VoLTE and 3G shutdowns



  • Thank you to the Q&A team for taking the VoLTE question today.

    To answer two questions my own question prompted:

    • Yes, unfortunately I do mean 3G, not merely 2G.
    • The deadlines are not immediate but are not too far away either.

    Following the 2G retirements, US carriers (at least AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) are looking to sunset 3G in order to reclaim spectrum for use with 4G and 5G tech. While this may for the moment be primarily of concern in the US, I have read that some east Asian carriers are likewise interested in retiring pre-4G tech in order to repurpose spectrum, and it seems a logical enough move as to be likely to spread.

    As far as timelines, T-Mobile USA have continually waffled but their CTO has said on multiple occasions they would like to be off 3G by the end of 2022. AT&T have announced that they and their resellers will stop activating 3G SIMS by 19 February 2020 and their 3G network service will be retired in February of 2022. As I understand it, Verizon will shutter their 2G and 3G CDMA service by the end of 2019 (but I'm not even sure if Ubuntu Touch supports CDMA, so perhaps Verizon's shutdown will have no effect on our userbase).

    It seems that VoLTE support generally requires hardware, software, and - often? always? (I don't know) - carrier agreement. The Nexus 5, for instance, supports VoLTE, as of course does Android, but very few carriers have allowed the VoLTE feature to be used by the Nexus 5 on their networks. AT&T currently only allow VoLTE connections from a whitelist of devices. That may change due to existing US FCC regulations on voice coverage when they sunset 3G, but for the moment it's not even a feature I could test if it were in the OS. I am not sure of how T-Mobile USA handles VoLTE.

    As to device support, @PINE64 confirmed that the Quectel EC25-G modem to be used in the PinePhone will support VoLTE. The Nexus 5 also supposedly supports VoLTE. I am not sure about the OnePlus One or other supported UBPorts devices.



  • @trainailleur T-Mobile US already supports VoLTE. Their web site has a list of "supported devices" with instructions on how to enable for each device, but it seems there is no white-listing, as my HTC 10 does seem to have VoLTE enabled and claims to be connected to voice service via LTE.

    It seems we need to make some big improvements to how radio settings are exposed in UT, but if newer ofono already supports VoLTE, then it should theoretically be usable on devices where it's supported, once we can get an upgraded ofono in place (which in itself will be a large amount of work).



  • Is VoLTE support planned for UT anytime soon?



  • @B2288 said in PinePhone:

    Is VoLTE support planned for UT anytime soon?

    It was discussed on a Q&A a few weeks ago, and also on the Telegram Supergroup. We also have a thread about it on the forum here. The core developers are aware of the need, but support will probably not come soon.

    Dobey mentions in the forum thread that getting to VoLTE will take significant work. Without meaning to put words in the mouth of the core development team, the chief priority of current development would seem to be getting to the Unity 8 cutover. After that is complete, many other things can be worked on, but there's no telling when VoLTE will get to the forefront of the priorities.

    Fortunately, 3G retirements are not yet widespread. In the US, Verizon will be VoLTE only by the end of 2019, but other US carriers have longer timelines (2022), and while I've read of various Asian carriers wishing also to retire 3G, I don't believe that will be happening right away either.



  • @trainailleur said in PinePhone:

    @B2288 said in PinePhone:

    Is VoLTE support planned for UT anytime soon?

    It was discussed on a Q&A a few weeks ago, and also on the Telegram Supergroup. We also have a thread about it on the forum here. The core developers are aware of the need, but support will probably not come soon.

    Dobey mentions in the forum thread that getting to VoLTE will take significant work. Without meaning to put words in the mouth of the core development team, the chief priority of current development would seem to be getting to the Unity 8 cutover. After that is complete, many other things can be worked on, but there's no telling when VoLTE will get to the forefront of the priorities.

    Fortunately, 3G retirements are not yet widespread. In the US, Verizon will be VoLTE only by the end of 2019, but other US carriers have longer timelines (2022), and while I've read of various Asian carriers wishing also to retire 3G, I don't believe that will be happening right away either.

    What sort of things need to be done to get VoLTE support? How would I get started contributing to it?



  • I have moved the above three posts to this thread as they are better suited to here. They were not directly related to Pinephone but VoLTE in general. Thanks in advance for your understanding.



  • For those interested in the US situation, rumor this week has it that AT&T will open VoLTE to unlocked BYO devices by the end of this year in preparation for the Feb. 2022 3G shutdown.



  • @B2288 said in VoLTE and 3G shutdowns:

    What sort of things need to be done to get VoLTE support? How would I get started contributing to it?

    Perhaps refer to @dobey 's comments above and reach out to him for details and direction. He knows infinitely more about the subject than I do.



  • Verizon will only support VoLTE within a few months.


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