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How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?
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How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by SoothingMist on Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:50 am

From Adafruit I purchased a Fona 800 and the recommended Ting SIM. Following Ting's activation process, I entered the 15 digit code to their website. (The code stamped onto the Fona 800's "phone" chip.) Their website said that the "phone" is not compatible with their network.

I see that others have gotten their Ting SIMs to work. How was that accomplished?

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by mikeysklar on Wed Mar 17, 2021 5:58 pm

I've seen a few posts like the following where the customer had to call Ting for assistance and that got them through the activation process.

viewtopic.php?f=54&t=127588&p=635875&hilit=ting+activation#p635875

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by SoothingMist on Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:14 pm

Thank you for your reply Mikey. But, the referenced link's posting assumes the SIM is already activated. Still, I did call Ting's support phone number, as you suggested. They were very explicit. They said that many devices attempt to access a network that no longer exists. That appears to be the case with all Adafruit's devices (800, 808, 3G). In my personal opinion: It is worth a formal federal complaint on this matter (FCC and FTC) since Adafruit continues to advertise and sell something that is known to no longer work. My attempt to contact their tech support failed. They said to post to this forum. They have not responded here either. Very very disappointed and am out money from our project budget. Adafruit needs to resolve this situation immediately.

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by rskup on Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:13 pm

I can't speak to your 800/808 claim, but I can refute your FONA 3G claim.

My FONA 3G works just fine. After reading your post, I powered up my FONA 3G and made a call, and sent a text to my regular 4G cell phone without any problems.

I use a Speedtalk SIM in my FONA 3G, they're an MVNO for T-Mobile.

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by SoothingMist on Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:24 pm

Glad that your device is working. When I entered the Fona 3G I.M.E.I into the Trig activation process, it said the device was not compatible. I got that number from a figure on the Adafruit website.

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by rskup on Thu Mar 18, 2021 9:55 pm

Using Ting to check a 3G device # isn't a true check as to whether 3G still exists. My FONA 3G # also says "not compatible with Ting" at their website, but my FONA 3G works just fine with a Speedtalk SIM.

Ting is an MVNO (like Speedtalk), so whether Ting has 2G or 3G networks available depends on which carriers Ting has contracts with.

By the way, here's a more recent post on Ting and 2G from Oct 2020 concerning activation by jim_lee:

viewtopic.php?f=54&t=170758


Tkall -- if you're reading this, what SIM cards are you using for your 2G Fona's on your boats?


If Ting has changed operations since October and absolutely won't activate it like they did for jim_lee above, consider trying out T-Mobile, Speedtalk, or some other MVNO for T-Mobile.

Here's a note I found about 2G on Speedtalk's website:
"*Please Note: 2G & 3G services might not be available in all areas due to carrier decommissioning/shutdown of these frequencies in the US"

So sounds like Speedtalk might have 2G, hopefully in your area, if Ting won't budge.

Finally, if you do get your 800 running, learn all you can from it and at least start thinking about a 4G board for your project should the 2G networks in your area get shut down.

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by Tkall on Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:56 pm

I dont understand this,
"When I entered the Fona 3G I.M.E.I into the Trig activation process, it said the device was not compatible. I got that number from a figure on the Adafruit website."

The I.ME.I is on the FONA you have.
I have several 2G's running on Ting. But I had a problem with the adafruit supplied SIM cards because Ting told me they were only good for data and would not work for SMS. I had to order new SIMS from Ting. My 3G's are all working on Ting and Cricket. But...we need a new solution. For some reason Adafruit will not respond to my suggestion about aligning with the Digi Xbee cellular.

It is a waste of time to do anything with 2G or 3G.

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by rskup on Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:22 pm

Hey Tkall, thanks for responding. Sounds like Ting is still working for you then on your 2G Fonas.

I think what SoothingMist tried (to see if 3G was still running) is to enter the I.M.E.I number that's on Adafruit's web page for the FONA 3G. Look at Adafruit's #3147, I think he zoomed in on the picture and entered that number off the SIM5320A. And when Ting said "not compatible", he concluded 3G is no longer running.

I agree with your comment concerning 2G and 3G, but I felt Adafruit's tutorial for the FONA 3G (and their tutorials in general) was excellent, and helped me learn enough to move on to 4G boards. I honestly don't think I could have learned about cell boards at all without the FONA 3G and Adafruit's tutorials.

Thanks again for responding, hope all's well.

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by Tkall on Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:41 pm

Rskup
So you have moved on to 4G?
Which are you using?

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by rskup on Fri Mar 19, 2021 12:30 am

Well, I do use my Fona 3G now and then, but still playing around with this 4G IoT board we talked about last month, with a Hologram.io sim in it:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32964568200.html

It's nice that the commands are the same/similar to the (FONA 3G's) SIM5320.

One of these days (next Adafruit order) I want to get the Pycom GPy they carry (#3612).

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by SoothingMist on Fri Mar 19, 2021 6:44 am

Many Many Thanks to all for the discussion. It has been very helpful. From this discussion and my own reading on the subject, it seems 2G and 3G are gradually disappearing from the marketplace. In my own case, the T-Mobile SIM, purchased and activated at the local T-Mobile store, also does not work. If I went with the SpeedTalk solution, even if it worked now, it seems it would not work in the future. ... Arduino.cc does sell a more modern solution but that one requires connection to their cloud, albeit by cellular SMS. Even so, it is not an ALL-Countries solution. Overall, in this technical domain, there appears to be no way to make direct machine-to-machine (M2M) send/receive cellular connections. Your continuing thoughts are most welcome and appreciated.

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by rskup on Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:57 am

Yep, I do think 2G and 3G devices are risky at this point, no one knows exactly what the carriers will do. And even the carriers can be flaky about it, as they have extended deadlines in the past.

If I understand your post correctly, you're looking for an "all-countries" solution? I'm not an expert but I love to tinker with and read about this stuff, the "G" at the end of a SIMCom cell chip is for "global", like the SIM7000G above, so it has all the bands to work everywhere.

And the Hologram.io sim is a global sim card.

Not that I'm pushing that board and sim combo, it's the only 4G board/sim that I have, but I think it would be a possible "all-countries" solution.

Another possible helpful site would be Hologram's community forums, I've learned alot surfing the questions and answers there:

https://community.hologram.io/

Maybe try posting what you're trying to build there, hopefully someone will help out. Again, I learned enough there to get my 7000G up and running.

Just fyi, if you do decide to try the 7000G board above, prepare for a longgg shipping time from that source, I waited a month for it. I really like the board, and the price...at that price I don't mind if I accidently burn one or two up while tinkering.

edit -- just dawned on me, do you need voice capability? Not 100% sure, but I don't think the NB-IoT chips, like the SIM7000G, support voice.

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by SoothingMist on Fri Mar 19, 2021 3:46 pm

A very informative posting rskup. Thank you. When I go to https://www.botletics.com/products to look at their prducts, including the SIM7000G, all products are marked "unavailable". Clicking on the SIM7000G picture, a page comes up that says to order a new or refurbished one from Amazon. That page too says the SIM7000G is unavailable. Thus, I have a concern about the product's viability, about buying a copy of something that is no longer manufactured. ..... Good idea about surfing and posting on Hologram.io. Will do that. If I come up with something, I'll post another reply here.

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by rskup on Fri Mar 19, 2021 11:11 pm

Gosh, yep, looks like Botletics is down, I do remember looking at their boards not too long ago.

Well, there are other boards that use the SIMCom "G" chips besides the one I linked above, I've seen Hologram discuss Waveshare boards, like this one:

https://www.waveshare.com/sim7070g-cat- ... rs-hat.htm

Looks like I'm seeing lots of Waveshare's stuff on Amazon, so seems like a better bet than Botletics.

Hope you find something that will work for your project, have a good weekend!

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Re: How to activate Ting SIM for Fona 800 ?

by SoothingMist on Sat Mar 20, 2021 1:57 pm

That is a good reference rskup. Raspberry Pi is a full computer, whereas Arduino is a microcontroller. Both have good reputations. Another cellular option is https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14997. This is a shield for Arduino. I had looked at https://store.arduino.cc/usa/mkr-gsm-1400 but that is sold out. Since that is a board from the Arduino company, I am concerned about the board not being a standard product that is readily available. .... My project began as an attempt at a proof-of-concept in precision irrigation for open-air farms, with the additional goal of showing others how to accomplish such a thing using readily-obtainable hardware and open-source software. The basic plan I began with uses the Arduino microcontroller. Unfortunately, technology has advanced since the original plan was published. The underlying means of cellular communication is no longer viable. Something newer is needed. This thread's discussion has shown a lot about that path. ..... Another SIM might be https://en.whereversim.de. The Sparkfun board is compatible with Ting, a SIM I already have. .... I think what I'm going to do is order the Sparkfun board and see what I can do with it.

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