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Updating PRL From Within CyanogenMod

CDMA phones use a PRL file [1] to determine which systems (towers) to conenct to, as well as to determine if the phone is currently roaming. It is recommended that you update the PRL if you use your phone outside the home (non-roaming) area frequently or if you notice your phone is having difficulty establishing and maintaining a strong signal. Updating a phone’s PRL file is accomplished by dialing a specific code (*228, ##873283##, etc.). As is the case with Verizon, after dialing *228, you will be pr0ompted to “…press 2 to update…” the PRL file. When running CyanogenMod and other third party Android ROMs, dialing *228 brings up a special phone activation app which does not give you the ability to press 2; therefore you are unable to update the PRL file.

There are a number of “solutions” to this problem floating around the ‘net including updating the PRL from a different ROM, attempting to open a soft-keyboard while in the activation app and entering “2” from there, or finding the proper PRL file online and flashing it from an Android recovery image. However, there is a much simpler way to get the PRL list updated:

  1. Add a new contact on your phone (I named mine “PRL Update”, but the name is not important)
  2. Edit this new contact to include a phone number. Set the phone number to “*228,,,,,2”.
  3. Save, and then call the contact.

The commas in the saved phone number are pause commands; each pauses the dialing for 2 seconds. As typed, the saved number will call “*228”, then wait 10 seconds before sending a “2”.