IMEI incompatible with US carriers

We just received our Pepwave MAX Transit Duo cat 12 from an online vendor today. I immediately grabbed the IMEI’s (there are two) and checked compatibility on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Cricket. It appears it MIGHT be compatible on AT&T, but appears to not be compatible on the others. I expected this with Cricket based on info from the folks at the Mobile Internet Resource Center. However, I am concerned after Verizon and possibly AT&T might not be compatible.

Am I checking this correctly? I’m afraid I just purchased a router (and antenna) that I cannot use anywhere without a hack.

Verizon: Check Your Device's IMEI | Bring Your Own Device to Verizon

The phone associated with the Device ID you entered is not compatible with the Verizon Wireless network.

AT&T: IMEI Error

Your device is incompatible with eSIM. We’ve saved you a step and added the SIM card you need to your cart.

Note: Nothing was added to my cart.

T-Mobile: https://www.t-mobile.com/resources/bring-your-own-phone

Bummer! Your phone is not compatible with the T‑Mobile network and will experience no service. Your handset must be compatible with LTE and VoLTE to connect to our network. Please upgrade to a new T‑Mobile phone that can give you access to our best coverage and fastest speeds on our network.

Sierra Sierra Wireless EM7511U

Cricket: https://www.cricketwireless.com/cell-phones/bring-your-data-device\

Apologies! This Sierra Wireless EM7511U EM7511U is not compatible with the Cricket Network due to network changes. Please visit cricketwireless.com/3Gnetworkshutdown for more details or see your Cricket store rep.

For Verizon, have you tried starting here? Select “other device” and hit next. https://www.verizon.com/onedp/byod#/

That reports my Pepwave MAX BR1 MK2 is compatible. I don’t know how I even got to that page now. The site is so confusing I usually end up going round in circles getting nowhere.

If your device is compatible then you can move through the badly designed and confusing process to eventually get to choose a plan. Unfortunately it doesn’t help much if you want any significant amount of data without paying a fortune. They look promising but I think the router only gets the hotspot amount before being throttled to 2G speeds. That’s only 30 GB on the highest plan at $85. At least that’s what someone on ltehacks.com told me when I asked about this when I thought I’d found something usable.

For what it’s worth Visible, which is on Verizon, seems to work reasonably well in routers and I haven’t seen any reports of being shut down for device mismatch. I use it for my phone and temporarily put the SIM in the Pepwave and it worked quite well. You need to select “Generic” in the settings, not “Verizon” and I think the APN is VSBLINTERNET. Unfortunately, Visible speeds vary a lot from really good to almost unusable and latency is high but it can be a good deal at $25 (with party plan).

People also report success with Page Plus phone plans which is also on Verizon. They seem to have an unofficially cap at 200 GB.

For AT&T the “Unlimited Elite” postpaid phone plan seems to work, at least for now. There’s also the $20 postpaid tablet plan that is very popular on ltehacks but it seems that you really need to spoof the IMEI as a tablet to be safe with that one which I don’t think you can do with a Pepwave and is probably illegal although nobody on ltehacks seems to care about that.

The scary thing for me doing this sort of thing is not so much getting shut down but getting the IMEI blacklisted which makes the router an expensive brick on that network. I haven’t heard any specific reports of that happening but I think it could.

Sorry to be less than encouraging. I think the consumer market for this is so small compared to the phones that the carriers are not interested.

(I wonder if we connected on irv2.com. Ignore if that makes no sense.).

1 Like

Just to build a bit on @tetranz observations:

In our experience Verizon consumer plans, once you are on it, do not cut you off. (We have a bunch of post-paid plans, pulling lots of data. Mind you, being a bit careful about how they are used -TTL, VPNs and the like being in play). We had one line being problematic once, and a call to tech. support informing them that the line had been changed to a connected device did the trick.

Secondly, just doing the IMEI checks on the website, we had a bunch of HD2s and BR1s (LTE and LTEA) IMEIs entered into their checking system. All passed. But two Balance 20X devices did not.

FWIW,

Z

Peplink is an enterprise device. Many people try to use consumer plans but that should be the exception not the rule. For some it works. I think all the carriers offer business/enterprise plans?

That maybe true but you run into the same problem pretty much no matter what router you use. Just because Pepwave has a solid metal box and “enterprise” features doesn’t change that.

It seems odd that I should need an enterprise plan in my RV just because I want to use an antenna on the roof. In theory they won’t sell a business plan unless you have a registered business and I have no way to even really know what the enterprise plans are without talking to a corporate sales rep. Also, the business plans I have seen often have “not for entertainment purposes” in the fine print so no streaming TV.

This is why many people give up and use a tablet plan in a router where they can spoof the IMEI and use a VPN for additional sneakiness. I’ve even heard anecdotal reports of staff in the stores quietly telling people to do that. Obviously not an official recommendation but the whole situation is a mess. There are people on ltehacks openly bragging about doing 2 TB per month for $20.

2 Likes

Hello. Just trying to educate myself on do’s and don’ts so i must ask what is an IMEI spoof? Or how does one spoof and IMEI? Isn’t the IMEI associated to the carrier SIM?
Thanks, your reply is appreciated.

It’s when you change the unique identifier of a device on the network so the carriers see it as something else. e.g., Move a SIM from an iPad to a router and make the router look like the iPad.

I think it’s illegal in the US and I don’t think you can do it with a Pepwave anyway so … probably not the sort of thing to talk about here.

That said, it seems to be a common practice for rural internet users mostly because AT&T’s $20 tablet plan is such a bargain and there are not many other options for the consumer customer.

It seems like that plan works okay without doing this but people do it as extra protection against being shut down because you never know when that could happen with an unapproved device.

Are there websites which give any details on these business/enterprise plans?

I know ATT has Wireless Broadband - Cradlepoint Router at AT&T Business. but that’s the only one I’ve seen details on. (they offer to sell a competitor’s router, but as far as I can tell this would work with a peplink device as well as it’s an official router plan.)

At least for Verizon you have to contact them to get the specifics. I chatted with them just now, and here’s the transcript of the pertinent pieces:

1 Like

Thanks for sharing this information. Please keep us posted if you hear back from the SA at Verizon.

Do you think the Arris router has features that are advantageous to the carrier to offer larger amounts of bandwidth with that router?

I have no knowledge about the Arris router, not even which model.

To insist that business subscribers not be able to deploy their own connection equipment seems a bad business model. Many (ours included) have internationally integrated systems that may depend on certain equipment choices being uniform across the enterprise.

I suppose they may consider small businesses (I gave him a 10-line basis for the cellular component) not worth the possible pain of having to support equipment they are not familiar with.

No reach-back from the SA yet.

Z.

1 Like