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eldaino

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)

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ATTHelp

Community Support

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124.8K Messages

2 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

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*I am an AT&T employee, and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

Brand User
ATTHelp

Community Support

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124.8K Messages

2 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

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eldaino

Teacher

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17 Messages

2 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

2 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

2 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

2 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

2 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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2.1K Messages

2 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. 

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eldaino

Teacher

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17 Messages

2 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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2.1K Messages

2 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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lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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76.5K Messages

2 years ago

First of all, the built in VVM is awful.  I hated when they included it into the phone app.  It use to take one tap or gesture to open VVM app and select the VVM I want to hear.  Now it take 3 steps to go through the phone app.  Terrible time waster, which was the reason VVM was great in the first place. 

     Second;  An iPhone is an iPhone is an iPhone and the iPhone is 60% of the US phone market.  No matter which iPhone you have the programming is the same, plus or minus features.  iPhone also have its own built in visual voicemail, it’s not using the ATT program.  

    Android is legion and no two android have the same OS programming. It’s not possible to make the hundreds of different android OS variation of visual Voicemail work with ATT.  Att can have its own branded phones set up to work, but it cannot possibly reprogram the multitude of other android phones to work with their system.

    Just be glad they let the Pixel 3 have HD voice and Wifi calling.  Too bad they aren’t letting the rest of the phones in too.

 

🐾 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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GLIMMERMAN76

ACE - Expert

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19.8K Messages

2 years ago

@eldaino

 

Its easy ATT did not give or google did not ask for the IMS config for ATT's voice mail.  Or ATT is using a system that they built and its not supported by googles system just like native RCS support..  

 

This is the first android phone ever to get Wifi calling on ATT period which is a win for android folks.  People tend to forget the pixel series was built with verizon's network in mind.  There are users reporting problems with it on T-mobile at this point.

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gr8sho

ACE - Professor

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2.1K Messages

2 years ago

This is odd to me being an iPhone user since the 3G came out 10 years ago. Never realized the disparity for this feature.   Wonder why a standardized solution such as the one in iOS hasn’t been implemented in android if helped with adoption.   I do remember some fuss about visual voicemail back in the day, getting it activated and working, but frankly boring for a long time. 

And yeah, getting the other value added features working is a huge win for android users. 

Cheers. 

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lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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76.5K Messages

2 years ago

@gr8sho

As I wrote VVM on iPhone is an Apple program, not ATT, Verizon, etc.  Android phones don’t get VVM on prepaid, but it works on iPhones becasue it’s built into the iOS.   

It’s  the one feature I miss on my main phone since putting it on Verizon prepaid.  But I’m very happy I do NOT get an ATT android for the line I still have on AT&T so I can use the VVM app that works on old phones and non carrier phones. 

 

🐾 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 2019 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.
eldaino

Teacher

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17 Messages

2 years ago

@lizdance40

 

 

First of all, the built in VVM is awful.  I hated when they included it into the phone app.  It use to take one tap or gesture to open VVM app and select the VVM I want to hear.  Now it take 3 steps to go through the phone app.  Terrible time waster, which was the reason VVM was great in the first place. 

 

Are you talking about androids native visual voicemail on the pixel? or are you talking about the att voicemail app? because the following:

 

 

Android is legion and no two android have the same OS programming. It’s not possible to make the hundreds of different android OS variation of visual Voicemail work with ATT.  Att can have its own branded phones set up to work, but it cannot possibly reprogram the multitude of other android phones to work with their system.

    Just be glad they let the Pixel 3 have HD voice and Wifi calling.  Too bad they aren’t letting the rest of the phones in too.

 

...leads me to believe you are.

 

Unless you're somehow talking about your experience with an unlocked pixel on another network? Because visual voicemail on the pixel takes just as many taps as an iphone to get into: phone, hit the vm tab.

 

I think some of you are confused: android, and by default google's nexus/pixel phones, has had visual voicemail built in since 2015, with the marshmellow update.

 

 

I'm not complaining about not being able to use att's visual voicemail app. I'm not asking for att to enable their OWN visual voicemail app or to support a myriad of android devices: visual voicemail is part of android's OS. And it has been for the last 3 years.

 

If i buy a samsung galaxy from att, sure, maybe att gets to mandate that their visual voicemail app be the default because they have their fingers in those branded phone's software....but the pixel has it standard. by default.

If im with any other carrier, the built in vmm works fine. 

 

 

Att is proactively blocking it. This isnt a feature att needs to develop for or support, its part of the os. 

 

I understand that there are lots of iphone users. But even when there wasn't apple called the shots and didn't allow att to meddle with their software. With the pixel, att has blocked a feature, that they don't have any reason to, on the sim card level. For no other reason other than 'too bad'.

 

I really dunno what planet you guys are from where getting to use features built into your own device should result in gratitude on my part. Or on the users part in general. I mean...are you actually typing that out?

 

 

Your explanation is still lacking, so i'll reiterate: if i bought an iphone from apple and put an att sim in it, apples o.s. level visual voicemail still works, even if i didnt get the phone at att. Google's pixel phones and android in general, has os level visual voicemail built in and att is proactively blocking it....because reasons. 

 

I had a pixel 2 and had hd voice and wifi calling on it as well....so all these comments are even more strange in their certainty, because you folks have inaccurate information. and on top of that, want me to be grateful these 'first time features' even work on the pixel 3....when theyve worked on previous generations. (not the vmm, the wifi calling and hd voice.)

 

 

New Member

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3 Messages

@eldaino Wow, here I am looking into this issue two years later and nothing seems to have changed.

"I really dunno what planet you guys are from where getting to use features built into your own device should result in gratitude on my part. Or on the users part in general. I mean...are you actually typing that out?"

I realize this post is considered ancient now, but that comment is spot on! I have an unlocked Pixel 3 on AT&T's network. It's very frustrating that visual voicemail is still such a mess in the Android world, especially when the Android OS fully supports it.

(edited)

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