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Thread: VoLTE, HD Voice, Wifi Calling- why so slow to roll out AT&T?

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    VoLTE, HD Voice, Wifi Calling- why so slow to roll out AT&T?

    So a lot of devices, like the Galaxy S7 series don't have Wifi calling yet. A bunch of devices have VoLTE and HD Voice, but only AT&T-branded ones, not unlocked ones. We know there is no technical issue here, since T-Mobile allows Wifi calling and VoLTE/HD Voice on unlocked devices.

    What is taking AT&T so long, and when are they going to get up to speed and enable this stuff on any device that supports it?

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    I don't know with certainty but if I had to take a guess it comes down to how Samsung devices are still custom made for each carrier. They still focus on LTE bands that are centric to the carrier it will be sold on and other models may be vastly different. For example: Sprint GS7 vs AT&T GS7 will have just a few LTE bands in common where a Sprint iPhone 6S and a AT&T iPhone 6S will have practically all bands in common. The latter approach makes it easy to just allow any device regardless of what carrier it was originally for, assuming the device is carrier unlocked.

    So if they allow any unlocked GS7 I'm sure they may claim it might be a poor customer experience since some carriers' GS7 may be missing important AT&T bands. With higher end iPhones they figure all models have the most important bands so they've been allowing wifi calling and HD voice on all iPhone 6 and higher models as far as I'm aware of.

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    AT&T still has a lot of territory where HD Voice/VoLTE, etc cannot be available because those areas don't have LTE yet. The type of coverage they have the most of across the entire country is "4G"/HSPA", not LTE, therefore HD Voice/VoLTE, being a component of LTE, is not available everywhere. Once AT&T upgrades every one of their sites to LTE, it can be available everywhere. Sadly, I don't see that happening any time soon since they still have sites with only 2G/EDGE around in some places. Wifi calling is a different matter, they just haven't enabled it.

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    Why isn't VoLTE available in all LTE areas?

    Why isn't HD Voice available on HSPA? (AMR-WB voice can run on 3G; T-Mobile has it nationwide).
    Carriers I've used: Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket, AT&T, Verizon, Page Plus, Virgin Mobile, Movistar, AT&T Mexico, Telcel, Straight Talk, RingPlus.
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    VoLTE, HD Voice, Wifi Calling- why so slow to roll out AT&T?

    Quote Originally Posted by Volaris View Post
    Why isn't VoLTE available in all LTE areas?

    Why isn't HD Voice available on HSPA? (AMR-WB voice can run on 3G; T-Mobile has it nationwide).
    At this point it nearly is available in all areas. I drove from Chicago to southern Colorado before entering an area without VoLTE, which was so rural and LTE was kinda spotty anyway (and one town had just gotten LTE turned up) that VoLTE probably would be anything but reliable.

    They could've done HD over UMTS like T-Mo but their equipment is a lot older than T-Mo and would've required a lot of investment that they weren't willing to do and decided to focus on LTE.

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    VoLTE, HD Voice, Wifi Calling- why so slow to roll out AT&T?

    Quote Originally Posted by GSMinCT View Post
    So a lot of devices, like the Galaxy S7 series don't have Wifi calling yet. A bunch of devices have VoLTE and HD Voice, but only AT&T-branded ones, not unlocked ones. We know there is no technical issue here, since T-Mobile allows Wifi calling and VoLTE/HD Voice on unlocked devices.

    What is taking AT&T so long, and when are they going to get up to speed and enable this stuff on any device that supports it?
    My guess is lack of cooperation (on AT&T's part) and overall them seeing no need/ being anti competitive. You want VoLTE and/or wifi calling you buy one of their branded devices in which big profits go straight to them. I've honestly been surprised Verizon has been as good as they have about this with the new unlocked devices, but this is to their benefit because they know people are gonna use unlocked devices and they want everyone on their network to be using LTE and not legacy technologies. AT&T will eventually start seeing it this way too, when they start deploying LTE-only coverage in places and start nudging everyone off UMTS (I would guess a year or two before they start showing their intentions to do this).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ggore View Post
    AT&T still has a lot of territory where HD Voice/VoLTE, etc cannot be available because those areas don't have LTE yet. The type of coverage they have the most of across the entire country is "4G"/HSPA", not LTE, therefore HD Voice/VoLTE, being a component of LTE, is not available everywhere. Once AT&T upgrades every one of their sites to LTE, it can be available everywhere. Sadly, I don't see that happening any time soon since they still have sites with only 2G/EDGE around in some places. Wifi calling is a different matter, they just haven't enabled it.
    Voice over LTE (HD Voice) is the fallback position for Wi-Fi calling.

    Will my call switch to cellular if I leave Wi-Fi coverage?

    If you are using Wi-Fi Calling in the Domestic Coverage Area and HD Voice coverage is available, your call will switch to cellular and continue without a break when your Wi-Fi connection is lost. This does not apply to 911 calls.

    If your Wi-Fi connection is lost, your call will drop in these cases: (1) You are not in HD Voice coverage (for example, you are in 3G or 4G coverage). (2) Your device is in airplane mode. (3) You are making a 911 call. (4) You are traveling outside the Domestic Coverage Area.
    Earl F. Parrish

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    Quote Originally Posted by xchpstang View Post
    So if they allow any unlocked GS7 I'm sure they may claim it might be a poor customer experience since some carriers' GS7 may be missing important AT&T bands. With higher end iPhones they figure all models have the most important bands so they've been allowing wifi calling and HD voice on all iPhone 6 and higher models as far as I'm aware of.
    That doesn't make any sense. For one, the unlocked SGS 7 has all the bands for AT&T including the optional 29 and 30. The question is why they won't enable VoLTE and Wifi calling for these unlocked devices. You can put an AT&T SIM in the unlocked phones, it will work 100% fine, you just won't get VoLTE, HD Voice, and Wifi calling.

    Quote Originally Posted by ggore View Post
    AT&T still has a lot of territory where HD Voice/VoLTE, etc cannot be available because those areas don't have LTE yet. The type of coverage they have the most of across the entire country is "4G"/HSPA", not LTE, therefore HD Voice/VoLTE, being a component of LTE, is not available everywhere. Once AT&T upgrades every one of their sites to LTE, it can be available everywhere. Sadly, I don't see that happening any time soon since they still have sites with only 2G/EDGE around in some places. Wifi calling is a different matter, they just haven't enabled it.
    Also not the question. That does lead to another good question though:

    Quote Originally Posted by Volaris View Post
    Why isn't VoLTE available in all LTE areas?
    My guess would be that they have a time delay between the LTE network being "finished" and VoLTE going live, as they want to work the kinks out of LTE, since data is more forgiving than voice. I guess technically they have the crutch of falling back to HSPA+, unlike Verizon where you just drop the call if you lose LTE, but that's still a really bad solution to be jumping back and forth.

    But back to ggore's post, the question is why they don't allow unbranded devices to access VoLTE and Wifi calling where they have LTE and VoLTE available.

    Quote Originally Posted by GusHerb94 View Post
    My guess is lack of cooperation (on AT&T's part) and overall them seeing no need/ being anti competitive. You want VoLTE and/or wifi calling you buy one of their branded devices in which big profits go straight to them. I've honestly been surprised Verizon has been as good as they have about this with the new unlocked devices, but this is to their benefit because they know people are gonna use unlocked devices and they want everyone on their network to be using LTE and not legacy technologies. AT&T will eventually start seeing it this way too, when they start deploying LTE-only coverage in places and start nudging everyone off UMTS (I would guess a year or two before they start showing their intentions to do this).
    What's strange is that AT&T doesn't seem to care about the most technologically advanced users, and doesn't care about putting traffic onto the LTE network. Maybe it partially has to do with the fact that they have HSPA+, whereas the next network down to Verizon puts you all the way back on CDMA, which they want to shut down in a few years. HSPA+ will eventually be phased out no doubt, but I don't think that they will start deploying LTE-only coverage, unless there are areas where they don't have B2/B5 spectrum at all? Considering AT&T is still running a 2G network, I think we have a long, long time before 3G is shut down. But still, I would think that AT&T would be pushing all the advanced stuff out to as many devices as possible, as Verizon with unlocked LTE phones is already enough of a draw for tech enthusiasts and evangelists, and AT&T has completely lost it's edge as the unlocked phone-friendly carrier (since Verizon used to not have unlocked phones at all).

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    Also, why are there still a handful of 2G-only native AT&T towers? That just makes no sense. They couldn't have someone go by and at least just replace the radios with 3G radios to finish out the map on that small handful of towers, even without the enhanced backhaul to make the Faux G? I guess it's the usual AT&T way of starting something big, not finishing, getting distracted, and going on to the next big thing. They did it with 2G and 3G and Faux G.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSMinCT View Post
    Also, why are there still a handful of 2G-only native AT&T towers? That just makes no sense. They couldn't have someone go by and at least just replace the radios with 3G radios to finish out the map on that small handful of towers, even without the enhanced backhaul to make the Faux G? I guess it's the usual AT&T way of starting something big, not finishing, getting distracted, and going on to the next big thing. They did it with 2G and 3G and Faux G.
    Because it isn't as easy as just having "someone go by and at least just replace the radios with 3G radios." If it was, all sites would have had 3G a long time ago. What you suggest isn't even possible, actually.
    I do not represent any company or other entity. Anything I post in these forums or write on this site are my thoughts and opinions only. I make every attempt to be 100% accurate, but I am human and do make mistakes from time to time.

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    It's terrible. They have you by the balls. I am NOT paying $800 for another phone. So, because of that when I get an unbranded phone I will be denied VoLTE /HD Voice / Wifi calling. Maybe time to switch carriers then? The way they are bleeding post paids, they just don't care. Sad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSMinCT View Post
    Also, why are there still a handful of 2G-only native AT&T towers? That just makes no sense. They couldn't have someone go by and at least just replace the radios with 3G radios to finish out the map on that small handful of towers, even without the enhanced backhaul to make the Faux G? I guess it's the usual AT&T way of starting something big, not finishing, getting distracted, and going on to the next big thing. They did it with 2G and 3G and Faux G.
    Quote Originally Posted by BMWDude49120 View Post
    Because it isn't as easy as just having "someone go by and at least just replace the radios with 3G radios." If it was, all sites would have had 3G a long time ago. What you suggest isn't even possible, actually.
    To add to BMW 's comment; they have problems with spectrum holdings as well. Some sites will probably not get upgraded until their gsm is shut off, and that block of band 5 will be re-farmed for lte.
    In western Oklahoma, for example, the spectrum holdings they have are broken down by county. How are they going to make good use of that spectrum? Even in the Adirondack mountains of NY, a majority of the sites are upgraded to lte, only a couple have hspa+ without lte active, which will be in the next 6 or so months. That's some of the most rural, rugged terrain in the US.

    *sorry for off topic*

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWDude49120 View Post
    Because it isn't as easy as just having "someone go by and at least just replace the radios with 3G radios." If it was, all sites would have had 3G a long time ago. What you suggest isn't even possible, actually.
    It would seem to be possible if AT&T owned the fiber service that is available at the site where they only have 2G/EDGE service and they sell fiber service to the other carriers who are outputting LTE on that very same tower. That is exactly the situation here at their 2G/EDGE site. Why they aren't using their very own fiber service to offer anything more than 2G with NO data service, you cannot even load a web page, on their very own site is just a complete mystery to me. What could possibly be keeping them from doing that?

    Even if their spectrum holdings are broken down by county as Joeybutts suggests, only 3 of AT&T's 6 sites in this county output LTE. 5 of the 6 output "4G"/HSPA and one is still stuck at 2G/EDGE! It is beginning to get down to the wire on AT&T's plan to re-farm GSM/EDGE spectrum, I would almost bet any amount of money that they will announce on Dec 31 that that program is "substantially complete" and 10 years from now this site and some others will still be stuck on 2G/EDGE. AT&T's record of actually finishing upgrades, and this applies to VoLTE as well, is not a good one.

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    Ah... one of the many reasons why I have decided to stick with iOS for the near future. Fast updates to support new network technologies.

    iPhones were one of the first devices on AT&T to get WiFi calling, VoLTE, and Number Sync. And it looks like B30 CA is enabled on iPhones, but not Samsung devices yet?
    Apple iPhone X

    Verizon LTE B4+B2


    AT&T LTE B2+B17

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    VoLTE, HD Voice, Wifi Calling- why so slow to roll out AT&T?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizam76 View Post
    It's terrible. They have you by the balls. I am NOT paying $800 for another phone. So, because of that when I get an unbranded phone I will be denied VoLTE /HD Voice / Wifi calling. Maybe time to switch carriers then? The way they are bleeding post paids, they just don't care. Sad.
    Your only other options are sprint and Verizon in this area. Maybe T-Mobile a year from now but I'm not holding my breath.
    Also this is why I decided to stick with the iPhone last year when I was trying different carrier branded androids. The iPhone is the only phone where one single model is fully supported by EVERY carrier (in the world), has great resale value, and can be bought straight from Apple. That's my way of sticking it to the carriers.

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