Question: Can You Get T-Mo Wifi Calling On Stock Android

So last week I ditched my Nexus 6 for a Samsung Galaxy Edge 6 from T-Mo so I could get Wifi Calling on my android phone.

A week later I am back to the Nexus 6. I just couldn’t take all the stuff that comes with the T-Mo phone. The autocomplete was driving me crazy. There are apps on the phone I don’t want and don’t have the time to figure out how to delete. Plus I like the form factor of the Nexus 6 a lot better. It just feels right in my hand and the Galaxy Edge 6 did not.

But I’m really missing the T-Mo Wifi Calling feature that drove to to the T-Mo store to buy the Samsung phone in the first place.

So a question for the AVC community – can I somehow get T-Mo Wifi Calling on a stock android phone?

If you know how to do this, please let me know in the comments.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Michael Dizon

    I’m surprised you can’t get an unlocked Samsung phone. Ask @taylorchoi for a hookup (Twitter)

    1. jason wright

      Fred’s phones are normally always unlocked. Mine too.

  2. smarty

    Switch to Google Fi;

    1. fredwilson

      i did. i didn’t love it and switched back

      1. Bruno_dR

        Fred, can you develop a bit on why you did not love it pls ? thx

      2. jkrums

        I switched about a month ago and have had a really good experience. What didn’t you like about it?

  3. kenberger

    Google Fi should give you all that tmo wifi gives, and more, no? What am I missing, since I know you’ve tried this.

    1. fredwilson

      i didn’t like it. the coverage was somehow worse. i switched back.

      1. kenberger

        Hmm, I’m going to guess that turning off the WiFi handoff part of the Google Fi service might fix that (either via options, or just keeping wifi off anytime you’re not in your homes or offices), albeit inelegant.The nexus 6 radio h/w & software specs are superior in every way to the S6 including having more LTE bands, plus Fi adds Sprint’s towers. Coverage really should be a superset of any other tmo phone to date.

  4. JTio

    **Below is all for the Nexus 6I’m almost 100% sure you would have to flash the ROM to the T-Mo version to get that. Here are the different Factory Images:….Depending on the version you have you might have to flash twice. Once to 5.0 and then to the TMo version of 5.1.Also there is a good article from AndroidPolice on the different ROM versions here:… (Note the last two paragraphs)

  5. Candyman

    So going to “settings” and turning on Wi-Fi calling doesn’t work? I have a Nexus 6 on TMob and that feature is on my phone. I have not tested it though, kind of assumed it would work if I was without coverage.

    1. fredwilson

      yupppp. i just did this and it works. thanks!!!!!

  6. Pandurang Yachwad

    As you already have Nexus 6 and you seems to be comfortable with it so how about Project FI? I see it has great wifi calling feature.

    1. fredwilson

      i tried it for about two months. didn’t love it and went back to T-Mo

      1. Pandurang Yachwad

        oh ok. Thanks for sharing your experience, I was thinking to shift but not big fan of Nexus so stayed back with iPhone. Looks like you got solution for your question from Steve Hallock

  7. Bruce Warila

    Different things jazz different people. After using the N6 for the last six months, I have serious small-phone envy. Starting to think phablets are a fad.

    1. pointsnfigures

      Let me know when you get flip phone envy! Seriously wondering out loud if we will carry a flip phone with a good camera and a tablet.

      1. Jess Bachman

        Ha!, Yes I have flip phone envy. Especially because actually using one like a phone feels so much better than holding a small pane of glass to your face.

      2. LE

        I am expecting that future versions of the Apple Watch will contain a camera on the watch case and that you will be able to take a picture by hitting a button. Or take a selfie with a camera on the watch face. That for me would be provide great utility.

    2. Mario Cantin

      Naha, I use both an iPhone 5 as well as a 6+. I use the 5 for many calls but I’m always drawn to the 6+ for text. Big phones are here to stay, mark my words.

  8. awaldstein

    I love this post as I have absolutely nothing to add.Like stopping in at my wine bar and good friends are talking about something that is absolutely not my sweet spot.

    1. William Mougayar

      Same boat here. I have a few app & features requests, but this isn’t one of them 😉

    2. Chimpwithcans

      Exactly my thoughts – I don’t even know what wi-fi calling is. (Africa hasn’t reached that particular milestone in its development plans! 🙂 )

  9. Emily Steed

    Do we know whether Wifi calls are reasonably safe from hackers – for example, listening to your call or stealing data from texts? “some voice-over-WiFi apps bypass your mobile carrier and therefore may have no encryption. If you are using one of these apps, and your phone is connected to a public WiFi hotspot, you could be in danger of being overheard by WiFi hackers.”…. University of California, Berkley researchers identified this risk 2 years ago in T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Calling feature. I have not seen any news about a fix.

    1. Guesty McGuesterson

      If security is really important then may I suggest RedPhone, by Marlinspike & co.However, the person on the other end would need to be running RedPhone also, I think.

      1. scottythebody

        Agreed. Lots of ways to secure communication without relying on the operators’ security. I mean, just because 3G/4G are encrypted it doesn’t mean somebody isn’t listening, right?

    2. LE

      With “hackers” and wife hotspots (for data, not voice) in my opinion for “average” people the main danger is that they will either be able to steal your identity and/or passwords typically as that info travels over the network. In contrast, if they are able to listen into a voice call, while it’s possible they might get sensitive info of value (or something embarrassing), for the average person I don’t view the risk as anywhere near equal. [1] Especially given the probability that they are even doing this at all.[1] There are edge cases but they don’t relate to “average people”. For example somebody that was able to tap into voice calls over the wifi at Bucks Restaurant in Woodside [2] might be able to obtain significant valuable information.[2]

    3. PhilipSugar

      Your two posts confirm that it is encrypted and relatively safe. The first one says you need to encrypt the voice, the second confirms that, and the update confirms T-Mobile encrypts.Frankly, there are easier ways to overhear your phone call, a directional microphone would be one.

  10. Guesty McGuesterson

    My reasons for buying a new phone or switching services today are always about buying a new level of freedom. Most recently that was to Google Fi, to get multiple network providers on one plan (contract free obviously).Now the freedom I don’t have, and want, is the freedom to use either iPhone or Android.Or ideally, both at the same time with the data used by the second phone simply added to the total data used as the only significant additional charge.Anyone know of services / plans that would be friendly to that?

  11. Tom Maxwell

    Can’t help with getting WiFi calling enabled, but agree on my Nexus 6 form factor. I have an iPhone 6 Plus as well as a Nexus 5 and still far prefer the Nexus 5 screen size. Feels good in my hand, and I haven’t ever felt like I’m missing anything using a smaller screen. Bought the 6 Plus mainly for its battery life.

  12. JimHirshfield

    I looked into this on my OnePlus One because I noticed OS features that related to WiFi calling. But T-Mo said no. And the OnePlus forums didn’t surface anything either. I can’t figure out why T-Mo doesn’t let all phones do this.

  13. Daleep Chhabria

    Last time I checked (1-2 years ago), you couldn’t – it had to be baked in. I used to be at DT (parent company of T-Mo, but based in London) and spoke directly with my Seattle-based marketing colleague responsible for their WiFi calling solution. I seem to remember it also required certain hardware specification too, therefore attempting a software fix won’t deliver the desired result. But check for the latest…

  14. LissIsMore

    Fred – I went through this exact question a few years ago trying to decide between the Nexus 5 and a T-Mo HTC One. What I found out was that the T-Mo WiFi feature was built into their version of Android. It was not available on the stock version I would have gotten on the Nexus 5. So the answer was a resounding NO.This may have changed in the intervening years – but somehow I doubt it.Good luck.

    1. fredwilson

      they have shipped it in stock android now. see the first comment on this thread

      1. LissIsMore

        Umm..I guess I should read the comment thread before jumping in. 🙂

  15. kirklove

    Wifi calls don’t eliminate roaming charges, so the advantage is getting a call when say deep inside or underground at a subway stop with wifi? Assume at home your coverage is fine over 4G.

    1. fredwilson

      the four places i am at most of the time on the east coast are; my apartment, the USV office, my wife’s office, and our house in long island. it turns out T-Mo coverage in all four locations is really bad. i don’t mind not being able to call, but not being able to text is a real bummer

      1. Rob Larson For several hundred bucks you can buy a signal amplifier from Wilson Electronics. There is a mobile version (… ) a home version, and an office version. (… ). I am also on T Mobile and am considering getting it. I have been told it works amazingly well, especially if you get the robust versions I linked to above vs. the home versions.Update: apparently the FCC imposed a rule last year limiting the amount they can boost a signal back to the tower. So if you can get a signal outdoors but the signal indoors is too weak to call, then this product should solve the problem. But if you can’t even get a signal outdoors, then this might not be strong enough to fix the problem.

      2. LE

        Have you tried a microcell? I have the AT&T version of this at my office and it works pretty well.Tmobile:https://support.t-mobile.cohttp://www.androidcentral.c…I don’t know the current status with Tmobile but with AT&T I paid $150 and received a $75 rebate. My use case was occasionally missing voice calls at the office because of typical 1 or 2 bar coverage.

        1. Rob Larson

          Since those are routed through your home/office internet connection, the net effect is similar to just doing Wi-Fi calling.

        2. Daniel Lizio-Katzen

          I have had the ATT Microcell at my house on long island for a few years and it works great.

        3. fredwilson

          wifi calling is wayyyyyyyyy easier and better

      3. PhilipSugar

        That is why I can’t switch to T Mobile. Great I can use wifi in my house but what about down the street or in the marina???At home I’ve had great luck with Oooma phones personally and Cisco Phones for work via wifi.The benefit which maybe is a drawback for you is that you have a separate number. It is a benefit for me because now you don’t have my cell number if I don’t want you to, I understand you can block but then I don’t usually take those calls.

      4. kirklove

        That makes sense then. The one real shining light for Apple is iMessage. Works great on wifi and free.

  16. Ryan from GroupTweet

    You can try the Vonage Mobile app. Its not as gracefully built into the native dialer as t-mobile wifi calling, however it will allow you to place calls over a wifi network and the outbound caller id still shows up as your regular carrier number.Almost all other wifi VOIP apps I’m aware of will give you a different outbound number which is an inconvenience.

  17. Steve Hallock

    Nexus 6 does have wifi calling if you’re on the latest version. You have to turn it on in mobile settings. I’m using it right now with a Google Play Nexus 6 and T-Mobile SIM. If you have any problem, email me.

    1. Steve Hallock

      Settings>Wireless&Networks>More>Wi-Fi Calling.It was not available for a long time but it was activated a few updates ago. As long as you’re updated to the latest 5.1.1 you don’t have to download ROMs or do anything weird. Just turn it on and you’re good to go.

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Hi SteveI have stock nexus 6 with android 5.1.1 and T mobile sim but when I follow your directions above I doesn’t show ‘Wi-Fi Calling’ any ideas?

        1. Steve Hallock

          Make sure you’re on the latest build is the only thing I can think of. It should be there.

          1. Pete Griffiths

            I am. T mobile can’t get to the bottom of it yet either. 🙁

          2. Pete Griffiths

            Turns out that it has to be a TMobile Nexus 6. If you get it from Play it won’t work.

          3. Steve Hallock

            Not true. Mine is Google Play

          4. Pete Griffiths

            Wow. I was literally just told that by a supervisor at T Mobile. Hmmmm….. wtf?

          5. Steve Hallock

            They just make stuff up if they don’t know what they’re talking about. You could do a full wipe and reinstall of latest Android build (or even more fun while you’re at it just load up the Marshmallow developer preview)

          6. Pete Griffiths


    2. fredwilson

      ok, so first of all, thank you for pointing this out. i’ve turned it on and am excited to give it a you know if i can also text over wifi with this service? i can do that with T-Mo’s implementation of wifi calling.thank you!!!

      1. Steve Hallock

        I couldn’t connect to the website for a while so I sent this by email, but here it is for everyone else: I’m actually not sure how my texts get delivered. I have a Tmo S6 Edge here too and it all seems to work the same. Wi-Fi calling is a must-have feature for me as I only get a sliver of service at my house.

  18. Ptaco

    Sounds like enough people have done this, like Steve Hallock and Jason Allen. I tried Project Fi (my results can be found here: https://tacostanley.wordpre…, but in the end couildn’t take the network coverage downgrade from ATT to T-Mob/Sprint. The Wifi calls worked well, so if you’re happy with T-Mob away from Wifi, you should give it a shot. I now keep the Project Fi SIM (with my old GV number) with me for international travel and just in case I need a better signal than ATT can provide. I look at the $20/month as connection insurance.

  19. Joe

    This doesn’t actually answer your question, but an alternative/workaround is the Google Hangouts app plus the Hangouts Dialer app. With both of those apps installed, you can make wifi phone calls through Hangouts. No integration with the phone’s native dialer (i.e. you have to go into the Hangouts app to make a wifi call).

  20. kenberger

    GHangouts dialer is how I do all calls received and made, almost constantly traveling over multiple data SIMs +wifi. And the sound quality/frequency range is generally better this way.This method means you use your GV #, which Fred hasn’t wanted to port his tmo # to.By the way: I’m in Poland now, where $1.35 gets you a sim with 500mb of LTE, $3.90 gets 3GB. That’s a record among my worldwide observations. And voip not throttled, like it is with cheap German sims.

  21. moeadham

    Short answer: No.Wifi Calling (also known as UMA), actually takes the GPRS packets and sends them to the T-Mobile infrastructure through the TCP/IP layer.There is likely no way to do this without significant reverse engineering work on both the network stack, as well as the security layer on T-Mobile’s network. You will need a way to get authorized access to send packets to the GAN Controller.Sorry Fred. For VoIP, you are likely stuck to Google-voice style servicesSource: I worked closely with T-Mobile several years ago at Blackberry when shipping the first UMA device on their network (Curve 8320).Fun Fact: Most firms that implement UMA have no way of knowing when you left the Wifi Area after a call was initiated (due to seamless hand-off). So if you are travelling abroad, you can start a Wifi call, and then step into a taxi, and still benefit from the free cost!

    1. fredwilson

      turns out the answer is yes. see the first comment in this thread.

      1. LE

        The parent answer which you responded to reminds me of when in the days of early car phones someone in the business told me that there would never be handhelds. He gave a technical reason why which related to the power needed battery wise to hit a tower. This was when the gear was in the trunk, and was quite large so the explanation made sense. He also had authority so I believed him. I think the first brick hit the market 2 years later or so.

  22. JonnyF

    You can get Wi-Fi calling on a Scratch Wireless phone with stock Android, but Sprint is the cellular carrier when needed.

    1. fredwilson

      turns out it works with T-Mo too

      1. Amar

        Fred,It sounds like it just worked? or did you have to turn on any config options?

  23. bijan

    The coverage in my home is really bad. I can txt just fine but can’t hold a voice call. Wish iOS had this feature.

  24. Brian Sacca

    Look now what happened. Twitter is getting sued for ‘listening in’ on your messages. (Techcrunch)

  25. krmarko

    Switch to Google Fi service. It supports WiFi calling on both T-mo and Sprint and autoswitches between the two based on the strongest signal. Will automatically use WiFi calling on Google-vettted public networks, but you can force it on any net by switching to Airrplane mode and then enabling WiFi. See my Forbes column for details.

  26. Terry J Leach

    My advice would be to buy a Moto X directly from Motorola and use whatever carrier. Moto X Pure Edition has the WiFi calling features of the Nexus 6 according to article on September 13th. I ordered a replacement for my first gen Moto X last week.

  27. jason wright

    don’t forget to download the Android Device Manager app. invaluable.

  28. jason wright

    Blackberry + Android;http://www.androidauthority…i would have liked to see the phone slide the other way to reveal a landscape keyboard, but it still looks promising and with stock Android and hopefully no bloatware. I wonder how much off contract?

  29. JimHirshfield

    I couldn’t have said it better, so I won’t add anything. Doh!

  30. awaldstein

    In this instance it just makes me smile.Like if you walked in on me and my buddies at Racines and we are talking about the relationship between orange wine and making wines that travel well without added SO2.Crazy geeks you think. But friends nonetheless.

  31. Jess Bachman

    I too have nothing to add here……dammit!

  32. Jess Bachman

    So, just what is the relationship between orange wine and making wines that travel well without added SO2?

  33. scottythebody

    Do tell. I’m interested. I was in Nice and Rovinj, Croatia this summer. Both places I was offered “orange wine” and I know nothing about it. Now, they are having a huge “orange wine” event here in Vienna. What’s up with that?

  34. JimHirshfield

    I’m gonna shut up now. I mean now. Uh…now.

  35. awaldstein

    Orange wine is white wine made with extended skin contact.Basically making white wine as you do red.Ancient method. A fave of mine and lots of great experimentation going on.Tannins, bouquet and a whole lot more including to me the touchpoints of terroir are in the skins.Been a tradition in Croatia and Slovinia for ages.A big fan.

  36. awaldstein

    Unclear.The more I dig into the science of wine the more i realize that its less in understanding the chemistry and more in understanding the processes-almost almanac like.It there a relationship–yup, mostly about the tannins–but honestly it’s not clear.And of course that makes it no less interesting to talk about although my attraction towards orange wines is more terroir and taste driven than the more geeky so2 piece.

  37. rick gregory

    SO2 inhibits the action of oxygen. Not adding it risks that the wine will oxidize…think undesirable sherry-like flavors in a young wine. Some producers like the freshness of non sulfured wines, but the risk of oxidation rises as the wine travels because it’s exposed to varying temps, etc. (the cork can, if exposed to rapid changing temps, expand and contract, letting in some O2. Corks vary, too, in their permeability).Reds are slightly less susceptible to this because the tannins protect them to some degree (not a ton… some). Some orange wines have more tannins that reds due to the skin contact and some are, I believe, made in an oxidative manner – they want the flavors the come with a skin contact white and some oxidation.What, me? Not a geek at all…

  38. Jess Bachman

    I understood some of those words.

  39. awaldstein

    Come have a glass of wine with me sometime.

  40. awaldstein

    nicely said.of course oxidative is an approach, oxidized is a characteristic.all above being true though it is really hard to create stable wines without adding sulfur and amazingly more and more stable wines being made as such all the time.I can quote science but it is still a mystery to me.

  41. rick gregory

    “… but it is still a mystery to me.”hence why it’s fun and interesting.

  42. scottythebody

    Great! I did not enjoy the French orange wine, but the one I had in Rovinj was really good and went perfectly with my meal. I wanted to stop at a wine shop and buy some bottles to take home, but ran out of time. I think I will check out this orange wine fest here in Wien and taste a few.

  43. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Tried this near Sion Switzerland in 1977 not sure if they still do it but a winner

  44. awaldstein

    A good buddy of mine is obsessed with Orange wine and writes about them frequently at http://www.themorningclaret…Lots of great producers from all over using this method. And a lot of unique experimentation with great results coming from natural winemakers on the West Coast here.You might enjoy this post on natural wine as well:Rethinking natural wine as a cultural phenomenon

  45. Jess Bachman

    ha, I understood all of those words.

  46. awaldstein

    It’s an ancient approach to winemaking that I as well am very attracted to.