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ggendel's profile
ggendel
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Teacher

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14 Messages

Wed, Dec 28, 2016 5:31 PM

Wifi Calling on Unlocked Phones?

AT&T had announced that once HD Voice and Wifi Calling was deployed in locked phones they would start rolling it out to compatible unlocked phones.  Is there any word on when the deployment to unlocked phones will start rolling out?

 

Background...

 

In recent travels I found AT&T cellular coverage spotty, however my wife's iPhone latched on to AT&T Wifi where she could continue to make and receive calls.  I have an unlocked Blackberry Priv (STV100-1) which is identical as the AT&T branded Blackberry Priv (STV100-1).  The only difference is that AT&T has whitelisted the AT&T version for Wifi Calling based upon it's IMEI.  From my understanding, all it takes to enable WIFI calling on the unlocked phone is to add it to the whitelist.

 

I'd like to offer my Priv in an experiment for AT&T so they can validate deployment to unlocked phones is possible and works as expected.  This should be a good test as the branded version is supported and works.  For those that travel, it would be a nice gesture to broaden coverage in weak cellular areas.

ACE - Sage

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102K Messages

6 years ago

As much as I would like this to change, because all of my phones are non ATT phone, the answer is still no.  I will add, "don't hold your breath ". 

I don't know what it will take to change this, but I for one, am unwilling to give up phones I like just to work with ATT cockeyed system.  

 

ggendel

Teacher

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14 Messages

6 years ago

I don't think that AT&T's position is that bad.  Wifi calling has been problematic.  Only recently were the AT&T and Verizon systems inter-connected successfully.  I went with an unlocked version of the Priv because of all the pain Verizon gave the locked versions.  Over 300 security patches were never pushed to the device (AT&T was pretty quick at providing the same ones).  It took over 3000 open FCC complaints (I was the one leading the effort) over 5 months before Verizon capitulated.  By then I had moved my company to AT&T.

 

I'm offering an opportunity to start with a device that should function without issue as it is the same as their whitelisted device.  As part of this effort, I can provide whatever they require (debug logs, screenshots, etc.) to ensure a smoother transition to other devices.  I just did such an effort with Blackberry support over a few weeks to track down an issue with wireless charging (capturing debug logs several times overnight along with screen captures over this period). If it works, great.  If it doesn't we gave it a valiant effort.

 

I had such an interesting experience with Verizon Fios where there was something funky happening with my DVR M-Cards.  I told them that it wasn't a big issue and just wanted to report it.  I contacted by technical support where a person was thrilled to work with something out of the ordinary.  We worked for hours over the phone before he figured out the right incantation of commands to un-funk the M-Cards.  He learned something new and could now share it with the rest of the team.

GLIMMERMAN76

ACE - Expert

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23.5K Messages

6 years ago

First off att is not going to waste resources on a phone they regret selling. BB will end support for the priv soon. Android phones get 2 years of os updates and 3 years of updates for security patches. That's if they follow Google's lead.

You would think the Google pixels would be first on att's list. Well I can tell you it's not hardware that's the problem. I can get hdvoice on my pixel xl for 3 to 4 min after taking it out of a s7 active. They are using a tool that checks the build prop to see if the phone is a att phone.
ggendel

Teacher

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14 Messages

6 years ago

Regardless about AT&T's position about a particular phone's merit, they provide a service feature, Wifi calling which has gone beyond the initial testing phase and is being deployed on a regular basis on their branded phone.  The only exception I know of is the iPhone where Wifi calling is enabled regardless of branding.

 

I agree 100% that AT&T used phones that they could test in their own labs before enabling these features, but that time has passed.  Allowing Wifi calling and HD Voice between Verizon and AT&T customers demonstrated that they have met the basic goals of these features.  AT&T stated publicly in several news briefs that the plan was to open Wifi calling to BYOD devices once the technology was proven.  T-Mo does this as a matter of policy so it's only a matter of time before Big Red and Blue follow suit.

 

AT&T is a smart company.  They understand that it's in their best interest to push Wifi calling instead of sending femtocells to every customer in a poor coverage area.  To make a point, In my previous home I had an AT&T microcell, and in my current home I had a Verizon femtocell.  It took many hours of AT&T and Verizon support to get the femtocells working properly.  Fortunately, even though the signal is weak, it is strong enough that I don't need a microcell at my current home.  It's infinitely easier to enable wifi-calling on a compatible phone than deal with the cost of femtocell hardware and support.

 

In my trip to CA for business, AT&T had some significant dead spots at the conference rooms I was in but had a strong AT&T wifi signal.  This was the aha! moment where I realized how important this feature is for extending AT&T calling coverage.

 

We all have our own idea of what phone we want to use.  For me, the Priv's security, PKB, and the Blackberry suite of tools makes this my phone of choice.  I'd actually prefer a new WebOS based phone but that is a different story.

 

ACE - Sage

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102K Messages

6 years ago

@ggendel   I guess what we are saying it ATT could do this for non ATT phones, they just don't want to.  

If and when they do, it will start with IMEI ranges for certain phones and BB won't be on top of the list.  Pixel, Moto pure and Nexus devices would be first up.

As for why, Im sure @GLIMMERMAN76 has his own theory.  Mine is:

 1.  They want customers all in and stuck on Next agreements for as long as possible.  

2.   They think carrier features like number sync,  HD voice and the new Call protect are all that and a bag of chips.  

3.  They don't take the iffy economy into account and realize we've been spoiled and want quality phones, but don't want to pay $800 for them.  

4.  If enough customers look past these features and switch carriers to use the phone they want, ATT might reconsider.

 

Keep the faith brother....

 

 

 

ggendel

Teacher

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14 Messages

6 years ago

@lizdance40 I'm new to the AT&T environment as a customer.  However, I consulted for AT&T long lines to architect their QA policies so I know how much they value quality of products and customer support.  I have lots of experience with T-Mo and VZW and don't have high expectations.  However, I do expect that nothing will move forward unless we as customers make our wants known in a clear and rational manner.

 

You may be mistaken and AT&T would rather start with a small subset of users before charging forward to enable it for several 100k phones at once.  I'm just offering my services in this endeavor.  I believe that if AT&T supported HD Voice and Wifi Calling on qualified BYOP that it would increase their connection count and thus their bottom line. If you think I would waste my time just to get a single phone enabled you don't know me very well, I'm always looking at the big picture.  There is a reason that T-MO has consistently been the fastest growing carrier over several quarters.  Accepting BYOD without turning off features has a positive effect.

 

Are their AT&T personel that participate in this forum?

GLIMMERMAN76

ACE - Expert

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23.5K Messages

6 years ago

They don't use customers for beta testing Period.... Trust me I have been a ace for 3 years and have talked to many higher up att reps in there software development teams and have offered to beta test and I get told no all the time. As an Android developer I see this a ton with cell carriers. If tmo would actually add towers I would switch to them in a heartbeat.

Tmo is adding subs so fast because they are giving away so much stuff all the time.
ggendel

Teacher

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14 Messages

6 years ago

@GLIMMERMAN76,That is not true in the general case.  I know many people that participated in the AT&T MarshMallow Beta program on the Priv with excellent results.  It was during this program that the VoLTE bug that hit many different manufacturers phones was discovered and subequently fixed.  I sat there on VZW and drooled over this program while stuck at Lollipop for 5 months.

 

ACE - Sage

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102K Messages

6 years ago

@ggendel

Very few ATT personnel do, and if they do, it is as a customer.  They come with a disclaimer and everything.   

Im an ex Verizon customer, almost 3 years.   

 

I think you're  missing the point.  The ATT system is entirely capable of allowing these devices now.  They just don't choose to.  As @GLIMMERMAN76 wrote, if you fool the system by switching SIM cards from an ATT phone, the non ATT phone will work until the system updates the IMEI.  

Will they all work?  Probably not.  

Could they add individual IMEI to the system?  Yup, they do already to get LTE.

 

Its an issue we have discussed before with ATT support behind the scenes.   Both of us have non ATT phones.  We have a few aces with Pixel or Nexus 6p.  I just messaged with a man with Moto pure edition today.  I have all three on my account.  

Its a growing number of customers all demanding full service and we are still ignored.   

 

I agree that ATT would increase its customer base if it allowed BYOD devices full access.  Heck, it would keep the ones it has now.  We see posts daily from those who are leaving because they have a device that can work fully on Verizon or T-mo.  While there are many great things about ATT, they have some blind spots.  Hang around on the forum and you will see where ATT is falling short.  Training, transparency, and this year the switch and BOGO had holes sales drove trucks through.  

 

Love Att.  But it isn't perfect and like the Queen Mary, it takes time to turn her around.  

 

 

ACE - Sage

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102K Messages

6 years ago

@ggendel   That was BB beta, ATT just didn't prevent it.  They have prevented the current Nougat beta for Samsung GS7

 

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