What about the new Lumia 550?

cncb

    This appears to be a nice little inexpensive phone that supports LTE.  I guess from past discussions it probably doesn't support WiFi calling.  If so, I question the point of "unlocked" phones when you apparently still need to buy a phone directly from T-Mobile to support all features?

      All replies

      • smplyunprdctble

        Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

        The point is a large population doesn't need WiFi Calling or in-flight texting or other features T-Mobile bakes into their phones.  I, for example, have a great signal where I live and work, don't care to text while I fly to/from Phoenix for Thanksgiving, nor do I use anything else T-Mobile may bake in (I don't know the full list).  My current and previous two devices were Nexus devices.  My current does support WiFi Calling, however, I haven't had a need for it.

         

        Back in the day, when a phone was a phone, unlocked devices worked exactly the same as the carrier device since it just needed a phone signal.

         

        I'm sure there's some special carrier things other carriers in the US may have that aren't compatible with unlocked devices.

          • cncb

            Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

            I probably won't use WiFi calling either but it would be nice for it to be available if I (unexpectedly) need it and it is part of the service that I pay for.

            • bronzeagle

              Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

              But Band 12 LTE (and VoLTE/HD Voice) support would be nice for phones that already have the feature.  My unlocked Lumia 950 supports both, but T-Mobile and/or Microsoft won't work together to get them enabled on my phone.  I second cncb's idea of questioning how much emphasis T-Mobile places on being able to bring an unlocked phone when they won't work with manufacturers to get the features enabled.  Wi-Fi Calling I know takes more work to get working correctly (although I don't know how much since they already have a Windows 10 Mobile Alcatel running it on their network), but my phone already HAS Band 12 radio that works on any other carrier.  T-Mo won't let it work on their network because they want band 12 for VoLTE and haven't blessed the Lumia 950 for VoLTE yet (if they ever will).

                • tidbits

                  Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                  It's the other way around. Manufacturers don't want to work with T-Mobile. They rather have T-Mobile pay for them to add it. If the manufacturer works with T-Mobile it will be there. See Moto X 2015, iPhone 5S and up, and Nexus 6 and higher. Those didn't happen by accident.

                    • bronzeagle

                      Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                      Tidbits, forgive me if I'm misunderstanding you, but are you saying manufacturers whose sole goal is to sell devices do not want to make small firmware tweaks (or whatever would be required) to enable key features that would make the unlocked devices vastly MORE sellable unless they are bribed by T-Mobile to do so?  And then T-Mobile who sells their own branded phones I'm sure at a good profit, would agree to pay manufacturers of unlocked phones extra money to enable features on those phones that now make the unlocked phones better than their own T-Mobile branded phones (exact same features but cost substantially less)?  So they'd be paying extra money in order to lose even more money by making a competing phone better than their own branded phones?

                       

                      I mean stranger things have happened in the past but it doesn't make much sense to me.

                       

                      I have heard it is usually the other way.  When T-Mobile says they want to "work with" manufacturers of unlocked phones, they really mean make them pay some testing/certification fee so they can verify the features will work correctly on their network.  Part of that I understand (because many consumers are too ridiculous to realize that it's not T-Mobile's fault if an untested&unlocked phone does not fully work correctly on their network and will blame T-Mobile anyway).  But what about things like Band 12 LTE?  Why does T-Mobile coerce manufacturers to disable that band unless they go through the VoLTE/HD Voice certification process through them?  Is it not a standard GSM frequency?

                       

                      For example, my unlocked Microsoft Lumia 950 already HAS Band 12 LTE radio and can use it on some overseas carriers, but does not get it enabled on T-Mobile.  It already HAS VoLTE capability and can use it on some overseas carriers, but does not get it enabled on T-Mobile.  It already HAS Wi-Fi calling capability and can use it on some overseas carriers, but does not get it enabled on T-Mobile.

                       

                      The T-Mobile branded Alcatel One Touch XL (also Windows 10 Mobile like my Lumia 950) already HAS all three of the above features.  So I know that it's not a problem with operating system.  It's not a problem with hardware since my phone can do the three features on other carriers.  So it's gotta be either a problem with some small needed firmware tweak on Microsoft's end or some provisioning issue on T-Mobile's end, or some combination of the two.  Either way, it makes more logical sense to me that T-Mobile would be the one demanding compensation (again part of that understandably for testing on HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling, but why Band 12 LTE?).  And either way back to the whole original point, IMHO, it kinda undermines T-Mobile's own argument that all you have to do is pop in a T-Mobile SIM card into an unlocked phone and viola!

                        • tidbits

                          Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                          Who do you think pays for the support on T-Mobile branded devices? It doesn't cost manufacturers much other than development costs. They want some one else to pay for it. MS already said they are not talking to carriers right now. That's a dead giveaway who isn't collaborating.  Food for thought.

                            • bronzeagle

                              Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                              Hey I hope you don't mind the back and forth.  I really am curious about this issue.  Ido think MS not working with carriers is ridiculous, but that was specifically in the context of solely branded devices.  They said they're not jumping through the hoops right now to get branded devices except on AT&T.  Respectfully, if what you're saying is true and T-Mobile offered to PAY Microsoft EXTRA to make the unbranded and unlocked phones MS is already selling MORE profitable and MORE sellable, how is that anything but a win/win for MS and why on earth wouldn't they do that?  I think there is obviously more going on behind the scenes.

                               

                              The E911 thing is a great point that I hadn't considered.  But that doesn't have to do with Band 12 LTE itself, correct?  Just VoLTE/WiFi Calling etc.  Why can't an unlocked phone that has Band 12 LTE not just use the band for data?  And either way, while I am by no means an expert, I have a hard time believing it is nearly as complicated or expensive per device to get it tested as you're making it sound.  I mean a lot of the protocols for Wi-Fi Calling/VoLTE/band frequencies/E911 are already fairly standard across the industry and just need to be tweaked slightly for the best experience on a particular network.  Am I wrong on that?

                               

                              And I agree that a company can afford to take a loss on the console if they'll make up for it on game sales.  The difference with the video game analogy is that the games ONLY work on THAT console.  If a company takes the loss on the console, they'll make up for it on the games, because 1) the console does literally ZERO good without games, and 2) the games consumers buy ONLY work with that console. 

                               

                              Why would T-Mobile PAY a manufacturer extra to test/certify an UNLOCKED device that could be used on ANY network, and in doing so steer people away from buying T-Mobile's OWN more expensive, branded devices?  A better analogy would be MS offering to pay a developer to debug a particular game that is to be released on PlayStation many months before it will be released on the Xbox.  I mean like I said, I know nothing other than having read tech blogs etc, but it just makes no sense to me.

                               

                              T-Mobile already has disclaimers all over the place that they don't guarantee a good experience if you bring an unlocked device.  So I just don't see what the hold up is on enabling a lot of these features for phones that already HAVE the features built in and developed.  The E911 thing aside, if a feature doesn't work flawlessly, T-Mobile already has disclaimers all over the place.   If only slight tweaks are needed, I just don't see how it could be possible a manufacturer wouldn't offer to make those tweaks if it was free (or especially if they were being paid to do so).  And either way, regardless of whose fault it is, T-Mobile has to be careful of overstating the value of bringing an unlocked device on their network if for one reason or another, key functionality that the unlocked phone already has developed and built-in is not being enabled on their network.

                               

                              But I appreciate your perspective, and if I'm wrong on how complicated it is to make the tweaks needed, then I'd encourage T-Mobile to put out more press releases shaming manufacturers and explaining exactly why unlocked devices that claim to have said features, do not have them on T-Mo's network.  =-)

                                • tidbits

                                  Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                                  bronzeagle wrote:

                                   

                                  Hey I hope you don't mind the back and forth.  I really am curious about this issue.  Ido think MS not working with carriers is ridiculous, but that was specifically in the context of solely branded devices.  They said they're not jumping through the hoops right now to get branded devices except on AT&T.  Respectfully, if what you're saying is true and T-Mobile offered to PAY Microsoft EXTRA to make the unbranded and unlocked phones MS is already selling MORE profitable and MORE sellable, how is that anything but a win/win for MS and why on earth wouldn't they do that?  I think there is obviously more going on behind the scenes.

                                  I don't mind at all.  MS already said they will not in the short term.  So that's what it is.  It's already speculated that MS is doing this because T-Mobile and the other carriers don't like to purchase as much as AT&T and AT&T likes to pay for exclusives(you can see it through history with AT&T.  Most notable is the iPhone).

                                  The E911 thing is a great point that I hadn't considered.  But that doesn't have to do with Band 12 LTE itself, correct?  Just VoLTE/WiFi Calling etc.  Why can't an unlocked phone that has Band 12 LTE not just use the band for data?  And either way, while I am by no means an expert, I have a hard time believing it is nearly as complicated or expensive per device to get it tested as you're making it sound.  I mean a lot of the protocols for Wi-Fi Calling/VoLTE/band frequencies/E911 are already fairly standard across the industry and just need to be tweaked slightly for the best experience on a particular network.  Am I wrong on that?

                                  They could have done that, but it wouldn't help them with the reception problem.  Wi-Fi calling requires security hooks, and needs MS to talk to T-Mobile to implement them and test them to ensure they are secure enough for T-Mobile to be comfortable. If they just had band 12 for just data then they'd have issues with reception in a lot of areas.  They have already marketed Band 12 as more than just a data channel and a lot of people have already gotten the benefits of the low band.  It isn't that complicated, and it isn't that expensive, but you need to understand there's more R&D which affects released dates, licensing and testing.  An extra month could cost a company around 100M in potential earnings the longer they delay.

                                  And I agree that a company can afford to take a loss on the console if they'll make up for it on game sales.  The difference with the video game analogy is that the games ONLY work on THAT console.  If a company takes the loss on the console, they'll make up for it on the games, because 1) the console does literally ZERO good without games, and 2) the games consumers buy ONLY work with that console.

                                  It works for handsets too.  Look at the sales numbers for the iPhone.  Look at the sales numbers since Google implemented what you are asking.  Look at T-Mobiles customer numbers as well.  Some people would have NEVER become a T-Mobile customer if those handsets did not have those features, and would have stayed with AT&T and Verizon.  Overall these companies paid their own and T-Mobile tested an passed them and they have all the features.

                                  Why would T-Mobile PAY a manufacturer extra to test/certify an UNLOCKED device that could be used on ANY network, and in doing so steer people away from buying T-Mobile's OWN more expensive, branded devices?  A better analogy would be MS offering to pay a developer to debug a particular game that is to be released on PlayStation many months before it will be released on the Xbox.  I mean like I said, I know nothing other than having read tech blogs etc, but it just makes no sense to me.

                                  T-Mobile buys in with the branded and manufacturers charges for extra carrier features.  Manufacturers as early as the Galaxy S from Samsung admitted this.  Why do you think European versions are more expensive before VAT than the US.  The US it's legal for manufacturers to charge extra which lowers their bottom line which allows them to turn a profit quicker.  So instead of selling 5M before turning a profit they need to now sell 2.5M to turn a profit for example by offering packages and carrier addons.

                                  T-Mobile already has disclaimers all over the place that they don't guarantee a good experience if you bring an unlocked device.  So I just don't see what the hold up is on enabling a lot of these features for phones that already HAVE the features built in and developed.  The E911 thing aside, if a feature doesn't work flawlessly, T-Mobile already has disclaimers all over the place.  If only slight tweaks are needed, I just don't see how it could be possible a manufacturer wouldn't offer to make those tweaks if it was free (or especially if they were being paid to do so).  And either way, regardless of whose fault it is, T-Mobile has to be careful of overstating the value of bringing an unlocked device on their network if for one reason or another, key functionality that the unlocked phone already has developed and built-in is not being enabled on their network.

                                  That doesn't matter.  People already look to blame the carrier for everything regardless if they are hands on or hands off.  We get complaints of these forums from time to time looking for T-Mobile to fix their devices regardless of what the disclaimer says.

                                  But I appreciate your perspective, and if I'm wrong on how complicated it is to make the tweaks needed, then I'd encourage T-Mobile to put out more press releases shaming manufacturers and explaining exactly why unlocked devices that claim to have said features, do not have them on T-Mo's network.  =-)

                                  That could alienate them for future devices and deals.  That's a double edge sword right there.

                                    • cncb

                                      Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                                      I was looking at the 550 and noted that it supports all the LTE bands currently supported by T-Mobile but it shocks me that T-Mobile and the manufacturers will not allow you to use band 12 with their network.  This is not an "added feature" like WiFi calling, but the fundamental function of the phone.  I'm still considering the 550 but does anyone know how the lack of band 12 will affect my coverage (especially in more remote areas)?

                                • tidbits

                                  Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                                  T-Mobile would get compensation for the testing. It's called subscribers.  Like how you are saying they should have it. A lot of users will not be on T-Mobile without their favorite phone having Wi-Fi calling. Say T-Mobile eats 1M for the testing(more than likely nowhere near this amount) and this gains them 40K subscribers and made say $40 a month. They'll make their money back in a few months and thensome. It would be no different than consoles. Manufacturers lose money per console and make money off the game licensing and titles. For example every PS4 game you buy Sony makes up to $15 per sale.

                                  • tidbits

                                    Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                                    Also it has already been explained why band12 is disabled by the manufacturer instead of going through testing. They don't want to pay the development costs and as you said people are not so bright. If a E911 call fails who will they blame? Who will they blame if the device doesn't hand off correctly like it should to Verizon or AT&T to make said call(there is no roaming for E911 calls MUST go through). So manufacturers instead of going through the development process and testing they opt not just disable it. Especially for cheaper devices because instead of selling it for $159.99 they'd have to sell it for $199.99 for example because they want to recoup the cost and with the price increase less people will purchase.

                                    • leicam

                                      Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                                      Just disregard tidbits on the WFC/Band 12 issue. He acts like he knows stuff, but all he does is spreads misinformation. He has been corrected by a few that actually work in the industry, but he won't budge.

                                        • tidbits

                                          Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                                          Really it was officially stated by T-Mobile on multiple occasions. The difference is your fan sites like to blame everyone but Microsoft. I am device agnostic and I'd rather use Windows Phone over the other platforms, but I am not going to give free passes.

                                            • tidbits

                                              Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                                              IPhone, Motorola X 2015, and all Nexus 6 and above disproves those experts in the industry you know that right? You know these guys are talking and have a standing relationship. Even Google and T-Mobile  talked about how they could bring it to the Nexus right? How the iPhone only implemented those changes in their newer iPhone past the 5 to offer what you are asking right? MS could do it but they chose not to do it. It's that simple.

                                            • tidbits

                                              Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                                              Site your sources from the industry. I bet not one of them knows how T-Mobile has their system setup and assumes it is the standard generic way of doing things which T-Mobile already said they don't do.

                                    • pgrey

                                      Re: What about the new Lumia 550?

                                      I can use Band 12, no problem, on my 950XL, in fact it appears to be the best data band where I'm located at home anyway, in the greater Seattle area (about 5mi north of T-Mobile headquarters, as it may be).

                                      I've tested this a couple of times, the second because I wanted to be 100% sure before following up on another post.

                                      Whether or not your area (metro or otherwise, it would seem that 12 is initially metro-centric) supports the band is a different story.

                                      Band 17, on the other hand, won't work at all on my connection, whereas it worked on my previous (other large) carrier...

                                       

                                      -pete