Friday, December 20, 2013

Verizon Galaxy S4 - the new star of global phones!

After the latest update to Mk2, wow, now it works on T-Mobile's 4G and LTE! Maybe earlier versions work on AWS too, but I did not test and at least MDK cannot. Before this, my Verizon Note 2 was the best global phone and I have used it on the 3G/4G/LTE networks of Verizon, Sprint, AT&T,  China (Unicom) and Japan, but only 2G (EDGE) on T-Mobile.

To use a T-Mobile SIM card, you don't need root S4 or unlock it. Verizon LTE phones are never locked in the first place due to an agreement between Verizon and US government. All you need is to add an APN of "" and switch it to GSM/UMTS for H+ or LTE/CDMA for LTE. For AT&T, Unicom, and  other GSM carriers, just add the corresponding APN.

For PagePlus, you'll do the same as you do with Note 2: switch it to diag mode (dial ##DMMODE#), use CDMA Workshop (passcode 2009031920090615) to set it from "UIM Only" to "UIM if available" and use DFS to write PRL, MDN and MIN. To get 3G though, more work is needed and it is out of the scope of this blog.

It is still better to root it, because, as always, that SamsungSetupWizard is too annoying. And, there is no way I know of to use MK2 as a hotspot. I used "Saferoot", but the script does not work and I did it manually according to the script. To enable WiFi hotspot and USB/BT tether, I used the instructions found here (the alternative method - manually copying and moving the hacked framework-res.apk).

Now I'm waiting for the 4.3 update for Note 2 and hopefully it'll enable AWS too. If not, then I'll buy a S4.

PS: even if you use a native T-Mobile phone, you still need to add the APN manually. The built-in one has administrative authority to enforce all kinds of stupid restrictions such as shutting down hotspot.

[update 12/25/13] Saw a good deal on craigslist, so bought a Verizon S4. Roaming automatically between EVDO and T-Mobile LTE, very cool! Very good battery life, although battery is smaller than Note 2's. Built-in Gmail2 sucks - using CPU constantly, so had to replace it with 4.1.2 like I did with Note 2 (remove /system/app/Gmail2.apk, then install Gmail_4.1.2 apk). One hand operation is much easier than Note 2. Feels faster than Note 2.

Confirmed: the latest 4.3 update enables AWS on Note 2 too!

Program S4 etc. to PagePlus


  1. hi,
    if i want to buy a battery bank for a cell phone, do I have to buy one that has identical watts(if a phone is 2600mAh, buy a powerbank with 2500mAh)? thanks,

    1. You don't need to care about the watts matching, all work together as long as the bank is claimed to be compatible to your phone. If the bank is rated lower than the phone, e.g. 2500 vs. 2600, then the bank won't be able to charge the phone from totally empty to full at once, not a big deal.

  2. Thanks! It states:
    • USB charging cable • 2600mAh battery • DC input: 5v - 600mA • DC output: 5v - 1000mA • Compatible with iPod®, iPhone®, iPad®, Android, smartphones, and more

    $9 + S&H

  3. If you use it on T-mobile, can it switch between GSM/UMTS/LTE automatically? Or it is limited to either GSM/UMTS or LTE only?

    1. Good question. You choose the global mode then it'll switch automatically between GSM/umts/hspa and LTE. If you choose GSM/UMTS, it'll stay on gsm/umts/hspa only. If you want LTE only, you dial ##3282#, see my new Note 2 update for details. These two phones are the same on this regard, i.e. you have full control on the way it works on data and voice.

    2. Thanks, this is really helpful. I can understand that they want to enable AWS LTE on S4 due to their new LTE spectrum... It is kind of surprising that Verizon would enable aws hspa+ on the S4. Are you sure it is connecting to T-mobile's AWS H+, not the (refarmed) PCS H+?

      Indeed Verizon's phone are now the best handsets on reselling market, mainly due to that it is 1) global phone; 2) factory unlocked, and 3) Tmo/ATT don't share the blocked IMEI database with them (yet).

    3. Yes it is AWS, because tmobile still have not upgrade my area to 1900 and my other AT&T phones still won't get Tmobile's 3G/4G.

    4. I guess once AWS LTE is enabled, it is difficult to disable just AWS H+. Pantech Element and Burst are such devices too. AT&T enabled AWS LTE on them for its own LTE, but they can get T-Mobile AWS LTE and H+ as well.

    5. Other Verizon LTE phones are SIM unlocked too, but they are much harder to configure, if possible at all. For example, both LG and Moto lock up the PPP NAI, impossible to get them on Sprint/Boost 3G. They won't allow you to select network mode like you can do fully with Samsung. LG and Moto are stupid, if Samsung does not lock these things, why they have to to make carriers happy? HTC are even more open than Samsung, but they are stupid to use small batteries and non-removable, and no SD.

  4. Very informative and worthy post. Thanks for the sharing
    such a precious updates with us.o2 mobiles

  5. Thanks for sharing! Just got my S4 and use it on T-mobile network, works great.

  6. Hi Im in the philippines right now and I have verizon galaxy s4 "sch-i545" but my simcard cant access to the lte network only H+ is activate. What will I do to activate and access my phone to 4g network
    Thanks guys

  7. Can not modify "UIM Only" to "UIM if available" where is this options in CDMA WS? Is it possible change it with out CDMA WS (I got only DEMO version)?
    Simply I need change the MIN and MDN numbers but I think it is not possible with out changing "UIM Only" to "UIM if available", is this right?

    Thank you,

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