Samsung Nexus S for AT&T doesn't work on MicroCell


Samsung Nexus S for AT&T doesn't work on MicroCell

Problem Summary:

The problem I’m having, in short, is that my Samsung Nexus S for AT&T (Model GT-I9020A) doesn’t function with my MicroCell (or others). When I operate the Nexus S in my apartment (no AT&T coverage, MicroCell only) most of the time the phone will show no service at all (i.e. won’t connect to the MicroCell). Sometimes, right after boot, the Nexus S will camp on “AT&T MicroCell” however I cannot send/receive phone calls or text messages and after 5 minutes it will drop the signal. 

I’ve validated my SIM card and/or account is not the problem by using my HTC Nexus One (N1) with the same SIM in which case the phone works fine with my MicroCell. I’ve validated that the Nexus S is compatible with the AT&T network by (a) looking at Samsung’s website for the phone (link), and (b) it works perfectly fine on public AT&T towers – it’ll get 3G and transfer data & voice over it. I’ve validated it isn’t the MicroCell by using my Nexus One, my fiance’s iPhone 3GS which both work fine. I’ve also shown it is a general issue with my Nexus S and MicroCells by trying two other friend’s MicroCells (yes they added me to their MicroCell account) – couldn’t connect the Nexus S to those. I’ve also factory reset the phone twice and replaced the SIM.

Tech Support Troubleshooting:

Call #1 (9/4) – First call to tech support. Spoke with Daniel Sailor, tried to troubleshoot, no resolution, said he would open a ticket and they’d try to reset the SIM remotely.

Call #2 (9/16) - Called tech support again - spoke to Sean Cruise - tried to troubleshoot - no resolution. I believe he said he’d open up a ticket as well and that I try calling warranty.

Call #3 (9/17) - Called Warranty - spoke with Marry Gomez - was told that MicroCell didn't work due to network outage - this doesn't make sense but was told to wait 5 days and then if not resolved call back.

Call #4 (9/26) - Called back to tech support - spoke with Frank Parker - call was quickly dropped - called back - don't remember who I talked to but they told me that I needed talk to Samsung.

Call #5 (9/26) - Called Samsung - they said they didn't know what the issue was and they don't replace phones. If I wanted to I could send my phone in for inspection and they'd repair it if they found anything wrong. This wouldn't work given Samsung doesn't test with AT&T MicroCells so they wouldn't see the problem.

Call #6 (9/26) - Called back to tech support - spoke with Patricia - escalated me to Kristie - Kristie then escalated this to ICU - was told that if they didn’t resolve this in the next call they’d replace my phone with something equivalent.

Call #7 (9/27) – Received a call from ICU (Allison) to say that she’d received the case and that she would be investigating it. She would get back to me in two days (on the 29th).

Call #8 (10/3) – Called back to tech support because hadn’t heard from Allison – they indicated that she tried to call me on the 29th but I didn’t pick up (I was out of service) and that she would call me back soon.

Call #9 (10/?) – I don’t have the date noted down but Allison from ICU called back. We discussed more and agreed that I should test the phone on other people’s MicroCells and then we’ll talk again next week.

Call #10 (10/10) – Allison from ICU called back to check on my results. I reported that I tested two other MicroCells (to which my # was added) and my Nexus S did not work on either of them (though my N1 did). Allison then proceeded to tell me that the phone I’m using isn’t compatible with AT&T’s 3G network. I am surprised to hear this, if this was correct it doesn’t make sense that Best Buy would sell me the Nexus S specifically for AT&T w/ a 2 year contract if it wasn’t compatible with AT&Ts network. In my opinion Best Buy should only be authorized to sell phones that are compatible with said network, especially if they’re going to setup a 2 year contract. That said I’m confident this is not the issue: (1) looking at Samsung’s website my model is explicitly intended for AT&T, also looking at FCC filings it targeted all the same bands, (2) my Nexus S gets 3G perfectly fine on regular AT&T towers. I asked that if we aren’t going to resolve this with a replacement that will work that we at least cancel my contract. Allison said she would speak with her supervisor. (indicates AT&T as the sole targeted carrier) 

Call #11 (10/11) – Allison called back, said she spoke with the supervisor and they are not able to cancel the contract. My point of view is I signed a contract with a phone that doesn’t work with the AT&T network, I need that to be resolved or the contract revoked.


Message 1 of 20

Re: Samsung Nexus S for AT&T doesn't work on MicroCell

tim horton wrote:

The simcard I replaced came with the Infuse and I had the Infuse when it was first released. It worked for a bit and became very unpredictable. The new on that is still working and  does not look the same as the old one. I speculate there must be additional "program" in the new card.

Your speculation may fit the truth. Apparently, a SIM card tells a phone which carrier's signal it can connect to, for example AT&T prepaid GoPhones cannot roam in many places. The fact that GoPhones can be retrofitted with a postpaid contract SIM card and then roam, seems to prove that. In this case the "carrier" is AT&T M-cell.


Is your Microcell a Cisco product? If so, I'd think that Cisco may have a good answer.

Message 16 of 20
ACE - Guru

Re: Samsung Nexus S for AT&T doesn't work on MicroCell

Yes, my microcell is from at&t/cisco, and this is a 2nd one. I had the 1st one for about 11 month. One of the trouble shooting process was to get a new one. The new one did not solve anything and I think the old one actually had no problems. The new simcard is still working.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 17 of 20

Re: Samsung Nexus S for AT&T doesn't work on MicroCell

tim horton wrote:

Yes, my microcell is from at&t/cisco, and this is a 2nd one. I had the 1st one for about 11 month. One of the trouble shooting process was to get a new one. The new one did not solve anything and I think the old one actually had no problems. The new simcard is still working.

I'm glad that the Microcell works out well for you now.

Message 18 of 20

Re: Samsung Nexus S for AT&T doesn't work on MicroCell

don't feel bad.. I just got a Samsung Galaxy S2 SkyRocket, and I've been using a microcell since 2010.  It works on all my iphones and even works with the regular Galaxy S2.  But right now the Skyrocket won't connect to it.  The phone supposed to fall back from 4G LTE to HSPA+/HSPA ... technically speaking it should handshake with the microcell, but it isn't.  And the Skyrocket is a phone sold by AT&T direct.  


Now I have to wait and see.  having 1 bar sux.. 

Message 19 of 20

Re: Samsung Galaxy-I Captivate mostly working on uCell

 I have a Samsung Captivate and can report it does NOT have any "identity issues" with the uCell. I am on the original 1 year old SIM card, nothing special there.


I am not exactly sure how the Phone + SIM card combination gets registered on the ATT uCell account since I have not have any issues with that.


The best thing to keep you sanity is to keep it simple: KISS principle. If I was in your shoes, I would try to start with a clean slate as far as the phone/SIM registration goes:

 1- Reset the online account registration (Who knows what Phone EMEI or SIM identifier is on that record?)

 2- Reset the uCell with the Reset button for at least 30 seconds (dump staled records)

 3- Pick a phone+ SIM combination and stick to it.


As far as the Captivate it has no registration issues but the fancier 4G/LTE may have issues working with the uCell.

 The uCell was designed before the 4G era and may not be "Forward Compatible"

 The 4G phone may not switch back to 3G band in a way the uCell handles.

 The Samsung 4G phone was design with state of the art radio chipsets (Qualcomm?) and tested against worldclass standards unlike the uCell mickey-mouse toy box.


If you want cellular signal, switch to Verizon they have much greater coverage than ATT can provide. In case you are in a basement or need out of town coverage, Verizon offers a well designed Samsung uCell that simply works without any aggravation.




Message 20 of 20
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