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Can’t Connect To Data Network – Sim Card Issue

sim card manager smart philippines can't connect to data

It was the perfect storm of problems — or a comedy of errors if you prefer.  My daughter's tablet stopped allowing data (internet) connections.  When I reset it, it stopped seeing the sim card

In her new J7, the phone saw and read her sim card immediately.  But one small item caught my attention.  In the sim card manager (the standard app that displays information about the sim cards installed), her sim card wasn't displaying the phone number associated with the sim.  That was strange, because I knew it was supposed to. 

I didn't remember to screenshot the sim card manager, so I have re-created what I saw:

sim card manager smart philippines can't connect to data

In the above example, Sim 1 (her old sim), does not display the telephone number assigned to the sime card — it is displaying "UNKNOWN".  Sim 2, is a new sim, correctly displaying the telephone number assigned.  I decided that her physical sim card might be bad, so I went to the Smart customer service center and purchased a replacement sim card (keeping her old number of course).  Which, for those of you who are familiar with Smart and the Philippines, took 1.5 hours.

The new sim "may or may not" be completely live for 24 hours.  So I inserted it and waited.  A day later, the sim was still showing "UNKNOWN" as the phone number.  However, it was working fine — making calls, receiving calls, sending texts, receiving texts, checking balance, etc.  All working ok.

What did NOT work was her DATA connection.  And I had subscribed to a data package on this sim, so I knew it had valid data. 

I tried all the "quick fixes":  I sent a text message "POWERAPP OFF" to 9999; as Smart's "powerapps" often prevent access to the internet.  I also turned off Load protection just to eliminate all possibilities.  Nothing worked.  I could not connect to the internet on this sim.  And just to make everyone happy, I deleted and reinstalled the APNs (Access Point Names), and made sure the internet APN was chosen.  This did nothing. 

I made sure there were no firewall programs installed (I knew I didn't install any, but checked to make sure Samsung didn't have one as bloatware).  None installed, so that wasn't the problem.

What really got confusing is that DATA ON SIM 2 WAS WORKING FINE!  Turned off the power and inserted Sim 2 into Sim 1 slot and vice versa.  Still no data connection on the old sim while the new one connected immediately.  Put the old sim back as postion 1 and removed the new sim.  Nope — no luck.

In the process of rebooting a half-dozen times, I received a pop-up message 2 or 3 times "Your message could not be downloaded".  I knew that was strange — I had not sent or received any messages with images (MMS) that would require data or MMS services.  I began to think that a message was "stuck" and that was causing the data obstruction.

THE WORKAROUND:  I was forced to leave the 2nd sim in her phone as a "data sim".  The data package on her main sim will sit and be wasted as it can't be accessed.  I put the data package on the new sim and she connected to data on sim 2 without any problems.

I BELIEVE THE PROBLEM IS WITH SMART:  Getting Smart to admit to any problem is just about impossible.  It will always be a user problem, or a phone problem or a network problem.  But I believe there is a programming issue at Smart's end which is somehow preventing her sim card from identifying the telephone number, and preventing access to data services.

But I am a glutton for punishment, so I called "Smart customer service" (an oxymoron?) and submitted a trouble ticket.  After I explained IN DETAIL the problems and all of the solutions I had tried, the untrained robot began to read from the "CUSTOMER IS AN IDIOT PAGE" — "Sir, did you take out your sim and reboot? "Sir, is your sim card valid?"  I kid you not – those are some of the questions she started with.  But the best was, "Sir, let me check to see if there are any outages in your area!".

Outages?  Are you kidding me?  I just told her the whole story with 2 sims; one connecting to internet and one not!  And my phone connecting to the internet without a problem.  But, that is what happens with first tier customer support.

She assured me that 24 hours later, a high level internet technical support "specialist" will call me back.  36 hours later, I called and was told that their "specialists" were so busy that it would be "another day or so".  :)

I will update this post after I hear from the "specialist". 



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