How to access a BlackBerry’s UMA screens

If you have a BlackBerry running on Orange’s network but the phone wasn’t supplied by Orange, your device might not be set up for Unlicensed Mobile Access.

How to access a BlackBerry's UMA screens

It’s possible to reconfigure it to do so, but it means digging deep within some hidden engineering screens on the phone – and I must warn you that if you start poking around in the wrong places on those screens, you can damage your phone.

Also, although these instructions work on all my phones, yours might be different. What I’m really saying is a) be careful, and b) if you brick your phone don’t come crying to me.

Hold down the Alt and Shift keys and press H, to bring up the “Help Me!” screen that shows status information about your phone.

Help screen

If you’re using a SureType device such as an older Pearl, hold down Alt and type EACE, and on SurePress devices such as the Storm series you’ll need to play a game of Twister with your phone screen: hold down the back arrow key while pressing the screen in the top right, top left, top right, top left, then top right again. Then release the back arrow key.

While it’s all useful stuff on that screen, there’s a way to change Alt-Shift-H (and those other key combinations) so that they take you to a series of hidden engineering screens. To do this, you need to obtain a special code that’s unique not merely to your phone but also to the precise time that you input it.

Officially, you’re supposed to get this code from RIM’s website, but access to this site isn’t dished out to mere end users.

There are websites that generate the required codes, but these tend to get served with “cease and desist” orders from RIM, so they aren’t usually around for long.

But if you search in places such as the CrackBerry forums or PinStack, you’ll find both the JavaScript needed to generate an escreen unlock code and little code-generating apps that will run on the phone itself.
Or try Googling for: “app version” pin uptime, and you might find an online calculator.

Once you’ve used one of these calculators you’ll have an eight-digit hex code that you’ll need to type into the “Help Me!” screen. Nothing will appear on the screen as you type each character, but if you do it correctly the screen should change after the eighth character (remember to hold down the Alt key for digits).

Click through to Mobile Network Engineering Screens then Utilities then Session Manager. You’ll probably just see a screen saying Empty, but hit the menu button and select UMA Options.

When you get into UMA options you’ll probably see an empty list, but hit the menu key again and select New. For the display name enter “Factory provisioning” – you can leave the operator name blank but select “3GPP rev. 6” in the UMA protocol dropdown.

UMA screen

For the Provisioning UNC address, type unc.singlephone.orange.co.uk and set the port to 14001. The SEGW address should be singlephone.orange.co.uk. For the SEGW certificate select “Equifax Secure Certificate Authority”. Then hit the menu key and select Save.

If you back out of the Engineering screens and go to Setup | Options | Mobile Network, you should see the Connection Preference option. At this stage I’d suggest you do a battery pull and wait for the phone to re-boot, then connect to your wireless network.

Hopefully, after a minute or two you’ll see either “UMA” or “uma” at the top of the screen. Which one you see depends on your data plan, but with big UMA you get access to everything over the UMA channel, whereas the lower-case uma is only for phone calls and texts.

I must stress that this is only worth doing if your phone is on the Orange network. Although you can enable UMA on any BlackBerry on any network, unless that carrier has invested heavily in the necessary backend servers and equipment, you can’t get it to work.

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