Old carphone

I've got a fitted BMW GSM carphone in a 1998 540i. As recommended by someone, I bought a SIM card and stuck it in the slot without pressing it from the credit-card-sized holder they come in. After getting it the right
way up the phone seemed to accept the card. However, it just displays "Searching" for a few minutes and then gives up.
I don't know where to start troubleshooting this. Incompatible card (phones usually tell you though), faulty phone, disconnected aerial...?
I am in the UK and the card I bought was Virgin Mobile.
Has anyone else in the newsgroup got one of these phones?
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Check the obvious like fuses and aerial present and connected, but my guess is that you have bought a SIM on a network that only uses the 18-1900MHz band and the cars phone only works on 900MHz band.
Look in the menus to get a display of active networks.
If you can see them get a card from O2 or Vodafone! (or borrow a mates).
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Genius. The manual says it works on 900MHz and Virgin uses T-Mobile who use 1800MHz. In fact, in case anyone else wants to know, it seems only Vodafone and O2 are 900MHz. T-Mobile and Orange are 1800. Shame I'm on 3 and my card only works in 3G phones.

I got it to show Cellnet but then did a search and it just sat there so I'm not sure if it was remembering having previously used it. I've ordered a Vodafone card online (they're free!).
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Not the only reason it's a shame...

Initially, but don't you have to top up...

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Is your current 540 wired for it? I bought a (the only!) suitable handset from ebay for around 30 a few months ago, works great (although only 2 features don't work: incoming caller display & something to do with not draining the battery if you leave it in place for extended periods when the car is not being used - there are the things you use by NOT buying the handset with the BMW-installed phone software).
--
jeremy ['01 BMW 530iA SE Touring]
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Jeremy wrote:

This might be of interest to you. There seem to be several companies offering retrofit Bluetooth kits for BMWs going back to the mid-90s. They use real BMW parts from later models. You get the latest control unit which they CLAIM gives you voice control over the sat nav as well, but I don't know to what extent, the armrest with a tray for your phone, and the wiring and instructions. Doesn't seem to matter much if you had a phone originally because you can buy bits and pieces like the mic. Cost around $600-700 US which at the current rate of exchange is not bad. Try www.bimmernav.com - I know nothing about them except what's there.
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AAAksherly... whilst it is true that O2 (nee Cellnet) and Vodafone are the original 900 MHz operators and T-Mobile (nee One2One or whatever the spelling was) and Orange started life on a then completely different 1800 MHz network, I have it on good authority that O2 and Vodafone utilise 1800 MHz transmitters to fill in the reception gaps.
My early car phone (as in 'screwed to the car') worked on 900 MHz only. My first digital (and portable) phone (Nokia!) worked on 900 MHz only. The first Nokia that worked in North America on this awkwardly different frequency (1900 MHz) was only dual-band: 900 and 1900 MHz, manually switchable. It was Motorola that came out with the first popular phone that switched automatically and then Nokia came out with a tri-band 900/1800/1900. The 6310i is an iconic example. I have still have one (fits into my car cradle) and so do many other people.
It might be that Orange and T-Mobile (& anybody piggy-backing off them like Virgin and Tesco mobile) still only have 1800 MHz transmitters but it would surprise me slightly.
AFAIK all phones sold in the UK (all Europe?) are at least dual-band 900/1800. All digital, of course. As somebody else observed, analogue has been switched off here.
Still, a 1998 phone could still be subject to some compatibility problems.
I hope it works for you. You might also have to do a software update. An old phone can't necessarily handle a modern SIM card.
The reason the phone shows "Cellnet" in receipt of the O2 signal is that is how it is 'hard-programmed'. Dunno what would happen with a Vodafone signal. Probably will show "Vodafone" since the company hasn't changed its name since 1998.
DAS
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R. Mark Clayton wrote:

Vodafone works! Thanks.
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Seems you can get a Vodafone SIM free online so I'll try that. Thanks.
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Analogue systems have been switched off now - the only one that worked was either O2 or Vodaphone.
Virgin use the T-Mobile higher frequency transmission masts and Orange also use the high frequency signals too. O2 & Vodaphone run on the lower frequency band but not analogue any more.
I used a Nokia CAR-K kit and holder for my 6310i and have now replaced this with an aftermarket 6230i holder and convertor lead 55 from mobilefun.com (might be co.uk)
I also junked the original armrest ans it totally useless as the phone unit in the boot - left the aerial as too lazy to swap and use a sitcky one on the windscreen
Vehicle 97 740i
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!
Hugh Gundersen snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk wrote:

This one should be OK, it's GSM, now known as 2G.

ISTR the ones without a phone had a huge and rather useful storage space inside the armrest. I wonder if there is anything inside the phone one or if it's just wasted space?
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What you got was two long narrow storage spaces for a few pens/pencils and or maybe coins (dash holder is pretty good at that).
I swapped the centre console for the standard NO PHONE one and have not regretted it as one can collect a shed load of junk in there - much better than your pocket or floor.
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!
Hugh Gundersen snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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