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Thread: Roaming question from Ireland

  1. #1
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    Roaming question from Ireland

    Hi all i'm a regular visiting to the US from Ireland. My phone network is Vodafone Ireland. Roaming in the USA doesn't support VoLTE. My phone mainly roamed on AT&T but since they shutdown their 3G my roaming changed to T-Mobile. However i believe they have now shut down 3G? I have heard they still have good 2G coverage and that my phone will switch back to 2G during a voice call.

    Is there anyone here know what's going to happen going forward? Will VoLTE over roaming be rolled out anytime soon or am i screwed?
    Main network : Vodafone IE ( Ireland)

    My bit on the side : AT&T

    Iphone 13 Pro Max Graphite 1TB

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    Actually

    Quote Originally Posted by Micky 32 View Post
    However i believe they have now shut down 3G? I have heard they still have good 2G coverage and that my phone will switch back to 2G during a voice call.
    Theoretically that is the way it is supposed to work. I can speak to the local downtown Boston, MA area. Beginning about June 10 the 3G service has deteriorated. Shutdown must be happening in phases. To connect to the 2G coverage it takes forever to call out and connect. Callers to my number, sometimes face dead air as the system is trying to locate the phone. Many times calls in and out fail. I wouldn't depend on it. This is due to 2G few and far between. This is my experience from a 4G but non-VoLTE phone. YMMV most likely dependent on location as well.

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    First question I have is whether you’ve tried a roaming call on T-Mobile yet? Unlike AT&T, T-Mobile has always been pretty true to the GSM standards, with little commercial interest tweaks. They never withheld VoLTE, FaceTime calls over cellular, MMS on iPhones, etc. from any network user.

    AT&T withholds certain new things and promotes them as benefits of their own service, rather than service on their network through a third party. VoLTE was one such thing, though they needed to allow that for all of their MVNOs once they decided to shut down 3G.

    That said, the networks need to build a bridge to allow VoLTE while roaming, which they have been lax about. They are supposedly working on this.

    If roaming calls aren’t over LTE, you may need a temporary fix. Since you have an iPhone 13, presumably unlocked, you can add a US roaming data eSIM and use Wi-Fi calling (which I assume Vodafone Ireland supports). The trick would be to disable data roaming on Vodafone and point your Vodafone SIM to a network that they don’t have a roaming agreement with (e.g., Verizon). Your data will use the eSIM and your calls will use cell data on the eSIM using emulated Wi-Fi calling.

    I know this is a kludge, but it will simply allow you to use your calling over LTE with emulated Wi-Fi calling. Since Vodafone doesn’t offer free worldwide roaming, this may also be cheaper in the long run. A company like Airalo offers inexpensive roaming data eSIM options ($11 for 3GB and $16 for 5GB, each good for 30 days) and you can top up right before coming back over.
    Last edited by high technology; 07-06-2022 at 02:32 PM.

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    You need to reach out to your Irish carrier to see if they can update your phone settings to allow roaming on other networks than the ones you have been connected to. The US carriers you have been roaming on will not be able to assist you with troubleshooting or resolving network questions/issues as they have no access to your account/plan.
    Just another day in paradise.....

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    Your carrier needs to enable VoLTE roaming for the US, plain and simple. GSM will be gone at the end of the year (and has been spotty for quite some time), HSPA gone any minute on T-Mobile where they had it.

    GSM and HSPA work great at my house in Chicago currently, but any minute the HSPA could go, and GSM is in such a small chunk of spectrum, i've not been able to hand a call off between cell sites for months.

    The other option if you have an iPhone is to just grab a US SIM while you are here, and ask your irish carrier to disable international roaming.. use either your Irish carrier or the US carrier on eSIM.

    If you enable WiFi calling, calls/sms will go over the 4G/5G network you purchased a SIM for.
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    Thanks for the replies. Am i hearing correctly that you can make wifi calling work over the 4G/5g network? I thought that was only possible on wifi.

    Anyway, i have changed network providers since. I知 now with Eir mobile. Unlike Vodafone they allow wifi calling while roaming. At least i can use my phone as normal whenever i知 in a wifi spot.

    My phone will roam on T-Mobile 4G/5G but i知 told that when i receive or make a call it will drop to 2G. I知 flying into LA in September and will be driving up to Las Vegas afterwards. I will also be in the Grand Canyon area so hopefully there痴 plenty of 2G coverage.

    The irish networks claim to be working on a VoLTE solution. Time will tell i guess.

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    The dual-SIM functionality in iOS can use the second SIM's data connection to emulate Wi-Fi calling. iOS allows you to "prefer wi-fi calling while roaming", but it doesn't seem to consistently use the cell data connection for this purpose, only traditional Wi-Fi.

    So the "trick" (kludge) is to point your regular SIM to an unsupported network using the manual network selection, which will force it to happen, since your main SIM will be in a NO SERVICE condition. The good news is that Verizon is likely not a roaming partner with your carrier, so pointing to that should give you No SERVICE condition, otherwise you can typically find some odd/experimental network that will deny your SIM access). Then just switch back to automatic network selection when you get back home.

    As an example, I went to the Caribbean and bought a data-only eSIM for a few bucks to play with (and have connectivity between the airport and our resort, since we were on Verizon back then and didn't have free roaming). Buying the eSIM was super simple, I used Airalo but there are a few different providers, and it cost me $7 or so for 1GB of data (the US eSIMs are cheaper than the Caribbean).

    If successfully implemented, your carrier display will show like this picture (my Verizon line using Cellular Data):

    Name:  Emulated Wi-Fi Calling.jpg
Views: 130
Size:  24.2 KB

    BY THE WAY, just looked at EIR out of curiosity, and their roaming costs are crazy high. You can buy 1GB of data for 30 Euros, but if you don't (or if you go over the 1GB) you're charged 5 Euros per MB (a bit over 5,000 Euros per GB). I would STRONGLY URGE you to see if they can disable paid data roaming on your account, and I would disable data roaming in your iPhone settings for that line.

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    Thanks for the reply and info. Yeah roaming cost on Eir is high but i intend to purchase a Airalo e-sim for my trip anyway. I must try that trick about the wifi calling. As far as I can remember i can only roam on AT&T and T-Mobile and not Verizon.

    Vodafone roaming charges are 3.99 per day and that includes unlimited calls and text and 500mb data per day. But with the uncertainty of the USA shutting their 3g 2g networks i changed to Eir mainly because they support roaming wifi calling. When Vodafone sort out VoLTE I値l probably go back to them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky 32 View Post
    Thanks for the reply and info. Yeah roaming cost on Eir is high but i intend to purchase a Airalo e-sim for my trip anyway. I must try that trick about the wifi calling. As far as I can remember i can only roam on AT&T and T-Mobile and not Verizon.

    Vodafone roaming charges are 3.99 per day and that includes unlimited calls and text and 500mb data per day. But with the uncertainty of the USA shutting their 3g 2g networks i changed to Eir mainly because they support roaming wifi calling. When Vodafone sort out VoLTE I’ll probably go back to them.
    Honestly, if I were you, i'd just download the Visible app when you get here.. it's $25/mo USD unlimited talk/text/data/5Mbps hotspot via Verizon.. unlike the UK/EU, it's not hard to get a "local" prepaid SIM, as the regulations here do not require passport info and such.

    It's always "deprioritized" on Verizon, but if you do what I and high technology above pointed out, it'll likely work well for you.

    I use Visible on my 2nd line... the ping stays ~100ms, but VoIP and all of my apps work fine on it. I use it when roaming in the middle of nowhere in spots T-Mobile has not built out yet, and in those areas it just shows "T-Mobile using Cellular Data" and I can use the phone just like I would in native coverage.

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    Ok. So is this basically how it works? I download an E-Sim like airalo or visible. Set it up to work. I then redirect manualy my main sim/number to a network that doesn稚 work with roaming until i get no service. I then get wifi calling automatically? That simple?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky 32 View Post
    Ok. So is this basically how it works? I download an E-Sim like airalo or visible. Set it up to work. I then redirect manualy my main sim/number to a network that doesn’t work with roaming until i get no service. I then get wifi calling automatically? That simple?
    that's it.

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    Wow thanks! Sounds like a plan. Interestingly i just tried the hotspot off my partners android phone. I got wifi calling through her cellular data.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky 32 View Post
    Wow thanks! Sounds like a plan. Interestingly i just tried the hotspot off my partners android phone. I got wifi calling through her cellular data.
    Yes, it will do WiFi calling through pretty much any IP connection.

    I've been debating on moving my number to Visible, and just using a data-only eSIM when abroad thanks to this.

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    Micky 32,

    You have gotten very good advice on using the iPhone "Trick" about simulated WiFi from a data service from others on this site. This process is called IMS, (Internet Protocol Multi Media Sub System) and I have used it for over a year with 100% success. A simple word of caution, I suggest turning off WiFi when employing IMS in case your native voice carrier can use WiFi calling from a legitimate WiFi network, in case that carrier might have fees for WiFi calls while roaming. My voice carrier, T-Mobile charges .$25 a minute if I connect to a true WiFi source while roaming, so yours might have similar fees for a real WiFi call. Of course you can always turn WiFi on for free WiFi service from friends and businesses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daleraver View Post
    Micky 32,

    You have gotten very good advice on using the iPhone "Trick" about simulated WiFi from a data service from others on this site. This process is called IMS, (Internet Protocol Multi Media Sub System) and I have used it for over a year with 100% success. A simple word of caution, I suggest turning off WiFi when employing IMS in case your native voice carrier can use WiFi calling from a legitimate WiFi network, in case that carrier might have fees for WiFi calls while roaming. My voice carrier, T-Mobile charges .$25 a minute if I connect to a true WiFi source while roaming, so yours might have similar fees for a real WiFi call. Of course you can always turn WiFi on for free WiFi service from friends and businesses.
    I've never been charged by T-Mobile because I connected to WiFi, calls on WiFi have always counted as domestic, and only when answering out/about have I ever been charged for making a call.

    Three of us on my account work for an airline, and at least one of us is using the global features every month.

    It even states here in the FAQ that you are not charged just for registering on a foreign WiFi network:

    https://www.t-mobile.com/support/cov...-from-t-mobile

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