The nation's smallest national carrier has to score points with customers somewhere, and providing free visual voicemail has been one of those places. Some of the big players charge Android users a monthly fee for this feature. Well, T-Mobile has to defray the monstrously large costs of making your voicemail easier to access somehow, right? In the newest version of T-Mobile's official visual voicemail app, it has chosen to include banner ads. The users are not amused.
Instead of showing you a full list of your messages, the UI cuts off the bottom and instead displays a banner ad. The content is the usual kind of spam you see in other apps: dating sites, free apps that want your data, and products you'll never use. Strangely, tapping on the ads does not reach out to the Android system handler to open an appropriate app – T-Mobile has added a built-in browser to its voicemail app so it can load ads. So an ad for an item in the Play Store doesn't open the Play Store; it opens the visual voicemail browser and loads the app's webpage. Bizarre.
T-Mobile advertises the visual voicemail app as an included feature of all its data packages (voicemail transcription costs extra). It feels a little slimy to start pumping ads into everyone's official T-Mobile apps. Users are currently hammering T-Mobile with 1-star reviews in the store, but the app never had a high rating in the first place. Now might be the time to get conditional call forwarding set up so you can use Google Voice instead of T-Mobile's voicemail system.