Why charge Wi-Fi Calling (WFC) ROAMING? Unfair

randyus-in-ru

    Just had a long conversation with T-Mobile USA.

    To have 100% Wi-Fi calling (WFC) you can do the following on any phone, I am listing for Samsung and iPhone.

     

    Samsung:

    1. Switch on Airplane mode.
    2. Switch off location.
    3. Switch on Wi-Fi Calling.
    4. In Wi-Fi calling select “Never use cellular”.
    5. Switch on the Wi-Fi and connect to the internet.

     

    iPhone: Everything is done thru Home Screen -> Settings

    1. Turn on Airplane Mode.
    2. In Phone, turn on Wi-Fi calling
    3. Turn on Wi-Fi and connect to the internet.

     

    In Wi-Fi calling the phone connects over Wi-Fi to the T-Mobile Server in the USA, regardless of where you connect from.

     

    When you have Wi-Fi calling (WFC) switched on and you are not physically in the United States, Canada or Mexico:

     

    Case 1:

    You call from a Simple Global Country to another Simple Global country, including the country you are roaming in: Charge $.20 ( The charge is same for cellular, means you are roaming on the partner GSM network, it will be the same). Even if you have Stateside International, that will not work. Phone is geo-located out of USA and thus you are basically gifting the $15 to T-Mobile for that period.

     

    Case 2:

    You call the USA, Canada or Mexico. Charge = ZERO cents.

    This is great when you have long calls to those countries. Here while cellular would have costed you the same 20 cents/min even to USA, Canada and Mexico.

     

    When I Wireshark (that is catch data packets using a PC), I see that all the time the data goes to T-Mobile, so where is the difference for T-Mobile?

     

    The client (the phone) sends the information to T-Mobile using the internet and T-Mobile server completes the call, be you in USA or out of it. The call from T-Mobile onwards to the destination completes the same way. You wherever in internet coverage send the data to T-Mobile the same way.

     

    I think these companies are now going to Verizon way. That is a sure shot way to lose customers.

     

    VONAGE works the same way. Using the Internet as in Wi-Fi calling, the Vonage adapter connects to the central Vonage server and server connects the call. I never did and will never a charge up from Vonage even though it geo-locates me in a foreign country. Their Extensions app is great too.

     

    My understanding was that when on Wi-Fi calling I am "As good as being in the US". The phone connects directly to the T-Mobile server no matter you connect from USA/Mex/Can or any other country.

     

    T-Mobile and Sprint now charge you $.20 if you call a third country on WFC while roaming. Nexus !!!!

     

    So long as they can geo locate you they charge.  VPN will help I guess. I have to experiment. So, when you are roaming in a partner country do not run for a Wi-Fi hotspot because they charge the same $.20 if you’re not calling back to the US Canada or Mexico.

     

    Very very very strange billing practice.

     

    Wi-Fi calling is to me an EXTENSION OF THE T-MOBILE towers. This is so much bull and sheer greed in not honoring the calling plan as when I am Wi-Fi from the Moon, I am on T-Mobile network.

      All replies

      • tidbits

        Some countries regardless of how the calls originate requires a toll since the call reroutes TO the US and doesn't stay within the country.

         

        Some companies like Vonage, and Skype bypass this by have servers within the country itself.  On the outside it looks that simple, but there's a lot more moving parts.

        1 of 1 people found this helpful
        • stevetjr

          randyus-in-ru wrote:

           

          Just had a long conversation with T-Mobile USA.

          To have 100% Wi-Fi calling (WFC) you can do the following on any phone, I am listing for Samsung and iPhone.

           

          Samsung:

          1. Switch on Airplane mode.
          2. Switch off location.
          3. Switch on Wi-Fi Calling.

           

          The client (the phone) sends the information to T-Mobile using the internet and T-Mobile server completes the call, be you in USA or out of it. The call from T-Mobile onwards to the destination completes the same way. You wherever in internet coverage send the data to T-Mobile the same way.

           

          I think these companies are now going to Verizon way. That is a sure shot way to lose customers.

           

          VONAGE works the same way. Using the Internet as in Wi-Fi calling, the Vonage adapter connects to the central Vonage server and server connects the call. I never did and will never a charge up from Vonage even though it geo-locates me in a foreign country. Their Extensions app is great too.

           

          My understanding was that when on Wi-Fi calling I am "As good as being in the US". The phone connects directly to the T-Mobile server no matter you connect from USA/Mex/Can or any other country.

           

          T-Mobile and Sprint now charge you $.20 if you call a third country on WFC while roaming. Nexus !!!!

           

          So long as they can geo locate you they charge. VPN will help I guess. I have to experiment. So, when you are roaming in a partner country do not run for a Wi-Fi hotspot because they charge the same $.20 if you’re not calling back to the US Canada or Mexico.

           

          Very very very strange billing practice.

           

          Wi-Fi calling is to me an EXTENSION OF THE T-MOBILE towers. This is so much bull and sheer greed in not honoring the calling plan as when I am Wi-Fi from the Moon, I am on T-Mobile network.

           

          First what tidbits said.

           

          Second Sprint actually charges you onwi-fi calling if you are in a foreign country and call the US or vice versa, T-Mobile only charges you if you call on cell or if you WFC if you call a non-US number.  To elaborate further on tidbits post and to add to what you posted, you point out that WFC is an extension of the TMO towers and yes you are exactly correct but it has nothing to do with GEO locating you but rather as you stated "as good as being in the US" which is exactly correct and if you call a foreign country from the US there is a charge (TMO just eats that switching charge for Mexico and Canada) but when the call comes into TMO's servers it is then "switched" onto the regular telephone system unless it a TMO number.  So that is why unlike Sprint TMO doesn't charge you even if you are in say London on WFC and you call a US number or a US number calls you because again as you said it acts like you are in the US so essentially it is a local call.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • yohanna

            Hello,

             

            I am having terribly high bills, over 350$ every month instead of the $100 they promised for all unlimited. I almost never call internationally by regular call and only use Facetime, Whatsapp and Messenger to call Europe.

            They've robbed over 1000$ from me now in 6 months and I am not able to have these unfair charges reiumbursed. They say I will need a lawyer's letter and have no legal departement I can talk to.

             

            I have never had a carrier charge for Internet calls, made through apps and my plan is unlimited Data so this is really messed-up.

             

            Please, do you have any suggestions? Obviously I am searching for other servers with interesting International options but I cannot let this go.

             

            Thank you,

              • tidbits

                Re: Why charge Wi-Fi Calling (WFC) ROAMING? Unfair

                yohanna wrote:

                 

                Hello,

                 

                I am having terribly high bills, over 350$ every month instead of the $100 they promised for all unlimited. I almost never call internationally by regular call and only use Facetime, Whatsapp and Messenger to call Europe.

                They've robbed over 1000$ from me now in 6 months and I am not able to have these unfair charges reiumbursed. They say I will need a lawyer's letter and have no legal departement I can talk to.

                 

                I have never had a carrier charge for Internet calls, made through apps and my plan is unlimited Data so this is really messed-up.

                 

                Please, do you have any suggestions? Obviously I am searching for other servers with interesting International options but I cannot let this go.

                 

                Thank you,

                This is on What's App.  They screwed up their code which actually makes you use your dialer and make said call.  This happens to more than just in the US.  This happens from time to time with them.

              • lotus11

                that 20 cent charge ,,if you are using wifi  to call ....is per minute !

                  • patentrace

                    Although I haven't been hit with any roaming charges, I'm having what's turned out to be a related issue.  I'm near the US/Canada border and received a text warning that my free international roaming usage was too high (mostly from picking up Canadian cell towers while physically in the US, but admittedly not exclusively).  Although the vast majority of texts and roughly half of calls were entirely through T-Mobile's US towers (and some on domestic roaming) I could find no way to determine what percentage of data was roaming so I simply turned data roaming off.  I called T-Mo and was advised to use WiFi calling and did so as above for a Samsung phone.  Just one month later, I received a text notification that my international roaming is to be completely blocked!  Although I initially got incorrect and conflicting answers from T-Mobile's tech support (611), I was eventually referred to the Extreme Roaming Dept (425-302-2305) and got more useful info.  Gennye was particularly helpful. 

                     

                    1) The rule is that at least 50% over 3 months must be domestic versus international, and it's being enforced by the FCC so T-Mobile's hands are tied.

                    2) The 3 months do not necessarily correspond to 3 billing cycles, but may be the worst case over 4 billing cycles (any portion of 1st and leftover portion of last).  Thus, it may be too late to do anything once you get the warning before you get hit with the roaming block.

                    3) Although we customers can check our domestic data usage, we simply can't check our international data usage so the warning and block text messages from T-Mobile may be our only indications of excessive international data roaming (at least for plans where it's otherwise free).

                    4) The international block is only for the type of service exceeded, which in my case turned out to be international roaming DATA (although not spelled out in the warning/block texts).  Thus, my international CALLs and TEXTs are not to be blocked (this answer was the opposite of T-Mobile's regular tech support).

                    5) Although WiFi calling definitely helps with respect to maintaining 50%+ compliance with calling and text limits, using WiFi DATA can actually hurt since this doesn't go through T-Mobile's network and is therefore NOT counted towards domestic data usage!  Thus, if you're using ANY international data, be sure to use at least that much domestic cellular data through T-Mobile, when available, rather than WiFi.  This, in particular, is difficult to set up automatically on my Android 7 phone (and I've not yet succeeded).

                    6) The block should be automatically lifted once the account reaches compliance, and a corresponding text message to that effect should be received.

                     

                    Although my account issue was DATA, I learned a bit about CALLs/TEXTs before I realized that. 

                    5) If a WiFi call is 99% on WiFi but roams at all on any other carrier's domestic (e.g., US AT&T) cellular tower, it's counted as a "Roaming, Wi-Fi call" and counts in full towards (domestic) roaming but not towards either domestic usage or international roaming.

                    6) If a WiFi call is 99% on WiFi but roams at all on any other carrier's international cellular tower, it's counted as a "Roaming, Wi-Fi call" and counts in full towards international roaming!

                    7) If a WiFi call is 100% on WiFi but uses a non-US IP address, it MAY be counted as a "Roaming, Wi-Fi call" and count in full towards international roaming percentage.  Thus, using a VPN set to Auto or Fastest mode that may connect to Canadian servers results in "Roaming, Wi-Fi call", which counts towards the international roaming percentage.

                     

                    Hope this helps.