Wife complains of poor audio quality on voice calls

NCTed

Member
HoFo Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2003
Messages
922
Location
Durham, NC
Carrier(s)
AT&T
Device(s)
iPhone 14
My wife is complaining of poor audio quality on her phone calls on her iPhone 13 at home. Lots of audio drops and distortion are common for her. She works from home, so this is a problem. We have poor signal at our house, but wi-fi calling has generally fixed this. I am wondering if the new 5G bands AT&T has been rolling out in our area are to blame somehow. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to improve things for her?

Thanks,
Ted
 
Ted, it would help to know what city/state you live in to confirm if 5G networks are currently under development/update in your area. Based on your username, I will have to guess in North Carolina.
 
What phone do you have?Are you having calling issues at the house.

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No, I was asking what phone the OP is using and if he is having any calling issues at home.

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Ted, it would help to know what city/state you live in to confirm if 5G networks are currently under development/update in your area. Based on your username, I will have to guess in North Carolina.

Yes, Durham, NC. They have definitely been adding 5G. She says things have been gradually getting worse over the the last couple of months.
 
No, I was asking what phone the OP is using and if he is having any calling issues at home.

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I have an iPhone 14. I rarely make phone calls from home, but when I do, it is usually calls to family on FaceTime, so I don't really have any recent experience to compare to my wife's. Our area has always had poor signal. We used to have a 3G Microcell (on my Mom's postpaid account) for voice until they retired those. After that, things seemed to work ok for several months. Now, it has gradually gotten worse.
 
If the iPhone 13 has an option available to turn off 5G, that's the first thing i would try as an experiment. If you have strong LTE in your neighborhood she might also have the added bonus of better battery life.
 
If the iPhone 13 has an option available to turn off 5G, that's the first thing i would try as an experiment. If you have strong LTE in your neighborhood she might also have the added bonus of better battery life.

We don't have strong anything, but we will try that. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
AT&T uses VoLTE (Voice over LTE) when you have a 4G LTE signal. Even with 5G in your area, that is only being used for data and it voice, so I doubt turning off 5G would make a difference...there is no Voice over 5G (yet). If the phone can't get a 4G LTE signal, it should then go down to 4G HSPA/GSM which I'm pretty sure AT&T still uses. So you may want to see if you can turn off LTE and just use HSPA if it allows you to select a band. I know that on Android phones you can dial *#*#4636#*# and select Phone Info and then Select Network Type. I'm not sure in the iPhone has any type of menu or hidden menu to allow you to select the network.
To me, it just sounds like the 4G LTE isn't good in your area, since that is what the phone is using for voice. That's why Voice over WiFi sounds better.
 
AT&T uses VoLTE (Voice over LTE) when you have a 4G LTE signal. Even with 5G in your area, that is only being used for data and it voice, so I doubt turning off 5G would make a difference...there is no Voice over 5G (yet). If the phone can't get a 4G LTE signal, it should then go down to 4G HSPA/GSM which I'm pretty sure AT&T still uses. So you may want to see if you can turn off LTE and just use HSPA if it allows you to select a band. I know that on Android phones you can dial *#*#4636#*# and select Phone Info and then Select Network Type. I'm not sure in the iPhone has any type of menu or hidden menu to allow you to select the network.
To me, it just sounds like the 4G LTE isn't good in your area, since that is what the phone is using for voice. That's why Voice over WiFi sounds better.

Google says AT&T sunset their 3G (aka "4G") network in February 2022. 4G LTE is the only transport mechanism for voice now. I know they've been re-farming PCS for 5G in our area since they don't own either of the 850MHz bands, and the iPhone 13 is missing some of the mid-band spectrum needed for AT&T's 5G implementation. You might be right that it won't make a difference to turn off 5G though.
 
Yeah, I wasn't thinking about the fact they were turning off the older HSPA (4G) and you couldn't use it as voice anymore. So with only LTE as being used to carry voice, disabling the 5G (which use different bands) won't make a difference on the call quality.
If it's being used our the house, then keep WiFi calling on for better voice quality. My area of FL is highly covered, so voice quality here is pretty good (except when in some large stores like Target or Walmart). But I home I just use regular VoLTE. I've tried Voice over WiFi and had no noticable difference here.
 
Don't forget that HSPA and HSDPA were data-only and not voice on the 3G networks. 4G introduced LTE and later VOLTE (Voice over LTE).
 
Wi-Fi calling is on. It doesn't seem to make a difference.
 
Wi-Fi calling is on. It doesn't seem to make a difference.

Apart from phone calls, is the Wi-Fi connection acceptable for data on your computer? I am wondering if there is an issue with her phone internally. Might not have anything to do with the cellular network. Is there an Apple store nearby that could test her phone?
 
Don't forget that HSPA and HSDPA were data-only and not voice on the 3G networks. 4G introduced LTE and later VOLTE (Voice over LTE).
Yeah, that right, voice was just over regular GSM, while data was on HSPA. I remember being able to do voice and data at the same time, something I couldn't do on Verizon with CDMA.
 
Wi-Fi calling is on. It doesn't seem to make a difference.
If WiFi calling is on and you got a decent Router (using 5Ghz band, but even 2.4Ghz is OK) and a speed over 10Mbps, then the voice quality should be good (as voice doesn't use much data). But if WiFi calling doesn't sound good...no better than the VoLTE , then I would suggest having the phone checked out, it see if you can get another iPhone to test out (look on Amazon for a one that is Amazon Renewed. Even if you return it, you can still test out the voice quality.
 
Apart from phone calls, is the Wi-Fi connection acceptable for data on your computer? I am wondering if there is an issue with her phone internally. Might not have anything to do with the cellular network. Is there an Apple store nearby that could test her phone?

Yeah, we have AT&T Gigapower. I have a Synology RT2600AC behind the RG using IP passthrough and a MR 2200AC connected via gigabit ethernet to the main router. Throughput and latency are excellent.

I could take it to an Apple Store. Is that something they do? Test cellular performance?
 
If WiFi calling is on and you got a decent Router (using 5Ghz band, but even 2.4Ghz is OK) and a speed over 10Mbps, then the voice quality should be good (as voice doesn't use much data). But if WiFi calling doesn't sound good...no better than the VoLTE , then I would suggest having the phone checked out, it see if you can get another iPhone to test out (look on Amazon for a one that is Amazon Renewed. Even if you return it, you can still test out the voice quality.

When we get back from vacation, I plan to have her test wi-fi only calling by putting the phone in airplane mode and enabling wi-fi to see how well it works without cellular signal. The phone works fine everywhere else, but it behaves poorly at home, and this is not the first phone to have issues at this location, so I suspect it is the same old problem.
 
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