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eldaino
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Teacher

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17 Messages

Sun, Oct 21, 2018 5:41 AM

Why is ATT disabling visual voicemail on Pixel phones?

So my girlfriend just got her brand new pixel 3, unlocked straight from google. We have friends who are on Verizon who also did the same (went the unlocked route, and bought directly from google as well.)

 

 

However, in the dialer app, we noticed something strange: our friends phones had a dedicated tab for visual voicemail; my girlfriends phone did not.

 

The only option we have is to download att's proprietary visual voicemail application...even though google builds visual voicemail in natively into android, much like apple does with the iphone.

If i bought an unlocked iphone, apple's visual voicemail solution would still be accessible to us. In fact, I know it is, because I've purchased and used unlocked iphones in the past on my account without any sort of barrier to using that portion of the phone....the option to enable visual voicemail on her pixel is totally missing from her phones options, which means that its being disabled based upon the sim that's currently inserted into the phone.

I have a well over 200 dollar phone bill with att.....and I'm kinda starting to get the gist of whats going on here, but I'd like to see if there is solution to the problem...I mean for that price, or any price, does it not make sense that if we spend money on a device that we get to use its built in capabilities? 

 

Why is att going out of their way to disable this? Where do i sign to get that ban lifted? And is there any reasoning behind that decision, outside of wanting unnecessary amounts of control on android devices on att's network? (because they certainly don't take the same approach to iphones)

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

ATTHelp

Community Support

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203.5K Messages

4 years ago

Hello @eldaino,

 

We can definitely assist you with setting up Visual Voicemail on your cell phone. You can Learn how to set up and install the AT&T Visual Voicemail app here, if your Android device doesn't already have Visual Voicemail built-in or the app pre-installed. Let us know if this helps.

 

Sean, AT&T Community Specialist

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

ATTHelp

Community Support

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203.5K Messages

4 years ago

Hello @eldaino

 

These are great questions.

According to The Android Open Source Project the native 'visual voicemail (VVM)' feature is available when using a SIM from a carrier who supports it, or does not use its own proprietary visual voicemail feature.

 

The VVM service can be disabled or deactivated by user interaction, removal of a valid SIM, or replacement by a carrier VVM app. Disabled means that the local device no longer displays visual voicemail. Deactivated means that the service is turned off for the subscriber. User interaction can

deactivate the service, SIM removal temporarily disables the service because it's no longer present, and carrier VVM replacement disables the AOSP VVM client.

 

The user may manually enable or disable visual voicemail. If a user disables visual voicemail, they are also deactivating their service. When they disable visual voicemail, a DEACTIVATE sms is sent, the voicemail source is unregistered locally, and voicemail tab disappears. If they re-enable visual voicemail, their service is reactivated as well.

 

If there are changes to the device's SIM state or Carrier Config values, and a valid configuration for the given SIM no longer exists, then the voicemail source is unregistered locally and the voicemail tab disappears. If the SIM is replaced, VVM will be re-enabled.

 

We hope this answers your questions regarding 'google's own flagship' product. We appreciate your business and would like to thank you for making AT&T your choice for Wireless & Entertainment.

Kenneth, AT&T Community Specialist

eldaino

Teacher

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17 Messages

4 years ago

Not to be rude or mince words.....but I re-read my initial post before typing this.....

 

 

 

....and its almost like you didn't even read it. 

 

I'm NOT asking for help installing ATT'S visual voicemail. I do not want att's visual voicemail.

 

We should not have to download a 3rd party app as a solution to getting visual voicemail, when the phone very obviously has it built in. 

 

Fun fact: putting our friends sim in her phone and resetting the device showed a dialer app that magically had the visual voicemail tab in it. Put her sim back in? POOF! Vanished. 

 

I'd like a reason, ATT. 

 

If i buy an iphone unlocked, the native visual voicemail app works, easy peasy. SUUUURE I could download your app if i wanted to, but thats just an option. It is NOT required.

 

But its seems like you want to treat the Pixel phone, google's own flagship, as a second class citizen? Even though they provide the OS that powers literally every other phone you sell and make money off of? Surely you see the irony. 

 

I don't think asking that certain features NOT be disabled is too much to ask. I'm just using your network for just that: the network. 

 

Is this because Google wouldn't let you guys put an ATT logo on the phone? Or allow you to screen updates, since its literally the iphone of the android world? (where the oem controls the full stack, hardware and software?) Like i get it, you guys may be sore about it or whatever.....

 

 

...but to block a phones capability, without any indication (a good one at least) as to why?

 

i mean I'm having trouble deciding why i'd stay with the company if I can't even use the phones I purchase to use on the network properly. 

 

I mean, we've already confirmed unlocked pixel phones work fully featured on verizon. 

 

I just honestly can't see a usage scenario where being able to use that feature is somehow detrimental to att's network or service features, especially since by not blocking it, you're still giving folks the option to download your own visual voicemail app.

 

But downloading that app is NOT something i'm interested in doing and not really a resolve to the issue. If this could get escalated to the proper dept/thread where an actual answer addressing the issue could be given that would be so great. Thanks in advance!

eldaino

Teacher

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17 Messages

4 years ago

It doesn't answer my question.

 

At all. 

 

All you folks have done is give heavy handed explanation of what is actually happening and what methods you guys are employing to block said native visual voicemail; you're not telling me WHY. You're not telling me why ATT as a company doesn't support it, when you do for apple phones. 

 

I understand why the VM tab appeared and reappeared, you just gave the technical explanation for it. In laymen's terms: Verizon treats this phone like apple wants it's iphones treated, and you guys don't.

 

the 'google flagship product' touch was cute. I'm not making that up: that's what the pixel line is: google flagship smartphone. See how silly apple's 'high end flagship Xs' or samsung's 'high end, flagship galaxy note 9' appears? Because those devices are each manufacturers respective flagships. 

 

Samsung users may be okay downloading an app just to see their voicemail (because lets face it, samsungs software is so cluttered your visual voicemail app is probably an improvement over what they would include anyway) but we as a family know better. 

 

So i'll try again: can anyone from att tell me what the reasoning was for disabling a native, built in feature for a phone that supposedly 'works' on your network? Or is this device going to be compromised, in some way shape or form, from a feature-set perspective, due to some sort of strange stance on software that no one wants to be forthcoming about?

Tutor

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1 Message

4 years ago

@eldaino 

 

I second this 1000%! Except I spent so much time with att tech support trying to figure out why it's not appearing on my brand new pixel 3 not realizing it was my network (att) preventing it by not supporting it in the first place. My buddies Verizon sim it popped right up. So frustrating! Why is att doing this!? This is so frustrating

eldaino

Teacher

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17 Messages

4 years ago

It’s because they feel like it. Notice how we haven’t gotten a response? They don’t care. They really don’t. Enabling androids visual voicemail wouldn’t make their lives any harder than they already are with the myriad of iPhones that also have it. 

 

 

We are seriously considering switching because of it. I work for an isp and this is the equivalent of like blocking certain computers or tablets from accessing the internet properly unless they meet an arbitrary spec we made up. 

 

 

Its predatory and anti consumer. 

 

Anyone from att have an actual response yet?

Tutor

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2 Messages

4 years ago

I understand 100% what you're saying . It's horrible the way these companies take our money and don't really provide real solutions or answers to their customers issues . I purchased my phone from Best Buy Verizon and it worked perfectly out of the box. But I cant even get the visual voicemail app setup to work on the phone. I keep getting an error message. 

gr8sho

ACE - Professor

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3.8K Messages

4 years ago

@eldaino

Hello .  There are many many threads on the topic of using unlocked Android phones that are not AT&T branded and being able to utilize all the features provided by the carrier and the handset manufacturer.

There may be both technical and business reasons why full support is not given, but it's their network and they make the terms of service, yes?  There are no entitlements for anyone to bring any phone into their network unless the carrier allows it.  With one notable exception, and for which formal policy is stated.

It's perfectly fair of course to voice opinion .  The Pixel seems, based on some recent threads, to possibly be getting special treatment.  I say may be because only a few cases are mentioned and no official policy statement made which would always make me nervous.

I can speak to this topic from personal experience choosing to buy an AT&T branded GS8 for fear of not having WiFi calling. 

eldaino

Teacher

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17 Messages

4 years ago

What's that notable exception? The iphone? It must be, because I can buy one unlocked straight from apple, no branding whatsoever, and still use visual voicemail.

 

This stance that att has (I imagine its a stance...no one from att has actually weighed in on it yet, because the answer is plain and simple: they want their fingers as deep into the software as they have them with all the other android phones and google won't allow it. Probably part of the reason why the pixel isn't available from att directly.) is hostile towards consumers.

 

Like full stop. Can YOU think of a reason why they'd go out of their way to block a feature built into a phone? I'm an ex employee...if visual voicemail was messing up on an iphone, we had to send folks back to apple, because it was a feature apple controlled. I see no difference here. If anything it's even easier because att could literally claim 'we don't sell those devices' further putting the responsibility of functionality on the user purchasing said phone.

 

I mean goodness; even your response is somewhat hostile; wanting my phone to work the way it came from the factory is NOT entitlement. I'm not saying att 'owes' me or any other pixel owner anything other than what they allow other handset users to enjoy, which is built in visual voicemail: a base level feature that's built into the OS that they are going out of their way to block.

 

Wifi calling works fine. HD voice works fine. They even pushed out an update to enable it. Those, arguably, impact the user experience more so than visual voicemail, so why block something with no other basis than:

 

we want you to use our app

 

or

 

 

you didn't buy it from us?

 

 

Nothing about disabling this feature makes the att user experience better. It makes it worse.

 

As such, since att can't actually come up with an explanation other than 'just because', we will be moving our service to another provider. 

 

I work for an internet service provider; believe me when I say, threats of leaving don't impact me personally, orl even the company I work for. But those complaints are centered around price; we don't proactively block people from using their own wifi routers or modems. (ironic then, that att also uses proprietary equipment to provision uverse, when plenty of standalone wifi routers on other fiber providers work just fine.)

 

this all comes down to money. They just wont say it. If i want a fully featured phone experience, it has to either have an att tramp stamp on it (and thus not be updated in a timely manner, as is the case for most android handsets that aren't googles on line) or get an iphone, which is the only device att has a proper attitude and hands off approach to. (this whole thing reminds me of when att tried to block hangouts and facetime from being used on their network. Kinda pathetic.)

 

So in my case, the decision to leave has nothing to do with price or service, but rather an anti consumer stance. It's one thing to not offer a something...it's something else entirely to go out of your way to block its functionality for no other benefit than the companies' own. 

 

And that speaks way louder than any non-answer att has refused to give here. 

gr8sho

ACE - Professor

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3.8K Messages

4 years ago

There’s no hostility intended or implied. I’m simply pointing out house rules. Sometimes working too hard to apply logic will get one running in circles.  

BTW, if you really do have WiFi calling functional on the Pixel 3, a concession was already made because that was the one killer feature that was always held hostage unless buying phone directly from att branded. 

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