VoLTE still not supported in Australia, despite taking 5 minutes to add ourselves

AvsyntheAvsynthe Level 1
edited March 28 in ROG Phone 2

Model Name: ROG Phone II

Firmware Version: Latest as of post date

Rooted or not: No

Frequency of Occurrence: Full time

APP Name & APP Version (If your issue relates to the app): Settings and ROM

========================================

OK so I'd like to outline my experience here. Before I begin, I'd like to say that I hate having anything bad to say about companies that make good devices which I really like. Though this has been really silly to say the least.

First up, when I was looking at buying this device from JB Hi Fi in Australia (the only Aussie retailer selling the Aussie variant), I obviously did extensive research into Australian compatibility. One of the reviews I found was the one from GadgetGuy. Here's the link and the quote from them, relevant to VoLTE:


gadgetguy (dot) com.au/asus-rog-phone-ii-so-much-speed-it-should-be-illegal/amp/

(replace the (dot) with ".")

"Warning: JB is the only authorised retailer of the Australian 12/512GB ASUS_I001DC model that supports Telstra, Optus and Vodafone VoLTE and VoWifi."


So here, we can see that even popular review companies were under the impression that VoLTE will be a working function in this phone in Australia. The short of it is, it is NOT. Even in the time since I purchased this phone in December 2019


Now, I am with Telstra as my carrier. I have called Telstra to ensure that VoLTE is enabled for both my sims that I use in this phone (personal and work). I can confirm that it is absolutely enabled. I also went into a Telstra store yesterday and replaced both my sims, to ensure they're definitely VoLTE provisioned.

As everyone ROG Phone II owner in Australia knows, the settings for Enhanced 4G LTE and VoLTE/VOWIFI are not visible on our ROM (screenshot 1)



In addition, using dialler code *#*#4636#*#* and going into "Phone Information", shows that VoLTE and WiFi calling provisions are not enabled and cannot be enabled, as they're greyed/grayed out. No, being greyed out is not normal for handsets that show the settings outside the box, they are normally able to be toggled (screenshot 2)



Now, as many of us know, there exists a dialler code to reveal to Enhanced 4G LTE and VoLTE/VoWiFi settings. Dialler code *#*#3642623344#*#* (fun fact, this actually spells *#*#ENHANCED4G#*#*). As can be seen, this was successful and everything is now enabled, even for each sim in their respective sub menus. Even the preferred network can be selected (WiFi or data network) (screenshot 3)



In addition, if we go back into phone information, using the *#*#4636#*#* dialler code, the provisions are now active, albeit still greyed out (screenshot 4)



I have also copied the APNs for my carrier exactly as they appear, on my now ancient HTC U11, which has VoLTE working perfectly.

At this point, the feature should be functioning as intended, though there is no VoLTE logo in my notification bar, as can be seen from the screenshots, and calls still drop to 3G/H+


Having gone as far as I can go with my carrier, I decided to call Asus support. The number was provided to me by Asus ROG Australia's Facebook Page, via a messenger conversation I have with them. The number is 1300 278 788

Here is where the service took a dive. The gentleman I spoke with had no idea what I was referring to, when I started talking about VoLTE. He thought I was talking about VoIP and we went back and forth for about 10 min, with him trying to tell me I need third party applications for this to work, and myself trying to educate him on what VoLTE is, and how it's baked into the OS for all current phones, including iDevices.

Eventually, we got there, though his stance was that it's entirely a carrier thing, and that it has nothing to do with the device and that it should work as long as the carrier supports it and as long as VoLTE is active on the account, which as I mentioned, it is.


Upon further digging I have discovered that this is completely incorrect. The issue is that the carrier specific Mobile Network settings (MBN) items do not exist in the phone, as Asus have not added them.t

To top it off, people have been quoted countless times, saying that adding this is an extremely involved process. However, this is also not true, as I could add it in an EXTREMELY simple, 5 minute, 4 step process, myself, if my phone was rooted, as has been done many times by the guys over at XDA. Here is the thread:


forum.xda-developers (dot) com/t/guide-enabling-volte-vowifi-v2.4028073/

(replace the (dot) with ".")


It's not like the old days where a device needs carrier specific firmware baked in. A manufacturer can add these MBN settings in, willy nilly, without any special permissions, just as Asus has done for India. This is affirmed by the fact that , the mobile world, is slowly moving towards having a central, updated database of these setting available to all manufacturers to include into their ROMs


My question is this. The Asus ROG Phone line, has always been the highest possible tier phone available in Australia each time its released, and will most likely be again with the 4/5 released this year. When are you going to simply add the carrier specific settings (MBN) to the ROM in subsequent updates, to support a basic function like VoLTE?


The 3G network is going to be shut down in Australia in 2024 and devices will need to support this feature to work. I did not plan on upgrading such a high end phone any time soon. It has the specs to stand the test of time without feeling like I need a faster phone, minus the need for 5G, which is still not available in the vast majority of areas. Are you planning on waiting until then to add this function, so's that you still might be able to sell devices in Australia?

I've seen this issue get "passed on" to whomever is meant to consider this every time it's been mentioned, but nothing is being done. There are only 3 carriers in this country, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. All other minor carriers lease off these 3 networks. There's legitimately 3 phone calls and 5 minutes worth of work here, to support this feature

Comments

  • ronald1985ronald1985 127.0.0.1 Level 5

    The way you have added VOLTE through the dialer is temporary and you will need to do the same when the phone restarts or shutdown.

    Yes, it is true the device is compatible. There is a reason why this isnt enabled for all networks by default. One of this case is for emergencies. The worst time to not being able to make a phone call when it is emergency. This is where field testing is needed and this is what takes the longest. I believe this is where manufacturers or the network provider need to talk to each other and have this done fully to ensure the safety. I dont know how this is initiated though, some people say it is manufacturer and some say it is the network provider.

    Common phone manufacturers such as Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi for whatever reasons is where customers will most likely to use these phones. By default, network providers will go for the popular phones because that where the user base are.

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  • AvsyntheAvsynthe Level 1
    edited February 25

    I'm honestly happy to input the code every startup, or create a tasker profile to do it for me.

    I fully understand what you're saying with regards to emergency calls, and that IS paramount. But this still leaves the question as to when this will be implemented?

    Asus has been selling ROG phones in Australia for years now, through local vendors and given that 3G will be shut down here in a few more, is Asus honestly planning on waiting until then? And if they don't, it will bite them when they wake up one day, to threads full of people, wondering why their devices are unable to make calls, or in some cases, even connect to the carrier network.


    Also, I realised I'd selected the wrong screenshot for screenshot 1 in my original post. It should display there being no Enhanced 4G, nor Wifi Calling and Carrier Video Calling toggles

  • I am confused, and a novice,are you saying that when they shut down the 3g network here in Australia that phones like ours will not be able to make simple phone calls

  • AvsyntheAvsynthe Level 1
    edited February 25

    Essentially, yes, though the timing will be different for each of the three main carriers.

    As Telstra generally has the largest and most reliable coverage of the three, it's a general rule of thumb for business to go with them, vs the other two. I fall into this category, and they will be shutting off their last 3G frequency throughout the country in 2024. They actually shut down all but one frequency in 2019, as did Vodafone.

    You can read more about it here:

    whistleout (dot) com.au/MobilePhones/Guides/Australian-3G-network-shutdown-what-you-need-to-know#:~:text=Telstra%203G%20shutdown,by%20the%202100MHz%203G%20shutdown.

    (Replace the (dot) with ".")

    After this point, a phone that doesn't support 4G or above, will not be able to connect to the carrier network. Without VoLTE or VoWiFi, you may have noticed, that whenever you make a phone call, your phone drops to 3G or H+, as thats the current network that is used for actual phone calls. It also means that, while you're on a phone call, for all intents and purposes, your phone data is limited to 3G and it's speeds.

    If you have a 4G or 5G phone, yes, your phone will be able to connect to the carrier network, but there will be no 3G signal for the device to drop to, when making calls. Essentially, you'll have a device that can only access the internet.


    Here is the confirmation of this, from Telstra's website:


    telstra (dot) com.au/support/mobiles-devices/3g-closure


    Under the "Is my Pre-Paid mobile affected?" section, it reads:


    • "Telstra Flip 2: This is a 4GX capable device, however, it doesn’t support voice over LTE (VOLTE). All voice calls operate on the 3G network. This device will not be able to make voice calls after the network closure, however, it can still use data"


    Asus better get a move on. While it works for now, it's known that the ROG Phone line has extremely poor call quality and I myself experience frequent dropouts

  • ronald1985ronald1985 127.0.0.1 Level 5

    Agreed with your comment. I know Asus has started rolling out VOLTE but not at the pace everyone expected it to be. Hence why you see quite alot of posts on VOLTE.

  • Nah I feel you dude, this is more a message for Asus.

    The fact that their local support, contactable by phone, has no idea what is going on is pretty bad. As I said in the OP, I hate that this is true because they make good gear, but their knowledge and advice is terrible.

    I understand they make many devices and aren't just a mobile phone company, but most tech nerds, nerdy enough to work in support for a tech giant, should have an understanding of the product and phone tech, that is in this case, universal, or at least receive the training for it. Effectively, they can confuse the country and send consumers on a wild goose chase.


    Normally, I'd be happy to root it in, being at the end of warranty, but the ROG Phone II hasn't received the same attention of the 1 or 3, in that Asus haven't taken steps to keep Widevine L1 status, after unlocking the bootloader via the official method, unlike they have with the other two. Basically this breaks function for Netflix and other video streaming platforms.

    This actually wouldn't have required root, not that long ago. Unfortunately adding this requires access to the Diag port, which only requires root as of very recently, due to changes make by Qualcomm.


    Asus have us super stuck between places with this phone

This discussion has been closed.