Will UMA Ever Come To Android? Ever?

Almost exactly a month to the day  I wrote a short editorial about why I think UMA still matters, especially on Android. I don’t think I read one dissenter in the comments who stated that UMA on Android wouldn’t be a welcomed addition. Then yesterday came a report from GigaOM namesake Om Malik who spoke to an unnamed T-Mobile representative and was told that T-Mobile would “continue to support UMA on the current and forthcoming Blackberry devices and Nokia E73.” So that’s less than a half dozen devices and assuming the 9780 includes UMA upon its arrival in November, that’ll still make less than a half dozen devices.

The thing is, I’m not sure if I want to interpret this differently but I don’t know if we can say T-Mobile has given up on the idea of UMA and Android based on this off the record statement. It’s not exactly a non-denial denial and yet it wasn’t anything that gave us hope either. It sounded more like a deflection of the question than an outright no. Is T-Mobile hindering this process or is it more likely the manufacturers are having a rough time incorporating this feature. Is T-Mobile worried that UMA will allow for users to back away from HSPA+ services they will undoubtedly spend billions rolling out this year alone.

I do agree with Om though, T-Mobile is making a mistake here. UMA is a terrific way to make up for shortcomings in a specific building or house where service might be less than stellar. It’s inexpensive and it doesn’t tax the network and its likely available where the service might be needed most. There is no question the addition of this service to T-Mobile’s growing Android line-up would give it a leg up and a huge differential between other carriers and devices and I think it’s a golden opportunity being pass over. Of course, I don’t know the circumstances and I don’t pretend to know the technological requirements necessary to enable this service, but I know it works and it works well.

GigaOM

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  • TMOprophet

    They are saying they will continue support for the 4 devices, they never said they wont include it for Android, but then again they didn’t say they would…..

    I guess we’ll find out in time. It would be a nice feature to have.

    • David, Managing Editor

      That’s what I was wondering, it wasn’t exactly a no, but it wasn’t a yes.

      • ogopogo

        When you can’t get a resounding “yes”, you have to assume it is “no”. This is unfortunate, as I would love to switch to an Android device…..if it had UMA. The carrier’s shortcomings in coverage is easily overlooked when UMA is available.

      • hitch

        once upon a time, UMA was the service I said would keep me a T-Mobile customer forever.
        but I don’t want to be stuck with BB. now that I’m on Android…
        there’s very little tying me to the carrier. very very little.

      • Mohammad
      • Bigs12

        they will bring UMA to android…. very soon

    • TMOprophet

      Looking back I remember a commenter here a while back said that the G2 would have UMA and that he had a test unit and the UMA worked on it but wouldn’t switch from cell to WiFi.

      Where is this dude now? Looks like he was talking out his you know what.

  • Marshall

    So I need some clarification here- UMA is hardware or software based? And it needs the support of the carrier? So there can’t be a program written to support UMA?

    • NiiDiddy

      i think it’s mostly software based. it’s mostly about how calls are routed. but they’ll have to include the software in whatever product to make it work the right way.

    • ogopogo

      It is indeed a software based solution. You need the participation of the carrier, and the phone must have the software capability for building the IPSec tunnel for the call.

      • timmyjoe42

        It is also my understanding that there is a hardware component that is required in the device.

      • ogopogo

        @timmyjoe42

        Actually, no additional hardware is required. Its all software. This is a common mis-perception of how the service works.

      • tmoemp

        There is a chip that is part of UMA, it is not 100% software, that have been trying to get it working with Android but working with the hardware side has been a big issue.

    • Roger

      The normal GSM frames that would be transmitted via radio have to be put into an IPSec tunnel and transmitted over wifi instead. This requires close cooperation between the GSM chipset + code and the wifi side of the house. This is why the vendors who have that close integration (RIM, Nokia) can do UMA while those who grab random chipsets from Qualcomm, Infineon and Broadcom do not.

      In theory you could do a software implementation of UMA but in practise it is far too much work. A cell phone usually has two CPUs. One is a hidden black box and does all the radio work (GSM/CDMA etc) while the second is an application processor and provides the user interface, running applications etc. The comms CPU has code that runs with very specific timing requirements while the application CPU runs pretty much anything. If you had a pure software UMA stack then it would run on the application processor duplicating functionality that is in the radio chipset and code while providing a subpar performance.

      We are unlikely to see Android UMA unless one of the companies that does their own radio hardware (RIM, Nokia etc) adopts Android, or the radio hardware companies that everyone else uses (Qualcomm, Infineon etc) provide the functionality with one of their offerings.

      • MarkV10

        Roger, thanks for explanation. This is the first description of the challenges I’ve seen that made sense to me. I assumed that the radios were all software defined and therefore an android UMA-app could be done. Maybe not. Too, bad – this would seems to be a significant competitive advantage.

      • Ted C..

        While I don’t disagree with your general analysis I do think you make some assumptions that aren’t necessarily fixed. Yes the radio code is separate. But so is the Wifi code. Both of these are tightly coupled with their chipsets. I know one of the vendors (can’t remember which one) has announced their intent to deliver an integrated cell radio and Wifi chipset which should potentially ease this issue. In addition, phone makers could design a layer above each of the radio interfaces with a hardware level integration chipset to deal with this. I believe this is what was done on previous generation UMA phones.

      • BuddyLuv

        I think Qualcomm will jump on it. Its just that not enough people has made a fuss about UMA. If all the Tmo loyal fans that want UMA on Android started fussing about it on the tech sites like engadget or technobuffalo, we might see it.

    • Ted C.

      There is no requirement that UMA have a hardware component. UMA does require the carrier create what is effectively a gateway for the phone to talk through via the WiFi connection. Essentially the phone carrier creates a software version of a cell tower and your phone ask the carrier to transition the call from the cell radio tower to the “WiFi tower”. So all that’s really required hardware-wise is both a cell antenna and a WiFi antenna, and the ability to have both active at the same time.

      • Dan

        While UMA might not have a hardware-only requirement, it may be impractical to do UMA in software. It really depends on how the chips are organized, but I would expect that the cell chip has dedicated silicon to help encode/decode the cellular packets. If you can’t take advantage of that in a software UMA solution, then you’re going to burn battery like crazy.

  • NiiDiddy

    …wish they’d include Android. They’d be surprised the support it’ll get from T-Mobile customers! Maybe someday, they’ll hear our cries…!!

  • obas

    T-Mo reps if you are reading this you need to reconsider and make MORE UMA phones. In my house I get 1 bar, and have had multiple problems sending emails and texts off my phone. If I could switch to my Wifi and avoid this problem I would.

    Build a UMA phone and I’ll never even look at Sprint, VZW or ATT, and I know your customer numbers will increase as well.

    No UMA = A MISTAKE

    • NiiDiddy

      UMA is for calls, buddy. You can still connect your phone via your wifi if it comes equipped with a wifi radio built-in – that way you can send texts and emails flawlessly. You can even talk via your wifi; the only difference is that it’s not UMA. It doesn’t take anything away from your current T-mobile plan connecting to your wifi. Also, another impression that people have about UMA is that it’s unlimited. No it’s not–your phone can be connected to UMA and it still goes off anytime minutes or whatever plan you have. It’s just for convenience. Only time it makes a difference is when you actually pay the monthly premium to make it unlimited talk.

      I assume you already knew all of this. :)

      • joel

        SMS messages actually don’t use data, they cannot be sent over WiFi.

      • TheDude

        SMS works flawlessly over wifi. How do I know? I made and received calls and LOTS of text messages from China a few months ago on a home wifi connection. The phone I was using wasn’t quad band and wasn’t even able to connect to the bands used in that country – there was no possible way I was connected to any cellular network.

        There are different levels of UMA. T-Mobile has one phone, not sure of which, that either came out or is coming out that has “UMA Lite” which is specifically mentioned as only for voice. Full on UMA allows for SMS – therefore, they can be used over wifi.

      • Ted C..

        Actually since… I think it was 2008… UMA (which is now called GAN) has had the ability to carry voice as well as data. Now SMS isn’t either voice or data it’s actually carried on the control channel. But I believe that since the original UMA specification basically creates a software “tower” that all the signaling is included meaning that SMS would work as well. Keep in mind that UMA/GAN is basically running the same cell protocols (GSM/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA) but tunneling them over WiFi (802.11x).

      • Vinchenzo

        When you connect an non-UMA phone to wifi, you will only get internet accessed features but features that require some type of cellular response (e.g. sms,mms,visual voicemail) those will bypass wifi and put the stank on your plan especially if you are overseas. UMA devices will work with your wifi connection seamlessly and deliver an experience as though you were on a cellular tower. Now, I was at a training for the Moto Charm and the version that I was playing with had UMA-Lite. Doesn’t seem as though it made it to the final version.

      • Dia

        I think people believe it’s unlimited, because that was the original push. $10 for unlimited at home calling. I don’t know why not, but they should have also sold it the platform that even if you dont pay $10 a month, you still get better coverage in your home, but it does eat into your minutes.

      • TheDude

        @Dia:

        IIRC, they DID sell the whole “get increased coverage at home using your own minutes, but get the addon and you have unlimited over wifi” thing. It obviously wasn’t a strong enough push to get much attention (which is likely why UMA is so relatively unpopular/unknown to so many) but I remember seeing it somewhere when they were doing a little advertising.

  • Vibrant Addict

    I only see it coming to only those two manufacturers in the future, and if Android does have it I think it’ll be far too long from now, if ever. I just hope I’m wrong, if there’s 1 thing I truly miss about my blackberry, it’s UMA.

    The only possible Android manufacturer to implement it for us would be Motorola, Samsung, or LG as they’ve all made some sort of UMA device. We all know Moto loves Big Red more than us, so our only hope is that upcoming LG phone this year or a Samsung next year. All we can do is just hope…

    • Vibrant Addict

      Woops. HTC is on the possible list as well, as they have UMA devices. I guess that pretty much makes all Android manufacturers as a possibility. LOL

    • Dia

      I don’t recall an LG mobile with UMA.

  • jordanjay29

    Is there even any UMA Android phone in the world? Perhaps Android is built in such a way where UMA capabilities aren’t feasible to include.

  • keele8

    Could it be possible that it will never come to Android because of some legal issues with Google? I am not saying there is one but I wonder if Google doesn’t want it with Android due to Google Voice accounts or something like that. Just throwing it out there. Does anyone know of any conflict it would have with Google?

    • TheLight

      Im not the most educated in GVoice or UMA, 6ut I don’t think it really deals with anything that would intefere with GVoice. Since GVoice is 6asically one num6er that people can call and you can pick up the call in any set of of num6ers you have set-up to ring. Advantage to the fact that you dont have to give out all of your num6ers like home, cell, 2nd cell, office, office cell, etc.. since UMA is just switching basically from your service provider tower to your private network GVoice should work fluently with 6oth. If I’m wrong forgive me..

    • Mykl99

      More than likely it has to do with E-911. The phone has to be capable of saying where it is at in the event that you call 911 services. Not all phones may be set up to do this over wi-fi.

      • Ted C..

        I believe that all the manufacturers in the U.S. fulfill the need to do location identification using GPS at this point. Note the the E911 regulation is a land-line one not a cellular phone one.

  • Steve

    The problem with UMA is that it requires specific router settings and it depends on network conditions that T-mobile has no control over. At the university where I work, UMA was very useful to me because my office is in the basement where only Verizon’s CDMA low-frequency bands penetrate. But even though I had a “UMA” icon displayed on my Blackberry 8820 on most days, only sporadically could I get a call through. At home I had better luck either through a D-link T-Mobile-supplied router or through my Apple Extreme router, but on a lot of days UMA didn’t work. I think that on these days T-mobile’s Blackberry UMA server was offline, but of course NEVER did T-mobile provide any status reports about this.

    To conclude, from my experience UMA is badly supported by T-mobile; it is probably intrinsically flaky because it sensitively depends on network paths to the UMA servers and because it depends on certain server settings that are not routinely available (at least by default). I have been much more happy using my Samsung Vibrant, where I do not have UMA service at all. The call quality over the normal GSM wireless network is usually superior to that provided by UMA. The only problem is that in my office I have to use the landline to communicate.

    • Spineless

      What specific router settings? I can connect to just about any unprotected wifi (mall, coffee shop, etc), or my own protected wifi and use UMA without any significant issues. I have never had to make any special router configurations with the various wireless routers I have used at home over the years.

      for my house…

      NO UMA = NO SERVICE

  • tmoguy89

    UMA will be on project emerald, it says so on streamline /onevoice but they dont say much just a hint that uma will eventually be on android. tmo wants the best google experience with hspa+ combined wih UMA = powerbeast

    • Nate

      What is streamline/onevoice? Do you have a link to the source?

      • Vibranter

        Streamline/Onevoice is T-mobile’s internal website.

    • tmoguy90

      Please refrain from releasing any internal details to 3rd party sites. Your comment alone could get you fired if the right person reads it. And everyone in T-Mobile reads this site. Just an FYI.

      • David, Managing Editor

        Welcome to the land of tech blogging and building buzz…trust me, the leaks aren’t always cursed or hated, they build buzz.

      • TMOprophet

        For real, you’re gonna tell him to not reveal stuff, get over yourself, its important for customers to have something to get excited for. Keeping that info from them is counterproductive in building hype.

        Oh and tmoguy89, were you the one in here month or so ago claiming that you had a test G2 with UMA on it and claiming it worked? Your name rings a bell.

        tmonguy90…………lmfao

      • TheLight

        @tmoguy90

        Lol… you cant 6e serious…David and Kickstar leaking info is the only reason I haven’t switched to another carrier. After having the G1 for 2 years with no real upgrade in sight through T-Mo6ile I was contemplating jumping ship. Untillll….. project emerald popped up on TMoNews. Then that kept me interested until the announcement of the Vi6rant and now the coming of my upgrade, the G2 (which is a good phone 6ut you guys could have done 6etter on it since its the successor of the originator).

        If everyone in T-Mo6ile reads this 6log and still continues to make mistakes with feeble marketing of inferior phones, no carrier/manufacturer os upgrades(ex: Moto Clique and Behold II stuck on 1.6),and still no word to expanding UMA (Im only naming a few of you guys mistakes that could have 6een prevented by reading this site!).

        Last, T-Mo6ile needs to do some firing and needs to start high and work its way all the way down to rid whoever keeps telling them not to compete! That’s FYI!

      • Vinchenzo

        I work for T-Mobile and I don’t read this site…wait…

      • TheDude

        lol @ Vinchenzo

  • mikeeeee

    giga om farts and the whole world quakes.

    gimme a break.

    is he the one in charge or is the demand and market in charge?

    just keep on demanding one and be as loud as you can.

    i am.

  • Dino

    I dont get it. I heard the G2 has wifi

    • ogopogo

      This is a separate issue from WiFi. You need both the Carrier’s participation (servers), and your phone’s ability to build an IPSec tunnel for the call. In areas that don’t have good (or any) T-mo signal, you can’t send/receive a voice call. With UMA, you can, as long as you have a UMA-enabled phone.

  • SI

    According to T-Mobile, it’s on Google to include support for it within the OS itself. Blackberry supports this within the native OS, so therefore it’s easily implemented in every BB device released on T-Mobile. As we are aware, T-Mobile hasn’t created a third party app for Blackberry, although they may have to do this with Android. You can help by getting Google to pay attention to UMA support by commenting and voting here:

    http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=6242&colspec=ID%20Type%20Status%20Owner%20Summary%20Stars

  • Sleestak Jones

    UMA is a great thing that t mobile can continue to do. Building software to support UMA would be awesome, just as everyone else has built software to support everything else android related. If it’s a software release for the blackberry, it should not be much of a problem for Android or iPhone or Symbian….

  • Adam

    When speaking to an upper level tech support guy at Tmobile we discussed UMA. He too wanted UMA on android but brought up a good point. If they introduce UMA on another platform it will require a lot more tech/customer support. Since they don’t charge for UMA service maybe the cost/benefit doesn’t work out in their favor.

    • Ted C.

      UMA is still charged for in the sense that it still uses minutes. That’s reasonable because unlike VOIP it is still carried over the carrier’s backhaul. It basically reduces the carrier’s load on towers which is good for them gives you better coverage, which is good for you, and still generates revenue.

  • bob

    when we got our first g2 test phone it had UMA lite installed on it and worked well. The trial ended and the resent the G2 with branding etc for more testing and UMA lite was gone. Not sure what they are going to do.

    • LookinForward

      Does anyone know if the G2 will have video out? I would love to be able to hook up the phone to a TV while on vacaton to watch the video that I took that day. Also, I have a friend who lives in the mountains with no Cell reception. He uses a blackberry, but would love to get an Android phone.

  • adien

    I do know that they are looking into expanding UMA services into other handsets, especially to address the issue of indoor coverage in fringe areas. Apparently somehow, UMA conflits with 3G on a handset, which is one reason that there has been a delay in tmo 3G blackberries. I have noticed that if there is a big need or demand for a service, tmo will actually start cooking something up at headquarters, but they stay very quiet about it and then suddenly spring it on people… I’m sure there is a very legit reason that UMA hasn’t come to android yet, however, t-mobile probably won’t ever say what, which is sad, because just a “hey we are working on it but there are some specific challenges” would pacify alot of people.

  • Slaghead

    “So that’s less than a half dozen devices and assuming the 9780 includes UMA upon its arrival in November, that’ll still make less than a half dozen devices.”

    LMAO! Nice one.

    I have been stuck using blackberries because of the UMA feature. I am really, REALLY wanting an Android phone but it would be rendered almost completely useless when I am at home because of lack of coverage.

    UMA has worked at every wifi I have encountered for the most part. I don’t know what special settings are required but I don’t have any problem at any coffee shop or even the corporate network where I work.

    I suggest that everyone go and vote on the item in the google code for Android to show support for it getting implemented.
    http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=6242

    It’s currently the 19th highest on a list of over 7,000 requests.

    The Captivate on the Death Star with the personal hotspot thing is looking tempting but UMA is better because it’s much more flexible and it’s one less device since I already have a wireless network at home for my laptops, etc.

    • ogopogo

      I agree. I am still using a Blackberry because it can leverage UMA to compensate for my poor coverage. I really really really really want to move to an Android device, but what good is it going to do me, if I can’t use my phone to make/receive a simple phone call?

  • vinny

    So many customers have bad connections. This is a great way for a customer to use their wifi to keep a strong connection on their cell phones. This keeps the network traffic to a minimum. This is something all providers should push to their customers. T-Mobile should keep this for all their customers and more important the Android customer has never had this option. Coming from blackberry 9700 I used it ALL the time. Please give it to Android customers. T-Mobile this will give you many more customers, GUARANTEED.

  • Yyevo

    Either give us more UMA devices or scrap it and give me a femtocell. Last night I couldn’t maintain a connection from home. I dropped calls and had “No Carrier” on my MyTouch.

  • J-man

    I think the idea of UMA is great now if they would only freaking implement the thing properly. When I really need it is normally in a place where the wifi redirects me to webpage to login so basically hotels and airpoints. At which point all I get is an ISP Error on my phone and I can’t connect even just to regular wifi. I have a Nokie E73 and on searching for the error message it also happens on Blackberries to. I have to admit one of the selling points for me for the Nokia was the UMA service but it is nigh on impossible for me to get any use out of it because of the way it authenticates.

  • Bob

    When I talked to a T-mobile rep back in July, he told me on the froyo update for the mt3g, it will allow for calls over wifi if you are in a low coverage are and (of course) in a hot spot. But it will still use your minutes. It will just be on there to compensate for low cell signal in a hot spot area. So, I dunno. Is this still true? I guess this isn’t real UMA but it helps for low coverage areas.

    • La El

      I was in a Tmobile store the end of last week and a rep told us that the My Touch Slide would possibly be updated to have UMA.

      maybe he knows something… maybe he read it on the interwebs…

      I hope he knows something but I’m not holding my breath. I don’t really want the MT-S but once it’s out there on Android.. the game is wide open!

  • MJ

    Android UMA calling would be great, and eventually it saves T-Mobile money by allowing calls to be placed off cellular network

    • Ted C.

      Just to clarify because there is so much confusion about this. UMA/GAN only moves the initial connection off the cellular network. The Wifi connection basically connects to a software implementation of a tower which then routes calls/data over the carrier’s regular backhaul network. From the phone’s standpoint it look pretty much the same as a regular handoff between two cellular towers.

  • ColoradoGray

    One of the challenges with UMA is that only a small number of carriers in the world (3 I know of) actually offer the service. With such a small niche feature there isn’t a lot of motivation for the manufacturers to develop these system.

  • TMOGuy

    Having asked this very question at a recent meeting at Corporate, the answer I received was a resounding “yes”, all T-Mobile Android devices will feature UMA calling in the not-too distant future.

  • Matt Hatter

    Truth be told, I would just like to see more UMA devices period. I miss the days when we had low to mid range devices (ala Nokia 7510 & T-Mobile Shadows) that were UMA devices. Believe you me, when there is a family having issues with coverage at home, nobody wants to give their 10 year old – or even 16 year old – a Blackberry. Especially with the required data features on the BBs and the Mode. UMA is a great save offer – we need more variety.

    • Yyevo

      As the owner of a sage green Shadow, 1st Gen, I can assure you it did not have UMA.

      • ColoradoGray

        Later versions of the Shadow did, but there wasn’t a name change to reflect the new device.

      • hamajama

        Actually, the Shadow 09′ (Shadow 2) had UMA. It was our only Windows Mobile phone to feature that support.

  • watbetch

    Over in the tmo news forums there was a posting of a company with WiFi calling software so it is possible 100% and more importantly SOMEONE is working on it….

  • FunkmasterC

    I guess I am left to wonder if GV up upgraded to place calls from Android over wifi, why would one need UMA? You can place calls through gmail now, I would think that would carry over to an app eventually.

    • Ted C.

      UMA/GAN provides seemless transitioning of call and data connections between cellular and Wifi endpoints. So you can start a call on cellular and walk into an area with Wifi and the phone will transition the existing call (or data connection) automatically. Not to mention that as long as I have one connection or the other my regular cellphone calling mechanism should work fine. Not that GV isn’t great (I use it all the time) but it isn’t quite the same.

  • Steven

    David, please take some creative writing or journalism classes, &/or hire a copy editor.

    On the subject of UMA, I couldn’t agree more & it’s going to matter more & more as T-Mo’s network gets hammered with data users.

    • Nate

      @Steven I hope you are joking. This isn’t the New York Times. I, for one, appreciate David’s updates!

      • Bob

        I agree with Nate

    • JoshL

      Steven, you are a d***-hat. Enough said.

  • jhollin1138

    I work in a steel building on the country with farms all around me. I am a longtime T-Mobile customer (7+ years) and my only complaint is I can’t get a signal at work. I have WiFi setup here and I would love an Android or Windows Mobile UMA device to allow me to use my phone at work.

  • Danno

    I couldn’t agree more. T-mobile’s biggest deficit, like many of the other carriers is in home coverage. Yet T-mo fails to take advantage of the two products that could easily cover the masses while at home or office for that matter. That being UMA and the @Home product. Both utilizing the customer broadband service.
    Why doesn’t T-mo advertise or push this technology? Probably the same reason they don’t advertise their phones very well. Nor their network speeds or coverage improvements.
    Little ol “Man-genta” doesn’t have the cash of the big three carriers. They don’t feel they can compete in a head to head battle such as exists between AT&T and Verizon. Sort of like being afraid to sue a big corporation when you know they’ll just bury you in legal costs. T-mo is afraid to spend money on advertising. Granted the advertising budget of big Blue and big Red are equal to T-mobiles Operational budget over all… .
    But I believe this is where the “You have to spend money to make money” ideal comes into play. T-mobile will NEVER be able to compete with the big three as it currently sits. Their network is poised to be the fasted in the nation, but have we heard anything about that? Not really… some blurbs here and there… it really seams like they’re settling for word of mouth adverts.

    Lets face it, Advertising wins customers. Take Sprints “4G” network. Its top “LAB” speed is 10Mbps, with a real world speed of anywhere between 1Mbps to 3Mbps. T-mo’s HSPA+ network is equall to, if not better than that. And they’re hoping to bump that up to 42Mbps speeds next year… (which I would guess actual thruput to be about 5Mbps/10Mbps. That “4G” thing is simply an advertising gimic. Yet customers flock to it because they’re told its fast…

    I wish T-mobile would step it up and start playing with the big boys instead of watching from the other side of the fence. They act like the kid thats afraid to go outside and play…even though they always say they want to.

  • George

    it will be really nice to have a UMA android phone….that’s the main reason I still don’t wanna sell my BB 9700, it helped me a lot for calling back to the US while I was traveling in Asia last year…

  • jaythe01

    Oh fellow Magenta loyalists….fear not. TMO is already hard at work on UMA. It is on our radar. The Moto Defy will feature WIFI calling. The concern was raised about being able to send messages; it will not be capable across the board but calling and messaging is set to be the standard across wifi enabled phones barring any restrictions from OS and components, Android included. I posted a few months back that this feature was part and key to project emerald (group of phones and not one phone ie MYT HD). Keep the faith and you will be rewarded.

  • lensovet

    to everyone saying this is solely a software component: this is simply not true. something like UMA lite, i.e. being able to make outgoing calls on Wifi, could be done with software only, but fullon UMA, with proper handoff, bidrectional calling, and SMS support requires hardware. see https://twitter.com/tmobile/status/15750515289

  • JoshL

    I would like to see UMA on Android. The more features, the better!

  • http://tmonews Dr C

    Thanks to you Jaythe01. By what authority do you speak.
    Tks

    • jaythe01

      I speak on the authority that 1 i work for TMO but 2 I have played with these said devices.

      • TMOprophet

        Nevermind tmoguy89, I found the guy, this guy said he had played with the UMA enabled devices..Ok dude, whats the story on that TMO rep saying or rather not sayng TMO will have UMA for Android?

        If they are so hard at work on this why are they playing dumb?

      • TMOprophet

        I have just one question for you @jaythe01;

        Is T-Mobile going to launch a 4.3in Android phone anytime soon or 2011?

      • jaythe01

        @TmoProphet…Its not about us playing coy if not more as a tactical advantage. Verizon has skype locked down; last thing we need is the carriers looking to shortcut something important in the terms of competitive landscape. With respect to 4+ screens….expect a bit of slow down on devices like that across the board due to the shortage of material * ie amoled screen* that plagued devices like the incredible. Our big focus is performance and durability. I want and hold out hope we please a few folks out there but I am in the crowd of overkill. The Nexus One even now the Vibrant show how if designed correctly a device will stand out with out the need to overcompensate in shortcomings…

        • David, Managing Editor

          I wasn’t insulting you, at least that wasn’t an intention, I was merely saying there are plenty of people who come on here and tease people about knowing stuff and it drives everyone crazy. It wasn’t directed toward you specifically, at least not the first part, I was merely saying its all to common that people come on here and act like they know something just to rile people up. I definitely didn’t mean it to be insulting, I apologize.

      • TMOprophet

        I understand that amoled are in short order, however isn’t SLCD a viable alternative, as for other materials..it shouldn’t be a problem as most hardware should be readily available, and shouldn’t TMO at least offer one device in the 4.3in android class?

        The demand would be huge..I promise you that. If TMO has no intention of fulfilling this segment of the phone market..then what is to keep customers like myself from leaving for a different carrier with device offerings of said segment?

  • cookitup222

    As a T-Mo employee, I will not say whether or not UMA is coming to Android, as I am not far enough up the chain to have been provided that information. However, I did want to point out that while the service works well and keeps traffic off the T-Mo towers (network is just as strained as UMA just accesses the network a different way than through the normal GSM towers), it is absolutely a nightmare to support from a Customer Service standpoint. While T-Mobile is on the cutting edge of technology in terms of “out of the box” solutions for real world problems, the problem is the understanding from the majority of the customer base AND the employees who are trusted to know and sell / support it. I personally believe that Android + UMA = success! as most Android users know how wifi works, but believe me that a lot of people don’t, and a lot of them were sold into products that they didn’t need or didn’t understand how it worked. I truly believe it’s taking so long to determine the possibility of UMA Android because of this and what could potentially happen from a support standpoint. Regardless, I love Android, but this would just make T-Mobile THE Android leader, handsdown!

  • mtnman

    If/When UMA comes to an Android device it will be another death nail into the heart of BB. Right now as it stands BB is no.3 behind Apple and Android. They fell to #3 last year and if UMA is on Android, BB won’t have hardly anything to hold onto.

    As for the advertising aspect of it, Tmo just don’t seem to like doing it. Sure you have all the great handsets, but then again what good is it to have the Vibrant/G2/MTHD if nobody knows about it and all they know is what the big 3 have? It don’t matter if you have the fastest HSPA+ network if the only thing they hear is Sprint’s 4G.

    UMA would be great on an Android device, but if it’s put on they they won’t flock to Tmo to get a phone when people are watching all the other carriers.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org Robert Aitchison

    I have no interest whatsoever in UMA and for me having UMA on my Android phone is nothing short of bloatware.

    Honestly I wish that TMO would abandon UMA altogether and switch to microcells, which work with any phone.

    No disrespect intended to the people who DO want UMA on their Android devices but I wanted to point out that not every TMO customer is interested at all in UMA, I suspect that most who are in the “don’t care” category won’t bother to even reply (as I almost didn’t)

    • David, Managing Editor

      Robert, I dont think it qualifies as bloatware, if you don’t use it it’s not in your way. I disagree with your point with regards to microcell as it requires a whole other product in the house rather than piggybacking off an existing service. Uma is handily the smarter solution IMO.

      • jaythe01

        agree…thats essentially why Tmo got rid of its @Home service. It created more hastle than solve problems with reception. Plus the concept of home phones is quickly evaporating and turning into a luxury.

    • jaythe01

      if it doesnt help the overall performance of a phone and service its bloatware. Just because its not something you need at least not now, it doesnt mean it wont play a part later down the road. Microcells still require extra parts to perform ie home internet and different device with service. While good for performance of network and connecting people, it will ultimately be a economic impact on consumers who in most cases end up with the same scenario of a home phone.

      • David, Managing Editor

        I would tend to think by most standards, bloatware would be extra stuff included in the phone, like an extra app or how AT&T or Verizon typically include Vcast or AT&T’s music services.

  • James

    As a side note, did you guys read about the femtocell capable of 42mbps HSPA+ speeds? I’m sure you guys already read this, but:

    http://www.intomobile.com/2010/09/15/new-femtocell-meant-for-public-use-can-do-42-mbps-hspa-can-handle-400-users/

  • Special K

    Honestly, the BS that they can’t get UMA on an Android phone is a pile of crap. If you are clever, you can make/receive phone calls and text messages on an Android phone over Wifi. Trust me, I was doing it on an HD2 with Android 2.2 on it. UMA service on Android would just be significantly more convenient.

    • Derek

      How are you doing it over wifi?? I want to do it!

  • tmo

    A UMA android phone will launch before the end of the year.

  • Derek

    I would love to have UMA on Android because I like in a pos place with no service in my house.

  • galos24

    When are the preorders for the T-mobile G2 starting? (sorry for posting on the wrong article)

    • chump

      Then why did yo do it?

  • Jkache

    I AM A Tmobile employee the G2 is going to have UMA Enabled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We recently had training videos where we actually saw the phone in action, on the top corner of the icons there is actually a separate application that is named “WIFI CALLING”. Just wanted to let you all know!

    • Ted C.

      The fact that there is an app named “WIFI Calling” makes me suspect that it is not UMA/GAN. The whole point of that standard is that the caller doesn’t decide which radio is used to connect. The caller initiates a call and the UMA/GAN implementation chooses the strongest signal (WIFI or cellular).

  • magog

    the technology even for existing devices EXISTS, and owned in a roundabout way though T-Venture but they refuse to utilize it. One word Kineto…..Dont bother trying to complain to a CSR most dont even know what UMA is

  • Fred Coulter

    If any other of the cell phone companies offer UMA on an Android phone, then TMo will need to respond. Given ATT’s bandwidth issues, this is something they should be looking at.

  • Dia

    I LOVE my UMA Samsung slider (Katalyst). When I know I am going somewhere the service is lacluster, but WIFI is available. . .drop my SIM in and ready to roll. And I use it when in Japan, with NO fear of any roaming charges, since the mobile will never roam on Softbank like my G1 does.

  • Artiszan

    UMA was a challange you need to remember. T-mobile is the only carriet that offers that service current in the way that it is implimented blackberry device and the nokia is controlled by hardware and there is a extra chip in there to make uma work. Basically htc and samsung moto all don’t really want to make there phones extra hardware and then have a version of hardwar just for tmo and then another version hardware for the unlocked ones that they will sell so they told tmo basically we won’t mess the hardware just to add that feature.
    Tmo is still working with vendors to make this happen. Since the hardware option is out the picture tmo is working on making a client software that will work with existing wifi hardware and bridge the gap between the wifi and cell radios to make uma work from software instead of having special hardware they are trying to accomplish in software but since a new layout has some hurdels and will take time. I expect this may be on the mytouch hd or other phones next year but I would be very surprised if it comes out before that and I doubt that it would be backword compattible.

  • Artiszan

    Forfgot to mentiong and can’t edit. Remember earlier reports of uma lite. That is what it will be

  • UMA will be released for the mytouch slide when the new update hits. This I know for a fact