New phone searches endlessly for a signal


Novice Member
Ten days ago posting this message would have been unthinkable, because my cell provider
has been 99.99% reliable for many years. I don't want to start a pro or con discussion, so I
won't use the company name.

They recently switched from the Sprint Network to T-Mobile. All customers received new SIM
cards. At the same time, I purchased a new phone. It's an unlocked Alcatel - Model 4044C.
I make and receive calls, and occasionally send a text message. Never needed a smartphone.

I logged into my account and activated the phone. The time and date were correct, but I immediately
noticed the phone searching for a signal. The word "Searching" scrolls across the top edge of the
screen. Ten miles from my home, it was still searching for a signal.

I called "Customer Care" with a landline phone. They activated my cell again. No change. Three
more calls to Customer Care accomplished nothing. They said, "make sure Airplane Mode and
Wi-Fi are toggled off." They are. Removing and reinstalling the SIM card was another suggestion.
That seemed to make things worse. The phone is still searching, but the time and date are no
longer synchronized to the network.

If I can't make my phone work, I'll be forced to find another cell provider. What can I do, if anything,
to fix this problem?

Deleted member 27989

I guess you are US based, I don't envy you as the US has multiple standards for different mobile telephony network providers. If I understand you connectedly your mobile phone provider switched from Sprint to T-Mobile, so who is your provider because those two are providers. And they provided you a SIM. But, you bought your own phone, are you sure your phone is compatible with the network you are on now and that it supports the frequencies? It is a very old phone you bought as well.

I would suspect the phone is just not compatible...


Novice Member
Thanks for your reply, Bl4ckGryph0n.

There are many small to medium size cell providers, that use the big networks created by companies
like Sprint and T-Mobile. The provider I use is probably unknown to most people in the USA. I'm
reluctant to use their name, because they have employees that read posts at cell phone forums.

I own a business with a large workshop. Carrying a brick size smartphone in a case (or holster) on my
belt would be dangerous in a shop. I purchased a military (very rugged) belt case for the Alcatel phone.

My cell provider had a single requirement for any phone purchased by their customers. It must support
4G. The Alcatel phone was designed and manufactured as a 4G phone. I didn't know it was an old model. I am actually glad to know the problem is my phone, and not the transition from the Sprint Network to T-Mobile.

All small cell phones (flip-phones) look the same to me. Can you recommend one or two models that
support the latest technology? I don't want to buy another out of date phone.

Deleted member 27989

I've just done a quick search for you with regards to 4G. Because 4G isn't just 4G there are lots of different bands and frequencies around the world and the phone and provider need to match. That is why phones like an iPhone are so popular because they support them all (generally).

As such I sadly can't make a recommendation as whilst they may use T-Mobile that still doesn't mean they support it fully. Here in the UK we have that as well, like I am on BT Mobile which is using the EE network, but you don't get some features that you would get if you were to use EE direct.

I hope the information helps to understand that 4G isn't just 4G but the phone still needs to match the providers capabilities.

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