Comment 2 for bug 901410

It looks like this issue is kind of nasty. The interface used by dell-laptop involves using an SMI to tell the BIOS to disable the radio, and what the BIOS does in response is completely opaque to us. The functionality for this in dell-laptop seems to be based upon similar functionality in the Dell-provided libsmbios software, and it looks to match what's provided there.

So my expectation at this point is that we're unlikely to get this fixed unless we can get information from Dell about what's happening. There are a couple of things you can try though.

First, check for a BIOS update for your machine. It's possible that this is a bug in the BIOS that's been fixed.

Second, install the smbios-utils package and try playing with smbios-wireless-ctl, using --bt=0 to disable bluetooth and --bt=1 to enable it. See if you observe similar changes in the status of the phy0 switch. If you don't then there may be something that the tool is doing that dell-laptop is not.