issue, since both devices show the same identical details when i check the About Phone status) but just in case, i updated my Baseband Switcher and tried to force the A phone to some other setting, then back to the USA setting. Still no joy.
Here's something weird, though... currently the IMEI shows as all zeros on the A phone (the phone with this problem). Is that normal, when the phone is not on a network? What could cause that? Is this perhaps just a fluke hardware problem that i've identified after trying everything else?
I also seem to see conflicting information (or unclear wording) in other threads about the kernel. Is it or is it not part of what gets backed up with a nandroid backup? I would try updating or fussing with the kernel, but as you can see from my text above... even the kernel version appears to be identical between both phones.
So, there you have it. Now i have two phones...
A phone - used to be my primary, until the radio nuttiness and permanent "Error while searching for networks" condition
B phone - used to be my secondary due to faulty earpiece speaker, now my primary so i just either make speakerphone calls or text for now
... and no matter what O/S i run on them (i've tried switching back with nandroid to CM 7.1, CM9, etc etc) they all manifest these same behaviors. Anything else i can try or do you think my A phone's radio is just shot somehow? (Frustrating because it was litterally fine merely days ago. Ah well, everything works until it doesn't.)