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Hotspot on phone not working

deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
edited September 18 in Help / Advice Forum
Samsung Galaxy s20+. Android 11. AT&T unlocked phone on Verizon prepaid. Hotspot is included in the Verizon plan.

Kept same Verizon plan I had before, just new phone. Hotspot worked on the old Verizon phone.

New phone says I'm not subscribed to hotspot. Hotspot is part of the Verizon plan. No where to turn hotspot on/off/add to the plan in Verizon account settings. (by on/off, I mean activate/deactivate service, not actually turn hotspot on/off on the phone)

Verizon tech support has been stumped for 2 weeks. Any thoughts? Network reset doesn't help.

deathnote666 on

Posts

  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    edited September 19
    Unlocked devices from a carrier, when used with another, often have issues with features like hotspot. Visual voicemail, video calling (the carrier versions), and Wi-Fi calling were the other three I ran into issues with a lot.

    These kinds of features are handled by carrier firmware, rather than being "standard" parts of 4G/5G, and they're implemented in proprietary ways by each carrier. It's unlikely you can get mobile hotspot to work without buying either a Verizon branded device or an unbranded one direct from the manufacturer - and in the latter case I often saw problems using features like this on factory unlocked devices, although it wasn't always a lost cause.

    TL;DR it might never work without buying a new phone

    AresProphet on
    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
    dispatch.oSoggybiscuitInquisitor77
  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    I don't have enough experience with rooting or using Android debugging tools to say whether the method mentioned there will work for what you need. It might! It might also cause other problems. The phone he mentioned probably runs a contemporary version of Android, but it's also a Google branded device; those were usually the ones I could get working where other manufacturers' firmware might get in the way.

    That said, it doesn't appear that the process described there goes so far as to rewrite the operating system so it seems fairly harmless? But I'd make sure I have a working backup phone and a low emotional attachment to the one I'm attempting that on before I tried it.

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    At&t is swearing up and down there isn't any lock on their end locking hotspot and it's Verizon's problem.

    Verizon contacted Samsung and made me take it to a repair center.

    The repair center did a Factory Flash using a Samsung approved program and no change. They said there's nothing wrong with the hardware so replacing components wouldn't do any good.

    Verizon is being defensive yet and saying it's still within their expected resolution time frame.

  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    At&t is swearing up and down there isn't any lock on their end locking hotspot and it's Verizon's problem.

    Verizon contacted Samsung and made me take it to a repair center.

    The repair center did a Factory Flash using a Samsung approved program and no change. They said there's nothing wrong with the hardware so replacing components wouldn't do any good.

    Verizon is being defensive yet and saying it's still within their expected resolution time frame.

    Man I forgot that Samsung ran service centers, that was a good suggestion even if it didn't yield results. Presumably nobody working there had any advice beyond the software flash? Sometimes they run into similar issues repeatedly and have ideas.

    For the record I would recommend you hold off on messing with developer level stuff on a device that costs most of a thousand U.S. dollars until you've exhausted other options, and even then get advice from someone reputable with experience with rooting.

    Are there any cell phone repair shops in your area? We had one near my store and the guys working there were a lot more knowledgeable on software stuff than their job usually required. Could be worth checking with them. Their unlikely to have the exact solution but you might at least get an idea if your problem is solvable.

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited September 21
    For the record, depending on who you get on customer service for various carriers, they will absolutely lie or atleast mislead you with incorrect information. Sometimes because it's too much work, or outside their area of expertise but don't wanna ding themselves upgrading the issues. The problem is definitely because it was an ATT unit out of the box, because they come preprogrammed for that specific network. I know, I used to work with them. When you buy a Galaxy phone, they come in either unlocked or carrier specific. If it was an unlocked unit you'd have no issues. And yes, it's unlocked now but unlike an unlocked, it wasn't preprogrammed to be swapped later.

    Rooting likely is the ultimate answer but it's tricky to do, so like above if you can take it to a UBreakIfix or something along those lines, maybe they can do it for you. Or just sell it and buy an actual unlocked one..

    Oh and it's prepaid? That adds even more fun wrinkles

    Local H Jay on
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  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    @Local H Jay isn't wrong, you aren't going to get entirely straight answers out of carrier support - either the one originally responsible for the device or the one you're currently paying money to - and it's not necessarily out of immediate malice or incompetence alone (though those are in ways the root cause) but because it's not really anyone's problem. Carrier features not working on unlocked devices is one of those emergent properties of the industry that everyone within it has learned to accept and everyone outside it sees as at least a little insane.

    But support people are still a resource of sorts and if you know how to work with them you can get as much out of them as they're capable of giving. Which, because of weird feudal shit within the industry, is downgraded because of it being prepaid service.

    The business of how the asylum is run aside, talking to the techs at a local UBreakIfix or equivalent is still probably your best move.

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    I have the same issue with my unlocked phone. I've almost never done hotspot sharing, but I'm pretty sure it worked in the past. I replaced my unlocked phone via insurance and it now says it's locked by Verizon.

    If I'm understanding the thread correctly, I may have gotten a replacement 'unlocked' phone that was originally assigned to a different carrier so now I can't hotspot share anymore? Pretty annoyed since I could really use that feature now.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Yes, phones in the U.S. are fucking stupid and the vast majority of them come "subsidized" by the carrier and are basically taken over by carrier-specific firmware and software. They will intentionally lock you out of features that would normally come free in stock Android just to get you to pay them extra for their shittier version. They even go so far as to avoid standardizing frequency bands in order to make changing carriers difficult. Verizon in particular is pretty notorious for these shitty business practices. Hell, you can buy an unlocked phone and use it with Verizon only to discover that you can't take advantage of certain Verizon features just because you have the unlocked phone and not their proprietary one.

    I absolutely guarantee you that the problems you guys are facing are because you have a carrier-specific device and are trying to use them on a different carrier. If you absolutely need the wifi hotspot, your only real solution to this is to get a new device or to find a workaround like using a separate hotspot device. I'd recommend just asking them to replace your device with a new one or a refurb, assuming you don't mind getting locked in with the carrier. Refurbished electronics have a bad rap, but by-and-large are fine.

  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    Samsung is willing to do a mail in repair.

    They're saying that they should be able to overwrite any carrier lock on the feature but they began asking where I heard they were blocking it so Samsung may not acknowledge there is a carrier lock on it.

    If they replace it, it will be with another At&t phone so I would have to dink with unlocking it again. Hopefully without it being active on At&t for 60 days again.

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited September 23
    I hope it works out for you. It's a bunch of bullshit. One of the reasons I buy a phone directly from Google despite not being a fan of the company, is that it's completely unlocked and the most vanilla OS install without any carrier modification.

    It also means the ability to tether doesn't require additional service, as it will literally just tether to anything using my standard unlimited phone data plan.

    While they technically can't require you use their software to tether, most phone carriers jump through many hoops locking down the OS implementation for tethering and the phone manufacturers are all on board with it. So you end up with the technical capabilities of tethering built in, and then walled off unless you pay extra. Since there are no third party tethering programs, the carriers hold it hostage while saying that they aren't.

    They aren't required to unlock or fix the tethering even if they unlock the phone. It's sketchy as fuck from a consumer rights perspective.

    edit: I'm skeptical Samsung will flash the OS to something that really fixes it, but I hope they do.

    dispatch.o on
  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    edited September 23
    Thanks for the responses.

    At&t is swearing up and down that a new device won't have the same problem and that I "have their word" on that and that At&t isn't blocking it.

    I asked what's the next step if I have the same problem and they're saying that it is impossible to have the same problems so I'm a bit worried.

    What's the best way to wipe a phone so nothing personal is recoverable besides factory reset (since things can technically be recovered after a factory reset)?

    deathnote666 on
  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    Thanks for the responses.

    At&t is swearing up and down that a new device won't have the same problem and that I "have their word" on that and that At&t isn't blocking it.

    I asked what's the next step if I have the same problem and they're saying that it is impossible to have the same problems so I'm a bit worried.

    What's the best way to wipe a phone so nothing personal is recoverable besides factory reset (since things can technically be recovered after a factory reset)?

    As to the first part AT&T is not really "blocking" anything (and it's their policy to never blame themselves for issues with devices working cross carrier anyway) but I'm like 90% confident that whatever device they replace yours with will still have their proprietary settings for mobile hotspot on it and thus give you the same issue again. The only source you could reasonably expect to get a Galaxy device from that'll workthe way you want it to is through Verizon. Also probably direct from Samsung but they make versions of their devices for so many different markets and carriers that there's a chance it'll have other problems (like missing certain frequency bands).

    As for the second the default factory reset should be fine for wiping data, just remove your SIM and (if applicable) memory cards before sending it back. I get that stuff can theoretically be recoverable in a lab setting after that but unless you work for an intelligence agency and are worried it'll end up in the hands of a hostile state actor you're probably fine (and for people dealing with sensitive info for work reasons there are device management programs they'll have you install ahead of time for extra security).

    If you're just trying to be extra careful you'd probably have to look into third party programs that claim to reset your device fully but that's the kind of thing I'd be extremely suspicious of. The android app ecosystem is chock full of malware masquerading as the exact function you want but can't seem to do with the device by default.

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    I finally got a Samsung supervisor to admit that what you guys have been saying is accurate so there's no hope that something has changed over time or some new service was offered.

    I had to keep pushing the question until the rep transferred me to a supervisor to finally get a straight answer.

    Anyone know of a legal way to flash the firmware on a phone to a different carrier without "rooting"?

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    edited September 24
    If you have an AT&T phone and are trying to use it with Verizon, then there's a very good chance your phone will never take full advantage of Verizon network, regardless of whether the phone is the unlocked version or not. Verizon phones generally require proprietary hardware and software in order to work optimally. Anything below the so-called 4G standard requires CDMA compatibility for Verizon, while AT&T uses the GSM network. These are fundamentally incompatible, and supporting one means nothing in terms of supporting the other - a phone manufacturer would have to go out of their way to support both networks at the same time in a single phone, and since they aren't in the business of losing money...

    Thankfully, 3G and below are older technologies and being phased out, and the 4G LTE standard is universal. However, there are places where you may have coverage for those lower tiers but nothing at 4G or 5G, which means you would be SOL because your GSM phone can't access the Verizon CDMA network.

    Unfortunately, the same fragmentation we saw for prior to 4G is coming back in 5G, hence all the branding confusion across all the carriers for their 5G networks: 5GE, 5G Ultra Wideband, 5G Your Mom Sucks, etc.

    What this means for you is that even if you get the hotspot functionality working, you may very well get stuck in the DMZ of mobile data access where only 4G and maybe some subsets of 5G will work for your "unlocked" phone on the Verizon network. The majority of the time this will likely not be a huge issue, but there will be pockets where you could've had coverage where you won't, and pockets where you could've had ~1 GBps speeds and instead have to settle for significantly less. Again, this is probably not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but if you actually bought the phone and joined Verizon for their hotspot coverage and their touted 5G network, then you are not getting what you actually paid for and may well be better off sticking with AT&T.

    I'm not saying all this to make you feel bad - I'm just clarifying the situation because you seem intent on finding ways around the hotspot problem when there are wider, more fundamental issues with your phone's hardware. It was created specifically for AT&T. Or rather, it wasn't created specifically for Verizon. Therefore you will likely continue to run into issues like this, and as time passes this gap will only grow wider.


    Edit: Your best bet is finding some way to get AT&T or Samsung or Verizon to replace your phone with the Verizon-specific one. Even if you get a refurb, that's probably a far better outcome than you would otherwise get trying to root/hack your current phone. Alternatively, just get a refund and buy a different phone. I currently have a stock-from-Google Pixel 4a that I bought for dirt cheap ($250). I don't need 5G or any of the other fancy bells and whistles, and it works fantastically well on Verizon's 4G network. My hope is that by the time I'm in the market for a new phone, the 5G bullshit will have settled down and with any luck there will be more unlocked 5G options that are actually compatible with Verizon's 5G network.

    Inquisitor77 on
  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    As far as I can tell, my phone is both CDMA and GSM. Samsung galaxy s20+ SM-G986U with At&t firmware.

    The Verizon version is unavailable unless I buy a "renewed" version or spend hundreds more. Already out $200 for having it on At&t 2 months. Phone was half price to boot so this is a clear case of if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

    Ubreakifix agreed to flash the firmware to Verizon but doesn't make any promises it will fix the problem. It's a few towns over so I won't be able to do so till next week.

  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    As far as I can tell, my phone is both CDMA and GSM. Samsung galaxy s20+ SM-G986U with At&t firmware.

    The Verizon version is unavailable unless I buy a "renewed" version or spend hundreds more. Already out $200 for having it on At&t 2 months. Phone was half price to boot so this is a clear case of if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

    Ubreakifix agreed to flash the firmware to Verizon but doesn't make any promises it will fix the problem. It's a few towns over so I won't be able to do so till next week.

    As long as you're not voiding your warranty with a firmware flash this is a good step. Carriers are pretty lenient when it comes to handling warranty stuff on behalf of the manufacturer, when using devices they sold you with their service, but you'll likely be dealing with Samsung directly should you need a warranty replacement. I don't have a lot of experience with direct warranty claims to them.

    (Carriers don't check devices nearly as in-depth as you might expect to approve or deny warranty claims. You'll usually have your new device in hand before you've even sent the old one and then they really only deny it for obvious physical or water damage. It's one of the few ways the industry has generally become pretty consumer-friendly.)

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    As far as I can tell, my phone is both CDMA and GSM. Samsung galaxy s20+ SM-G986U with At&t firmware.

    The Verizon version is unavailable unless I buy a "renewed" version or spend hundreds more. Already out $200 for having it on At&t 2 months. Phone was half price to boot so this is a clear case of if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

    Ubreakifix agreed to flash the firmware to Verizon but doesn't make any promises it will fix the problem. It's a few towns over so I won't be able to do so till next week.

    As long as you're not voiding your warranty with a firmware flash this is a good step. Carriers are pretty lenient when it comes to handling warranty stuff on behalf of the manufacturer, when using devices they sold you with their service, but you'll likely be dealing with Samsung directly should you need a warranty replacement. I don't have a lot of experience with direct warranty claims to them.

    (Carriers don't check devices nearly as in-depth as you might expect to approve or deny warranty claims. You'll usually have your new device in hand before you've even sent the old one and then they really only deny it for obvious physical or water damage. It's one of the few ways the industry has generally become pretty consumer-friendly.)

    Samsung themselves suggested it so hopefully it doesn't void the warranty...

    Then again, according to Samsung, my warranty ended over a week before I bought it. Need to send them a copy of my receipt to correct it...

  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    I'm not entirely clear how you ended up buying the phone from AT&T and moved it to Verizon. Feels like I'm missing some important context.

    Was this a refurbished device or new in box when you bought it?

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    I'm not entirely clear how you ended up buying the phone from AT&T and moved it to Verizon. Feels like I'm missing some important context.

    Was this a refurbished device or new in box when you bought it?

    New in the box from Walmart. The Verizon version was unavailable. The "phone guy" they had working said I would be able to unlock it right away. "Right away" turned into after 60 days of paid At&t service but the phone was half price, which was the reason I went for it. The intention was always to move it to Verizon.

  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    I called ubreakifix again to confirm that they can do what they said they could do, which is flash it from At&t firmware to Verizon firmware since it is an hour drive each way.

    NOW the person I talked to said that depending on the phone, installing other firmware on it will most likely brick it. Can't say 100% that that option is unavailable to me but the odds aren't in my favor.

    According to ubreakifix, it should be showing Verizon when I boot the phone, not At&t, at this point so they're saying the phone is not fully unlocked.

  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    Back to At&t, they said they fixed the issue, to factory reset my phone, and put in the unlock code again. After the factory reset, there was no code prompt and nothing changed (Whoo).

    Back to At&t, they're saying it's fully unlocked and there's nothing blocking Verizon from programming it. At&t said they're going to work directly with Verizon to fix this issue and will let me know in a few hours... Guessing I shouldn't hold my breath...

  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    I know it is probably hopeless but I haven't given up yet.

    Verizon is saying that there is an issue with Network Sync. They can program it one of 2 ways;

    1: With phone, with mobile data, with text, no hotspot
    2: No phone, with mobile data, with text, with hotspot

    Back to at&t I go...

  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    You are in some of the murkiest waters of an industry not known for being transparent. I think you're running into what happens when nobody is actually able to solve the exact problem you're having: AT&T is happily doing what they can to say they've allowed the device to work on Verizon (because they have by every measure other than the one they can't fix) and Verizon is pinning the underlying problem on AT&T and offering bad compromises because it's one they can't fix (never mind that were the situation reversed they'd have installed their own firmware preventing it from fully working on AT&T in the first place).

    Like the actual party at fault here is Wal-Mart who engineer their entire mobile service department in such a way as to avoid accountability for any and all mistakes their underpaid and minimally trained staff make. I've hired people out of there I know how it works.

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    I have to ask how much of your time and energy has been spent on this bullshit already. Like, at one point you talked about driving for hours to get this fixed. Depending upon where you live, that could easily run you $100 just in fuel costs alone. Similarly, depending upon your income, a few hours of your time may actually already be worth the cost difference between your "discounted"/"unlocked" phone and a standard, locked one from Verizon.

    There's this thing people do where they devalue their time and overvalue their money. You may be rapidly approaching, if not already well over, the threshold where you should've just returned this phone and gotten another one instead.

    If you're hell-bent on getting this resolved then yeah, you're basically going to be playing ping pong with Samsung, Verizon, and AT&T until one of them solves your problem. Assuming they ever do.

    Did you ever explore the idea of replacing your phone with a refurbed Verizon model instead? Even if it cost you $50 or whatever the associated "restocking" fee is, this again might be better for you in terms of time and money.

    TelMarineJazzCauld
  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    I haven't spent too much resources on this. I did have to make a special trip to ubreakifix but I did other things on that trip so it wasn't a waste. I just drove even further than that for work today and am more upset about a detour that tried to take me to the next town over over 1 intersection being closed.

    Regarding my time, it only tied up my phone for a bit or was an extra browser tab open. Not 100% of my time was dedicated to it. Samsung Smart Switch takes care of restoring most of my data after the few factory resets so far, just have to download some apps again, log into everything but that isn't a big deal.

    At this point, the guy at Walmart has wronged me twice so anymore financial investment would further that and I want to make the most of what is already invested.

    Who knows. Maybe if I succeed, this thread will help someone else in the future. If not, it will still provide a show of dead ends to save the next person some time.

    The replies to this topic have helped me ask the right questions to each company but is still ongoing.

    Samsung is now saying that I will get a system update to optimize the phone to Verizon and hopefully fix my issues by next Monday. It currently has UH1(ATT) installed and Samsung Smart Switch on PC can't find an update at this time. Samsung said Smart Switch on PC could potentially find an update the phone can't.

    So I'll see if there's an update by Monday and whether that update will Verizon'ize my phone or not.

  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    So more conflicting information regarding the update and whether that would fix my issue.

    It looks like I missed the September system update so it might be having issues receiving updates.

    Took it to another At&t store and they're saying it's acting like it isn't completely unlocked so I am back to that now.

    The problem is whether AT&T can fix it or not and whether AT&t/Samsung can do a RMA without sending a locked phone that needs to be active for 60 days or not before unlocking.

  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    I cannot fathom a scenario where they actually fix this for you.

    However I also 100% appreciate your willingness to keep pushing forward and document it all here

    Jazzdispatch.odeathnote666AresProphet
  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    I'm not holding my breath as far as At&t getting back with me so I started a warranty mail in replacement with Samsung. So overjoyed to probably get a refurbished back in place of my new phone. Yaaaayyyy... Sounds like doing a warranty replacement through At&t would run the same result so might as well do it through Samsung.

    At&t says they have the ability to overwrite the automated unlock system regarding the 60 day unlock time so I'll see if they're truthful or not or whether that applies to my account or the phone itself.

    Both At&t and Verizon store employees say my phone isn't behaving like a proper unlocked phone. Not receiving android security updates from At&t/Samsung/Verizon since it was unlocked, told I'm overdue.

    Unless Samsung sends me updates on the repair/replacement, it might be 1-2 weeks before I update this thread.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Refurbished electronics have a very good track record as being about as close to new as one can expect for a used product. In the vast majority of cases, these are products which are 99% new and had just one or two issues (e.g., the package was handled a little too roughly and a weak solder broke). So when you're getting a refurb, you are actually getting something which has gone through an entirely new round of QA testing to determine why the item was returned, had its defective components replaced with wholly-new ones, and then are placed through another round of QA before being sent out yet again. It's not worth it for the companies involved to nickel-and-dime the process because it's incredibly inefficient to do so when they can just hot swap the main problem and call it a day.

    I'd even go so far as to say that most people would do better getting refurbished electronics, because they're going to get something that is pretty much brand-new, except cheaper.

  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    Refurb devices are usually covered with a pretty solid warranty of their own these days. You can get stuck in the "got a bad device replaced by another bad device" loop if you're really unlucky but for the most part warranty replacements aren't likely to leave you stuck with something as bad or worse than what you had

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    It's sounding like Samsung has decided "nothing is wrong with it" and that I can only receive security updates when it is connected to AT&T's network...

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