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Wed, Jul 14, 2021 3:51 PM

I fixed my samsung galaxy s20 on the new 5G boost mobile network

I am posting this as an epilogue that I hope will help others.

I have been through a week of he** after communicating with over a dozen boost mobile representatives trying to get my phone to work on the new network.

None of whom had the ability to help me resolve the problem of switching from the old network to the new one.

Every representative wanted to start over from square one diagnostics (or have me buy a new phone).

Even the most basic business ticket system should issue a case number on the first call that is not closed until the issue is resolved.

As I noted in a prior post, the culture over there must be terrible.

I am fairly tech savvy and I had a week on my hands to get this resolved, this is not for the faint of heart.

What I did could easily brick your phone, I strongly recommend getting assistance if you can.

By this point I had done a complete factory reset and my wife was telling me to give it up.

I didn't see that I had much to lose. I don't consider a phone that expensive a throw away item.

Let me point out here, that my phone is 100% legally mine. It is paid off and I have had it on boost for over a year. Boost issued an unlock case and a boost representative even insisted to me that it was unlocked, it was not

After another day of research, I decided to try and install an sm-g981u1 firmware update.

I found this version: https://androidfilehost.com/?w=files&flid=305578

As it turns out I had had conversations just yesterday with the guy who posted the binaries about my phone problems.

He seemed honest so I trusted the zip file.

There are many steps involved in the update, I won't go into it because the info is already on the internet and there should be enough search keywords here if you feel you are up to it.

Do NOT try it if you're not handy with Microsoft windows and USB connections and are willing to have a phone that is in worse condition if the process goes wrong. I had to search out and download three zip files that were ~5MB altogether. The first attempt failed because my USB connection was flaky, Luckily the second go round worked.

Note that if you do the unlocked firmware update you will get many updates that are not available on the boost mobile firmware (another bug or 'feature'?). I think I got about a dozen, I was starting to get worried, but the phone eventually stopped updating. My phone went from Android 10 to Android 11 for instance.

The Samsung/Boost Mobile 'locked' firmware that came with my phone was the problem. There are really only two possibilities, the most likely is that the original firmware is buggy, indicating bad QA being done at boost mobile. Buggy locked firmware is boost mobile's problem and responsibility. But considering the cost to fix all of the phones out there with the issue, I'm sure they would rather look the other way, pretended it doesn't exist and take the publicity hit. They might not even realize the full scope of it.

I have no idea if a similar upgrade will fix other boost mobile phones (besides the S20). Several people are reporting similar issues on different phones when 'forced' to upgrade to the new network.

I hope this helps someone.

My phone is wonderful since I fixed it.

Good Luck

Responses

10 Messages

3 m ago

Thanks for the follow-up, my issue is identical to yours. S20 will not recognize the new SIM card, but it will recognize the old Sprint card. I've been at my wit's end for the last 4 days trying to fix this. I was thinking it may be related to the firmware. I've also done a factory reset, tried multiple new SIM cards, been on calls with various support reps that all wanted to start with basic issues such as 'wipe the Sim card' and 'try resetting your phone. It's very frustrating, and the support tech's here haven't helped. I made a post but they've made it private. Two different support tech via phone are sending me new SIM cards stating they guarantee it will fix my phone. I've talked to Samsung support. I've been into 4 different boosts stores and have been told everything from "your phone is broken, you need a new one" to "it should work in a few days".

I have a couple of questions for you that would help me:


1. How did the unlock process go? I've submitted my unlock request and it's supposed to be sent within 48 hours, I'm waiting for the email. Do they send you a code or what? I was thinking that they would send a code out to the phone, but since my phone isn't getting any service, I don't think that would work.
2. Did you install the firmware update with or without having the phone unlocked? Should I wait for the unlock email before attempting this?
3. So it's reading the new SIM card, right? And you're getting service on the new T-Mobile network?
4. Have you ever tried any other provider's SIM card in your phone? If so, did the phone register the SIM then, or now?
4. Do you have any other suggestions about attempting this upgrade? I know it's a complicated maneuver, but I'm also tech-savvy and confident I can install it. At this point, I feel I have nothing to lose. What did you use for the update, Kies?


14 Messages

@treeguy 

1. How did the unlock process go? I've submitted my unlock request and it's supposed to be sent within 48 hours, I'm waiting for the email. Do they send you a code or what? I was thinking that they would send a code out to the phone, but since my phone isn't getting any service, I don't think that would work.

When talking to boost about the unlock, I asked some 'technical' questions about how it would work, since I was locked off of the network, it couldn't be done that way. Got nothing, so I said okay and waited. The next day I got an email from sprint saying that my phone *should* be unlocked in a few hours. I don't think it ever was. I tried called 'sprint' (now t-mobile) to try and get some information. They just said I'd have to talk to boost. I tried boost again and the representative insisted that my phone was now unlocked according to their computer. It was not. It's the kind of irritating no-discussion, no way forward response that a lot of the boost representatives gave.


2. Did you install the firmware update with or without having the phone unlocked? Should I wait for the unlock email before attempting this?

I'd try and wait for the unlock, but like you said, how the heck is it supposed to work without the ability to get on the network. Can it work through wifi? I don't know, never got a straight answer. It didn't fix mine.


3. So it's reading the new SIM card, right? And you're getting service on the new T-Mobile network?

Yes, correct, it fixed my issue, it's working with the new sim card. I'm not sure the network is T-mobile though. Under SIM Card Status on my phone it says the network is 'Boost Mobile'.


4. Have you ever tried any other provider's SIM card in your phone? If so, did the phone register the SIM then, or now?

Yes, a helpful guy at a boost mobile store tried several of the new boost sims, as well as a t-mobile and an at&t. They all said No SIM. The only SIM it would read was the original sprint SIM. I even asked him if he could unlock the phone, he couldn't. He said it didn't look like it was unlocked as well (this was after the phone representative insisted that it was).


5. Do you have any other suggestions about attempting this upgrade? I know it's a complicated maneuver, but I'm also tech-savvy and confident I can install it. At this point, I feel I have nothing to lose. What did you use for the update, Kies?

I used some software called 'odin' to upload the firmware. Oddly enough, my first experience with software called odin was on an ancient HP-UX system, it was the equivalent of a makefile. I don't know if the current software is in anyway related to the original odin makefile software. There are a couple of youtube videos that go through the whole process. I followed those and happy day, it worked. 

Good luck if you give it a go. If you get through it, don't freak out by all of the updates (I was starting to) It seems like it did a dozen before it got all caught up.

10 Messages

It worked! I went a slightly different route using the latest official Samsung Firmware as the download. I used the most recent firmware version with T-Mobile as the carrier. The download was about 6Gb but it updated everything nicely. Thanks for posting your follow-up! 

14 Messages

@treeguy Thanks for providing the update. I'm glad it worked out. It definitely points to buggy boost mobile firmware.

25 Messages

@treeguy Could you share where you found the T-Mobile firmware?

2 Messages

I've been without a phone for a week now. I'm not THAT tech savvy, but I don't want to throw away a phone that is barely a year old. Boost keeps telling me that they haven't figured this out yet. They act like they haven't seen this before when obviously it's an issue.