12
Nov
nexus4

Earlier today, rumors broke out across the net that, according to T-Mobile's support docs, the carrier's branded Nexus 4 will support Wi-Fi calling. Previous statements indicated that the N4 would not have this feature, so we reached out to T-Mobile for official word. Unfortunately, this was an error in the support documents and the phone will not support Wi-Fi calling after all. Here's the official word, directly from T-Mo:

You are correct, just a simple mistake in the online document. No Wi-Fi calling on the Nexus 4. The document link has been updated.

So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth - no Wi-Fi calling on the Nexus 4. Bummer.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • ProductFRED

    It's a Nexus device; that means 100% pure Google software only. I don't think anyone expected any different. I think it's worth mentioning that this is why Google didn't consider the CDMA Galaxy Nexus variants are real "Nexii" [for a while].

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I counted at least 5 stories today that said WiFi calling is included.

      • ProductFRED

        That's because whoever wrote those stories doesn't know what a "Nexus" device is by definition; they think it's just a phone "by Google" instead of another OEM.

        • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

          You did not read the stories then. The support page suggested that it would work by enabling the "internet calling" feature of stock Android and using T-mo's Wifi calling through that, not through the usual app.

  • Faust

    Could you just sideload the app? Its not that hard really..

    Anyways, its good to not have it on there at the start, pure google experience and all.

    • http://twitter.com/estar0v Ealia Staroverov

      It's not an app. I've heard they used apps back in the day, but now the functionality is baked into the official roms. So not having the feature makes sense on a Nexus.

  • http://www.craigtumblison.com/ Craig Tumblison

    Just to clarify - because I've heard different things - this is limited to the T-Mobile WiFi calling service, correct? If I use Google Voice with a VoIP app, I will still be able to make calls over WiFi?

    If so, this is definitely going to be my next phone :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1503310639 Kree Terry

      Should be able to

      • http://www.craigtumblison.com/ Craig Tumblison

        Thanks! I'll probably wait until I see a video review with someone running a similar setup on it just to be safe.

        • Scott

          I currently use that setup and it works great. I can even use it over mobile data.

          • http://www.craigtumblison.com/ Craig Tumblison

            That's even better, thanks Scott! I guess I know what I'll be ordering next.

    • dude

      Just to clarify. VoIP calling is a feature that modern smartphones and tablets with internet connection are capable of. Google Voice do not let you make free calls, it is a voice service. Apps like GrooveIP and Talkatone make a work around that let you make free calls utilizing Google Voice. There are many other VoIP services to choose from like ooVoo, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, etc.

      • http://www.craigtumblison.com/ Craig Tumblison

        Thanks for the response! Yeah, I've been using Google Voice for months now with GrooveIP on my current phone. I also use it constantly on my Chromebook, so I have a good understanding of how it works in that aspect. I simply didn't know if there were T-Mobile specific restrictions in place - always better to ask. I currently have Verizon, but will be switching to T-Mobile when I purchase the Nexus 4. Thanks again!

    • mrsbelpit

      Definitive yes, you can use GV and Groove IP or similar.

  • Scott
    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      That's exactly the information we're refuting. That post is wrong and based on an erroneous documentation error, this post is correct.

      • Scott

        I see. Thanks.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii
      • Scott

        Hey now -_-

  • Deltaechoe

    And that's what GrooveIP is for, I use it all the time on verizon because if they are going to charge me a pound of flesh for data and very limited minutes, I'm going to use my data instead

    • ddpacino

      I tried a test over the weekend with GrooVeIP and Talkatone, and Talkatone was much clearer in quality, in addition to it ability to text.

      • dude

        Did you purchase GrooveIP and enable the advance features or just use the lite version? About Talkatone, I paid them $8 to remove the ads, after I log into my GMail account again it is gone and I can't retrieve the ads free subscription and they wouldn't help me on it either.

        • ddpacino

          Used the Free version of both. That's cruddy AF mate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1244276178 Steve Hopper Jr.

    All the better reason to order from the play store and root and install an app for wi-fi calling, then use Tmobile prepaid and there you have it. Nexus 4 on Tmobile network. Voila!

  • PhineasJW

    Maybe I'm simplifying but --

    You'd think as the LAST place carrier, T-Mobile would be doing everything they could to differentiate and add value for consumers, like making some method of WiFi calling/VOIP available. Imagine if it was a playstore APP that would work on all their phones ...

    • Howard S

      If T-mobile want to implement WiFi calling, they will have to modify the software and break the promise of offering a totally untouched Nexus device. And, it is not possible to let user add this function from the Play Store, as some modification for system files is required (i.e. root access required). So if T-Mobile offer their special version of Nexus ROM, the same slow software update on LTE Galaxy Nexus from Verizon would happen again because it is not directly from Google. Instead of whining the reality you can't change, you can root the phone and flash a WiFi Calling patch from XDA, which will come out in no time.

      • ProductFRED

        He's saying offering it as a Play Store app though; it requires more than just an APK, true, which is why XDA offers Wifi-Calling patches (which include libraries and drivers, no doubt). But Play Store apps can elevated permissions. We've seen it before. He makes a good point.

        • Howard S

          To my understanding, it is not possible to permit an app from Play Store to change the /system folder. Doing so will permanently change the ROM that can't be recovered by a factory reset, which Google won't let happen. Tell me if I'm wrong. I think there might some technical difficulties that you can't build in WiFi calling without modding the /system.

          • GazaIan

            Root apps can, obviously if you're rooted, but it would be quite fishy for T-Mobile to ask for root access, and it would raise security concerns.

          • ProductFRED

            There was an app for a few AT&T-branded phones (specifically a Motorola phone) that modified a file to allow the installation of third-party apps (the menu option was originally missing and the app added it). It was an official Motorola app. Your explanation makes sense though.

    • mrsbelpit

      Get a Google voice number and Groove IP, or get a T-mobile branded phone. We have to make compromises every day, and it's silly to keep bitching about the excellent technology that we take for granted.

      • shadowdude777

        Forget Groove IP, performance is very poor. I've had much better luck with CSipSimple. I used SipDroid to initially set up a Google Voice trunk with a PBXes account. Then I went onto the PBXes site and changed the password for my GTalk trunk to something else (I believe Sipdroid randomly generates a password, I had to change the password to get CSipSimple to work with it). Then I logged in on CSipSimple using the username "yourusername-200" and the password I just changed.

        Takes 5 minutes to set up and it's far better than Groove IP due to the increased codec support. It's also 100% free, as opposed to $5 like Groove IP. CSipSimple will take care of everything, including alerting you if the network you're on has weird NAT settings that will require you to enable STUN.

    • GazaIan

      T-Mobile would love to, but here's the problem - Nexus wise, they CAN'T. Doing so requires 3 librils that hand over the T-Mobile connection to WiFi, keep the T-Mobile connection through WiFi, and hand it back; This requires modification to the build prop and the current libs in system/lib (modified and added rils vary by device). T-Mobile cannot provide any installer because the installer would require root access, which obviously means rooting the phone, something not everyone wants to do. On top of that, T-Mobile modifying the Nexus on their network diminishes the Nexus meaning, and it becomes nothing but a pretend Nexus with delayed updates, just like the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. On top of that top, don't you think it would raise security concerns if a carrier is asking for root access? We already saw what went down last year with CarrierIQ, do you think we all want something like that all over again?

      Point is; It just can't happen. Whenever T-Mobile gets a branded device running Android 4.2, then you can count on the developer community to port over WiFi calling to AOSP ROMs like they've been doing since Gingerbread. Until then, deal with it.

      • davr

        Or they could just release it without call hand over? I never had it on my T-Mobile G2 at least (If you're on a wifi call and walk out of wifi range, the call ends)

        • GazaIan

          Can't work like that. The libs a responsible for ensuring a secure and legitimate connection to T-Mobile, and must disable the regular cell radio. Without it, malicious people could take advantage and do a plethora or sneaky shit to the network.

  • Nicholas Vettese

    My wife just got the Galaxy Note II on T-Mobile last weekend, and with her phone came Wi-Fi calling. It is part of the Unlimited Plan I believe.

    • Kenny O

      The Wifi calling feature is not tied to any plan, it comes down to the specific phone having the capability.

  • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

    Please explain to a European user - what exactly is Wi-Fi calling and how is it dependent on if the phone supports it or not?
    I assume that I install an app that can place calls via internet connection (whether WiFi or 3G), like Skype and that's it - or is there any irrational limitation brought exclusively by US carriers? If so, how is it executed from the technical point of view?
    Thanks.

    • Howard S

      It's the VoIP service provide by Tmo US so it would only work on the phones they sell. It uses the WiFi connection for voice service, and counts against the allowance for minutes. Basically you can image it just uses the WiFi access points as their cellular towers (to make up their crappy indoor coverage in some area). I'm actually a big fan of it. It provides free and practical solution for indoor coverages rather than sell you another equipment for the same function (femtocells).

      • http://www.facebook.com/joeyklatzko Joseph Klatzko

        It actually doesn't count against your minutes!

        • raazman

          It actually DOES count against your minutes!

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeyklatzko Joseph Klatzko

            Really? I'm a TMO customer but the last time I used WiFi Calling was on my HTC Sensation like a year and a half ago. When it first debuted, it used your minutes but then they changed it to not. They reversed their policy again?? I've had a GNex the last year

          • missinginput

            I am a rep and while it does use your minutes most plans are either
            unlimited or qualify for a free feature that makes it not use your
            minutes just ask for it

          • missinginput
          • fooznugget

            T-mobile is not really clear when wi-fi calling does or doesn't count against your minutes. I have it on the family plan and it definitely does NOT count against my minute.

      • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

        Thx.
        So that means you can call regular cell and landline numbers with it, right?

        • ProductFRED

          It lets you use your regular, carrier-assigned number to make calls through the stock dialer app. It's seamless and doesn't require you (from my knowledge) to dial through a separate app. So you can still make calls if you were in a place with 0 bars of service, but Wifi was available. In the end, yes, it's VoIP that is carrier-integrated.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

    Any chance of developers porting it over? I honestly don't know how it works.

    Is it hardware or software?

    • mrsbelpit

      They have been unsuccessful with the Galaxy Nexus, last I heard.

  • JosephAntico

    I could be wrong but I'm inclined to believe this has to do more with T-Mobile's proprietary GAN service then 3rd party apps that allow Wi-Fi calling. If that is the case then it does make sense since it would go against the concept of a Nexus device by including some locked-down piece of tech.

  • JG

    Is WiFi calling a hardware or software issue? If its software couldn't Google add VoIP to Android 4.2.1. Then ALL Android devices (or at least the 0.1% who get 4.2.1 updates) could make use of the ability to treat a wifi access point like a cell tower. At least in the US (and we all know Google is US-centric) all of the carriers should be able to handle VoIP calls already. T-Mo obviously, and AT&T and Verizon use femtocells to basically provide the same service (I assume Sprint does as well, though I'm not too familiar with their services). Of course T-Mo probably wouldn't like loosing their claim to fame of being the only carrier with wifi calling.... Just use the SIM card data (or carrier specific apps in the Play Store) to tell the phone where to direct the packets & whatever authentication tokens may be needed on a network specific basis.

    And since Android is open & easily modded, carriers could, if desired, elect to block the functionality, much like AT&T and side-loading apps...

  • Dan

    This is called journalism. Researching and reporting an answer. It's a refreshing change from all of the sites that are saying "Ermagerd! T-MO Nex4 will have WiFI calling!!!!!"

  • Chris Noland

    T-Mobile uses a platform call called UMA. It allows voice calls over Wi-fi networks. The thought was /is that wifi access points are deployed in more locations and are a lot cheaper than femto cells that required licensed spectrum which TMO has always been short on.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_Access_Network

    http://www.kineto.com/ (I think they use this)

    http://www.umatechnology.org/overview/index.htm

  • Adam Grasch

    T-Mobile is being sued for patent infringement by Calypso Wireless who holds the patent for seamless switching of voice calls to wifi networks. This has been going on for years and is coming to a head very soon. UMA is not seamless. That is you cannot walk into your office while on the phone and have the call automagically switch to the wifi network. The Calypso 923 patent covers this and T-mobile is fighting hard to not pay the piper.

  • Jav11 .

    lol@ horses mouth...danm ..

  • Steve

    T-Mobile isn't disabling anything. They simply haven't installed their custom wifi calling software. Big surprise a Google designed phone doesn't run proprietary carrier software. Looks like others have made this point.