Telstra - It's How We Restrict
Since Google started rolling out the over-the-air (OTA) updates for Android 5.0 Lollipop to Nexus devices, many users have been regularly checking for a system update – many Australians, to no avail. Telstra users are reporting that the update is being blocked, even on phones that were not sold by the carrier. The issue is affecting Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 owners, and may represent a larger change for the worse for the Nexus family.

This issue first came to our attention a couple of weeks ago, when Ausdroid reader Alex submitted a comment on our OTA links post. His Nexus 5 reported that no software update was available, and when he inserted a SIM card from another carrier the update swiftly appeared. Alex isn’t alone. These findings have been mirrored by other users on Whirlpool, as well as on the Nexus5 sub-reddit.

Is it possible? Nexus updates have had a chequered past when it comes to Australian carriers (who remembers the Galaxy Nexus?)

As of this week, the official answer is yes. Carriers can and in Telstra’s case, are, able to block updates from being delivered to Nexus handsets on their network, and it doesn’t matter whether you purchased your phone from the carrier or from Google Play.

Google’s support page explaining OTA updates for Nexus phones previously advised that owners of Nexus phones would receive the latest version of Android “directly from Google”, with updates taking up to two weeks to reach your device. This page has been recently updated with an addendum. The new statement now reads:

Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, and Nexus 10 devices receive the latest version of Android directly from Google. Once an update is available, it can take up to two weeks for it to reach your device. Based on your carrier, it may take longer than two weeks after release to get an update.

(Note: The updated part has been highlighted for emphasis)

So, yes. Telstra can block your Lollipop update, and it seems they’ve chosen to do so.

We asked Telstra to address the claims and they supplied this statement:

We’re actively working to bring the Telstra-approved Lollipop update to our Nexus 5 customers. We are in the midst of the testing process and hope to make it available in the next few weeks.

When pushed to provide further comment on why Telstra was blocking software updates going to phones that were not purchased from them, Telstra had nothing further to add.

We requested an explanation from Google as to why Telstra is able to block software updates to the Nexus 4 – a handset it did not sell – and Nexus 5 units not sold directly by the carrier, but did not receive a response.

Carrier Testing

Carriers certainly do need to test software updates before releasing them into the wild, and they’ve built up a certain degree of transparency around their testing processes with regular posts to public forums identifying the phones and software versions and major changes currently under test and ETA for delivery of the update to customers. Telstra posts an update of this list every couple of weeks in their CrowdSupport forum, Vodafone on its blog and Optus updates a page in its support system.

The Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 are not – at the time of writing – listed on Telstra’s most recent handset software updates post. We have no idea whether Telstra is actually testing Lollipop for the Nexus 4, or if they’re just going to block the update for good. We also don’t know the timeframe in which Nexus 5 owners can expect to see the update, and Telstra’s CrowdSupport representatives are maintaining an odd silence when asked about Nexus updates.

Sometimes the transparency we’ve come to expect isn’t the transparency we get, leading to confusion and anger from customers.

It’s worth remembering now that carriers can block updates that come directly from Google, that carriers have blocked updates from manufacturers in the past as well, and for good reasons. Vodafone previously halted the rollout of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to the Nexus S because it didn’t meet regulatory conditions – specifically, there was an issue related to emergency calls, one of the conditions under which they advised they would reject an OTA update in their 3-part Android Software Update blog (the other condition was related to pre-population of settings after a factory reset). That update would have been delivered by Samsung, the manufacturer of the code, not Google.

Telstra has not commented on whether Google’s Lollipop update is being blocked for either of those reasons, merely stating that they’re testing the update. Some users who have updated to Lollipop have also had mixed feelings over the update, further muddying the waters – even some members of our team are wondering whether Telstra’s potentially doing us a favour by holding back the update.

To take a look at the other side of the fence, Apple is also subject to carrier testing of their software updates, though we’re led to believe that process is more a case of “this update is being released unless you give us a good reason to stop it”. It’s nowhere near as transparent as the processes carriers have put in place for Android updates, although it probably doesn’t need to be due to the differences in the ecosystem and rollout process. Some users who recently updated to iOS 8.0.1 probably wish that testing was a little more thorough, though – and to be fair, Google’s had a few bad software updates in the past too.

Other Carriers

So, Telstra has taken advantage of the option to block OTA updates to Nexus devices. Where do other carriers stand? We asked both Vodafone and Optus, and got some pretty similar responses.

Vodafone for their part appears to have no plans in place to block OTA updates to Nexus phones, especially so given that they haven’t distributed them since the Nexus S.

Optus gave us a statement:

Optus does not currently range any Nexus devices with Lollipop. We have no policy in place to block OTA updates for any devices with Lollipop.

If you’re a Telstra user, now may be a great time to grab a $2 SIM from Vodafone or Optus so you can get your Lollipop update – and you can try out another network while you’re at it.

Update (04/12 21:30):
We’ve received the following statement from Telstra on the update process regarding the Nexus 5 – we have asked for further clarification on the Nexus 4, but Telstra have advised :

We can confirm that we have just received the latest version of the Android Lollipop update for the Nexus 5 and we are working as quickly as possible to test it. To ensure our customers get the best experience we have a policy of always testing device software on our network before it is released.

The way in which Google implements the release of software updates to our customers means that anyone with a Telstra SIM in a Nexus 5 (even if it is not the Telstra variant) will be unable to download the global update. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused some of our customers and we are working with Google to determine whether we can change this setup so that these customers can update their devices immediately if they wish to.

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Can’t you just take out the simple card and update over WiFi?


I got my update just 10 minutes ago too! Telstra is finally listening to you AusDroid!


My 5.01 update also arrived this morning. Will download when I get home from work tonight.


The 5.0.1 update has just appeared on my N5. Installing it now, upgrading from 4.4.4. I’m on Boost and have been having the same issue until now.


I have created a petition based on the feedback from Telstra CrowdSupport forum thread. I don’t think I have post the petition link here due to spam protection. If you search in change . org for the petition, you will find it.

Daniel Tyson petition:

Thanks, we’ll be pointing Telstra at this this morning and asking for followup


Thanks Daniel. How did you go with following up with Telstra? I would appreciate if you could do a re-post containing the petition by Telstra customers.

Daniel Tyson

Still talking – we’re on it. Will post as soon as we have something more interesting than ‘Hang on’.




a little disappointed with this whole situation! to be honest, one of the reasons why I purchased a Nexus device was with the expectations of receiving updates quite normally. like many others here, I purchased my Nexus 5 from the Google Play Store and I am still waiting for this update. other users of the Nexus 5, that I know, possibly with a different carrier, have the update, which annoys me even more. come on Telstra, this has been going on for too long now!


I completely agree with you, I am extremely disappointed. I am still waiting, also. I just want this update. I almost downloaded it through my computer, with codes etc ……. but, I didn’t want to risk it. Hurry Telstra, we are waiting.


Still no update here. I was a bit surprised today when I went to the Play store and it identified my device as “Telstra LGE Nexus 5” even though I bought it from the Play store. I bought the device from Google so that I could get updates quicker as previous phone updates have been sent to Telstra’s black hole of testing.


How strange. That’s exactly how mine is identified too. I was in the UK over Christmas, with a Vodafone (UK) sim, and still didn’t get the update.


Still no update for me either……..

Does anyone know if Telstra have the ability to update the release themselves i.e. why the delay, are they adding their own code to it?


Still no 5.0 here. So so stupid.


still no update for me. purchased from google play store. tried the vodafone sim and factory reset. didnt work. im really annoyed with google and telstra. had a galaxy nexus and same problems. so much for the latest updates via nexus program. i dont think i will be buying another one!


Telstra blocking the update for my Nexus 5 lead to me leaving even quicker than I had already planned. Their product may be good but when I can go elsewhere and not be dictated to and pay a third of the price it wasn’t hard to make the change.


I received my Nexus 5 yesterday (wasn’t purchased from Telstra), I haven’t put a sim in it yet, As I haven’t cut my old regular sim into the micro sim yet, and I still haven’t received the 5.0 update, Still running 4.4.4 :/


^ Build No: KTU84P


Same build. Same problem. SIM swaps not working for me.


My Nexus 5 is bought from Play Store. I still have not got the Lollipop OTA update. This is criminal of Telstra. I am aware of SIM swapping etc. however I want to test my patience waiting for it. They are doing a great job delaying it.


Can you please confirm the Telstra 5.0.1 is the 5.0.1 (LRX22C) as listed on the Factory Images Nexus page? Thanks

On Telstra, Nexus 5 (bought from the Google Play Store). Got the 5.0.1 update this morning (Thursday 18 December 2014). Looks like it is rolling out with no restrictions from Telstra 🙂

rob theleatherman

I still haven’t got it. I think it’s pathetic.


My N5 on telstra just received the 5.01 OTA. Installed it but then it kept force closing as it was upgrading had to reboot it every 3 apps until it got down to 31 apps then kept going till the end


I cant get the optus hack to work either. I am using bigpond 4g wireless broadband as data. Will this make a difference???
N5 from the playstore.
Help would be appreciated.

h k

I’m with Optus on a moto g and I can’t get the updates yet, so maybe Optus is holding it back a bit as well

Tom Daley

I love their comment “with a Telstra SIM will be UNABLE to download the update” and “we are working with Google to determine wether we can change this” I installed lollipop on release day nad there isnt a problem, didnt even need to enter the Telstra settings, just worked. I fail to understand why they take so long to do something that I did weeks ago.

Lachlan Harris

Same thing with Neil except, I used Optus sim and waited to activate it so I don’t understand why I have no lollipop?? Anyone know yet?

Neil Hansen

OK so I’ve got an N5, direct from Google but using a telstra sim. No lollipop yet. I’ve tried removing the sim and also a $2 Vodafone sim. No update. Is there a secret here? I didn’t ‘activate’ the Vodafone sim so maybe that’s the problem?

geoff fieldew

Worked for me with an activated Vodafone sim. Maybe activating it allows your phone to be recognized as Vodafone subscriber and nullifies the Telstra block?


Never had to activate my phone on Vodafone, I just dialled their 1555 number waited for an answer then hung up. That’s when lollipop appeared. Try again mate.

Neil Hansen

Frustrating because I’ve got a Vodafone sim, activated and even made a call – no lollipop. Checked the apn and network settings, all Vodafone.

Harvey Wilson

Their ‘approved’ version probably contains non-removeable Telstra rubbish. I was pleasantly surprised that when I got my S3 from Optus I was actually able to uninstall their rubbish. Couldn’t do it on any of the previous phones I had from Optus.

Harvey Wilson

Additional. Google are a zillion times worse. Google Music, Google Books, Google this, Google that. As they are free, there is no need to force this on phones. If i want it, I will download it at the store!

geoff fieldew

Swapped the Telstra sim in my wife’s Nexus 5 for a Voda Sim. Instant Lollipops!


Until 5.01 is on the nexus 5 I HIGHLY reccomend a factory reset as it runs like a dog and many other issues without it. 5 is great just the OTA has many issues.
Also if you use the flashlight from the pull down it crashes after a while, you have to reboot to get the camera and flashlight back again. Another stupid bug I hope they have squashed with 5.01

geoff fieldew

She hasn’t had any issues so far. We’ll see how it goes.


Yep, Nexus 5 user here using Boost mobile (Telstra network). I was wondering why my girls Nexus 4 received the update like a week ago and I still hadn’t received it. After reading this article, I removed my SIM card, rebooted my phone and put my girls SIM card in (she is with Vaya who use Optus) and boom! There was the Lollipop update straight away. I’m now running Lollipop on my Nexus 5 and so far, so good. Shame on you Telstra!


Factory images? That’s the beauty of a Nexus :/
Also, I am sure you can get the OTAs from Android Police (Google it!)


I can confirm that my Nexus 5 over the air update to Android 5 WAS BLOCKED by Telstra – and I used the “Remove SIM + Factory Reset” option and I got Lollipop immediately. I am now thinking of ditching Telstra for another carrier. What they have done is despicable and I never purchased a Nexus 5 from Telstra – I got mine from the Google Play store. I know Telstra have a right to protect their network but I think this has gone way too far. I wonder how long until the other carriers start doing this?


Just popped in a $2 Optus sim card and the update came through straight away! Put the Telstra one back in and no issues (and hopefully it stays that way).


I’m on Telstra with HTC One m8 (GPe converted) and received my 5.0.1 this morning.


What’s GPe?


Google Play Edition i.e. Like a Nexus Phone. Pure Android


How did you convert?

Renaldi I.

Flash the GPe ROM fro the M8 google it


Anyone had any luck with the M7 GPE update?


If I put a vodafone Sim in my n5 and do the OTA, will my phone get wiped?


What, Telstra just received it? Not surprised, as they are useless at everything else.

Phillip Hull

Not only has my Nexus 4 not updated on Telstra, my Nexus 7 2013 on Optus has not updated either. I’m thinking of trying… Take out the sim card and try Hungry Jacks WiFi, as long as the update is less than their limit.

just me

Sounds like they are doing their subscribers a favor. Lollipop is a dud.


Lollipop is brilliant, it is new, a few problems and the OTA has issues but otherwise brilliant. Your comment is a dud.

Senrab Nala

Actually @just me is right there is problems with the lollipop update existing on the telstra network. I can vouch for that myself, my nexus 4 is giving some really frustrating experiences over the last few weeks since flashing it on before telstra let it out in the wild.


Mine is also on Telstra. Nex 4 Telstra, Nex 5 Optus. I moved to the new google messaging app and no issues at all. loving it.
Lollipop has issues yes but it isn’t a dud.

MC Wong

I thought only China and north Korea telcos have this policy?


Did the SIM swap trick on my Google Play N5, immediate update to lollipop.

Telstra you sonsabitches.


Don’t know if the $2sim trick works but the No sim trick works immediately


Updates can cause a lot of trouble for the carier and customer as the nexus 4 and 5 update showed to Vodafone. NL customers. Due to a bug in SMS handling SMS messages did not actually arrive to the reciever but the sender was charged an international out of bundle sms.


incorrect. if Telstra did not sell you the handset they have no obligation to support it so they cant use that excuse that what if someone has issues with a phone we didnt even sell them but are using a Telstra sim in it. Telstra should grow some balls and tell anyone that have issues the handset wasnt supplied by Telstra or have Telstra FW therefore they cant guarantee it will work

I realize not everyone is comfortable with this, and I’m not suggesting it as a solution to this absurdity, but what’s to stop anyone from simply sideloading the OTA? It’s readily available.


I have a Nexus 7 2013 (Wifi) and check twice a day for the update and still nothing oh and im in the US so wtf


A lot of rage here so this comment probably won’t be popular, but I can understand Telstra’s position of testing first before unblocking.
They have a responsibility to provide a reliable service to their “typical” customers & I suspect also a requirement to ensure 000 works. If people can’t make calls Telstra will cop it!
They just need to improve their testing workflow/speed.


Ps: I have an N5 on Telstra & still waiting for Lollipop.

Senrab Nala

I have a nexus 4 with a telstra sim. Did not wait and did not know about telstra blocking it anyway few weeks back i downloaded the lollipop nexus 4 image from google, pretty much the day after they put it up. I flashed it on and know i have constant messages from telstra “sign-in to telstra network” even with correct apn and account details. The message pops up in the screensave its so anoying. The lollipop update is not that good i dont even think it was worth it, its made my phone go bonkers and not to mention… Read more »

h k

I’ve read about the GUI usability problems with lollipop too, never mind potential bugs. But cannot downgrade as there is no kitkat factory image, far as I know for a moto g 4g. Inclined not to upgrade at all really


I don’t believe they should interfere with software updates for a device they don’t own and wasn’t purchased from them.


Sure, but who would you blame if you got an OTA update & there was a bug which prevented you making calls (esp. emergency calls)?

Pat Powers

Trust me, as an ex S3 owner, I can tell you right now that this could be messier, but flashing is still an option 😛


My N7 WiFi 2nd Gen (GPE) got update 5.0.1 OTA this morning installing now. My N7 WiFi 1st Gen(Non GPE) got 5.0 two weeks ago I think, had to factory reset to make it work though. Nothing for my N5(GPE) or S4G(GPE) yet, all on telstra. Might try the factory reset no sim on the N5 B4 $2 sim


N5 Factory reset no sim 5.0 OTA on telstra happening now


Mmmmmm Lollipop yum yum. It has a flashlight in Notifications yay


I tried removing my simcard. All it did was update google chrome. No OTA.

My question is, if I put a Vodafone Sim in and get the OTA, will it wipe my phone?


You need to do a factory reset, which will wipe your phone then start again without the Sim, not just remove your Sim card. As it starts to reinstall your Apps you will get the update.


I don’t really want to wipe the phone. What needs to be backed up? Photos, SMS?


Putting another sim in won’t wipe your phone. Your details are linked to your Google acc, not your number or telco. PS. I’ve had no problems with lollipop on the Telstra Network. It works as it does on any other network, briliiantly (for me at least)


Its not the details I’m worried about. Its the photos and texts etc..


Nothing will be wiped putting another sim in with the OTA.

David Smith

I cracked and bought a 2 buck sim in the end, it annoyed me initially that I needed to do this but now I have the ability to test the Optus network in my area and if the coverage is better than Telstra I may just move on, thank you Telstra for giving me the push to check out another provider using my Play store purchased Nexus 5.

Jeffery Fernandez

This is fucking insane. I bought my nexus from the playstore. Telstra has no fucking right to withhold my update.


Rage slowly dissipating now I’ve got lollipop. Hope you guys keep this in the open stories log and track Google’s commitment to fix the issue for non subsidised phones

Michael Neuling

Are they going to start blocking every IoT device firmware upgrade? Imagine Telstra holding back firmware updates on my TV because I’m with Bigpond? Everything has firmware these days and is network connected. And are they going to tell us they are blocking it?


I tried keeping @Ausdroid in the twitter convo from last night but Telstra took it out. I asked if they could confirm if any changes are made to the software that rolls out ota. and whether the updates are untouched and only tested if they work. They replied with: ‘It would be tested first to ensure it works on our network – if there were no issues – untouched.’ Furthermore: ‘If there were issues, it’d go back to Google to have them rectified’ I’d be happy to stress test the updates for telstra in real world usage. I flashed the… Read more »


That additional update is compete bullshit.

If it were Google’s fault, more carriers would be having issues. Man up and just admit it’s your mistake.

Alexei Watson

“we are working with Google to determine whether we can change this setup so that these customers can update their devices immediately if they wish to.”

Given that pretty much every other carrier in the world is doing that, then yes. Yes you can Telstra.


Thank you. I know feel a little vindicated.
My Regards


Thanks Daniel and Jason for pursuing Telstra about this update.
Please stay on their case until Telstra provide a satisfactory answer. Blaming google for lack of an update for devices not even purchased via Telstra is pathetic.

I bet part of the problem is that Telstra are putting people in charge of this “testing” who don’t have a clue.


Thanks for picking up on this story. My update came through as soon as I put in an Optus sim. Not happy with Telstra.

Brad Robinson

Its my phone. I bought it from Google, not Telstra. If I want to install updates then its on my head, so I did. Took the Sim out, restarted the phone and installed lollipop. Then put my s back in. Worked a treat and now I’m enjoying lollipop. Thanks for the heads up.