Who on here has replaced the included Volvo AT&T sim card with one for their own carrier?
The AT&T card I got with the car always gave me pretty low signal strength and slow speeds, no matter where I was. That, and because my wireless carrier (Google Fi) gives me free data only SIM's for use with my non-primary phone devices, I figured I'd give that a try rather than pay for yet another service.
1.) SIM card from Google is too small. No worries. This is a common issue and they sell adapter trays.
2.) Even the contact surface on the SIM card seems different. The included AT&T card has a bigger electronic contact surface, with four contact pads across, whereas the Google Sim is smaller with fewer contact pads. Anyone know if this is an issue?
Volvo Sim Cards.jpg
fig. 1: AT&T Card on Left. Google Fi Card (In black adapter) on right
So I looked up sim cards in the Manual, and found that the SIM card holder is in the trunk just behind the seats. In the manual it's pictured with some sort of door to access the holder, but my car does not have this door. I have to take the entire cover that covers the spare tire out to reach it.
fig. 2: Trunk
fig. 3: Trunk, cover removed
fig. 4: Sim card holder
Once I found it, the SIM card holder pulls out to the left, you can pop out the old AT&T card and pop in the new one.
First several tries this did not work at all.
That is when I realized that in their wizdom, Volvo installed the sim card holder such that the contact pins face DOWN. Which means, as you try to insert it, these smaller SIM's in the adapters fall out of the holder as you are inserting them.
A little double sided tape was needed to get them to stick, and in it went, and success, the car detected the SIM card.
The instructions that came with the SIM card said that Google FI requires you to set your APN to "h2g2". with the "Automatically Detect" checkbox enabled, it seemed to work, but just to dot my I's and cross my T's I manually entered h2g2 as below:
fig. 5: APN Configuration Screen. Neither I nor the Google Support people know what the Username and Password fields are for
NOW WITH THE PREAMBLE DONE, ON TO THE REAL PROBLEM:
The SIM Card worked, at least at first. Signal strength is MUCH better than with the AT&T card that came with the car. I even max out full bars on a regular basis. It is often slow though. For instance, starting the Sensus Spotify app after turning on the car is VERY VERY slow. It can often take 5 minutes or more to even get to the point where it displays "my library" and I can select what to play. 5 minutes may not seem like much, but if you are running errands and stopping in many places, you often arrive at your next stop before the music has even started, which is kind of dumb.
At first I chucked it up to Sensus just being its slow like molasses self. I don't understand how my $80 tablet can wake up in a fraction of a second, but the screen in my $50k car takes FOREVER to load on startup. But today, things took a turn for the worse, and I suspect it is the network connectivity which is causing these issues, not the slowness of Sensus.
Driving to brunch this morning, things were working better than usual. I was playing Spotify, it only took a couple of minutes to get started this time which was great. My stepson was in the back seat enjoying the cars WiFi hotspot playing some silly online game on his iPad. He even marveled that the "ping" was pretty good in the car.
Then on the way home things just got worse. Signal strength (as measured by the number of bars) was still good, but everything crept to a standstill. His wifi access point was not doing what he wanted it to, and Spotify? Well Spotify did this:
I appreciate any and all suggestions! I contacted Google Fi support, and to their credit they were helpful, but in th eend they said they couldn't solve it, and gave me a list of supported devices (which Volvo (or any car for that matter) was not on. I get that. They can not be the experts on every LTE device that takes a sim card out there.
So, I turn to you dear forum. Has anyone else used their own SIM card in the car? Anyone used Google Fi?
Did you do anything differently than I did? Any special configurations that I may have missed?
Does the difference in contact surface of the SIM cards have any impact?
Does Spotify work well for you? Does it load fast?
Does anyone know which LTE bands our cars support? This information does not appear to be in the Volvo user manual.