Nexus 6 Wi-Fi calling gets closer to launch, bug found during testing

nexus6rearsmall

Back when the Nexus 6 was officially announced when T-Mobile revealed that it would be carrying the device, the carrier stated that we would see Wi-Fi calling by “early 2015”. T-Mo promised a software update would be pushed to enable the feature on Google’s newest pure Android phone. In fact, at one point it seemed as though the update would be available in the first quarter of this year.

Although we’re now well in to May and “early 2015” is surely well behind us now, T-Mobile and Google are still working on the feature. T-Mo’s product guru, Des Smith updated us on Twitter yesterday afternoon stating that the companies had discovered a bug over the weekend and they it looks as though it could take 7-10 days to fix and test.

Whether or not this means we’ll finally see Wi-Fi calling on the N6 in 7-10 days is unclear. If I had to place a bet, I wouldn’t be confident enough to state that we’ll definitely see it next week. Still, it’s good to at least get an update on where the carrier is on this long-awaited feature.

Of course, the Nexus 6 launch on T-Mobile hasn’t been plain sailing from the start. Initial stock was severely constrained and then Motorola shipped its first shipment to the carrier a week late resulting in a delayed release.

If you’re using a Nexus 6 on T-Mobile are you looking forward to being able to use Wi-Fi calling? Is it something you used on older handsets before you chose to upgrade? Let us know your thoughts.

Source: Twitter

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  • Tim Moore

    Will be nice to have, but not a huge deal for me.

  • Bradly Robberson

    I live in a major metropolitan city so I really don’t need wifi calling and other phones in the past I did not like the notification at the top so not a really big thing.

    • Eric Stengrevics

      You can disable the wifi calling icon. I hate it also so I take it off.

      • Anthony S Jennings

        Maybe the notification will be implemented iPhone-style. When on T-Mobile, it just says T-Mobile. When on WiFi it says T-Mobile WiFi. The best thing is you can put the phone in Airplane Mode but still have full access to voice/sms/mms, while saving a bit of battery.

  • Jino Lee

    I have been waiting for Wi-Fi calling on N6 since I it in November. I get terrible reception at work(the building is essentially one big cinder block) despite being in downtown Chicago. I have to step outside whenever I need to make an important, personal call. I have been pestering T-Force about information on this since January. Cannot wait until I get Wi-Fi calling.

  • Anon7463785

    It’s great. Supports HD Voice/VoLTE. Once you’ve heard the quality, it’s hard to go back. Next up: VoLTE interoperability between mobile carriers. Can’t wait. THEN, I’ll be curious to see when IF we ever get HD Voice from T-Mobile -> non-mobile carriers (e.g. while HD voice on residential twisted-pair POTS service is probably hopeless, tons of folks have digital phones courtesy of IP or switched cable and most businesses desk phones are IP based but right now, when they connect to PSTN and ultimately to T-Mobile, rely on NON HD Voice. Would be GREAT if this changed!!!)

  • impasse

    now, what WOULD be really cool is if they finally figure out a way to port this to unlocked phones (that still support the requisite frequencies, etc. obviously). in xda we trust?

    • Radio Man

      Huh? This is wifi calling. What wifi frequencies are requisite? Do you have a router that emits signals in wifi frequencies other than 2.4 or 5 GHz? Do you understand how wifi works?

      • impasse

        do you understand how wifi calling works at the baseband and kernel levels that have prevented a simple apk rip thus far? i sure as hell don’t. smartass.

  • Deadeye37

    Is this just a N6 thing, or would this be rolled out to all Nexus devices & be able to be side loaded into rooted devices?

    • kbiel

      My guess is that it must be baked into the kernel. Hence Google is involved in testing and pushing out the feature as a system update. Otherwise, they would just post it to the Play store like TMo’s Visual VM and account apps.

      So, long answer, short: No. And people over at XDA have been working on extracting TMo’s wifi calling for years without success.

      • Kendrick Vargas

        Google is involved because it’s their device and their OS release. The handoffs from interface to interface don’t have to happen in the kernel, it’s all in the telephony layers.

        Chances are that hooks are being put into Android itself (not the kernel), or Google Play Services (seems less likely to me) to allow a non-system app with non-system level permission to plug into the telephony framework.

        With all the carriers now adding some form of WiFi calling, and the iPhone supporting it, not to mention their own phone carrier project that involves switching between cell networks while retaining the same number…. It is in Google’s best interest to bake support for this sorta thing into the OS instead of expecting the carrier and/or device OEM’s to support it. Especially on cheaper devices.

        • J-Hop2o6

          We can only hope its NATIVE Wi-Fi calling support in Android, so all can take advantage of it if their carrier supports it, plus w/o update delays, etc.

    • Zach Guithues

      if it runs on AOSP, i see no good reason why it can’t be ported. Unless tmobile or google go out of their way to block it. Hopefully it’ll turn into a an app in the play store…

  • kbiel

    Yes, I am waiting on this. I have a Cel-Fi provided by TMo when I switched to the N6, but it is not as reliable as I hoped. As the sun goes down, so does the quality of the signal.

  • Rick N

    it is def nice to have specially since I travel for work and I would love to text people for free when im on the plane. make it happen soon im traveling in a month!!!!! :P

  • archerian

    Port it to the nexus 5 too. I don’t think there’s anything in the nexus 6 that’s not in the nexus 5 that makes it a no go as far as WiFi calling is concerned.

    • Stephen Harvey

      The Nexus 6 has a SoC flux capacitor, the Nexus 5 doesn’t among other things. It’s not as simple as you all assume. WiFi calling is not a simple app like candy crush.

      • archerian

        read my comment again, “as far as WiFi calling is concerned” .. never heard of a SoC flux capacitor, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t do anything to enable Wifi calling. Is that even a real component? Besides most of Wifi calling is handled via firmware now.

        • Rob

          T-Mobile will not be satisfied until they make sure it can’t be ported. That’s the most likely reason for the hold up. T-Mobile wants you to get devices from them in order to have WiFi calling.

      • Trevnerdio

        Is this back to the future?

      • arendtian

        2/10 on the trolling. What even is a flux capacitor?

  • Irfan

    what about VOLTE

    • Rob

      Uhhhh… Its had VoLTE for awhile now. In fact I started dropping calls with VoLTE and had to disable it.

      • ltnstar

        Is volte that bad? Curious what part of the country are you?
        So far in, I have had good results and prefer it. But it seems its like digital TV. It either works or doesn’t.

        • Rob

          I’m in Denver and the issue is that we already had a very strong Band 4 LTE network here… So now the phone switches from Band 4 to Band 12 and back nonstop. It can cause the calls to cut out and drop. Disabling VoLTE removes Band 12 from the equation and I haven’t dropped a call since. I don’t think I would have that issue if I had the S6. We have active Band 4 + 12 carrier aggregation active here but unfortunately the Nexus doesn’t support any aggregation with Band 12.

  • steveb944

    Considering I’m currently reading this with no mobile network signal, yes I think it’s pretty important.

    • archerian

      if this was so important and you seem to have no coverage and highlight that fact, maybe you should have bought a different phone or service rather than wait for something that was “coming early 2015” .. I don’t mean to rib you or anything but this feature is coming way late than planned for this device.

      • nikoFeD

        Perhaps @steveb944 happens to be at an underground Vietnamese bordello. Since T-Mobile doesn’t have coverage in Vietnam, but he has WiFi why shouldn’t he find that feature important at the moment. Your going way beyond assuming what he meant. He could simply be commenting on his current situation and it may not be permanent. Back home it’s probably not as important.

        Geez, makes sense why that other guy pointed out to you that you shouldn’t be presumptuous about the simplicity of enabling WiFi calling. Let the engineers get thier work done and don’t assume it is to push out to any other device than the one that is confirmed for. Don’t jump to conclusions.

        • steveb944

          It was my current situation in a downtown area. In floor 18 of a 40+ story building. My company AT&T hardware wasn’t working either so no harm no foul on T-Mobile.

          I agree on your second point. If it were so easy to implement WiFi calling it would already be in the multitude of app stores to download. There’s a lot of engineering in making sure there’s a good hand off to the other type of network, as well as battery consumption by knowing when to switch.

        • archerian

          I don’t think you read the actual comment he was pointing out. I never implied it was “easy” to port Wifi calling. I said if it can work on the N6, it could be ported to the N5 too as they don’t have any differences as far as Wifi calling hardware/software is concerned. Some people just can’t infer properly.

        • steveb944

          The hardware is different. You can’t make assumptions that it’s all the same. Keep in mind the N6 is the only multi carrier device, that in itself shows a difference

          We’re not seeing any other devices on Project Fi, other than the N6, there has to be more to that than just software.

        • archerian

          I never made the assumption “its all the same” .. Wifi calling is mostly firmware based and devices on older SoCs than the N5 have it supported, and the differences between the Snapdragon 800 and 805 aren’t anything that would render Wifi calling non operational.

          About the multi-carrier device, you’re not correct that the N6 is the only multi-carrier device. The N5 is also a multi-carrier device with 2 variants just like the N6. Also, which carrier frequencies the device supports is not relevant as long as it works with T-mobile as Wifi calling as we are talking about it here is T-mobile only.

        • simms22

          but the n5 does not work on nor support verizon. so its not the same as tbe n6.

        • archerian

          that’s not correct, Verizon didn’t add it to it’s list of “approved” devices so it was not able to activate it on their network. The device will work if they allowed it to be activated. Not something to do with the phone but Verizon’s policies.

          Also, I never said the two devices are the same, I said the differences wrt hardware for Wifi calling are not such that it prevents it being ported from the N6 to the N5. Let’s be realistic, even if it were true, is the lack of Verizon bands a problem for Wifi calling for T-mobile?? Older SoC have supported Wifi calling before the N5

        • simms22

          its not about older or newer SoC. the other devices were all tmobile devices, that got updated by tmobile(and so on), but a nexus is not a tmobile device, and could never add tmobile wifi calling to it.

        • archerian

          you’re not getting my point. I agree with what you just said in your last coment. For the N6, T-mobile is able to add its own features as there are separate firmware versions for certain carriers. What I’m saying is the the N5 has all the hardware needed for Wifi calling, and since T-mobile figured out how to add it to Lollipop for the N6, it should be possible for the N5 too. I’m not saying they will do it, or they won’t or that it will be easy but that the N5 can support Wifi Calling on T-mobile with the proper firmware. I never said the N5 and N6 are the same, or that it would work on Verizon or anything. Put simply, what I said is if they figured out how to add Wifi calling to the N6, a port to the N5 if it ever happens will not fail due to lack of supporting hardware on the N5

        • simms22

          well, i know for a fact that tmo will not be supporting the nexus 5. maybe it will be something thats portable easily. if its in aosp android as well, then itll be an easy port for sure.

        • archerian

          of course they won’t support it for the N5, most likely the only reason they are doing it for the N6 is since JL claimed support for all devices launched since a particular date and the N6 was after it :) .. as far as difficulty, most probably it will be a binary blob so it might be tricky.

        • steveb944

          “I said if it can work on the N6, it could be ported to the N5 too as they don’t have any differences as far as Wifi calling hardware/software is concerned.”

          They do have differences. I’m referring to the RADIOS, which is the factor here. There hasn’t been a Nexus device with WiFi Calling. I can’t even recall a first attempt from any OEM to add the feature past initial release. All the devices that have the feature have come out of the box with it, or the OEM had prior experience implementing it.

          Hence the example of multi carrier, meaning it covers ALL networks with only one hardware version. One device that supports every GSM, CDMA and LTE band in use in the US, plus tri-band for Sprint. This WiFi Calling feature is their sandbox for their new Project Fi.

        • archerian

          There is no difference in the frequencies that the N5 and N6 support that are relevant for Wifi Calling, which are the 2.4 and 5 Ghz and T-mobile frequencies for WiFi to Cellular handoff. The presence or absence of CDMA support and other radios is NOT relevant for Wi-Fi calling. The LG G2 and N5 have the same SoC (MSM8974) and antennae so they support the same radio frequencies, the G2 has WiFi calling available.

          So are you implying that the N5 cannot support Wifi calling at all? I agree it will come first to the N6, but it just wont work at all for the N5?

        • steveb944

          I’m glad to see you’re helping program Wi-Fi Calling onto devices and it’s so easy for you. /s

          If it were such an easy task it would already be available on the N6 by now. But it’s not, that’s why they missed the deadline.

          What I’m implying is since it’s taking so long to implement on the N6, Google won’t bother bringing it to the N5 when it’s a piece of hardware that they no longer sell. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see it coming to the N5 or any other Androids that have already released.

        • archerian

          really, that’s what you have to say now? tell me, when did I say it was an easy task? I can spot at least three instances where I said I never said it would be an easy task. Possible doesn’t imply easy.

        • archerian

          For someone who preaches no presumptions, over half your post is pure irony.

          And read before your comment, I never said it was simple to port Wifi calling to other devices, if so the folks at XDA would have done it months ago. And I never assumed work is being done for for other devices.

      • steveb944

        I don’t have a N6 because it didn’t have Wifi calling out of the box. If I’m going to resort to purchasing carrier devices again they better be coming with all features, for now I keep buying unlocked devices.

        I was mainly poking at the fact that I had such horrible in building coverage at the time and that WiFi calling would be beneficial. But good job jumping to conclusions. The disclaimer is my company AT&T hardware wouldn’t even function vs T-Mobile hardware at least attempting.

        • archerian

          ok so let me clarify – you think it’s important to add Wifi calling support to the N6 which you don’t have as you had/have a situation where it would have helped. So doesn’t my original comment hold? :)

        • steveb944

          No, because you assumed I owned the Nexus 6. My original reply is in reference to not buying an N6, as well as any other carrier device, of which I don’t want due to various reasons. I don’t want to sacrifice things just for the sake of WiFi Calling.

          You also suggested changing service, but other offerings are even worse IMHO for various reasons. And the only viable option for GSM, AT&T, is pretty bad.

          I was merely pointing out that Wi-Fi Calling is a good/important feature in my OP. That’s it. You blew it out of proportion.

  • Zach Mauch

    I’m hoping this is what was holding up the 5.1.1 update for the nexus 6.

  • horsehockey

    Somewhat of a newbie, so I don’t understand a lot of the technical jargon. I do know, however, that I can use Wi-Fi calling through Google Hangouts. I know it’s rather clunky, but hey, it works in a pinch!

    • ltnstar

      I never got into google hangouts. I don’t like my info all out there. Android needs to be more consistent across the bored.
      Google should just add WiFi calling across lollipop, and plz make the phone app better!!!! I don’t make a lot of calls but geeez. And fix the speakers on the nexus 6!!!

      • horsehockey

        What are the problems with the phone app/speakers? What I mean is, I came into my Nexus 6 from four years of Samsung (Galaxy S2 & Galaxy S4). The N6 blows them away in every way, shape & form! The speakers are loud, clear & front facing stereo. I’ll NEVER go back to a rear facing speaker again. Really, I’m loving my Nexus, but all I keep hearing about it is this shortcoming & that botched attempt. It does everything I need it to & so much more. Fast, crisp & snappy with some loud speakers blaring at me from the front. Big screen to see everything without having to put my readers on. LOL

        • Boogersykes

          Speakers sound is low when u place someone on speakerphone. In Call volume is low as well 91201-44704
          even when maxed volume.

        • ltnstar

          The n6 is a good phone. In my opinion its the best Android phone. Its just Lil things. When I’m on a phone call the volume is low or starts off low and gradually increase. Also when your on a call the speaker is low and doesn’t use both of them. I don’t get this. And in my option the phone app needs work. I get sometimes a phone call from ppl I don’t have saved and I want to txt them instead but I have to copy and paste. I like how the iPhone works better. Other then that, its google now that I have issues with. Oh and the thing I like about android plz add the notification led light!!!!

        • horsehockey

          I honestly haven’t experienced any low volume issues, either through the earpiece or on speaker? Bought my wife one also, at the same time I purchased mine (1st week of April). I have yet to hear the first complaint from her and believe me, that’s very unusual. LOL Hate hearing so many people having so many issues. I literally keep a phone a very long time (2+ years). Hands down, Nexus 6 best phone & best Android experience I’ve personally ever had…and I’m pretty sure my wife would say the same.

  • matt

    I’ve had wifi calling since I bought the nexus 5, and I still have it with my nexus six. Use google voice people!

    • Stryder5

      That requires you to get a new number, and use a different app.

    • Tony RAMIREZ

      Why do I need Google voice for ??? I have a number already . never understood the point of having two numbers

    • Britt Yazel

      Google voice is not wifi calling. It definitely uses a cellular network. The big feature that google voice brings is that all phone calls used with it are routed through google services, thus allowing you to avoid direct long distance fees. It works by > you calling google at a local hub> google routes the call through their vast array of international networks > a local hub to the person you are trying to reach calls them. This gives the end result of international calling, where both parties are only making local calls.

      This does NOT use wifi calling, however.

  • jkinbox

    I really don’t care if T mobile is going to release this feature now… Its too late I have already decided to move to Project Fi which comes with this feature

    • iCrap

      rofl, 1) project fi hasn’t launched yet. 2) as of now, it’s invite only. 3) fi will have wifi calling, why do you think google is working with tmobile to figure it out. 4) tmo will have wifi calling on tthe nexus 6 long before fi launches.

  • Ludlow Trust

    I have used Tmobile wifi calling for about three years now. I put a new tin roof on my house and it blocked the signal from the tower. The wifi calling solved my problem. First a Samsung and now an LG 90. The LG is quite nice but I wish there was a better selection of phones that had the capabilities.

  • skywalkr2

    Hopefully at some point sms won’t get lost/not delivered/etc with this. I have never had any good luck with wifi calling and SMS.

  • Asif

    Wifi calling promises time line for Nexus 6;

    1. November, 2014
    2. End December, 2014
    3. Early January, 2015
    4. Before Q1, 2015
    5. Before May, 2015
    6. Fixing Bugs (technically saying we ran out of dates)

    It’s a shame that T-Mobile was allowed to market a phone with features it never had. It has been a very disappointing experience.