A mobile communication device of an end user (user equipment or “UE”) can use more than one radio access technology (“RAT”) such as GSM, WCDMA, TDS-CDMA, LTE, and NR. Searching for information needed by the UE to use a specific RAT can consume large amounts of power and time. Locally stored acquisition databases (“PLMN Info DBs”) of previously encountered communication access points and services can speed up searches, but can be limited by the storage capacity of the UE. Also a locally stored PLMN Info DB may be invalided when a UE moves to a location that is distant from locations where access points and services were previously encountered; e.g., when the UE is moved to a new region, state, or country.

A Virtual PLMN Info DB stored on a remote server (e.g., “in the cloud”) can contain a more complete set of acquisition information. A full or abbreviated copy of the Virtual PLMN Info DB can be loaded onto UE from a server or from a peer UE device. Access information contained in the Virtual PLMN Info DB can be obtained by crowdsourcing data acquisition or by peer-to-peer communication. The Virtual PLMN Info DB can be implemented as a database or as a logic entity with specific functions to enable the acquisition of corresponding data elements on demand.

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