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Thread: iPhone SE on ST suddenly having Voicemail problems...

  1. #1
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    iPhone SE on ST suddenly having Voicemail problems...

    Hi everyone-

    I am not 100% sure where to post this - so I am taking a shot here - but I could use a hand. Stupid problem suddenly popped up.

    I have an iPhone SE - I bought it brand-new from Walmart around Christmas or New Years 2017/2018 - it's worked fine for 3+ years I've had it. But a week or two ago, something happened. I have been getting daily Spam calls "Congratulations, your ATT Account is available to be upgraded!" - for years now. I don't have an ATT account. Anyway - a few months back they switched to just Voicemails - once a day I'll get a "New Voicemail" and it will be the same voicemail. "Call the number on your screen" type of thing. Never have. But one day, I went to check my voicemail, and it no longer said "Press Here to Call Voicemail" -it said "Visual Voicemail Unavailable" - I don't know what Visual Voicemail is, but to the best of my knowledge, I've never once used it before. I don't want any Visual Voicemail, if that's what is going on, but I can't figure out how to remove it IF I somehow put it on.


    Now, my Voicemail is all screwed up. When I call it, the options are different. And the only way it seems I can call it is by dialing my own number. I Googled it and there are various answers = "Reset your phone, reset the apps, restart all programs, etc. "- nothing is working.

    Any ideas here? I don't know if I messed up some Setting or something but I am at a loss here.

    Thanks very much!

  2. #2
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    I suggest you call ST and ask them to reset your voicemail. Record a new personal greeting and set a different passcode. I doubt you messed up the Voicemail feature yourself, a malicious hacker could have changed things without your knowledge. Never click links like you did previously. You should contact customer service if you get any suspicious alerts or popups prompting you to click any links/attachments. Make sure that they confirm that they can verify that there was a message sent to you by the carrier. I am certain you can get this corrected ASAP.

    It is possible that ST updated your voicemail and there is a different menu/process so there may not be any fraud or hacks involved.


    Best wishes.
    Just another day in paradise.....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serial Port View Post
    I suggest you call ST and ask them to reset your voicemail. Record a new personal greeting and set a different passcode. I doubt you messed up the Voicemail feature yourself, a malicious hacker could have changed things without your knowledge. Never click links like you did previously. You should contact customer service if you get any suspicious alerts or popups prompting you to click any links/attachments. Make sure that they confirm that they can verify that there was a message sent to you by the carrier. I am certain you can get this corrected ASAP.

    It is possible that ST updated your voicemail and there is a different menu/process so there may not be any fraud or hacks involved.


    Best wishes.
    OK thank you very much - I will try to do that.

    I definitely didn't click anything or do something stupid consciously. I guess anything could have happened that I didn't notice. But I will definitely try to reset everything and contact ST. Thank you again

  4. #4
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    On another att mvno I occasionally see the unavailable notice. I assume the visual voicemail server is temporary down
    iPhone 12 Pro is my current primary phone. And also have a Galaxy a10e as a backup travel phone.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevink1 View Post
    On another att mvno I occasionally see the unavailable notice. I assume the visual voicemail server is temporary down
    Thank you very much - to be honest that is how the problem started. It was a few weeks ago, and I was checking Voicemail and suddenly the screen changed before my eyes - and said "Visual Voicemail Unavailable" - and I was like, "Who said anything about Visual Voicemail??" - but it has never changed.

    Last night after asking this question, I wound up checking for Software updates, and I had to download a 3 GB iOS update - which took several hours on my terrible DSL ... but didn't fix it.

    I am worried because, while I did change my Voicemail pass-code last night - it seems to also have changed. It used to say "Welcome .... press 1 to listen to your messages ... Press (2? I don't remember, 3?) to Send A Message, etc." - it no longer says that. I used to be able to press (whatever number it was, 2?) and enter a phone number, leave a message, and then send the message and hang up. That option no longer seems to exist. So SOMETHING seems to be up.


    Otherwise it seems like the phone works mostly otherwise, everything else *seems* to check out.

  6. #6
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    It sounds like there are several assumptions being made here as well as a few things that might not be clear to you & that the respondents so far have not addressed (they are just assuming that you "know" these things). So I'm going to risk assuming the exact opposite, and potentially *over-explain* some things that perhaps you do know, but (thus far) I have no way of knowing *whether* you know...heh.

    Visual Voicemail (which I will start abbreviating as "VV") is the name given to the feature where, instead of calling your carrier's voicemail system and navigating it through a touch-tone audio menu tree, allows you to deal with your voicemails "visually" through a list on your smartphone's screen, kind of like e-mail: you can see a list of voicemails on the screen sorted in the order they were received, scroll through them, tap one to listen to it, etc.

    "Visual" is kind of a confusing moniker for it, since for some people the name probably conjures up the thought of "video" voicemail or something along those lines. But it's just normal voicemail, accessed in a more convenient way. It was first introduced on the very first iPhone model by Steve Jobs in 2007 as "random-access voicemail", which is a better descriptor.

    SJ in the original 2007 iPhone announcement: "We have something that's going to revolutionize voicemail today; we call it 'visual voicemail'. Wouldn't it be great if, [let's say] you had six voicemails, if you didn't have to listen to five of them first before you wanted to listen to the sixth? Wouldn't that be great if you had random-access voicemail? Well, we've got it. Just like e-mail, you can go directly to the voicemails that interest you."

    VV requires both network-side (voicemail server) support as well as phone-side support. Apple typically required that their direct carrier partners implemented support for Visual Voicemail on their networks before they would be allowed to carry iPhone. AT&T in the U.S. was the first carrier to implement VV, being the exclusive Apple iPhone partner here.

    Of course, as the industry changed, and as unlocked phones slowly became more the norm, and people started using iPhones on whatever carriers they wanted -- whether those carriers supported VV or not! -- it was not unusual for iPhones to be connected to networks without network-side VV support, in which case those users would have to deal with voicemail in the "traditional" way.

    Over the years, VV support has (slowly) also come to Android as well (usually to carrier-specific models), so it's no longer necessarily an iPhone-exclusive feature. And it's also not unheard of that carriers which previously had no VV support would eventually roll it out, and then auto-enroll any of their existing customers who were using phones compatible with VV into their new VV system. So one day, their users with phone models capable of VV would be dialing into the voicemail system as normal, and the next day, those same users would find the VV feature on their phones suddenly working.

    Another thing we need to be clear on is that "carriers" like Straight Talk are not wireless/mobile carriers in the traditional sense: unlike (in the U.S.) the "big three" of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, Straight Talk owns none of their own infrastructure (towers, radio transmitters, and such). Instead, ST is what's called a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), with emphasis on the "virtual". They pay wholesale rates to one or more actual wireless carriers for access to their network, and then re-sell that access to end-users like yourself. Straight Talk is a middle-man between you and AT&T.

    In your case, you may not directly "have" an AT&T account, but as a Straight Talk subscriber, you received a SIM card which enables your phone to talk to and work with the AT&T network. So *INDIRECTLY*, you have an AT&T account, whether you realize it or not. Nearly all of the features on ST that you take for granted are *actually* provided by AT&T services. This *INCLUDES* voicemail: AT&T runs the voicemail server that you interact with as a wireless customer. NOT Straight Talk, NOT Tracfone, etc. ST is just "whitelabeling" AT&T network access and packaging it up for you slightly differently.

    It is not atypical for the wireless carriers to hold back "premium" network features (like VV) for their direct-paying customers and delay the roll-out of these features to their MVNOs for a time. VV was definitely among the features that for quite a while was only available to direct AT&T customers, and not to AT&T MVNOs like Straight Talk. So ST customers were required to dial into voicemail the "old fashioned" way, even if they were using a phone compatible with the AT&T VV system (like your iPhone SE).

    But VV has been available to MVNOs for a while now, and it does not surprise me to hear that a SIM that was not originally set up to use VV might have been automatically migrated to the VV system, once the AT&T network finally "realized" that you were using an iPhone. YOU didn't request VV, and it wasn't anything that you did that caused this change. Rather, an automated system on AT&T's side saw the serial # of your phone, looked it up in its database, saw it was an iPhone SE, which is in the list of "phone models that support VV", so AT&T's network automatically enrolled you in it.

    Honestly, VV is pretty awesome, and I'd just take this as a win if I were you (assuming that your voicemail isn't somehow horribly broken and completely unusable as a result?). Asking ST customer service to "reset" your voicemail is unlikely to "undo" this action by AT&T, since a reset would likely just re-look-up the serial# of your phone, see that it's still compatible with VV, and immediately re-enroll you into it. You *could* try taking your ST SIM, sticking it in a different phone known to not be compatible with VV, and then asking ST to reset your voicemail. After verifying that your voicemail is back to "normal", you could then put your SIM back in your iPhone SE. But after you do that, it's likely only a matter of time before you get automatically re-enrolled into AT&T's VV.

    Frankly, the bigger surprise to me is that this didn't happen to your account sooner than it did. ATT MVNOs -- especially those with direct distributor relationships with Apple -- have had VV access granted to them for quite a while now.

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