T-Mobile’s WiFi Calling Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

T-Mobile recently re-introduced Wifi Calling to their entire line-up of phones, and have made a pretty big deal about it. And on paper, I can see why – no more worrying about cellular dead zones, and you can take your U.S. number out of the country with you and still receive calls and texts as normal from anywhere in the world as long as there’s a WiFi network available.

Sounds great, right? This feature was available on the T-Mobile G2 Android phone several years ago, before disappearing for a generation of phones, and finally re-appearing on all current models. The only trouble? It’s just plain not very good. Much inferior to their previous version of the same technology, in fact.

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I have a small, low-end LG phone which I use for business and seems to do “okay”, but on the Sony Xperia Z3, it’s very unreliable. And the extensive troubleshooting guides don’t cover an important situation that, really, should never exist in the first place: a successful connection that just silently fails to pass any calls or texts.

Arriving at home and auto-connecting to the wireless network? Expect, even though Wifi Calling shows its enabled successfully, to have to toggle it on and off at least once before you’ll get anything other than a beep-disconnect making a call or an error message sending a text. Then, it’s only a matter of time before it silently fails again, continuing to indicate it’s connected successfully but blocking all inbound and outbound calls and texts. In this state, even Google Voice calls won’t go through, as apparently those don’t legitimately use the data connection but still take voice channels.

There’s no error message, no notice, and apparently no heartbeat or auto-reconnect functionality built in. Combined with the fact that my home is basically a dead zone that even the Personal CellSpot can’t bring to life it’s very difficult to use my T-Mobile phone. The only reason I’m still with them is because of the price and plan (although, if I can’t use it effectively, maybe that’s not a good argument.)

Anyone else have a T-Mobile phone, and is frustrated by their inability to deliver on Wifi Calling’s promises?

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