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Suspicious network behavior on my old Motorola Razr V3i

  • 30 November 2017
  • 31 replies
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I bought an old flip phone off of Ebay a few weeks ago and decided to buy T-Mobile's SIM card off of Amazon so that I could have a dumb little nostalgia inducing backup phone. I got the pre-paid $3/mo plan and it's been working fine so far, but recently I had the thought to try out MMS. I scoured the internet and my phone's APN settings for the proper information, It worked the night I tried it, and messages worked both ways. I thought "wow, I didn't think that would work!" and went to bed.

A couple days later, I try to send my friend a picture from the phone and it doesn't send. I can see that it's connecting to GPRS for a second, but it simply spits out an error that the message couldn't be sent. No settings have changed on my end and my signal strength is good. I initially thought that perhaps T-Mobile noticed that I was using MMS without a data plan and disabled it. I decided to message a representative on My T-Mobile and they said that yes, a data plan was indeed required to use MMS.

However, on digging deeper and actually calling support, I received word that MMS is included in my plan and should be treated the same as any other text, told to me by a supervisor. Aside from this lead, my dive into T-Mobile support has come up inconclusive and left the techs stumped.

So my question is, if my phone could use MMS services before, and can no longer do it now, what happened? Did a dish fall off my cell tower? Did T-Mobile cut it to incentivize me into getting a $45/mo data plan? I don't want to be a crazy conspiracy theorist, but what gives?

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Best answer by somemangojuice 6 December 2017, 23:41

Ok, thank you very much everyone for your help. I'll post back here sometime in the future if the mystery is solved, for the sake of future readers.

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Userlevel 7
Badge +12

It is included but data needs to be on in order to send.  Does that make sense?

Let me try and make it have more sense lol

Your photo goes over the data channel and it doesn't use data.

If you turn off data or data isn't enabled within your device then it can't send that photo to anyone because it can't find the data channel.  GPRS doesn't support MMS.  SO if the device is dropping down to it from time to time and not on 2G/3G then it may be a problem with the phone and not the actual networks.  There would need to be more testing.

GPRS is the data connection, at least for these old 2g phones. For this phone, data is turned on whenever it's needed, like when the (primitive and insecure) web browser is open or if you're trying to send a multimedia message. I can see that the phone is making an attempt to send it, and that data is being exchanged, but it's inconclusive. It even gives me a nice count of how many bytes it sent over the network, which means it's at least leaving my phone.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

which version of the Razr do you have.  From my understanding carriers no longer offer MMS through GPRS and only through EDGE or higher, and if you seeing it connect to 2G(EDGE) and not GPRS(G on most newer devices, tower looking icon, or no indicator).

As for data counting.  There's always packets going and coming.  What are the sizes of the data counts?

Phone version is in the title, Motorola Razr V3i. 2G.

As for data counts, the pictures are usually around 10kb multiplied by however many attempts I make to send it. If GPRS really doesn't support MMS anymore, then it's a very recent thing, because I know it was working up until a couple days ago.

ZIwlMwo.png

When not using data, the "GPRS data available" icon shows, which is replaced by the icon labeled "2"  in the bar there when data is in use. When attempting to send the MMS, the "unsecure data transfer" icon flashes a couple times before the phone calls it quits and tells me it didn't send.

Userlevel 7
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ok I am going to have to explain it better. 

It's done via software to keep it specifically for voice and items sent with newer era devices are always way to large for GPRS channels to voice only and emergencies. That's why 2G specific devices are phased out and also GPRS devices are phased out.  Sometime within the next couple years 2G devices will be phased out (GPRS and 2G are going to be shut down and reallocated to 4GLTE spectrum).  Devices like this one will no longer work.

swapping your phones back and forth should trick the network for a short time to allow you to MMS on that phone temporarily.

Ahh ok, so the reason I was able to use data on this device temporarily was because the network didn't notice that I was using something that was being phased out, at some point realized it, and cut me off? That makes sense I guess, but my question is why would they even leave it up for me to connect to if we're not even supposed to be on it? Conversely, why cut me off of the data if the infrastructure is up and running still?

Userlevel 7
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Because the network doesn't know what device you have and current devices can send MB or larger photo sizes.  at 10kbps that would take forever to send a MMS.  In the event enough people just so happen to be on GPRS and there are too many people on it then priority becomes an issue. 

Newer devices have access to 3g and 4g LTE networks, that's the thing. They wouldn't have to use GPRS. The only people who are getting blocked from it are the ones who are sending tiny bits of information anyway, so it seems a bit redundant.

Userlevel 7
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Those people would be sending to you at those sizes.  You have to think two ways not just one way.

No they wouldn't, MMS is limited to sizes of less than 1MB.

Regardless, I'm not going to mark anything as an answer until we get an official response from T-Mobile, as to not potentially misinform future readers.

Userlevel 7
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10kbps(max theoretical but often you looking more like 2-7kb) and 1MB files in 1024.  That's at least 102 seconds for 1MB file with low latency which we know it does not have. 

GPRS legacy is 200kb iirc as you can see are different animals?

Mods generally take around up to 4 days to reply as this is a peer to peer forum.

I honestly don't understand your post. Where did the 10kb/s figure come from? Are you talking about GSM? GPRS as you say is give or take 200kb/s, so a 1MB file would only take a few seconds to transfer.

Also I'm alright with a mod response taking a while if it's the only sure way to know what's going on instead of just relying on speculation.

Userlevel 7
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200kb transfer size.  Cross carrier is 100kb.  Max transfer speed is 10kbps.

current file sizes is up to 1MB which is 1024KB which is 102 seconds at max transfer speeds.

Userlevel 5

Hey there! Internet or data features are not required for MMS to function. However, internet access such as a 2G (EDGE), 3G (HSPA), 4G, or LTE signal is required for MMS to work. Can you try loading ma.t-mobile.com from your phones browser and let me know if anything comes up? The internal document I am looking at does not mention anything about MMS working on GPRS but it also does not say that GPRS is not supported.

Hey Chris, thanks for replying!

On trying to load ma.t-mobile.com, this is what I came up with. https://i.imgur.com/brHi23Z.jpg

Compared to trying to load www.google.com: https://i.imgur.com/EIglZLu.jpg

They're different, which I presume means that at the very least, my phone is connecting to the network.

These are the internet settings for the phone that I'm using currently:

Homepage: fast.t-mobile.com

Service Type 1: WAP

Proxy 1:

Port 1: 8008

Domain 1:

Service Type 2: WAP

Proxy 2:

Port 2: 8008

DNS 1: 8.8.8.8

DNS 2: 8.8.4.4

Timeout: 1 minute

CSD No. 1:

User Name 1:

Password 1:

Speed (Bps) 1: 9600

Line Type 1: Modem

CSD No. 2:

User Name 2:

Password 2:

Speed (Bps) 2: 9600

Line Type 2: Modem

GPRS APN: fast.t-mobile.com

User Name:

Password:

If any of these settings seem incorrect, please let me know. It won't let me paste it for whatever reason, but my MMS server is already set to what it says on this page. Generic T-Mobile data settings

Userlevel 5

Okay, so the settings are correct but I think that the issue here is going to be the inability to send MMS over GPRS as tidbits mentioned. The info I am seeing internally calls out everything from 2G (edge up) and does not mention GPRS. While it does not say "MMS will not work on GPRS" the list of required data modes does not have GPRS listed. 

Would you be able to confirm if a user would be "locked out" of using MMS over GPRS after they use it successfully? I know I was able to do it at least a couple times.

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

I don't have a way to confirm any kind of lock out, but tidbits and Chris are right about needing at least a 2G connection in order to send and receive MMS on your phone. That's one of the first things we'll need to check in order to continue troubleshooting this and get it fixed for you. Are you able test your SIM in another phone (preferably a T-Mobile branded ) to see if you get 2G or greater? Then you can see if the MMS works.

I get a 2G connection. It's well documented that this phone is 2G capable and I wouldn't be able to access GPRS without it.

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

Okay, are you able to test your SIM in another device to see if you're able to send MMS? This will help us isolate if this is something going on with your particular network connection.

Userlevel 6

Hi there! Just wanted to check in here and see if you'd been able to test your SIM in an alternate device as Mike suggested. How are things going for you?

- Marissa

Hi, Marissa. It just so happens that I just got my hands on some more Razrs today, a couple of which are 3g (but I'll have to wait for AT&T to get back on my unlock request for those). I threw my SIM card into another 2g phone and, like Tidbits suspected, I was able to send MMS again, but only once. After that, no picture messaging was possible. This is definitely a network problem and not an issue of faulty hardware.

I should mention that the other phone I tried was T-Mobile branded. And that it would also continuously say "sending" without ever progressing.

Userlevel 5

I really appreciate you doing all this testing. If you are getting 2G on a T-Mobile phone and are still unable to send the MMS messages after the first one, we can get the failed examples up to the engineers to they can tell us why it is getting blocked. You will need to contact us so that our tech care team can get these examples from you and get the ticket started.

Sure thing, should I email someone or will they reach me?

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