Activating a Nokia Lumia 920 on EE

11/17/2012

Introduction

On Friday, November 9th 2012 I went to Phones4U and upgraded my T-Mobile number to a new EE contract with a Nokia Lumia 920. After 21 days we eventually got it connected to the EE network.

Last updated:   Thu, 29 Nov
Situation: Concluded
Status: Resolved
Days without service: 21

If you're interested in solving a similar problem, rather than going through the history of events, see this post.

Events

The table below contains an up-to-date, chronological history of events. Click More... for a detailed description.

Day 1 Fri, 9 Nov Upgraded my existing MSISDN to an EE contract with a Nokia Lumia 920 at Phones4U. More...
  I went to the Oxford Street Phones4U at 2pm and signed a contract with EE for the 8Gb tariff + roaming and a Lumia 920. They only had two Lumias in stock, and there was a lot of confusion about whether the black or white Lumia was appropriate for a T-Mobile upgrade. Also, I wasn't given the SIM card that was on the paperwork - their activation system wouldn't allow the contract/SIM/phone combination. I left with the phone, SIM and contract at 4pm.  
  My old SIM was deactivated, but the new SIM wasn't activated doesn't work. More...
  My old T-Mobile SIM card stopped working at 5pm the same day (later confirmed by someone from the EE technical team).

Lumia 920 status bar - The First Phones4U SIM

The status bar of my Nokia Lumia 920 with the Phones4U SIM card

Lumia 920 - SIM Error Message

Error message when attempting a call.
 
Day 2 Sat, 10 Nov EE support said a mass update was being done, so wait it out 'till Monday. More...
  When the new SIM in the Lumia 920 hadn't started working by 3pm, I called EE support. I spoke with Matthew. Matthew said EE was having lots of teething problems, and that a "mass update" was being performed, and asked me to wait until Monday, at which point my phone should just start working.  
Day 4 Mon, 12 Nov EE support told me to upgrade the firmware to version 1244.3011. Firmware was already up to date. More...
  At 5:40pm the SIM card still hadn't activated. I called EE support again, and spoke with Emily. Emily asked me to update the firmware on my Lumia 920 to the revision number ending in 1244.3011. I hung up, checked the firmware version number, and it was the revision number ending in 1244.3011.

Lumia 920 - Firmware revision
 
  EE walked me through everything from battery level to blacklists. More...
  I called EE support again at 6:02pm, and spoke to Jonathan. We spent 40 minutes on the phone, trying everything from turning the phone off and on again, to his checking the backlist. He then asked me to try the SIM card in another handset from the same manufacturer. The only handset from the same manufacturer I have access to is my Lumia 800, which I was calling him from, so I asked if I could try his suggestion, and asked if he could he call me back 5 minutes later to see the result.  
  They concluded that my SIM is faulty, and to get a replacement SIM card. More...
  I still had call forwarding on my work phone, so when he called back it forwarded his call to my EE SIM, which obviously doesn’t work. Duh. My bad. So I called EE back, and the guy I spoke with said Jonathan would call me back again. Jonathan called back at 19:20pm, and thinks it's a SIM fault. He put me through to someone on the “technical team”, Jeff (Geoff?). Jeff confirmed that the migration of old SIM -> new SIM completed at 5pm on Nov. 9th, and that 5pm is the time the new SIM was activated. Jeff suggested I replace the SIM. Call ended at 7:41pm.  
Day 5 Tue, 13 Nov Replaced my SIM at an EE shop on Oxford Street. More...
  Went to an EE shop on Oxford Street at 1pm or so. Got a new SIM from Armen, and put it into the Lumia 920.  
  The new SIM caused the phone to continuously restart. The cycle is:  
 
  1. Power on (or restart, from 8).
  2. Nokia logo appears.
  3. Cyan page with Windows Phone logo appears.
  4. Home/tiles page appears.
  5. SIM indicator shows flight mode.
  6. SIM indicator shows no service indicator.
  7. Handset freezes (screen doesn't respond to gestures).
  8. Go to 1 (Phone restarts).
 
  Purchased a 3G PAYG SIM from T-Mobile. Calls and Internet work in the Lumia 920 using this SIM. More...
  I wanted to see whether the phone was faulty. The phone is locked to T-Mobile, Orange and EE, so I couldn't test this with my work phone's SIM, which is on Vodafone. I got a T-Mobile PAYG SIM, put it into the Lumia 920, and everything just worked. No 4G, obviously, but calls, SMS and 3G work well.  
Day 6 Wed, 14 Nov Lots going on at work, unable to do more until Friday.  
Day 8 Fri, 16 Nov Replaced my SIM at an EE shop on Oxford Street. The restarting cycle happens with the new SIM too. More...
  I took a chance and tried for a SIM swap in another EE shop on Oxford Street, in the hope that they might have SIM cards that work. At 12:00pm I went to an EE shop on Oxford Street and got a new SIM card. The SIM card just continuously restarts the phone, much as the second one did.  
  EE support instructed me to exchange the phone for another. More...
  At 1:55pm I called EE again to report that the third SIM also continuously restarts the phone. Spoke with Kirsty, who suggested I go into Phones4U and swap out the handset, and to make sure it works before I leave the shop. About to do that now (2:15pm)...  
  Went to Phones4U to exchange my phone. More...
  At 4:30pm I was at Phones4U on Oxford Street. I explained the story so far to Mohammed. He called their support desk, and witnessed the restart cycle for himself, all the while telling the support desk what he was doing and seeing.  
  We tested my SIM in two other (new) Lumia 920s. Both went into the restart cycle. More...
  Mohammed went downstairs and returned with a new Lumia 920. We tried my SIM card in that, and it also went into the restart cycle. He then went to fetch a yellow Lumia 920, tried again, with the same result.  
  We tested my SIM in a new HTC Windows Phone 8X. It too went into the restart cycle. More...
  While Mohammed was downstairs for the yellow Lumia he asked me to hold the phone to the support desk. When the support techie came back onto the call we started chatting, and I suggested trying my SIM in another manufacturer's phone, just to be sure. After confirming that the yellow Luia also didn't work, we tested my SIM card in an HTX 8X, with the same result - the HTC also went into the restart cycle described above.  
Day 10 Sun, 18 Nov Sent Charlotte, the EE Community administrator, a private message with a link to this page.  
Day 11 Mon, 19 Nov Lots of anecdotal reports online point at an issue with the Windows Phone 8 operating system. More...
  The Register posted an article this morning that links to various reports on Microsoft's Answers site; Nokia's Discussions site; and WP Central's forums, of the continuous restart cycle, as well as random OS freezes and isolated restarts. This affects the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X.  
  Charlotte, the EE Community administrator, sent me a private message saying she'd passed my details to a customer service expert.  
Day 12 Tue, 20 Nov My 9-month-old son is ill, so I wasn't able to progress this.  
Day 13 Wed, 21 Nov Went to Phones4U who insisted just re-activating my original SIM card would solve it. It didn't. More...
  I was at Phones4U at 10am when they opened. The guy I spoke to listened to my story, and said all he needed to do was to re-active the original SIM card I'd gotten from Phones4U on the 9th of November. This is the SIM card gave an "Invalid or missing SIM" error, so while not causing the restart cycle, I wasn't convinced but agreed. It's somethign else to rule out. I gave it 24 hours, but it didn't work.  
Day 14 Thu, 22 Nov Went to Phones4U for a SIM swap. This time we made progress. More...
  I was at Phones4U at 12pm. Aiden, the guy they put me in front of, knew exactly what the issue was. Aiden said he'd solved another case like this yesterday, and that he'd do the same for me. Awesome. He did the SIM swap, spoke to EE who do the activation, and when the SIM was put into the Nokia I had 4 bars of signal. Wow! Unfortunately that signal was lost when I checked the phone about 5 minutes after leaving Phones4U, and I've had no signal or service since then.

Lumia 920 status bar - The Second Phones4U SIM

I'm guessing this is the abysmal EE activation system taking it's time, as described in the links I posted previously.

Lumia 920 - Making a call   Lumia 920 - Can't connect
 
  I updated Charlotte, the EE Community administrator, with my progress.  
  Charlotte, the EE Community administrator, asked if I'd heard from EE support. I had not.  
Day 15 Fri, 23 Nov Lots of work today, and a full weekend, so unable to progress this.  
Day 18 Mon, 26 Nov Phoned EE support again this morning, and was told my Lumia 920 is faulty, and to exchange it. More...
  Spoke with Blaire at EE support this morning. Blaire ran me through the usual routine; select EE as the operator, check the firmware version, do a restart, and so forth. She concluded that I need to exchange my handset, so off I went to Phones4U to exchange my handset.  
  Aiden of Phones4U spent two hours on the phone to EE and Nokia, with no result. More...
  Aiden is awesome, really. He spoke with EE support, EE second-line support, a Windows Phone representative, and eventually to Nokia technical support. Everyone feels the handset is not the problem, and that replacing the handset will not resolve the problem. Aiden tells me that my name and handset IMEI number are now on a spreadsheet, and that it's been escalated.  
  Still no word from Charlotte's support team.  
  James contacted me using the Wittenburg.co.uk Contact page, and offered a glimpse at a solution. More...
  James explained that he got his Lumia 920 working by placing the SIM card into a Samsung Omnia 7, making a call, and then putting the SIM card back into the Lumia 920. I happen to have an Omnia 7, but at home, so I tried my SIM in my Lumia 800, which I had with me. This produced the same "No service" status.  
Day 19 Tue, 27 Nov Received another message from the Wittenburg.co.uk Contact page, suggesting the same solution as James'. More...
  This message came from Duncan, who'd had a similar issue and, like James, was able to resolve it by making a call from another handset before putting his SIM card into his Lumia 920.
I then tried my SIM in my Omnia7. This which produced the same "No service" status as it did in the Lumia 920, and the Lumia 800.
 
  Had another SIM swap done at an EE store on Oxford Street. More...
  The messages from James and Duncan both indicated that their EE SIM worked in their other (non-LTE) handsets. Becuase it didn't work in my Omnia 7 I assumed that between the Lumia 920 and Lumia 800 my SIM must've broken to a point where it wouldn't work in any phone anymore. I went to an EE store on Oxford Street where I explained my problem to Armen, who did another SIM swap at no charge.
Armen mentioned that EE was starting to take an interest in cases like mine. I had a printed version of this blog page with me, which he made a photo copy of.
 
  I received a response from Charlotte's customer care team, in the form of an email from Alistair. More...
  Alistair suggested a soft reset, and if that didn't work, a hard reset. I tried both, with no luck. He then suggested putting the SIM card into another handset, exactly as suggested by James and Duncan.
The rest of the day got busy, and I had to pick my son up from nursery, so had no opportunity to try this out.
 
Day 20 Wed, 28 Nov My partner needs to work, so I'm at home looking after my little force of nature today. This works out as Alistair isn't in today either.  
Day 21 Thu, 29 Nov Tried the new SIM card in my Omnia 7. It shows "No service". Alistair suggests I go to an EE store and try there. More...
  Went to an EE store on Oxford Street. There we tried the SIM card in a Samsung Galaxy Note II. It too showed "No service". JD, the guy helping me out, called Alistair. Alistair instructed JD to do a SIM replacement, which produced the same "No service" status in the Galaxy Note II before being put into my Lumia 920.
At this point we determined that my upgrade from T-Mobile had failed somewhere, and that the SIM card didn't know which network to connect to, to register itself. JD said I could wait until Alistair finds a solution, or come back later. I have work to do, so went back to the office.
 
  Alistair instructs JD to do a SIM replacement in the store, which resulted in the "No service" status on the Galaxy Note. More...
  JD, the guy helping me out, called Alistair. Alistair instructed JD to do a SIM replacement, which produced the same "No service" status in the Galaxy Note II before being put into my Lumia 920.
At this point we determined that my upgrade from T-Mobile had failed somewhere, and that the SIM card didn't know which network to connect to, to register itself. JD said I could wait until Alistair finds a solution, or come back later. I have work to do, so went back to the office.
 
  JD called to tell me that my new SIM was working. Unfortunately it still continuously restarts my Lumia 920. More...
  Went back to the EE store on Oxford Street, where JD showed me the Galaxy Note II with my SIM card. He made a call, sent a text, and all was looking good.
I put the SIM card into my Lumia 920, which promptly went back into the continuous restart cycle. I had to go, so took my phone and the SIM card, and planned to pick this up with Alistair in the morning.
 
  Success. I got the Lumia 920 working with my SIM card, and connected to the 4G EE network. More...
  At around 10pm I put the SIM card into my Lumia 800. It picked up a signal immediately. Out of curiosity I put it back into the Lumia 920, and... well, it just picked up a signal and worked. Not sure why the Galaxy Note II didn't work and the Lumia 800 did, but my Lumia 920 is now connected to the 4G EE network.  

Conclusion

This has been quite an epic, and I'm really pleased it's working. There's clearly been a bit of a disconnect at EE, but they're aware of the problems now, and working their way through them. I guess it's a risk one takes as an early adopter. That said, the 4G connection on EE is blindingly quick, and I love both the Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8, so I'm glad I didn't throw in the towel and cancel my contract.

I'm doing a Krav Maga course all Saturday (with Eyal Yanilov, going to be good), so will write have witten up a troubleshooting guide on Sunday.


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