Question

Unlocked s21 Ultra showing as "Unknown Device" and not supporting 5G or Extended Range LTE on My Mobile account


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I just bought an unlocked S21 Ultra directly from Samsung.  It works great, including the tmobile voicemail app and RCS through the Google messages app.  It says I’m connected to 5G on the phone, and I get 150+mbps download from home on speedtest.net

The problem is that the tmobile account website shows this:

The problems with this is:

  1. Most important: I have free phone repair insurance through my Uber Visa Signature credit card.  In the past, when I filed a claim, they required a screenshot of the account to show that I have the device I’m filing a claim for on the tmobile account that I pay monthly through my credit card.  I would have issues proving that I have an S21 Ultra on my tmobile account if it says “unknown device:”
  2. I’m worried I’m not getting the best speeds or roaming experience if I were to take a road trip in a rural setting.  150mbps+ from home is good enough in the major city that I live in, and I’m sure it’ll be better if I get closer to the tmobile cell phone tower which is 3 blocks away.

How do I get this phone to show as “Samsung S21 Ultra” instead of “unknown device”?  I don’t see any option online to specify this.


25 replies

Userlevel 6
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It won't, unless it is a device purchased from T-Mobile.  The device showing in your account doesn't matter.  Samsung's U1 devices work exceptionally well with T-Mobile. 

Exactly the same issue here with the two S21 Ultras we bought directly from Samsung. I have spent countless hours of the phone with all levels of their tech support. Each time I’ve been told at the end of the VERY long call that 1) they had figured out what the issue was, 2) had submitted the necessary hoodoo to get it fixed, 3) they asked me to be patient and give it 48 to 72 hours for the changes to show in my account, and 4) that they would call be back on a specific date to make sure everything was fixed.

Not one time has anyone called me back. None of the ‘fixes’ ever happened.

I’m beyond furious about this, most of all because I feel like I’ve been fed a ration of crapola on every call. It’s ridiculous and disrespectful.

I am extremely unhappy about this, and after years as a faithful customer who has consistently over the years promoted T-Mobile to friends and family, I no longer feel that way.

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I was told by both Samsung and T-Mobile support that both the unlocked and locked version of this phone are 100% compatible with T-Mobile’s network.  Clearly they are incorrect.  

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

I was told by both Samsung and T-Mobile support that both the unlocked and locked version of this phone are 100% compatible with T-Mobile’s network.  Clearly they are incorrect.  

That is correct!  Samsung's issue right now, is their development for their devices.  

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I was told by both Samsung and T-Mobile support that both the unlocked and locked version of this phone are 100% compatible with T-Mobile’s network.  Clearly they are incorrect.  

That is correct!  Samsung's issue right now, is their development for their devices.  

What kind of development “issues” is Samsung having?  Are you saying that the unlocked version is or isn’t 100% compatible?

Userlevel 6
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I was told by both Samsung and T-Mobile support that both the unlocked and locked version of this phone are 100% compatible with T-Mobile’s network.  Clearly they are incorrect.  

That is correct!  Samsung's issue right now, is their development for their devices.  

What kind of development “issues” is Samsung having?  Are you saying that the unlocked version is or isn’t 100% compatible?

The unlocked version is 100% compatible.  All of the issues plaguing Samsung devices currently, and it's a lot of them.  Are partially related to COVID, but that is no excuse for a lack of quality control or testing before pushing firmware out to devices. 

Apparently in the situations mentioned, it’s about Samsung phones -- unlocked -- not being compatible with SOMETHING within T-Mobile. Maybe the SIM cards they provide for the unlocked phones aren’t set up correctly. Maybe it even has something to do with an almost passive aggressive way of ‘discouraging’ customers to buy products directly from Samsung.

Whatever it is, it has wrecked the fun and excitement of my new phone.

Interestingly, before I realized what a mess this was going to be, I took advantage of the Samsung watch offer on 2/24. The data lines were added last night, and the phones are being delivered tomorrow, 4/7. I just hope it goes well.

Userlevel 5
Badge +8

It won't, unless it is a device purchased from T-Mobile.  The device showing in your account doesn't matter.  Samsung's U1 devices work exceptionally well with T-Mobile. 

this goes for all BYOD correct? not just Samsung phones brought in as a BYOD?

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

It won't, unless it is a device purchased from T-Mobile.  The device showing in your account doesn't matter.  Samsung's U1 devices work exceptionally well with T-Mobile. 

this goes for all BYOD correct? not just Samsung phones brought in as a BYOD?

That’s correct!  In some cases, it’s due to the devices IMEI not being in T-Mobile’s system.  Other reasons can be international devices not sold in the US, like my Xiaomi Mi MIX 3, and so on.  

So why does customer support keep leading me to believe this is a “glitch” and a “fixable” thing. And that I should expect it to be remedied within 48 to 72 hours?

Userlevel 6
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So why does customer support keep leading me to believe this is a “glitch” and a “fixable” thing. And that I should expect it to be remedied within 48 to 72 hours?

I wish I knew.  Support and Customer Care sometimes say things just to get people off of the phone without being more annoyed than when they called.  Your device showing as an unknown device does not restrict it in any way.  If the device is capable of using T-Mobile's implementation of it, it will work as long as the appropriate settings are correct. 

Thank you. I think I just needed to hear that bit about “...just to get people off their back”. 

They owe me four hours of my life back.

I have a s21 plus

Got from t-mobile store

Says same thing 

T-mobile has no idea.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

T-Mobile doesn’t have the IMEI in their system so they don’t know what the device is.  That’s why it says unknown device.  Even unlocked iPhones not in their system will say the same thing.  Everything will work even if it says unknown device.  Been that way for all carriers when buying unlocked.

Why would they not have IMEI in there system.

I bought phone from them?

Userlevel 7
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Why would they not have IMEI in there system.

I bought phone from them?

Well the original poster said he got it unlocked from Samsung.

Bought directly from who?  T-Mobile store or for T-Mobile through Samsung or 3rd party store?
 

If you bought it from T-Mobile store they should have it in store, and everything should work out of the box regardless of what their web software says as they may not have updated it.

If you bought it from third party outside T-Mobile like Samsung store.  Samsung doesn’t send those IMEIs for months at a time so T-Mobile can’t update their database until they get them from Samsung.  Samsung doesn’t send unlocked IMEI’s to any carrier.

I bought from t-mobile store 

I guess I'll go to store and ck

 

Userlevel 7
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I bought from t-mobile store 

I guess I'll go to store and ck

 

Regardless what it says then everything works if you bought it from the T-Mobile store as it has their branded software.  Exactly what isn’t working for you?

All seems to be working 

I was just curious why it says that

My wife has note 20 and hers doesn't say that. 

Userlevel 7
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All seems to be working 

I was just curious why it says that

My wife has note 20 and hers doesn't say that. 

Their database has been updated which is just a basic database and nothing that actually affects the network itself.  Often forgotten, or delayed effort into them because it doesn’t generate any real revenue as a full working network ever will.

This is not a manufacturing problem or a samsung problem its a t-mobile problem.  If you can look up your own imei number and get the model, so can t-mobile.  They just don't do it. Why they don't I can't comment on but be sure it would take about 60 seconds to manually look up your imei number and if they had someone put in a couple hours of work they could build the automation in easily so I have to believe its intentional.

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

This is not a manufacturing problem or a samsung problem its a t-mobile problem.  If you can look up your own imei number and get the model, so can t-mobile.  They just don't do it. Why they don't I can't comment on but be sure it would take about 60 seconds to manually look up your imei number and if they had someone put in a couple hours of work they could build the automation in easily so I have to believe its intentional.

Probably because it serves no purpose!  Whether your device shows up as what it is or an unknown device has absolutely zero impact on whether your device works or not with the service.  

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This is not a manufacturing problem or a samsung problem its a t-mobile problem.  If you can look up your own imei number and get the model, so can t-mobile.  They just don't do it. Why they don't I can't comment on but be sure it would take about 60 seconds to manually look up your imei number and if they had someone put in a couple hours of work they could build the automation in easily so I have to believe its intentional.

Probably because it serves no purpose!  Whether your device shows up as what it is or an unknown device has absolutely zero impact on whether your device works or not with the service.  

You're right this is an issue within T-Mobile because I bought my S21 Ultra directly from T-Mobile they put the SIM card in and mine does not work with extended LTE in a quote limited service area and they're telling me I need to turn the airplane off and turn it back on so I can do roaming and I won't be charged I shouldn't have to my phone is set up for Auto

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

This is not a manufacturing problem or a samsung problem its a t-mobile problem.  If you can look up your own imei number and get the model, so can t-mobile.  They just don't do it. Why they don't I can't comment on but be sure it would take about 60 seconds to manually look up your imei number and if they had someone put in a couple hours of work they could build the automation in easily so I have to believe its intentional.

Probably because it serves no purpose!  Whether your device shows up as what it is or an unknown device has absolutely zero impact on whether your device works or not with the service.  

You're right this is an issue within T-Mobile because I bought my S21 Ultra directly from T-Mobile they put the SIM card in and mine does not work with extended LTE in a quote limited service area and they're telling me I need to turn the airplane off and turn it back on so I can do roaming and I won't be charged I shouldn't have to my phone is set up for Auto

This can happen sometimes when I store hasn’t turned in their IMEI list of devices sold or just lag for the new device to show up on your account.  If it has been more than a week and your T-Mobile purchased device still shows up as an unknown device.  Call Support and have them verify that the IMEI is in T-Mobile’s system as a device sold to you by T-Mobile.  

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I found in the More Connections options. And after hours of searching through duck. Go where T-Mobile's ads can't override your search, u have yo select yhe Temporary Network Unlock option so that ur device can access their "partner service providers" and actually use the FREE roaming feature. This was after SEVERAL calls to TMobile asking how to do it. They REFUSE to tell u how ot about that setting because of their advertizements, they have to allow ur roaming and unlock for FREE! They've been getting slapped by the Consumer Protection Law authorities over their FALSE adds about the best setvice coverage. The teick is, u have to fo the temp unlock in advance. I guess we should just assume we wont have service and unlock it ever 30 days when it goes back to default

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