main_icn_My_Vodafone main_icn_Search main_icn_Chevron_right main_icn_Chevron_down main_icn_Close main_icn_Menu social-facebook social-google-plus social-linkedin social-twitter social-youtube main_icn_Community_or_Foundation main_icn_Location main_icn_Network_signal

Android

Samsung Galaxy S9 on Vodafone

PipefishUK
4: Newbie

I'm a SIM only customer and I'd like to get an S9 at release.

 

I never get phones as part of a contract.

If I want a phone and I can afford it then I will buy it full price.

 

My question is: Will Vodafone allow all features (VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, etc) on unbranded S9s? All networks appear to block these features on phones that were not sourced from them (even though in 2018 there is no technical reason for this).

 

If they won't allow this: Will they allow me to buy an S9 from them, outright, at full price?


I asked on Twitter earlier and was told the features would be blocked but I would be able to buy a phone at full price from Vodafone online or in store.

 

- I then tweeted again asking them to confirm that I would be able to buy an S9 from Vodafone at full price on release and they backtracked, saying they can't confirm. 


I've since had a look online and it doesn't even look like you can get an S8 at full price from Vodafone and that's a year old now. 

Surely insisting that people get a phone from you otherwise won't be completely functional is anti-competitive and shouldn't be allowed?


Wi-Fi calling and to some extent VoLTE are essential for me to be able to make and receive calls at home. If I don't have them, the Vodafone network, which in every other case is brilliant, becomes useless to me. 

 

This policy means that you literally cannot get a fully working new phone for use on any of the networks in the UK without being forced into an overpriced contract - this has got to be illegal, I'm guessing it just hasn't been noticed or investigated yet.

 

Think how many more customers Vodafone (or any other network) would get if they dropped this policy.

View more options
18 REPLIES 18
PipefishUK
4: Newbie

I'm a SIM only customer and I'd like to get an S9 at release. 

 

I never get phones as part of a contract, it's a rip-off. If I want a phone and I can afford it then I will buy it full price. 

 

My question is: Will Vodafone allow all features (VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, etc) on unbranded S9s? All networks appear to block these features on phones that were not sourced from them (even though in 2018 there is no technical reason for this).

 

If they won't allow this: Will they allow me to buy an S9 from them, outright, at full price?

 

I asked on Twitter earlier and was told the features would be blocked but I would be able to buy a phone at full price from Vodafone online or in store.

 

- I then tweeted again asking them to confirm that I would be able to buy an S9 from Vodafone at full price on release and they backtracked, saying they can't confirm. 

 

I've since had a look online and it doesn't even look like you can get an S8 at full price from Vodafone and that's a year old now. 

 

Surely insisting that people get a phone from you otherwise it'll be crippled is anti-competitive and shouldn't be allowed?

 

Wi-Fi calling and to some extent VoLTE are essential for me to be able to make and receive calls at home. If I don't have them, the Vodafone network, which in every other case is brilliant, becomes useless to me. 

 

This policy means that you literally cannot get a fully working new phone for use on any of the networks in the UK without being forced into an overpriced contract - this has got to be illegal, I'm guessing it just hasn't been noticed or investigated yet. 

 

Think how many more customers Vodafone (or any other network) would get if they dropped this policy.

View more options
jeffkinn
17: Community Champion

It has long been a Vodafone policy to restrict certain features of their network offering to customers that source Android phones from them. iPhone users don't suffer from this policy as networks cannot add any of their own software to an iPhone. This isn't likely to change anytime soon.

 

Along with locking of phones I think it is a poor policy but as you say, all networks do it.

 

The only way that you can buy a network phone outright is if they offer it on a PAYG tariff. Otherwise you have to go directly to the manufacturer or an outlet like Carphone Warehouse. You could flash a Vodafone ROM onto the phone to get access to the features you want but that needs technical skill and would probably invalidate the warranty.

Jeffkinn_Sig.png

View more options
PipefishUK
4: Newbie

Yeah, I've flashed phones before and flashed my current S8 to Vodafone firmware.

 

There is an added problem with Vodafone that they use one firmware file for all European territories and there's a chance you could get an unchangeable Vodafone Germany CSC code - resulting in the blocked features still not working. 

 

It's a ridiculous situation. 

 

If they'd just sell me one I wouldn't mind. 

I might send off an email to the Competition and Markets Authority - it's clearly wrong. 

 

View more options
hrym
17: Community Champion

I haven't used wi-fi calling or VoLTE.   I believe wi-fi calling may be available on non-branded handsets (check other threads on this board).   However, AFAIK, VoLTE uses additional features added in Vodafone firmware and therefore wouldn't be available unbranded.  (The idea is that it can be seamless rather than operating under a separate app).

View more options
PipefishUK
4: Newbie

Wi-Fi calling would be one thing. It would definitely soften the blow and allow me to use the phone at home. But it's a bit of a risk buying a new phone that might not work and no one at Vodafone seems to know for sure. 

 

VoLTE requiring added in bits by Vodafone is just their (not just Vodafone, all the main networks) line to spin it. There is no technical reason why they can't provide VoLTE to any Android phone that supports it.

 

For the last few years Android has supported carrier settings in exactly the same way as iPhones do. 

 

They can also submit their requirements to Samsung to be included in the generic firmware and the unbranded phone will install the required settings automatically upon detecting a Vodafone UK SIM card. 

View more options
BandOfBrothers
17: Community Champion

Calling Over WiFi should work on an unbranded phone as the official link Here highlights certain models that have to be bought directly from Vodafone. 

"The Vodafone Smart ultra 7 and Smart platinum 7 must have been bought directly from one of our stores, online, or over the phone from our telesales team, for Wi-Fi Calling to work"

That said as the s9 hasnt been released yet it has not been added to the accepted Samsung list of accepted phone's. Probably until its been tested by Vodafone. 

Current Phone >

Samsung Z Fold³ 5G.

Previous Phone >

Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G - SM9860.

View more options
hrym
17: Community Champion

@BandOfBrotherswrote:

"The Vodafone Smart ultra 7 and Smart platinum 7 must have been bought directly from one of our stores, online, or over the phone from our telesales team, for Wi-Fi Calling to work"


That's a weird one.  Vodafone devices can only be bought from Vodafone, can't they?

As to functionality on the S9, my guess would be that anything that's possible on the S8 would be possible on the S9, but don't take that as gospel.   There may be differences that change that (from what I've read, the S9 isn't a major departure, though).  It's also risky to bring a device to a network on the assumption that it'll work in a specific way, but without any guarantee.

I doubt you'll get a definitive answer from a Vodafone employee at this stage , but something may be forthcoming later.  The problem is that you may have difficulty returnign the device if it's not compatible in the way you want as the seller is unlikely to have given any assurances.

When VoLTE launched, it worked through adapted firmware, though it's possible that has changed in the intervening time.  My understanding is that Vodafone's implementation is meant to be seamless - you can start a call on 2/3G, move to wifi and (possibly) 4G all without reconnecting.  Is that part of the stock implementation as well?

View more options
PipefishUK
4: Newbie

I tweeted Samsung, the Competition and Markets Authority, Ofcom and Vodafone - to see what happens. 

 

Because of this policy, for which there is no technical reason in 2018, you are forced to buy your phone from one retailer, on a contract, at an inflated price - if you want it to work fully and as advertised. 

 

That can't be right. Obviously nothing will happen soon and I might be told to get lost - but I think I'm gong to write a few letters, see if it can be investigated and potentially stopped. 

View more options
hrym
17: Community Champion

It's always comparing the nett price on contract with the cost of outright purchase.   Sometimes, you can surprise yourself and the contract deal can be the better one, especially on mid-price devices.   Do remember that, on a contract, you're buying on an installment plan, so factor in an interest cost - which would also apply if you buy outright on a credit card and then pay off over a period.

With deposit interest rates low, if you have £500-£800 spare, spending it is a better deal than buying on credit, where the interest rates are much higher.

View more options
PipefishUK
4: Newbie

Firstly, I don't recommend anyone else does this - it's a huge risk and could at best end up with no real difference and at worst, kill your phone.

 

I downloaded the Vodafone firmware from sammobile.com, Odin 3.13.1 and flashed it to my direct from Samsung bought S9. I now have VOD/VOD/BTU in my software information in my settings.

 

(current CSC/best CSC for your SIM/phone's origin, which is hard coded)

 

I phoned 191 and asked for WiFI calling to be set-up. The guy knew what he was talking about and said that there were no S9 settings yet. I asked him to send the S8 settings (because they're probably the same), he said he didn't know what it would do but agreed. The WiFi calling option then instantly appeared in my dialer settings.

 

It worked for me - but it's really risky, specially with the Vodafone firmware as they use one file for the whole of Europe and you could end up with Vodafone Germany CSC and all german Vodafone apps with no WiFi calling and no 4G calling.

 

When my phone restarted after flashing, everything was in German and a box came up saying something about the SIM card and two options - I chose the option that incuded the word 'Neustart' figuring that meant restart or refresh. My phone shut down and auto factory reset, then came back on in English and with the correct Vodafone UK, VOD CSC.

 

I just need to wait a few weeks until the settings are available for the S9 and phone back and ask them to send the settings again.

View more options
jonspittle
12: Established

You've basically done what I normally do to get the network features working on Samsung phones I've previously purchased from a 3rd party, like CPW, it's not an issue and neither does it invalidate the warranty as you can reverse the procedure if required, plus as long as you don't trip Knox you're fine!

 

My last two devices (S8 and Note 😎 I've purchased directly from Vodafone anyway and have already got WiFi calling working from the off, I'm not in an area to use VoLTE yet, hopefully, it gets expanded soon enough though. My S8 I flashed with the BTU ROM last Nov to run the Oreo beta, my CSC stayed VOD so I got WiFi calling so happy about that and this time around I've just flashed my Note 8 with the XEF (French) Oreo ROM to upgrade to Oreo, again my CSC stayed on VOD, so all good from that point!

 

I don't like that Vodafone can stop people buying PAYG phone from them directly, or state they'll disable features, which they shouldn't be able to do but as far as I'm aware you have to be on a certain plan anyway to get it to work.

 

One thing I hated about working at CPW 5 years ago was that on 'a new phone' release day they kept aside the phones for PAYM deals only, just cos they got more money from the sale than a PAYG sale, very wrong imo! It was that bad that once, even though I was an employee at the time, the Branch Manager tried to stop me from purchasing a HTC M8 on release date, I soon told him where to go! Although this is CPW and not Vodafone and their principals are different it just winds me up when I read things like this!

 

Nice work on getting it working though and persevering! :Winking_smiley:

Sent from my Note 20 Ultra.

View more options
jeffkinn
17: Community Champion
What about the CPW practice of getting customers to take out a new contract, and then go through the rigmarole of moving their number to the new contract rather than an upgrade, as they earn far more commission from a new connection than an upgrade? Did you see any of that happening?

Jeffkinn_Sig.png

View more options
jonspittle
12: Established

@jeffkinn - Yes all the time! I worked for Geek Squad, Technical Support within CPW, so I was very aware of tactics that the consultants would use to win deals over, that being one.

Managers would get involved and offer a free case or free insurance to win the deal over, the worst was they'd use deals that were on the system as a "cashback deal", but not tell the customer about that cashback and use it to pay off the old contract etc.... it was shocking!

Sent from my Note 20 Ultra.

View more options
PipefishUK
4: Newbie

If Vodafone had S9s on sale to buy outright or would sell PAYG ones that you could buy full price but then put your own contract SIM in then I would have done that. 

 

(Not that I like having a locked phone - but I'm not planning to change network for a while and don't they have to unlock it for you if you own it?)

 

But they won't sell you one, it's ridiculous. Last time I looked, they wouldn't even sell the year old S8 full price so there's no chance of getting an S9 out of them.

 

It's totally wrong that you get a lesser functioning phone if you don't want to buy it on a contract and you're virtually forced to get your phone from a certain outlet if you want all the features to work. I've ranted about this in a few threads now - they say it's compatibility, blah, blah. But there is absolutely no technical reason that they can't support unbranded phones.

 

Not just having a go at Vodafone here either, all the networks do it. 

View more options
jeffkinn
17: Community Champion

There may not be a technical reason but there are probably economic reasons. The networks get very little margin on the phones they sell - tiny amounts I believe - and thus the cost of stocking them and delivering them to stores outweights any small profit they might make on an outright sale.

 

That's why they want them to be part of a contract, so that they can make a profit.

Jeffkinn_Sig.png

View more options
jonspittle
12: Established

Yes totally wrong but all networks do it and 3rd party companies do it, as stated in my post above, I also know that Phones4U used to do it as well, as our store was next door to one of biggest in the Midlands.

 

Pretty crap that customers should be denied a chance to purchase a product because a company chooses profit over customer service, however, we all know money pays the bills! Or gives the big wigs nice paychecks! 

Sent from my Note 20 Ultra.

View more options
BandOfBrothers
17: Community Champion

I've been in similar situations in the past with Cpw where they refused point blank to sell me a phone on Payg. 

Another Cpw had the price blanked out with a marker pen over the Payg price and details. 

One employee was straight with me and said they wanted to use their pool of stock for contracts. 

I visited Another network store and all was fine until I advised I wanted it on Payg. All of a sudden their systems crashed and couldn't sell me one. I walked round the corner into another network shop , same company and bought one. Was told after I enquired that no system crash had happened. 

 

On a side note > More recently I bought a Samsung s7 edge from my local Samsung Experience Store only to find out it was actually run by Cpw as I found out when I paid and the invoice had Cpw on it. All the staff were in Samsung uniforms. 

No refunds as i'd bought it in store !

I was annoyed because even tho it was unlocked it had the Xeu CsC Code and not the Btu CsC Code which can make a difference on awaiting for updates. 

Thankfully recently Samsung bought all the Samsung Experience Stores. 

Current Phone >

Samsung Z Fold³ 5G.

Previous Phone >

Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G - SM9860.

View more options
jonspittle
12: Established

Yes, I'm afraid your journey is very reminiscent of other customers within CPW trying to purchase PAYG phones.

 

It was pretty bad at one point that in my early days of working for CPW, before I moved over to the Tech Support side and was a sales consultant, I used to have this regular customer come in at least once a month who would always come and chat to me and me only, he'd wait until I was free, we'd then talk about the latest phones etc.

When a new phone was launched he'd always buy it, always SIM-free and he was always switching phones. As we built up a rapport he then would always just purchase them from me, mainly because I knew how he worked, plus the other salespeople would try and sell him extras etc. Then suddenly commission came back to CPW just as I moved over to the Tech Support side and this was when PAYG phones rarely got sold unless they were Nokia 2330's, my regular customer was refused a couple of times and then also barred from entering the store after he had 3 separate faults with Sony Xperia phone's and the Manager at the time didn't like the stock being depleted by (his) returns; nevertheless as you can imagine I felt pretty bad for him and I never saw him again.

 

Roll onto Xmas time and there would be incentives for colleagues to sell PAYG phones, so that was the time to purchase a PAYG phone, or I mean when you could actually purchase one, which was only suiting the sales consultants! 

 

I'm glad I left that place, retail is hard but I didn't agree with their principles!

 

Yes I've recently seen that Samsung has purchased all the stores back from CPW, that's a good move for Samsung as they would've damaged their brand IMO.

Sent from my Note 20 Ultra.

View more options