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What a No-Carrier Phone Could Look Like

Todd Weaver, Purism:

The term “no-carrier phone” is used for a mobile phone that does not get its phone number from a carrier. This can take a couple of forms: a WiFi connection-only phone, or a Cellular Data connection-only phone.


We do not need to get our primary mobile phone number from a carrier—routing all our voice data, messaging data and Internet data. If the carriers were just “dumb pipes”, they would offer us data-only connections, allowing us to get personal services from any competitor offering an internet tool we need or like–including a phone number. Sure, the carriers could bundle their own a la carte offering of services, but as the US Congress established a while ago with the FCC during the phone-number-lock-in wars (from the US Telco providers) people should be able to keep their phone number and just switch providers.


This No-Carrier vision could be realized with the Librem 5 combined with Librem Dial–a future part of Librem One bundle.

Once Librem Dial is released in the future, it would mean you could have a non-carrier-provided phone number which could be used no matter what connection you have over-the-top; that you could make or receive calls to your primary phone number if you are on WiFi and no Cellular connection. You could flip the Cellular Modem Hardware Kill Switch (HKS) on your Librem 5 and still call or text from your primary phone number while at that coffee-shop WiFi.


This approach of over-the-top has many added benefits–and only one down-side:

Because cellular carriers offer voice and SMS messaging even when you are outside of cellular data regions, you can still make or receive a call (or send and receive text messaging) with very weak data signals. This is why you can still call and text even if you turn off cellular data on your phone. In a no-carrier model—where the service rides purely over the data connection—your services would only work when there is data connection to your phone, be that WiFi or cellular data. Even with this downside, the benefits are tremendous of course–including having complete privacy control of your device’s location, control over when you’d like to connect and use your cellular data plan, and the ability to switch providers without ever having to reconfigure your accounts or settings.


As you can see, Purism has grandiose plans, and we continue to advance towards them rapidly.

Triple-digit, year-over-year growth offers us a unique opportunity to serve society–as our Social Purpose Corporation status requires–changing society for the better all along the way.

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