Sep 27 AT 12:17 PM Taylor Wimberly 16 Comments

T-Mobile to add Wi-Fi calling to select Android devices

This fall T-Mobile will add Wi-Fi calling to select Android devices, according to a leaked training document posted by TmoNews. The service operates similar to Skype on Verizon phones and will allow unlimited calling when connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot.

A tutorial will appear when the user first enables Wi-Fi on their device. Once connected, T-Mobile customers will be able to send and receive calls and messages over their local Wi-Fi network. The service is completely optional and customers will not have to make any changes to their existing calling plans.

There are limitations to the service however. Unlike previous T-Mobile phones which supported Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA), Wi-Fi calling will not offer any hand-off to the carrier’s mobile network. This means that if you make a call and leave the Wi-Fi coverage area, then the call will drop.

No list of compatible devices has been released, but Wi-Fi calling is expected to only appear on newer T-Mobile phones like the HTC G2, LG Optimus One, Motorola Defy, Samsung Vibrant, and I suspect the Galaxy Tab.

If you own an Android phone on another carrier, there is still hope for Wi-Fi calling because Skype should be coming to all carriers later this year.

Source: TmoNews

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website watbetch

    “if you make a call and leave the Wi-Fi coverage area, then the call will drop.”

    Doesn’t sound to different from how it currently works.. calls are usually dropped during this transition if your phone has the hardware to support a handoff. Not a big negative.

    • http://Website Greg

      I was very intrigued until I saw that there is no handoff. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than nothing, but it’s nothing like the UMA features I enjoyed on my BB for years…

      • http://Website Greg

        And in the 3 years that I did use UMA, I had maybe one dropped call during the handoff. It worked brilliantly for the most part.

      • http://Website watbetch

        In the short period of time that I’ve used UMA, over half of my handoffs we’re dropped. UMA to 3G is supposed to be horrible.

        Beggars can’t be choosers anyway. None of these Android phones have the hardware for a handoff. The fact that your phone can now operate over WiFi is the selling point here. Not being able to have your calls handed off is something minor. Either wait until your call is over or redial once you’re out of WiFi coverage and back under network coverage.

  • http://Website Ben

    No Nexus One support?

    • http://plankhead.com Zacqary Adam Green

      Rest assured, the headline should read “T-Mobile to add Wi-Fi calling to select Android devices; xda-developers to add it to all the others”.

      • http://Website watbetch

        I wouldn’t be so sure. It could be like MyFaves, which can’t just be pulled and used somewhere else.

  • http://rfdevelopment.blogspot.com rob franz

    Eww, no handoff from Wi-Fi to 3G? That’s a shame.

  • http://Website alex

    You forgot the mytouch 3g slide -_-

  • http://Website JTHC

    I don’t see why UMA is so hard to implement. For those talking about difficulty handing off from wifi to 3G… er, what? Your voice goes through 2G/GSM, not 3G. That’s why on ATT and T-Mobile (unlike Verizon/Spring) you can make a call and use data at the same time. So why is the handoff so much more difficult now than on my ancient BB, which was EDGE only, but did seamless handoffs between UMA and EDGE?

    • http://Website watbetch

      err, no… you’re 100% wrong.

      3G handles voice and data at the same time and that’s why we can talk/surf.

      Why do you think 3G congestion on AT&T leads to dropped calls? Aside from a poor signal?

  • Uncemister

    better be on the slide =(

  • http://Website UMA Fan

    The best part about Wifi calling is that you can take your phone overseas, disable the cellular radio (through flight mode on android) and make calls and texts without being charged International Roaming charges.

    Basically UMA was designed so if you are in an area with no coverage, you still get cell service via Wifi where available. Well when you take your phone to another country your phone is just going to think that you are in an area with no signal and operate through a wifi connection and you’re free to make and receive calls/texts as if you are still in the US. I have no idea why T-Mobile chooses not to market this technology for international use but my only guess is that it leaves a lot of liability with the user. For example, if someone took a t-mobile blackberry for instance and connected to wifi in another country but didn’t disable their cellular radio then they would be under the assumption they are not roaming. Yet when a cellular network is available, texts go through the cell tower and calls go through wifi but when no cell service is available or the cell radio is turned off, then everything works through wifi… including sms texts. I could see a lot of people just plain doing it wrong, getting high bills, and then crying to t-mobile.

    After all T-Mobile doesn’t charge international roaming charges just to charge international roaming charges. When you are roaming in another country that foreign company charges t-mobile for providing you with service and t-mobile in turn offsets that cost to the user. You can avoid all that hassle all together with UMA!!!

    • http://Website Erik

      Not true (at least for me). UMA just plain didn’t work on wifi when I was in spain. Gonna hazard a guess that they look up your IP to see if its US or not. Either that or my hotel had horrible wifi (doubt it though because wifi was great on my laptop).

  • http://Website djratchet

    Erm… I have a verizon phone with skype (devour) and it forces me to use 3g whenever I open it, even making me shut off my wifi :/

  • http://www.comflm.com Janet Aldrich

    I have been a customer of Tmobile 7 years. I love the customer service. However, in the past 4 months they have changed the customer service line to not actually get to a representative. So I decided to push that and spent 20 minutes saying everything I could to get through and tell them I am not renewing my contract if they shut down customer service.

    So I went on a hunt for a new cell phone. No one understood that I needed a hotspot cell wifi phone. Not the web or reps could identify what the thing was. I finally, got two nokia C3-00 and when I received them they were not hotspot phones. I would love to see the application made available to customers. I have the hot spot home phone and love it.

    I also did not realize wifi could actually pull up the internet without a plan. That makes the whole field of dreams much bigger. I spent around 3 days already learning what is going on.
    I just found this site and wonder if you all have the same problem. I purchased the web connect with a 2 year contract. That was the worst idea. When a device actually has wifi on it the system seems to fight with itself and drop my activity.

    I purchased a new lenovo laptop computer but could have been just as happy with the dell streak. Why is it so hard to communicate on this stuff.

    Tmobile has been the best. They have helped me purchase the right stuff except with the web connect. I called in again this week and they fixed the automated line. You can get through to customer service. If that continues I may do a contract. However, not until I am sure ATT is not purchasing them.

    ATT and Verizon are ticked at tethering usb phone modems. I am ticked at them. They want to charge customers who are “stealing services” .

    Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to phones. It’s one big cyber headache.

  1. watbetchGuest 5 years ago

    “if you make a call and leave the Wi-Fi coverage area, then the call will drop.”

    Doesn’t sound to different from how it currently works.. calls are usually dropped during this transition if your phone has the hardware to support a handoff. Not a big negative.

    • GregGuest 5 years ago

      I was very intrigued until I saw that there is no handoff. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than nothing, but it’s nothing like the UMA features I enjoyed on my BB for years…

      • GregGuest 5 years ago

        And in the 3 years that I did use UMA, I had maybe one dropped call during the handoff. It worked brilliantly for the most part.

      • watbetchGuest 5 years ago

        In the short period of time that I’ve used UMA, over half of my handoffs we’re dropped. UMA to 3G is supposed to be horrible.

        Beggars can’t be choosers anyway. None of these Android phones have the hardware for a handoff. The fact that your phone can now operate over WiFi is the selling point here. Not being able to have your calls handed off is something minor. Either wait until your call is over or redial once you’re out of WiFi coverage and back under network coverage.

  2. BenGuest 5 years ago

    No Nexus One support?

    • Rest assured, the headline should read “T-Mobile to add Wi-Fi calling to select Android devices; xda-developers to add it to all the others”.

      • watbetchGuest 5 years ago

        I wouldn’t be so sure. It could be like MyFaves, which can’t just be pulled and used somewhere else.

  3. rob franzGuest 5 years ago

    Eww, no handoff from Wi-Fi to 3G? That’s a shame.

  4. alexGuest 5 years ago

    You forgot the mytouch 3g slide -_-

  5. JTHCGuest 5 years ago

    I don’t see why UMA is so hard to implement. For those talking about difficulty handing off from wifi to 3G… er, what? Your voice goes through 2G/GSM, not 3G. That’s why on ATT and T-Mobile (unlike Verizon/Spring) you can make a call and use data at the same time. So why is the handoff so much more difficult now than on my ancient BB, which was EDGE only, but did seamless handoffs between UMA and EDGE?

    • watbetchGuest 5 years ago

      err, no… you’re 100% wrong.

      3G handles voice and data at the same time and that’s why we can talk/surf.

      Why do you think 3G congestion on AT&T leads to dropped calls? Aside from a poor signal?

  6. better be on the slide =(

  7. UMA FanGuest 5 years ago

    The best part about Wifi calling is that you can take your phone overseas, disable the cellular radio (through flight mode on android) and make calls and texts without being charged International Roaming charges.

    Basically UMA was designed so if you are in an area with no coverage, you still get cell service via Wifi where available. Well when you take your phone to another country your phone is just going to think that you are in an area with no signal and operate through a wifi connection and you’re free to make and receive calls/texts as if you are still in the US. I have no idea why T-Mobile chooses not to market this technology for international use but my only guess is that it leaves a lot of liability with the user. For example, if someone took a t-mobile blackberry for instance and connected to wifi in another country but didn’t disable their cellular radio then they would be under the assumption they are not roaming. Yet when a cellular network is available, texts go through the cell tower and calls go through wifi but when no cell service is available or the cell radio is turned off, then everything works through wifi… including sms texts. I could see a lot of people just plain doing it wrong, getting high bills, and then crying to t-mobile.

    After all T-Mobile doesn’t charge international roaming charges just to charge international roaming charges. When you are roaming in another country that foreign company charges t-mobile for providing you with service and t-mobile in turn offsets that cost to the user. You can avoid all that hassle all together with UMA!!!

    • ErikGuest 5 years ago

      Not true (at least for me). UMA just plain didn’t work on wifi when I was in spain. Gonna hazard a guess that they look up your IP to see if its US or not. Either that or my hotel had horrible wifi (doubt it though because wifi was great on my laptop).

  8. djratchetGuest 5 years ago

    Erm… I have a verizon phone with skype (devour) and it forces me to use 3g whenever I open it, even making me shut off my wifi :/

  9. Janet AldrichGuest 4 years ago

    I have been a customer of Tmobile 7 years. I love the customer service. However, in the past 4 months they have changed the customer service line to not actually get to a representative. So I decided to push that and spent 20 minutes saying everything I could to get through and tell them I am not renewing my contract if they shut down customer service.

    So I went on a hunt for a new cell phone. No one understood that I needed a hotspot cell wifi phone. Not the web or reps could identify what the thing was. I finally, got two nokia C3-00 and when I received them they were not hotspot phones. I would love to see the application made available to customers. I have the hot spot home phone and love it.

    I also did not realize wifi could actually pull up the internet without a plan. That makes the whole field of dreams much bigger. I spent around 3 days already learning what is going on.
    I just found this site and wonder if you all have the same problem. I purchased the web connect with a 2 year contract. That was the worst idea. When a device actually has wifi on it the system seems to fight with itself and drop my activity.

    I purchased a new lenovo laptop computer but could have been just as happy with the dell streak. Why is it so hard to communicate on this stuff.

    Tmobile has been the best. They have helped me purchase the right stuff except with the web connect. I called in again this week and they fixed the automated line. You can get through to customer service. If that continues I may do a contract. However, not until I am sure ATT is not purchasing them.

    ATT and Verizon are ticked at tethering usb phone modems. I am ticked at them. They want to charge customers who are “stealing services” .

    Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to phones. It’s one big cyber headache.