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.


45 replies

Userlevel 7
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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.  

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.

Userlevel 7
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BYOD devices don't usually work for domestic roaming on T-Mobile due to the device not being a T-Mobile or US Cellular device in the case of West Virginia.  The device showing as an unknown device is normal for any device not sold to you by T-Mobile. 

Userlevel 5
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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.

I also wasted hours with T-mobile tech help with the same response from them... They found the problem and said it would get corrected within 48 - 72 hours. I was then told that they would follow up with me. Never happened. What is surprising, my wife's unlocked IPhone 12 pro and my IPad show up as identified since T-mobile has more Samsung galaxy users than Verizon and AT&T. You would think Both Samsung and T-mobile would make sure everything worked correctly. 

 
 

I bought from t-mobile store 

I guess I'll go to store and ck

 

Userlevel 5
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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.

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I've got the same problem as I have in the past. 

Just to clarify we're talking about official  USA Samsung T-Mobile devices purchased in the USA from vendors other than T-Mobile directly and not dual sim international Samsung devices.

 

I purchased a T-Mobile Samsung S21U from Best Buy USA. It is not recognized by T-Mobile because the IMEI number is not in their system. 

 

Now this is a major problem for me because the IMEI needs to be in T-Mobiles system for a sim unlock request to be fulfilled. 

I had a similar issue in the past with T-Mobile Samsung devices bought from Samsung directly. T-Mobile claim they can't sim unlock the device because it's not in their system.  

I have already contacted T-Force via Twitter but have been told to wait at least 14 days to get a response. We'll see. 

 

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Not having the IMEI number is a bad excuse. I had to give it to them when I switched my unlocked S20Ultra from Verizon to TMobile. They sent me a new sim card for my wife and I which she has an unlocked iPhone she bought from Apple directly and after we were activated, it shows mine as unknown and hers as an iphone but they were both unlocked BYOD coming from another carrier. So why can't they just manually input the number when you give it to them. Sounds like just laziness. BTW my phone works great. It's in the 5G and even though the coverage has bit or miss issues (which I confirmed they were working on the network in that area) everything works great except the visual voicemail. I still can't get the default disabled and just use the TMobile one as a standalone. A little annoying. 

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.

Userlevel 7
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 7
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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. 

Hello to All,

I’m joining the Unknown Device list.  I purchased a brand-new Galaxy S21+ 5G 256GB DSDS Unlocked International phone that is 100% T-Mobile compatible.  I detected two issues:

  1.  The Unknown device status - My phone and yours are not in their network DB.  Even though a SIM can be installed and activated, and we still get billed and must pay, but the network doesn’t really know we are out there.  T-Mobile needs to cleanup their process to deal with BYOD - locked/unlocked device by gathering the requisite data: device, Serial N., EMEIs, and Freq Bands, etc. for entry into the network DB that runs things.
  2. My phone is now network locked after the T-Mobile SIM was installed.  I’ve been told it’s going to take 72+ hours to obtain the unlock code.  However, I have a DSDS (Dual Nano-SIM) phone and both of my EMEI numbers are valid, not blacklisted, and are NOT in the T-Mobile Network DB; and are NOT in the network DB, so that they can pull up my data based on my EMEI numbers.

Note:  I manage a complex NMS system for a large food supply shop, and when new IT staff join, they get admin level credentials and automatically gain access to the NMS system that monitors servers, WAN link, UPS, switches, etc.  So, when checking the DB for them via the NMS GUI, they aren’t there, but if I access the records at the SQL query level, guess what they are there.  So, to correct the issues, I must advise them that an acct issue is present, delete their acct, and add them with a more restrictive policy to the NMS system via the GUI.  Now the system is fully aware of them.

 

Sorry for the long story, but to correct this issue, many users may end up in the same predicament that my IT staff deal with and may lose cellular service while T-Mobile is making these changes.  You can’t have duplicate records present.

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How did your phone get locked into T-Mobile just by putting in their SIM card. I ordered one from them and put it in and after a quick update my phone shows it's on their network but it's not locked. I can easily swap my SIM card. Plus when I had issues connecting I have them my IMEI number so they have it but it still does not show any info. But my wife's iPhobe does and both our phones (S20ULTRA for me and iPhone XS for her) were bought unlocked directly through the manufacture and we're initially on Verizon for 2 years before we switched to TMO. So there no rhyme or reason here. 

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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.

Not only that, but in areas covered by T-Mobile’s partners you will have no service. This happened to my wife and me. Galaxy Note 20 ultra 5g and Galaxy S20 from samsung. We had no service in Clarksburg WV, when we contacted T-Mobile we were told it’s because our devices were not purchased from T-Mobile, and as such are not allowed to roam on the US Cellular network where US Cellular provides domestic coverage for them. Just be aware.

On my phone, I can initiate a SIM Lock (haven't. cuz the T-Mobile is in slot 1), which is at a phone level, so the SIM can't be used in another phone or a 2nd SIM slot with a different EMEI No.

 

However, T-Mobile has applied a network SIM Lock on the SIM/EMEI in my slot 1.  I have a DSDS Dual Nano-SIM phone.

 The fix is a bit complicated, since I am somewhat on T-Moblie, but not Identifiable in their DB.

 

Very similar to my NMS acct issue where the IT staffer had access, and could add/delete/modify devices in the NMS, but from the GUI app, you couldn't find them at all.

 

T-Mobile needs to update their DB.  They're a global carrier, and have the resources to pull it off.

 

I have a s21 plus

Got from t-mobile store

Says same thing 

T-mobile has no idea.

Bought a t-mobile branded Z-flip 3 from Samsung. Getting T-mobile updates and T-mobile crapware installed but the device is Network locked to T-mobile and showing as an unknown device on my dashboard. This is really bad customer service.

I’m about to submit a FCC complaint also.

Userlevel 1

Bought a t-mobile branded Z-flip 3 from Samsung. Getting T-mobile updates and T-mobile crapware installed but the device is Network locked to T-mobile and showing as an unknown device on my dashboard. This is really bad customer service.

I’m about to submit a FCC complaint also.

What would be the grounds for the complaint?   Presumably not just that it shows as an unknown device on a web page?   If T-mobile can’t unlock it once you meet the conditions, then that would make sense.

Userlevel 7
Badge +14

Bought a t-mobile branded Z-flip 3 from Samsung. Getting T-mobile updates and T-mobile crapware installed but the device is Network locked to T-mobile and showing as an unknown device on my dashboard. This is really bad customer service.

I’m about to submit a FCC complaint also.

T-Mobile branded devices, even ones sold by OEM's, are all sold network locked. 

Why would they not have IMEI in there system.

I bought phone from them?

Userlevel 5
Badge +12

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.

Userlevel 5
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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. 

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