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jadexco
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Message 1 of 39
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No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

Just got brand new SIM from Virgin Mobile which I would like to transfer my Vodafone number to.

However, despite marketing blurbs "we got now wifi-calling" I have found out that due to some bizarre reasons this useful feature is not available to all users but only to Samsung and Apple handset owners...

How strange...

I have 2 SIMs currently in my handset and when I chose Vodafone then I can turn on/off wifi-calling (and VoLTE), however when I chose Virgin then such option disappears.

So, there is nothing wrong with my phone, no firmware update needed, no newer Android version needed as it works very well with other networks (Voda, EE) in wifi-calling mode but not with Virgin.

This is important feature to me and I cannot understand why Virgin limits it to certain manufacturers only.

I am afraid I will have to seriously reconsider cancelling my new Virgin Mobile SIM if this issue cannot be sorted.

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BenMcr
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Message 2 of 39
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Re: No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

Both WiFi Calling and VoLTE need support within firmware for each network's version.

Because other networks have offered WiFi Calling for longer that Virgin Media, then a wider range of devices support multiple version of WiFi Calling within the UK.

For instance say Vodafone offered WiFi Calling in 2015 when the Samsung S6 came out. That means that Samsung can include the Vodafone settings for WiFi Calling in all later handsets where the networks allow them to. But a Galaxy S4 may not work with WiFi Calling as it came out before the settings were added to firmware by Samsung.

Virgin Media launched WiFi Calling this year, so it will be limited to new devices from manufacturers they work with, and existing devices that have an appropriate firmware update.

Currently Virgin Media don't offer VoLTE on any device. When they add it, the same principle will likely apply, as VoLTE and WiFi Calling are pretty much the same thing just over different data connections.

Saying all of the above, all UK networks have disclaimers to say they can only really guarantee that WiFi Calling works on handsets bought directly from the network:

  • Vodafone: All the devices on this page will support WiFi calling when you buy them directly from us. Please note that phones bought from other UK telecom providers are unlikely to support our WiFi calling, with the exception of iPhones, which should work regardless.
  • EE: WiFi Calling is supported on iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows devices bought directly from EE in one of our stores and online
  • O2: On some Android devices, Wifi and 4G Calling will only work if you’re using O2 firmware. That’s essentially the software that makes your device turn on and run. Sometimes there are different versions of firmware for the same device.Find out more and check if your device is compatible.
  • Three: If you have a compatible phone that you’ve bought from Three, and you're running the latest system software, you don't need to do anything - Wi-Fi Calling will just work when you need it.
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jadexco
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Message 3 of 39
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Re: No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

Thank you. Really insightful.
Although my handset is a little oldish as it is Oneplus3 (3-4 years) but still works with Voda SIM.

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BenMcr
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Message 4 of 39
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Re: No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

Vodafone don't officially list OnePlus for WiFi Calling according to their website, so I'm not sure what OnePlus themselves are doing to make it work.

If a device manufacturer works out how to do without official network support then it's a customer bonus, but it does mean there is no support if it's inconsistent or if it fails.
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MonkeyWrench
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Message 5 of 39
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Re: No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

Wow, it all seems to be a bit of a mess don't you think ? Years ago the Virgin App allowed me to wifi call from the London Underground and it seemed to work fine. Now it's all to do with device firmware and / or whether you bought your phone from Virgin. Is that what is called "progress" ?

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Felim_Doyle
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Message 6 of 39
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Re: No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

Ideally, Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE support would be in the firmware of all modern phones and be compatible with the main network operators and MVNOs running on their networks. Unfortunately, the situation is that each network / MVNO tends to have tailored proprietary firmware not all of which includes the latest features and not all of which is updated after a certain time limit. There are too many versions for the phone manufacturers or operating system producers to maintain so some firmware is never updated.

When I first had my Samsung Galaxy S4 on the Three network, it required an add-on app to support Wi-Fi Calling but, ultimately, the firmware was updated and it supported both Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE transparently although only with a Three SIM installed.

The same is true of my later S7 series and S8+ phones. They only seem to support these features when used with a SIM from the original issuing network of the device.

This is where Ofcom needs to get involved and indeed should have included Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE as part of their ban on locked phones which came into force last December. Once a phone comes off contract it should work transparently on any network without being lobotomised to restrict it's features. Also, phones which are purchased outright, rather than on contract to a network, should have the same facilities regardless of the SIM installed.

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enlli
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Message 7 of 39
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Re: No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

Just to say Virgin have not modified the firmware on their contract handsets for the last 3 to 4 years.

Wifi calling seems to work differently on different networks. On my S20+ running stock firmware 3 Wifi calling shows whenever it is switched on. With Vodafone it the phone remains on cellular until the 4G signal drops below a certain level when it kicks in.

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MonkeyWrench
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Message 8 of 39
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Re: No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

I think VoLTE & Wi-Fi calling are two completely different things. WiFi calling should have nothing to do with phone firmware, other than an App for WiFi calling being supported by the o/s of the phone. WiFi calling worked fine for me donkey's years ago on an old phone, on london underground. WiFi calling has had the Virgin (Liberty Global) makeover and it no longer works ? There can be no reason other than it not being commercially important for Virgin that those with poor mobile signal should be able to make calls via a broadband connection. One maybe should note they only offer it to monthly pay customers, why ? One day Virgin will catch up, Vrrrooom ! Thank goodness for WhatsApp.

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enlli
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Message 9 of 39
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Re: No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

VoLTE and WiFi Calling use the IMS data system. The idea is one can seamlessly hand over a connection to the other. Walk out of WiFi range and providing there is a 4G or 4G signal then the data or call will not drop. 

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BenMcr
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Message 10 of 39
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Re: No Wifi Calling ??? Why ???

As I said last year WiFi Calling and VoLTE work when the firmware of the device includes the appropriate settings for each network's routing for it to work. So a device may work for them on one network but not the other depending what's in the firmware.

Virgin Mobile have worked with Samsung, Apple and Huawei to add their settings for both into the standard firmware for available devices. For instance a supported Samsung or Apple device bought SIM Free direct from either of them will work, although only devices bought from Virgin Mobile directly are supported by Virgin themselves to fix any issues.

But if the Virgin Mobile settings aren't in the firmware then the device won't work with either VoLTE or WiFi Calling on Virgin Mobile.

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I work for Virgin Media - but all opinions posted here are my own