BlackBerry's first Android-powered device, the BlackBerry PRIV, was released around a year ago running a clean but hardened version of Android containing a number of BlackBerry's third party applications and utilities. The device represented an interesting alternative to the late 2015 flagship devices as it combined a hardware keyboard with a large, 5.4-inch AMOLED panel, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset and a high end specification. However, in late October a number of customers using the device on America's second largest carrier, AT&T, started reporting issues with the device showing "No Service" despite operating the device in an area of known good coverage. The only fix for the glitch was a reboot, otherwise the device is unable to connect to the AT&T mobile network.
The Canadian company is working on a software update in conjunction with AT&T that will resolve the issue but for the time being, the company has announced a workaround fix called the "Prevention Tool." This means for the time being that resolving the issue is not as straightforward as applying the software update: instead, the process may look quite threatening for some users. First, customers must visit the Settings application, then Security and then Device Administration. Here, enable the "Installation from Unknown Sources" toggle. Next, customers should visit the source link below and install the application file that the document prompts customers to download, which is called "LteCaBugfix.apk." Once the file has been downloaded, customers need to select it and then allow the application to install itself onto the device, agreeing to the prompt about accepting BlackBerry software. Once the patch has been installed, it would be sensible to disable the installation of third party application files onto the device. BlackBerry's support pages highlight that the patch is only designed for AT&T customers using the BlackBerry PRIV, and that those customers using the beta software version AAH505 do not need to run this fix as their device already contains the fix. The support page is also keen to remind customers that under certain network conditions, the device is designed to show "No Service" – that is, when there is no coverage.
It is good to see that BlackBerry has acknowledged the issue that customers had been experiencing with AT&T's network, as well as working with the carrier on a fix, which will be released via a software update, and of course, getting the fix to customers sooner rather than later, even if this is via somewhat unconventional means.