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T-Mobile Signal Strength and Bad SIMs

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Dash 3G

Over the holiday weekend my Dash 3G simply stopped connecting to the network. No data, no phone, no bars, no nothing. Don’t know exactly when it happened, but when I picked up my phone to go to work on Tuesday morning, I had nada for signal strength. And no matter how I tried to reboot, pull the battery, pull and reinstall the SIM, nothing helped. I began to suspect there was a widespread outage in the Northeast, but nope … it was just me.

I called T-Mobile to check and the phone tech was helpful. I was pleasantly surprised at their ability to troubleshoot a Windows Mobile phone. We tried to reset the network settings, but nothing helped. The phone tech was the one who suggested that perhaps the SIM had failed. This had never happened to me before – a bad SIM? A SIM failing for no apparent reason? I mean, it’s not like I remove it from my phone. I hadn’t opened the back in months – how the hell could it just fail?

I didn’t believe it. I searched the web and one of the first hits to come up was a thread on XDA-Developers by a couple of people running the same 3VOlution modified ROM that I am … uh-oh. Maybe a ROM problem? But the ROM shouldn’t affect the radio I reasoned – those are separate programs. But you never know … So like an idiot I hard-reset my phone and wiped everything to go back to a fresh ROM installation. It didn’t help.

When my wife returned home that night I finally got to test the SIM theory. Sure enough, my SIM was bad. If I swapped my wife’s SIM for mine (she has a Dash 3G also) she had no bars and my phone was fine. So I put them back and resigned myself to getting a new SIM first thing this morning.

When I got off the train I dropped into the T-Mobile store on Lincoln Street on Boston (near South Station). I walked in and someone asked if they could help. I told them I needed a new SIM. He asked if I was sure, I said yes, and he asked for my phone number and ID. Then he took one out from behind the counter, put the number into the computer, and told me I was good to go. Total time took less than 2 minutes from when I walked in the door. And there was no charge. I plugged it in while in the store and sure enough, my signal came right back.

After spending a couple of hours rebuilding my phone (because I had reset it like an idiot) I did notice one improvement. It seems that I now get a better signal in many places than I did. I’m not saying that I get a dramatic improvement in strength, just that I am able to hold a 3G signal in places where I used to drop to EDGE speeds. On my train ride home (thered to my MacBook where I am writing this) I’d say I’m seeing a 30% improvement. I drop out of 3G coverage less than I did. Who knew that the SIM itself could have such an effect on signal.

Anyway, T-Mobile Customer Service was very good to me again, reminding me why I stay with them as a carrier. And I’m glad my Dash is working again, even if I did have dreams of getting a new My Touch or HD2 if it was my phone that was dead. But I’m happy I saved the money.

Thanks T-Mobile.

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  1. June 2nd, 2010 at 18:59 | #1

    [New Post] T-Mobile Signal Strength and Bad SIMs – http://robsrants.havasy.net/2010/06/t-mo

  1. June 2nd, 2010 at 19:01 | #1