T-Mobile G2 WiFi calling

We all want free tethering, and everyone who has ever used it wants UMA on the T-Mobile G2.  It looks like we'll be getting half of what we're asking, as TmoNews has received some inside information (screenshot after the break) that the Froyo hotspot features have been disabled, but a new feature called WiFi calling is currently being tested on HTC's latest and greatest slider. 

We're not surprised that the Froyo hotspot and tethering has been disabled, we said all along that we doubt we will ever see free tethering on a carrier-subsideized phone.  I'm sure that's something that the hackers third-party Android developers will figure out in short order.  The WiFi calling is a whole 'nother animal.  TmoNews has an internal screen grab with some very interesting info (again, after the break), as well as the picture above that shows WiFi calling installed on a G2.  I'm pretty sure that the WiFi calling is the pseudo-UMA from Kineto that we looked at last week, that lacks the seamless handoff to cellular that we're used to seeing from "normal" UMA.  I'm also pretty confident that we won't be seeing the G2 launch with WiFi calling on board, it will come in a software update or be downloadable from T-Mobile.

To end this post full of if's and but's, there is some great news -- an internal T-Mobile document shows that WiFi calling will be available on any voice plan, with no additional account features needed.  That screenshot is after the break.  [TmoNews, here and here]

No tethering on the G2

No Froyo tethering on the G2

T-Mobile's WiFi calling

WiFi calling

 

Reader comments

T-Mobile G2 won't have free tethering, but may have WiFi calling

25 Comments

Just might have to get this phone. :) Looks really cool, I love my little Eris though, maybe that's because I've never had another Android phone?

Going from the Eris to a higher end phone like the G2 is going to be a world of difference. Like from a Mustang to a Lamborghini.

For those of us that live in areas that most carriers can't get a decent signal to, UMA is a great option. Unfortunately, the only majority of devices that support UMA in the T-Mobile line up are Blackberrys. To be able to ditch a Blackberry for Android and still have UMA as an option will be yet another nail in RIM's coffin.

What precisely is needed for UMA to work over any wifi?

Does it require some gateway on the net that feeds into the carrier's call switching center?

I can see how it would be fairly simple for outbound calls, but what about inbound?

Why wouldn't all carriers want that? It sheds so much cell-tower load you'd think they would be falling all over themselves to provide it. Most phone calls originate from home or work where WiFi is likely available.

UMA for Android didn't exist until last week. T-Mobile likes UMA calling -- it keeps customers happy, takes load off their network, and is something that no other US carriers offer.

I look for them to cram in onto every Android device that will support it.

Well looks like I'm not getting this phone anymore lol. Guess I'll have to wait for the MyTouch HD or the other phones that will be coming out before the end of the year.

Well looks like I'm not getting this phone anymore lol. Guess I'll have to wait for the MyTouch HD or the other phones that will be coming out before the end of the year.

Coverage maps can be very wrong. T-Mobile and AT&T both show my home to be in "excellent" or "best" coverage (top level), but I have to go ~2 miles away before I can get a signal from either. Verizon gets me a weak to mediocre signal, but at least it gets me a signal.

If there was more support for UMA, I would have more options in phones and providers.

They may rip it from the rom, but I'm betting it won't spread beyond T-Mo. They have to limit their gateways to their own customers somehow, or everybody in the world world jump on it.

I think the only time I ever used tethering on my N1 since I've had it was so a buddy with an iPad could go "Wow.. that works good and it's pretty fast.."

No big loss.

Very surprised that AT&T doesn't also use this on their network. They have more dropped calls then all others. Very crammed network. The I-Phone would benefit greatly from this as well. Could you imagine all the traffic on the cell networks that would be thinned out if all networks allowed UMA calling??? Great job T-Mobile. Now let's not ruin the froyo experience and lighten up on this tethering business.

Really?

I've been an AT&T customer for over 10 years as well. And my dropped call rate fell to ZERO when I switched to Android from the iPhone.

AT&T has some problems, true. But they are no where near as bad as everyone likes to complain about. 6 months on the Nexus One, Zero dropped calls.

Well, I should mention my phone is a Bold 9000 (blackberry). When on 3G is drops calls when my phone needs to go to EDGE. The 3G/EDGE hand-off was terrible with AT&T; now it's slightly better, but still not perfect for me. Could maybe be my phone or my area of residence though, right? There are tons of variables that could change the situation for different people.

UMA requires back end infrastructure, it's not your regular cell switches. TMo has it, others don't in the US. They invested heavily into UMA and I used it for a while on BB's, great feature but they never touted it as much as I thought they should have.

The parts may be the same but have different capabilities. UMA runs on different protocols as one notable difference and I do believe it has an extra hardware piece, the UMA Network Controller. You may have a switch that does routing, then a smart switch where you can do bandwidth throttling, for example. In a Visio diagram you have a switch for both networks, but one would run a lot different now, wouldn't it? I work on standard networks not cellular networks but have friends that do and they've enlightened me somewhat to the nuts and bolts fortunately, I also asked since UMA was something that actually got me to switch to TMo from ATT. Too bad their actual cell network gave me horrible coverage, ended going back to ATT since I prefer GSM networks :-/

Just a heads up to fellow UK readers: This handset (or one pretty much the same!) is being released in the UK as the HTC Desire Z.
Should be released next month sometime... I can't wait!

I was almost onboard to buy this phone. I'll stick to my Nexus One. While Tethering is something I use infrequently, the times where I have needed it have been important. I have little or no need for UMA. I mean I could see how it may be useful in some instances, but I'm so rarely out of my coverage area it doesn't really matter.

One third party app or a quick root and this thing will be tethering no problem. I don't believe T-Mobile has ever "supported" tethering, but it is possible on many phones.