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