why is this tablet considered a phone?

  • 29 September 2016
  • 23 replies

I bought this tablet Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7 LTE on eBay. Looks to be brand new.


Tried to activate the 200 MB free data plan, and the customer service rep tells me that the IMEI # is for a phone.

What?!?!   This makes not sense.


She also told me that the IMEI# did not come with 200 MB of free data.



The box says T-mobile.


Can someone help me????

23 replies

Userlevel 5

Well we know for sure that it is a tablet so you should be able to get this pass 😊 Did you purchase a new SIM card when you got this tablet or is this the SIM that the previous owner used? Also, are you activating a new account (prepaid or postpaid) with this tablet?

The seller kept the SIM that came with the tablet, so

I used an unactivated SIM that I had lying around.

But it is not a tablet SIM.

I have since ordered a SIM kit for a pre-paid tablet.

The CSR was so sure that the problem was with the IMEI# and not the SIM.

Was she wrong?

Userlevel 5

So the SIM card that you have in the tablet is not yet activated or it is activated with a new prepaid tablet account? Can you please try following these steps to create a connectme account if you have not already?

The SIM card that I tried using first was not activated. It was a SIM for a phone apparently. I inserted the SIM and followed those steps. I got nothing. The tablet would not connect. Error message: You are offline. Wifi and mobile data are unavailable. I then called T-mobile, and that was when I was told that my IMEI# was for a phone and not a tablet and thus not eligible for the 200 MB free data.

As a result, I have ordered online a tablet SIM kit for prepaid. It should arrive within the week.

Userlevel 5

What specifically happens when you go to t-mobile.com/connectme‌ on your tablet with the Wi-Fi turned off? I know you said you got nothing but was there any sort of error message?

Getting a new SIM card may help here as there is a stipulation that only one SIM/IMEI combo can be used for a free data for life pass. My recommendation for you would be to call us as soon as you get the new SIM and ask us to active a pay in advance mobile internet account for you. After the account is activated, you can visit the connect me site again to create a new account for that SIM/IMEI combo. 

The error message from t-mobile.com/connectme is

You are offline.

Wi-Fi and mobile data are unavailable. The page can be loaded once the device connects to a network.

The odd thing is that the tablet can "see" the T-mobile network when I do a search for available cellular networks.

Which telephone number should I call to activate the free data?

Is there anyway to check if the previous SIM that was not given to me was used for the free data for life for this tablet?

Userlevel 5

Thanks for clarifying 😊 It sounds like there is not an active account with that SIM card that you have now. Once you get the new SIM, you can call 1-877-453-1304 from any phone to get in touch with our customer care team.

Edit: Sorry I didn't see your edits when I first started my reply. Unfortunately we are not able to see if that SIM was already used with a free data for life plan 😥

Are you sure the rep won't give me the run around with the new SIM?

The one today kept saying that the IMEI# was not eligible for the free data.

Is that something you can check for me?

Userlevel 5

We are pretty limited as to what we can do here on a user forum but I sent you a private message ‌asking for the information that we can use to check if the tablet is eligible.

I purchased a prepaid mobile internet SIM from the T-mobile website.

Received it today October 4, 2016.

I called in to activate it.

It seemed to activate okay.

I then went to t-mobile.com/connectme to activate the 200 MB free data, but that did not work.

I got the error message You have switched your SIM card between devices, so you will need to manage your account through My T-Mobile or the My Account app.

I called in to T-mobile again.

I was told that the SIM was activated for a phone line.

How was she able to do that when the SIM is supposedly for mobile internet?

Anyway, I am now waiting for a callback from the 2nd rep.

She says that she can fix the problem.

It should not be this hard.

The tablet is a T-mobile tablet!


The IMEI for this tablet is classified in the T-mobile database as a phone.

The box is a Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7 LTE and says T-mobile.

Is someone going to fix this????

The 2nd rep told me this.

So, since the tablet is classified as a phone and not a tablet, this tablet is not eligible for the free 200 MB data for life.

The 2nd rep gave me one week data pass, but it is useless since it isn't what I want.

T-mobile sure knows how to cheat its customers.

Userlevel 6

Hey there @atexit8‌,  I'm so sorry we left you hanging after this last response, and that it seems to be such a hassle to get your prepaid mobile internet line established so that you can get the free data for life pass through ConnectMe.  It sounds like the SIM you purchased was activated for a voice line when you called it in, not a mobile internet line - but honestly, since we can't review these details, I can't say for sure.  The steps I'm reviewing for activating a prepaid Mobile Internet line refer to activating the SIM through ConnectMe itself, so that may have been the hiccup?

Were you able to reach out to Chris to provide the info he was requesting?  We don't want you to feel cheated - we'd like to get to the bottom of this! 

- Marissa


I bought a new prepaid mobile internet SIM.

Put it into the tablet.

Called T-mobile CS to activate it.

I was told that the IMEI# for this tablet shows up in the T-mobile system as a phone !

So, I am left hanging with a tablet that is not eligible for the Free Data For Life 200 MB because the T-mobile system is wrong!

I posted in the FDFL thread https://support.t-mobile.com/thread/88216?sr=inbox&ru=1241798 and no one from T-mobile has addressed the problem.

This is a T-mobile tablet. No doubt about it. But the T-mobile system says that is is a phone.

Userlevel 6

Yikes. I'm glad that you posted in that thread, but unfortunately it's not a space for an immediate resolution - it can take some time to get items added to FDFL eligibility from that list.  That said, I did check your response there, and the IMEI decoder we have access to does recognize the first 8 digits of the IMEI as belonging to a Pop 7 LTE tablet, not a phone!  I do know that tablets that have GSM voice capability are not eligible for FDFL, but I don't think that your tablet has this ability based on the specs available here on Support.

The registration for FDFL is based on the IMEI & SIM combo and has to be completed via ConnectMe on the tablet itself.  If your SIM was used to activate a voice line, then that may prevent it from being eligible for FDFL.  Since the tablet was purchased used, there may be another issue with the IMEI - perhaps it's blocked?  I certainly hope not, though.  We do have troubleshooting processes available to walk through registration issues, but they require account access to complete!  I know you haven't had luck going through this with us over the phone but we'd love to have you give it another shot.  Since you're comfortable online, you could also reach out to T-Force via Twitter or FB from one of the links on my badge below, or if there is one close by, your best bet may actually be to bring the physical tablet into a T-Mobile store near you so that we can walk through the process right there. 

I'm sorry that we're not able to offer more assistance providing the precise backstory for why you're getting these errors.  Thank you so much for being so diligent in reaching out. 

- Marissa

You are not reading what I am writing!!!!

I told you that I bought a brand new unactivated SIM from T-mobile.

The IMEI is not blocked.

I have already contacted T-mobile by phone.

There is nothing that the customer service reps can do when the IMEI # shows up as a phone.

I was told this by a CSR.  She was only able to give me one week of free data.

She told me there is nothing she can do.

It pathetic that T-mobile's own tablet is classified as a phone.  Goes to show how incompetent T-mobile is.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

This is my take. The original owner hacked his tablet. Lost the IMEI and replaced it with a phone IMEI. Since he had trouble even with that he dumped and run the device and stuck you with it.

The box label and the label on the tablet and the OS all show the same IMEI #.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Then the only other possible problem is LG gave the wrong IMEI numbers in batches.  For example some of the tablets IMEI they gave them with the G5 accidently.

Hi atexit8,

I have been working on Free Data For Life issues and I can help.

I can confirm that the tablet is identified as a phone in the T-Mobile network..which is wrong (I will make the required change to remedy that)

I have also responded to you in the Free Data For Life thread.

I received a reply from T-mobile in the Official Free Data For Life thread.  https://support.t-mobile.com/message/572855#572855

The tablet is incorrectly identified as a phone in the T-mobile system.

A request has been put in to fix the problem, but apparently, it is not one of T-mobile's faster processes.

I still do not understand why such a mistake was made in the first place. 😮

It is a newer tablet 2016.

Wanted to provide an update that atexit8 now has Free Data For life on their tablet.



My troubles and the great amount of time I spent on this issue will now help others who buy the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7 LTE.

It should never have been a problem in the first place, since it is a T-mobile tablet.

T-mobile dropped the ball.


Wanted to provide an update that atexit8 now has Free Data For life on their tablet.




Hello Darren, I am having a similar issue with a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 (2019) sm-t295 IMEI: 357035515419617 that I just purchased brand new, unlocked. The difference being that I want to use the calling feature of the tablet with a sim card that is currently used and activated with tmobile as a hotspot 100gb plan in my franklin T9 hotspot. I spent several hours on the phone with 3 different CSR and was unable to make the dream come true. Please can you help me? Thank you, jeff