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rjniles

Scholar

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174 Messages

Thu, Apr 26, 2018 11:28 PM

MICROCELL Discontinuance Alternative

 

Otto P continues to remind us that the MicroCell has reached end of life and that by year end 2018 the service will go away. A cellular booster will not work for me as I get no signal even standing on the roof of my house (don't laugh, I tried it). Otto recommends that we utilize AT&T WIFI calling as a replacement. My issue with that suggestion is that you have to purchase an AT&T branded phone or an I Phone. Neither option appeals to me (I am a cheap skate and I have philosophical objections to Apple products). My wife and I use Motorola phones (she has a Moto X G2 and I have a Moto E4 Plus).

 

My alternative is Google Voice WIFI Calling (GV-WIFI-C). This product is now in Beta; it is a free app associated with a Google account that you can download from the Google Play store. GV assigns you a free telephone number (but likely not in your local area) that you can link to your existing ATT number. When connected to WIFI, you make an outgoing call using the app and the called person sees the caller ID showing your ATT number. Pretty straight forward and the call quality is good. Receiving incoming calls becomes more convoluted. The best option I have found is to use the ATT call forwarding option “call forward when unreachable”. I have permanently call forward when unreachable my ATT number to my GV number. When I am at home I have absolutely no over the air signal (unreachable), so the call is forwarded to my GV number that reaches me by my home WIFI. This will not work if you have some signal at your home and the local tower can “see” your phone.

 

Responses

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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12.7K Messages

2 years ago

@rjniles - Google Voice is definitely an alternative. I have zero experience with that service so that's why I didn't mention it. The term "AT&T branded phone" has caused some confusion. All that means is that it's a model of phone that AT&T sells but not necessarily locked to AT&T. That still leaves a lot of good phones out. It's unfortunate that you have a philosophical issue with Apple products because that does narrow your options a tad. I have a philosophical issue with anything Android-based but I do have, and use, some Android products. I will mention Google Voice in future posts as an alternative to cover all my bases.

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rjniles

Scholar

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174 Messages

2 years ago

I believe you are wrong about the use of non AT&T branded phones. Responses and feedback on other forums says that a non AT&T branded phones of the same model AT&T sells will be denied the use of WIFI-C.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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12.7K Messages

2 years ago

@rjniles - I've purchased all of our WiFi-C capable iPhones from Apple, not AT&T. So they came as an unlocked GSM phone (which would also work on T-Mobile's network). A post paid AT&T account is needed to use WiFi-C on AT&T's network though so maybe that's the confusion.

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rjniles

Scholar

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174 Messages

2 years ago

Otto,

 

You are correct, I Phones can use AT&T WIFI-C regardless where purchased. Not so with Android, must be branded.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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12.7K Messages

2 years ago

@rjniles - Yeah, that sucks for the Android crowd. Part of that is due to the open-sourceness of the Android OS (which is not a bad thing) and the various "flavors" of OS available for Android-based phones. It's difficult, at least for AT&T, to get WiFi-C to work  reliably without extra "AT&T stuff" on top of the OS.

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lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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78.4K Messages

2 years ago

I’m jumping in to add;  Apple, Samsung and Lg phones sold by ATT are all Wifi calling capable.  This includes the bargain phones J3, J7 and LG k20   

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T or any carrier. Never have, never will. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

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rjniles

Scholar

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174 Messages

2 years ago

Yes AT&T does sell lower cost Android phones that can do WIFI-C but they are low specification phones with poor cameras and little memory capacity. Some of us prefer to buy unlocked phones that can be used with any carrier, prefer manufacturer/models not carried by AT&T or have existing p[hones we would like to continue using. If I were an Apple fanboy my problem would be solved because as Otto mentioned, an I Phone purchased anywhere can be used with the WIFI-C.

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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78.4K Messages

2 years ago

@rjniles

Then shop ebay or swappa for last years model.  I’ve paid half price by purchasing a 6 to 12 month old phone, used.  Samsung GS6, GS7, GS8 and got the preorder with trade in deal on the GS9 brand new from Best Buy. 

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GLIMMERMAN76

ACE - Expert

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20.4K Messages

2 years ago


@rjniles wrote:

Yes AT&T does sell lower cost Android phones that can do WIFI-C but they are low specification phones with poor cameras and little memory capacity. Some of us prefer to buy unlocked phones that can be used with any carrier, prefer manufacturer/models not carried by AT&T or have existing p[hones we would like to continue using. If I were an Apple fanboy my problem would be solved because as Otto mentioned, an I Phone purchased anywhere can be used with the WIFI-C.


The moto e4 you said someone was using is a low cost budget phone...  Heck that moto x g2 is a low cost budget phone by todays standards...  Moto is a shell of the company it once was thanks to Lenovo..  Personally I use a iPhone x for my daily driver these days..  Not for the phone but the apple watch...  Samsung and Google still cant beat the apple watch...  I also carry test phones which are always android...  Actually till the iPhone 8 came out I was anti iPhone till I was sent one for testing some stuff and got to keep it and the watch they sent with it.

 

If you want advance LTE features on a non ATT android phone your going to have to get creative which is what you did.  BUT some people are not going to just do it as they want one step solutions.  Personally with the Note 8 I have which was tmobile I just flashed the ATT userdata file and got my advance features back then went in and removed all the att bloat along with samsungs.

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rjniles

Scholar

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174 Messages

2 years ago

Lizdance40

 

Not trying to be argumentative, but buying used I would still need to buy an AT&T branded Android to use the WIFI-C. Other carriers that offer WIFI-C allow you to use any phone that has the capability for WIFI-C to use their network. Seems to me that allowing AT&T customers to use the WIFI-C feature would remove traffic from a congested macro network. I realize that I have the option to go to another carrier but I am an AT&T legacy company retiree (since you are from CT, you remember SNET) and receive a pretty healthy discount.

GLIMMERMAN76

ACE - Expert

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20.4K Messages

2 years ago


@rjniles wrote:

Lizdance40

 

Not trying to be argumentative, but buying used I would still need to buy an AT&T branded Android to use the WIFI-C. Other carriers that offer WIFI-C allow you to use any phone that has the capability for WIFI-C to use their network. Seems to me that allowing AT&T customers to use the WIFI-C feature would remove traffic from a congested macro network. I realize that I have the option to go to another carrier but I am an AT&T legacy company retiree (since you are from CT, you remember SNET) and receive a pretty healthy discount.


Wifi calling still does not reduce traffic.  They call still has to go to a switch somewhere.  Volte does help reduce traffic because its ip based calling.  ATT has no plans to change their business model. ATT has proven that in the last 2 years.  BYOP people only account for about 5% of the customer base on ATT according to 2017 financial reports.  Thats why I think ATT is dragging its feet on allowing non ATT branded android phones to use enhanced features.

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kctlvn

Mentor

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4 Messages

2 years ago

My brother has zero signal at his house because when the Cal State Hayward building at&t had their "tower" on was demolished they didn' replace it. The only way he can get att cell signal is with  the microcell. He uses an iphone 6 (prepaid model on a postpaid acct) which am pretty sure doesn't have WiFi-C and isn't going to pay big $ for newer model just to keep at&t service. I have a Note 8 I bought from Samsung for my at&t service because I don't like all the bloatware at&t puts on their branded devices. This means once they cut microcell service I will have zero signal when visiting my brother as will my 82 year old mom whose phone is on my at&t plan and is an older model.

 

This is not acceptable. My brother will be canceling his internet service in addition to his cell service once the mcell is no longer supported.

 

I have a novel concept for at&t. How about you replace the tower that was removed in August 2013 essentially wiping out service to everyone living in the Hayward hills. It's ridiculous to me that an mcell should even be necessary in what is a very populous area. 

 

Discontinuing the mcell service is just adding insult to injury for customers you've already been underserving for 5 years. While I have decent signal at my home I may be forced to change to another carrier so my mom and I can get signal when at my brother"s house. This is just a shameful way to treat customers who've been with you since you were PacBell mobile. 

rjniles

Scholar

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174 Messages

2 years ago

Agree 100% with KCTIVN.  AT&T uses the MicroCell to provide service to their customers in areas that AT&T provides poor or no service and uses the customer's internet to do it. With the MicroCell they do not restrict the type of phone you use and even provide service to prepaid phones if the primary account holder is a post paid customer. Since AT&T is discontinuing the MicroCell in favor of WIFI-C, it seems to me they need to provide it under the same conditions. Just got off my soap box.Smiley Happy

 

Glimmerman76 says the WIFI-C does not reduce the traffic on the macro network but it does reduce the traffic on the final connection to the customer, the cell tower to phone link.

 

 

 

GLIMMERMAN76

ACE - Expert

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20.4K Messages

2 years ago


@kctlvn wrote:

My brother has zero signal at his house because when the Cal State Hayward building at&t had their "tower" on was demolished they didn' replace it. The only way he can get att cell signal is with  the microcell. He uses an iphone 6 (prepaid model on a postpaid acct) which am pretty sure doesn't have WiFi-C and isn't going to pay big $ for newer model just to keep at&t service. I have a Note 8 I bought from Samsung for my at&t service because I don't like all the bloatware at&t puts on their branded devices. This means once they cut microcell service I will have zero signal when visiting my brother as will my 82 year old mom whose phone is on my at&t plan and is an older model.

 

This is not acceptable. My brother will be canceling his internet service in addition to his cell service once the mcell is no longer supported.

 

I have a novel concept for at&t. How about you replace the tower that was removed in August 2013 essentially wiping out service to everyone living in the Hayward hills. It's ridiculous to me that an mcell should even be necessary in what is a very populous area. 

 

Discontinuing the mcell service is just adding insult to injury for customers you've already been underserving for 5 years. While I have decent signal at my home I may be forced to change to another carrier so my mom and I can get signal when at my brother"s house. This is just a shameful way to treat customers who've been with you since you were PacBell mobile. 


@kctlvn

 

There was a reason that tower was not replaced... Zoning could be one...  City demanding to much...  I know in CA they like to demand things like palm tree looking cell towers or cell towers that look like a tree of some kind.  Here in the Midwest we don't really care what a cell tower looks like as long as we have coverage.  It sucks the tower was not replaced...

 

As for your brothers iphone 6 even tho its a prepaid model it will have wifi calling as I have one as a backup for the kids if they break their phones.  He may need a new sim card is all.  If he has post paid he has wifi calling.

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lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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78.4K Messages

2 years ago

@kctlvn

Easy on the knee jerk reaction.  

The iPhone 6 is capable of WiFi calling as long as it’s on a postpaid account.  Always has been since day of release.  It was AT&T’s first WiFi-c capable phone.  

 Your moms phone is an older model ATT phone?  Which one?   WiFi calling is available to Samsung models back to the GS5 and LG models back to the G3.  

BTW the bloat on ATT phones is no worse on the branded phones than on non branded.  Different, not less.  Starting with the GS8 Samsung put far less on the phone and most can be uninstalled.  It’s not like the old days when apps were intrusive and couldn’t be removed.  

 

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T or any carrier. Never have, never will. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

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