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Call problems in the US

step_hen
4: Newbie

I’m currently in the US, where Vodafone use T-Mobile and AT and T. I wanted to make people aware there’s a technical  issue with AT and T that prevents voice calls being made and received. Calls can be made on T- Mobile, but I find that their coverage is inferior to AT and T,’s. After several conversations with Voda tech support, they acknowledged there is a problem with AT and T, but, apparently, they’re not in touch with AT and T to resolve the problem. 

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32 REPLIES 32
Evie
Moderator

Hi @step_hen - When arriving in the USA we suggest connecting T Mobile for the best coverage. T mobile (like any network) will have some blind spots throughout the USA, where their network does not reach and a customers phone may then attach to AT&T if this provider has service in the area. We expect these blind spots to be minimal throughout the country, but still very possible. 

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step_hen
4: Newbie

With regard to coverage, I can only speak from my own experience, which has involved travelling through Illinois, Wisconsin,  Nevada and Utah.  I’ve found that T- Mobile has reasonable coverage in cities and towns, but poor or non-existent coverage in rural areas.  AT and T has consistently good data coverage. Any comment on the call issue with AT and T I’ve described?

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Evie
Moderator

@step_hen If your phone attaches to AT&T, you will not be able to make any voice calls as the legacy networks that the calls are made over are no longer in place.
If this happens, we should suggest to try to move into a different area to try and attach back to T mobile, where you will be able to make voice calls again.

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step_hen
4: Newbie

Not a very helpful response. I’ve just spent a week in Utah, where I had to drive 6 miles to access the nearest T-Mobile signal. I have an elderly mother who’s in a care home, and I need to be able to receive and make calls at any time. I’d prefer to hear what Vodafone are going to do about the problem. T-Mobile alone don’t have sufficient US coverage. How about ditching AT and T, and using Verizon instead, who have good national coverage in the US?

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simax
13: Advanced Member

It all boils down to whether the supporting network supports “Voice over 4G” (VoLTE). When 4G launched in the UK, it didn’t support voice calls, so whenever a call was made or received, the phone dropped down to 3G in order for calls to connect. Once VoLTE was introduced, calls could then be made over 4G.

 

Now, VoLTE only ever seems to work in the home country and not abroad - and the USA networks are slowly shutting down their old networks. AT&T for example now run on 4G only I believe and because of that, you can’t make or receive calls on AT&T due to VoLTE not being available.

 

Until mobile networks work together and get VoLTE working when roaming this is going to start becoming more of a problem as more and more networks around the world start turning off their legacy networks.

 

Hope this explanation explains why it’s not a fault, merely a technological issue.

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step_hen
4: Newbie

Thanks for the detailed response. I’ve been looking at what other UK providers are doing about this problem in the US. O2 have posted an article on the subject: https://www.o2.co.uk/help/network-coverage-and-international/travelling-to-the-usa#. They use the same US carriers as Vodafone, but indicate that so long as you have a recent phone, including an iPhone 12 which I have, you’ll be able to continue to use their networks. So what are O2 doing that Vodafone aren’t?

I started this thread to alert travellers to the US about the problems I’ve experienced, but it doesn’t appear on the forum, and I wonder why not. Are Vodafone trying to conceal this issue? Why is there no information about this issue on the Vodafone website?  Presumably, T-Mobile will be going down the same route as AT and T,  meaning that UK travellers using Vodafone won’t be able to make voice calls. So what are you going to do about it?

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simax
13: Advanced Member

It could be that O2 are rolling out VoLTE when roaming… I dunnno.

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step_hen
4: Newbie

Originally, I tried to post this thread under Mobile Broadband, but for some reason it’s ended up in Pay Monthly, which is why I thought it had had been omitted. Apologies to Vodafone. 

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step_hen
4: Newbie

Any response from a Vodafone agent, please?

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Jaydun68
3: Seeker

I've just experienced this problem in California.

Please see this article:-

https://www.capacitymedia.com/article/2a5x2tyoz25np4z7yz1fk/news/roaming-goes-down-the-drain-as-at-t...

This summaries the issue, I have emailed the CEO's Office and asked for comment as it appears to suggest that T-Mobile will be going down the same route from October making it impossible for Vodafone UK Customers to Roam in the USA. A service Im paying a premium for.

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step_hen
4: Newbie

Interesting article confirming my experience in the US. I've made a complaint, but haven't received a response, yet. No response either from the Forum Moderators to my last post on this thread, nor is there any mention of the issue on the Vodafone website, which I think is pretty bad. I've been advised to make sure I'm connected to T-Mobile or buy a US sim card and they'll refund me. T-Mobile only have patchy coverage in the 5 US states I visited, and as you say, they're going down the same route as AT and T.  So Moderators, how about a response to this serious issues that is affecting visitors to the US?

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Gemma
Moderator

@step_hen  @Jaydun68 - I’m sorry for us missing your previous posts and the delay in us getting back to you.

I can see that @Evie has previously posted similar to what I am. 

The information we currently have regarding roaming in the USA, is that AT&T have shutdown both their 2G & 3G legacy networks (with 3G being down from February 2022). Similar to what we're doing in the UK with our 3G network in 2023.

This means we’re automatically directing 100% of our USA roaming traffic to T mobile for all services. You should automatically attach to T Mobile when you land in the USA.

There may be some slight blind spots throughout the country, which results in your phone connecting to AT&T. If this happens, like you’ve seen you won’t be able to make any voice calls. If you’ve a 4G phone you’ll be able to use 4G data as normal.

If you then need to make a call, we’d advise to try and connect back to T mobile and you’ll then be able to call out again.

I understand that this is what you’re already aware of. We don’t have any further information at the moment.

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step_hen
4: Newbie

Not a very helpful response, since you're just repeating what's been said already, and avoiding the key issues. To repeat myself, I really need to dispute what you're saying about T-Mobile coverage in the US - their coverage is patchy at best, which I base on my recent 5 week visit and travel through 5 states. In towns and cities, 4G is generally available but outside, coverage is poor or non-existent. An "edge" connection was quite common where I stayed in Wisconsin, which gives a flavour of how bad their signal could be. 

So again I ask, what are Vodafone going to do when T-Mobile go down the same route as AT and T in closing down their 3G masts later in the year? Why are you not letting US travellers know of the problems with voice calls? I really am not impressed with the way Vodafone are dealing with is issue.

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Jaydun68
3: Seeker

I have had almost the same word for word  reply from the CEO's Office, confirming that AT&T is unavailable and  ignoring the forth coming T-Mobile USA 3G shut down.

I will be pressing them to confirm that once T-Mobile shut there 3G network in October and until Vodafone UK negotiate  a VoLTE roaming agreement  with one or more of the US networks they cant offer Voice Call Roaming in the USA.

This is not the same as the proposed 3g closure in 2023 in the UK as we will have automatic access to 4G VoLTE calling.

Vodafone  need to make there UK customers aware of this and stop selling USA roaming as a contract add on.. 

If they don't I will be taking this to the consumer show on BBC Three Counties Radio and trading standards.

I'm sure this will also effect UK customer of other Networks, this is a major step backward in global communications and no one seems to be taking it seriously.

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Jaydun68
3: Seeker

With regards to 3G Coverage the following link allows you to check USA coverage of  AT&T and T-Mobile as we have both previously stated T-Mobile's 3G services is not as substantial as AT&T's was.

 

GSMA - Network Coverage Maps

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Gemma
Moderator

@Jaydun68 @step_hen - I can understand that it’s frustrating that you’re getting the same information. We don’t have any official details to confirm regarding the future changes you’ve mentioned. It's difficult as we've no control over the signal strength you receive when roaming. 

I’m sorry again that this isn’t helpful to you right now and we do understand your concerns with being regular travelers to the USA. If before you travel you reach out to us again, we can then check if we’ve had any updates. 

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step_hen
4: Newbie

Or alternatively you could mention about the US call issues on the Voda roaming page and post any updates there. Why are you so reluctant to inform customers about this serious issue? 

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Amanda
Community Manager

Hello @step_hen @Jaydun68 - thanks for providing your feedback about this and I've passed this on to our Digital team, to see if there's anything we can do to make this information more readily available online. 

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bedasaka
2: Seeker

I have just been through two months of HELL because Vodafone's customer service agents are not aware of this issue.  I have had a new account set up, several new sim cards, been placed on the wrong plan, racked up hundreds of pounds of out of contract services (which is being reimbursed) all because there isn't training to call agents about the issues in the US.

 

RIDICULOUS!

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