Cell Phones

Computer2.com has information about the Sony Ericsson WSOD (White Screen of Death), Wet cell phones, our change from CDMA to a GSM network, Unlocking, LG ME550D Tigo problem, Sony Ericsson comments.

NOTE: Sony Ericsson cell phones are no longer being made. Sony purchased the share of the company that had been owned by Ericsson, on February 16, 2012. Sony sells cell phones under the Sony brand name.

Lanny’s Sony Ericsson W300i Walkman cellular, which was working perfectly, before charging the battery, was damaged, on 02 November 2007, while the battery was being charged, for approximately one hour, with the Sony Ericsson battery charger that came with the phone. When it was turned on, after charging the battery, the screen was White for a second and then blank for a few seconds and then White again and that blinking sequence repeated. He posted in a forum on Mobile Review and the people who replied told him this is a very common problem, with Sony Ericsson GSM cell phones. It is called the White Screen Of Death or WSOD. Computer2.com has information about WSOD and how you may be able to restore your phone to service.


Sony Ericsson W300i

Sony Ericsson W300i

The network operator the phone had been purchased from, Movistar (Telefonica Moviles Colombia), sent the phone to their Service Center in Bogotá and Lanny was then told that it could not be repaired. The Technician who made that determination apparently had very little experience with Sony Ericsson cell phones, which were extremely common. Lanny did a lot of research on the web and learned that frequently WSOD is due to a problem with the Firmware and can be fixed, by Flashing the Firmware. A very special thank you, to Wotan Server! On 24 December 2007, for 7 Euros ($10.35 USD at that time) Lanny purchased one Credit from WotanServer.com and his Sony Ericsson W300i Walkman worked perfectly again for several years after that.

If you have a Sony Ericsson cellular phone with WSOD, you can Download and install their Wotan Client, the USB Flash Driver and step by step Quick Reference Guide, before you purchase a Credit from them. You should begin the process and verify that the EROM (Extended ROM) in your phone has a RED CID, before you spend any money, if you use the older version (1.1.9) of the Wotan Client. If your phone has a BROWN CID (BROWN phones are for Developers), their service will not be able to repair your phone. It works with the DCU-60 USB cable supplied with the W300i.

Lanny then paid someone, locally, who had the software and special cable required, to unlock his W300i, and then began using it on the COMCEL network. The phone worked properly. for 4 or 5 additional years. WSOD seems to occur when: (a) Charging the battery (b) Connecting the phone to a PC and then disconnecting and (c) Turning the phone on and off. Probably one should minimize those actions, with cellular phones made by any company.

Pilar had a problem with her Sony Ericsson W300i Walkman. The phone would stop working, after the battery was charged. We were not sure if the problem was the battery, the battery charger, or the circuit board inside the phone. Solution: The phone had been dropped. Putting a piece of paper inside the phone, to hold the battery more securely, solved the problem. It worked for several years after that.

Lanny had a problem with his Sony Ericsson W300i Walkman, when using it on the Tigo network. With full signal strength, frequently, he would get a message that the phone could only be used for emergency calls. Possibly there was some interference and because of the very poor Quality Control of Sony Ericsson cell phones, it could not reject the interference. When Lanny used his Nokia 2610 on the Tigo network, he did not have this problem. This is probably one confirmation of the better software quality in Nokia GSM cell phones.

The Sony Ericsson Walkman phones were wonderful for music! There were Quality Control problems with the wonderful W300i phones, because Pilar’s phone sometimes did not have a signal, when Lanny’s phone had the signal and could be used and both phones were on the same network and in the same place.

Our Sony Ericsson W300i’s had 25 MB of internal memory and a 256 MB Memory Stick Micro (M2™). In a phone with a camera and music, the more memory, the better! Pilar bought the tiny Sony Ericsson MPS-60 portable speakers for her W300i phone. They were powered by the battery in her W300i. The sound level they produce was impressive, for such tiny speakers. The display on the W300i is almost impossible to read, if you are in direct sunlight. For example, it is almost impossible to see the list of contacts, if you want to make a phone call, in direct sunlight. The box Lanny’s Sony Ericsson W300i came in said that it was made in Mexico, however, when he removed the battery, it said that it was made in Malaysia.

If your cell phone should get wet, immediately remove the battery and the SIM card and memory chip and dry off the phone as much as is possible, with a paper towel or a dry towel. Then, leave it open, to dry, for several days. Something we did not try was to put the wet phone into a plastic container full of Rice or Cat Litter. Put the phone on top of the Rice or Cat Litter and then put the lid on the container. The idea is the Rice or Cat Litter will absorb moisture from the wet phone.

Lanny’s W300i was in the water, twice, for a few seconds each time, in a vinyl holster. That had nothing to do with his W300i getting WSOD, six months later, but it provided Movistar (Telefonica Moviles Colombia) a reason to say the warranty on the phone was void and that he would need to pay for the repair.

The Colombian division of our original cell phone provider, BellSouth, was sold to Telefonica of Spain. Telefonica is one of the companies interested in the GSM technology and they began installing a GSM network in Colombia and switching their customers from CDMA to GSM. During September 2005, we changed, from CDMA cell phones to GSM phones, with our cell phone network, Movistar (Telefonica Moviles Colombia). We selected Sony Ericssson T290a phones. With the weak GSM signal in our house, we found that sitting at the Dining Room table, Pilar’s T290a did not have a signal, when Lanny’s phone had a signal. Also, people visiting our house, who were on the same Movistar GSM network, with cell phones made by other companies, had a signal, when our Sony Ericsson phones did not have a signal.

CDMA technology, the most common in the United States, permits conversations with a very weak signal, in the noise. GSM technology requires an extremely strong signal, 15 dB above the noise. CDMA phones usually have shorter talk time with their batteries, but, they are better in weak signal, rural locations. GSM phones are the easiest, when one gets a new phone, because the contacts and other information are on a SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module), which can be inserted into the new GSM phone. After Lanny’s Sony Ericsson W300i Walkman was damaged by the White Screen of Death, he bought a Nokia 2610, from another cell phone company, Tigo. The contacts on the Movistar SIM card that was in his W300i were copied, to the memory of an unlocked cell phone and then copied from that phone, to the new SIM card, in the new Tigo phone.

Melissa’s Nokia 1108 was Unlocked and it could then be used on any of the three (3) GSM network’s in Colombia. These are very rugged cell phones and the battery has high capacity for such a basic model. The keypad is sealed, which prevents dirt from getting inside the case. Her phone was on the COMCEL GSM network and was the first phone we purchased from COMCEL. During October 2010 it stopped working. There was no signal. Possibly the cable to the antenna or the antenna was bad. The Nokia 1108 has been retired and is no longer in service.

Nokia 1108

Nokia 1108

Lanny unlocked his Nokia 6800, using the free service for older Nokia GSM phones based on the DCT4 platform (3200, 6800 and many others) at GSMLiberty.net We tried to unlock Pilar’s Nokia 3200b, which was imported by the superstore where we shop (probably from the USA), but it was so restricted, that it would not even work with another SIM card, from the same network provider, Comcel. (MSIN Lock, which is SIM Specific or SIM lock). Apparently, it would require someone with a special cable and software, to do a mobile phone unlock for the Nokia 3200b. Both of our Sony Ericsson W300i Walkman phones were unlocked and also the Nokia 2610, was unlocked. The most common way to unlock a Sony Ericsson phone is with a Patch. After the phone is unlocked, if the Firmware is updated, the phone will probably be locked to the original carrier again and need to be unlocked a second time. We also found that the Firefly phone we purchased from Comcel would not accept Pilar’s Comcel SIM card, so it was apparently locked to the SIM that came with it, like Pilar’s Nokia 3200b.

Caution: If you try to unlock an older Nokia phone based on the DCT4 platform, do not try more than four (4) unlock codes during a session. If you are not successful with the 5th unlock code, the phone will lock up and you will need to unlock it with a special cable. Also, you may be in violation of your service agreement and void the warranty, so if your phone is under contract, read it, before you try to unlock any cell phone!

Our Nokia DCT4 phones were Dual band or Tri band models. The Sony Ericsson W300i was a Quad band model. These are called “World” phones and they operate on the four (4) most common GSM bands: 850, 900,1800 and 1900. An unlocked “World” phone will work on the majority of GSM network’s in the world. There are countries where some or all of the GSM service is on other GSM bands. For example, in Denmark, Israel and South Korea; some or all of the service is on the GSM 2100 band. If we travel, we can purchase a Prepaid SIM card in the country we are visiting and save a great deal of money, because we will not need to pay Roaming and other charges to our network provider at home.

During October 2008, Camilo purchased an LG ME550D Slider, with a camera, from Tigo (Colombia Movil S.A. E.S.P.). Approximately two weeks later, he had to return it for repair.

Photo: LG 550D cell phone

LG 550D

There was a problem that caused the phone not to receive incoming calls, although there was no problem with the Tigo GSM signal at that time. It was an intermittent problem. Apparently, frequently, when the phone received a phone call, it sent data to the Tigo network, indicating that it was not available (busy, turned off or out of range?) and the caller was directed to voice mail, when the phone was actually not being used, had the signal and was available to receive the call. We doubt this is typical of LG cell phones, but the one Camilo bought was a “Lemon”. The phone was finally replaced by Tigo, after being there for service, many times; during June or July 2009. Their handling of this defective LG ME550D Slider was horrible. Tigo did not manufacture the defective cell phone, but they sold the phone and they were supposed to honor the warranty. They replaced it with another cell phone made by LG, a different model, which worked properly.

During March 2010, Lanny stopped using his Nokia 6800 Messaging Device, because the contacts between the two sections, when the phone was opened, so one can use the Split QWERTY keyboard, which is wonderful for sending SMS (Text) messages, wore out. Frequently, the keys on the left side of the keyboard were dead, along with the keys on the keypad.

Nokia 6800 Messaging Device

Nokia 6800 Messaging Devic

Lanny then began using a Nokia 2610 he purchased from Tigo, on the Comcel network. A basic phone that worked very well, for voice calls and for SMS (Text) Messages. Like many other cell phone models, it was virtually impossible to read the display in sunlight or inside with a lot of light. He lost the Nokia 2610 during May 2011. Then, he purchased another SIM card, with the same phone number, from COMCEL. He lost all of the Contacts that were on the original SIM card, Backup your Contacts, to another SIM card, or, if you have a phone with connectivity, to your PC.

Photo: Nokia 2610 cell phone

Nokia 2610

Pilar’s phone, for years, was a Nokia 3200b which was on the Comcel network. The Nokia 3200b has a strange keypad and it looks flimsy, however, it is a very rugged phone. The 3200b was not sold in Colombia, normally, and we could not find a replacement battery for it. That phone has been retired.

Photo: Nokia_3200b cell phone

Nokia 3200b

All of our Nokia cell phones have very high capacity batteries. Melissa wanted a cell phone for her 6th birthday and she received a Firefly.

Photo: Firefly cell phone


The Firefly was supposedly very easy to use (buttons on the front to call Mother and Father, great for young children who cannot read) and very safe for children, because parents can set it to send and receive calls, only to/from phone numbers that are in the phone’s directory. However, Melissa (and her parents) found the Firefly to be very hard to use and problematic and she switched to a phone designed for adults.

The display in the Nokia 2610, like the displays in our Sony Ericsson W300i Walkman’s, were impossible to read in direct sunlight, and, frequently, inside. Not being able to view the display is an extremely common problem, with the majority of cell phones, made by many different manufacturers. If you need to use your cell phone outdoors, during daylight hours, select your cell phone with extreme care. In the case of an emergency, not being able to view the display could be a horrible problem. Turning the contrast to a very low level made it somewhat easier to read the Nokia 2610’s LCD display in bright light.

Owners of GSM cellular phones should confirm that the IMEI number of the phone is the same as the number shown on the box. Sometimes, phones are switched and the IMEI number on the box it came in is not the IMEI number of your phone. To view the IMEI number, press *#06# It’s a 15 digit number. If your GSM phone is lost or stolen, notify your cell phone provider and they can block the IMEI number of that phone.

Our understanding was that for connections to GSM networks, Samsung and Nokia phones had the best software. And, for connections to CDMA networks, that Kyocera phones had the best software.

Mayerli, Camilo’s wife, had a Sony Ericsson Z310a on the Tigo network. It developed what may have been WSOD (White Screen of Death), without the Screen flashing White and then blank.

Photo: Sony-Ericsson-Z310a cell phone

Sony Ericsson Z310a

Or, it may have been another problem that caused the software to become corrupted. The lights on the keyboard were flashing and the phone was not working. Lanny was able to connect to it with the older version of the Wotan Client (1.1.9) and get the basic information about the phone with that. With the XS++ program from SE-NSE, he was not able to backup the GDFS, the one section of software in a Sony Ericsson cell phone that is impossible to get from another phone or source, apparently because the IMEI name and the GDFS name were not the same.

Lanny was able to restore the phone to service, by using the free Sony Ericsson Update Service and it was working properly until the day someone who was in their house with permission, stole the phone. In our house, this phone, after it was restored to service, frequently had a message on the display that it was only for Emergency calls, although there was a strong signal from the Tigo cell. Either the cell was busy or this is an example of Sony Ericsson cell phones not being able to cope with interference or having bad software.

The same Tigo cell, on a Nokia phone, using the same SIM, had never experienced this problem, although the signal was frequently weak. That Z310a had a problem with the display, but it would cost more to replace the display than the phone was worth.

Camilo had a ZTE N281 on the Comcel network. This is a very nice, high end cell phone. He got that phone during July 2010 and used it for approximately one year, until it developed a problem with the display that would have been costly to repair.

Photo: ZTE_N281 cell phone

ZTE N281

After he lost the Nokia 2610 in May 2011, Lanny purchased another SIM card, with the same phone number, from the operator, COMCEL. He then purchased the least expensive Nokia phone sold by COMCEL in Colombia, a Nokia 1616. This is a very basic phone, and probably has the best “Build Quality” of any cell phone Lanny has ever used. It is extremely easy to use and the only phone Lanny enjoyed using more is the Nokia 6800 Messaging Device. It does not have a camera or Bluetooth, but it does have a Radio. Lanny is now using the Nokia 1616.

Photo: Nokia 1616 cell phone

Nokia 1616

Pilar’s Sony Ericsson W300i, which Mayerli had been using, got WSOD. During July 2011, Lanny tried to restore the phone to service. First, with the Wotan Server service, which was free at that time, because Wotan Server was celebrating their anniversary. Then, with the XS++ program. Even after restoring the GDFS section, he was not able to restore that phone to operation. There were signs of life, but the end result was that for this particular phone, like many other Sony Ericsson phones, this WSOD was indeed the cause of “death”. Lanny posted in a forum on SE-NSE.NET but did not receive any replies with suggestions of what additional steps he might try with that phone.

If you are planning to purchase a high end cell phone, we suggest that you concentrate on the Samsung Android phones and the Apple iPhone. If you are planning to purchase a low end cell phone, we suggest that you concentrate on the Samsung and Nokia models.

Mobile-Review.net is a web site for cell phone users. Reviews about phones, community, etc. Their reviews are usually very complete and excellent.



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