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Sony Xperia X1i gets H and not 3G on ATT

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 by Paul White

To help everyone follow my story I have broken it down by date.

July 20th, 2009
After realizing that Tmobile only supports the 1700 and 2100 Bands for 3G.  I decided to switch to AT&T.  My new Sony Xperia X1i supports both the 850 and 1900 bands which are used for AT&T's 3G.   I called them, and talked to a very nice customer service rep that helped me setup my plan.  The bad part was I was going to have to wait 3 days for the sim card to arrive.  I figured for 3G speeds on my Sony Xperia X1i it was worth it.

July 23th, 2009
Found a FedEx envelope on my front door.  Inside was the sim card and activation instructions.  I tried the only activation and it failed.  I had to call in to get activation.

1st customer care rep.

Very nice but was unable to help me.  She transferred me to another rep in sales.

2nd Customer care rep from Sales

She helped me get the sim card activated.  Turns out that AT&T's Data plan is dependent on your IMEI number.  I had to give her the IMEI number, then AT&T automatically uploaded the proper settings on my phone.  All was good but I was not seeing a G box on my phone. So they transfered me to someone from the data department

Windows Mobile Data box for dummies.
Most Windows Mobile Devices, have a little box that denotes what kind of data connection the device currently has.  Inside the box will be an
"G" for GPRS
"E" for Edge
"3G" for G3/UMTS
"H" for HSDPA

3rd Customer care rep from Data

My device was displaying an H, which at the time I thought was weird, as I was expecting an 3G.  After I got transfered to the data rep, I thought they woul get this fixed.  Instead he went on to tell me that their billing system is setup to automatically allow 3G to the device depending on the IMEI number of the phone.  Bascially if you didn't buy your phone from AT&T they are not going to open up 3G to your phone.  So basically its political.  This enraged me.  Plus the rep said there is no way to manually override this.  So even though my hardware is unlocked, and it supports he 850 and 1900 bands that  are used for ATT 3G.  Since I didn't buy my phone from AT&T they will not give me 3G service.  This to me was the most F@#Ked up thing in the world.  He then asked if I would like to upgrade my device to an Iphone which would be supported by 3G?  I said no, but do you have any other devices that have an 800 x 480 display and run windows Mobile 6.1 or higher?  He said no but the Iphone is nice.  It was obvious this guy had never done any server administration before. He didn't even know what Terminal Services Client was.  So I asked for a refund and to cancel my service.  He transferred me to another rep to handle that.

4th Customer care rep for Cancellations

When this rep asked me why I was cancelling,  I let her have it.  but at the same time I was googling what exactly this "H" box was on my phone.  Never seen it before.  So she told me I would have to port my number back to Tmobile to cancel. So I got off the phone with her and continued to research this H box

H Box means HSDPA which is better than 3G.

After reading around I figured out that H is a good thing and I was bitching to AT&T for nothing.  However it still pissing me off that they block 3G from my phone just because it was not purchased from AT&T.  So for everyone with a Sony Xperia X1i.  If you get on AT&T in the USA.  You will get access to HSDPA.  After doing a speed test on CNET.  I found the device gets 1024 Kb/sec.  Which is not too bad.  I live in Pearland which is about 25 minutes south of downtown Houston.  The data connection jumps between E and H depending on interference.  I assume that when I am closer to the towers and downtown Houston, the stability of the HSDPA will be greater. 

Even though I still don't aggree with AT&T on restricting 3G from their customers that bring their own hardware to the network.  I decided to stick with them for the HSDPA.

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Jeffrey Lin | Aug 6, 2009 6:19 PM
I think the rep was misunderstood. AT/T probably won't send configuration packages (probably a cab in your case) if they don't know your model/IMEI, but they won't stop you from using the 3g network. And I was wondering why you were ranting about getting an H instead of 3G until halfway through your story. Good read! I'll possibly be able to get an X1i from overseas sometime soon and I'm looking forward to jumping ship from Verizon to AT&T. (Indeed, if you switch back to T-Mobile, you'll definitely only have an E... so that's out of the question for me.)
Paul | Aug 11, 2009 11:00 PM
Jeffrey, I can honestly say that the Sony Xperia X1i on AT&T rocks. Just hit up ebay. There are always plenty for sale on there. Thanks for the comment
Micah Barron | Mar 1, 2010 1:24 PM
I just purchased the xperia x2. After dealing with AT&T, I came to the exact same conclusions you did after your first dealings.  I was so frustrated, then I found this post.  Your story is exactly what i went through as well. I was upset, thinking that i'd have to return the phone to the seller, then i realized during my initial startup and fumbling with the phone, it said H at one point.  I, like an idiot of course, started wondering why it was there and was doing everything i could to get it back to an E. Now after reading your experience, I realize i need to try to get the H to come back... sadly, no luck as of yet, but my fingers are still crossed.  I don't want to have to lose this phone, so far I'm still smitten with it!
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