I currently use a BlackBerry Z10 and it’s been a well-documented fact that depending on your carrier, your APN settings may be locked with certain SIM cards. While this isn’t usually an issue as the SIM should grab the correct APN for your provider, there is a rare and unique situation where your APN could be locked to an incorrect APN and you won’t be able to change it. This happened to me just recently when I came back from the 2013 PASS Summit and I called my provider and they couldn’t help. However, I managed to find a resolution and I am sharing this to help anyone else.
Just some background information, I was travelling down to Charlotte for the 2013 PASS Summit but I needed to find a good roaming plan, hence I decided to go with Roam Mobility and their SIM card solution. I plugged in the SIM card and was able to change the APN to “roam” and everything worked fine.
The problems started when I came back home, the plane landed, and I plugged in my Rogers SIM card. I waited a minute, but I couldn’t retrieve a signal so I decided to look at my APN settings, surprisngly it was unlocked so I changed it to something I thought was correct, “rogerswireless” (of course I was wrong!). After 5 minutes or so, I finally got connected back to the Rogers network and was able to make and receive calls, but when I tried to use any data, it failed and the signal was showing “4g” instead of the usual “LTE”. I looked back into my APN settings, and now it was locked! Switching back to my Roam Mobility SIM card, the APN settings were unlocked again, but when I changed the settings, it only stuck with this particular SIM card and when I plugged my Rogers SIM card back in, the APN was locked again with my invalid setting. As I mentioned, I called Rogers and they couldn’t figure anything else so I decided to do some troubleshooting myself.
I was sure that the first time I plugged in my Rogers SIM Card, the APN was unlocked, hence my invalid entry to the settings, so I decided to try and replicate that process. What I found was that if you are connected to a network with a SIM card that allows the APN settings to change, when you turn off the phone and switch back to your carriers SIM card, the APN will remain unlocked until the phone is connected to your carrier’s network. So by doing the following steps, I was able to get my data working again.
- Plug in your unlocked APN SIM card (In my case it was Roam Mobility).
- Wait till it actually connects to the network, or if it can’t, give it enough time until the pop-up that states “Emergency Calls Only”.
- Remove the battery and switch the SIM card to your carrier’s card (In my case it was Rogers).
- Once the phone boots up, immediately go to the APN settings section before the phone can connect to the network. (You can also turn off the mobile connection first if you want.)
- The APN should still be unlocked, now you can change it to what you want. For me, I changed it to “ltemobile.apn” to get my data back.
- Now turn off your mobile network connection and turn it back on to ensure it uses the right APN. Once your phone connects to the network, everything should work, but you will notice that if you go back to the APN settings, it is now locked.
It’s a rare situation to encounter, but as I experienced, it is definitely possible, so I hope this helps. Perhaps this window of opportunity could also help people that want to manually designated a valid APN for whatever reason.