T-Mobile's new Voice over 5G is available to Galaxy S21 owners in select cities

T-Mobile store sign
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • T-Mobile launched commercial Voice over 5G on June 3, which allows voice calls over Standalone 5G networks.
  • It launched in "limited areas" of Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City" but will come to other unnamed areas in 2022.
  • T-Mobile Voice over 5G will currently only work on Galaxy S21 T-Mobile phones but will come to more phones in 2022.

T-Mobile launched the first standalone 5G network in 2020, the only carrier to offer a network that operated independently of 4G LTE. Now, with Verizon and AT&T still developing their own standalone networks, T-Mobile took the next step on Friday by enabling commercial Voice Over 5G (VoNR) in a few U.S. cities.

When T-Mobile Standalone 5G first launched, it only worked for data; your voice calls still rely on 5G backed by 4G LTE. But with VoNR, your phone will remain on the same 5G network, which T-Mobile promises will deliver "slightly faster call set-up times."

In the long term, T-Mobile claims that standalone Voice over 5G will enable "advanced capabilities like network slicing that rely on a continuous connection to a 5G core."

"Migrating to VoNR will be a key factor in developing new immersive app experiences that need to tap into the full bandwidth, latency and density benefits offered by a 5G standalone network," says Jason Leigh, research manager, 5G & Mobility at IDC.

T-Mobile users living in Salt Lake City, Utah or Portland, Oregon will be the first to access VoNR. It'll then "expand to more areas" this year, though the company didn't specify where or how many.

Currently, the tool only works on the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra, but will come to the Galaxy S22 series and other phones by the end of 2022.

On Twitter (opens in new tab), T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray explained that T-Mobile chose the older S21 because "We've been working on VoNR for longer than the S22 has been available and used the S21 for testing."

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.