"It means admitting that your network isn't perfect, admitting that there are places, a lot of places, where people have stronger Wi-Fi signal than they'll have cellular signal." See, the cellphone networks didn't ever beat out landlines for in-home reliability — a huge concern at the beginning of this century — it's just that people decided a cellphone was "good enough" at some point, and so maybe they didn't bother to install a landline when they moved to a new house, or didn't renew that nasty long distance plan when they were making up their family budget for 2008.It doesn't hurt that a typical cellphone plan today includes of data charges that weren't common in 2007. I spoke to Josh Lonn, T-Mobile's director of product marketing, at length about Wi-Fi calling, and while he was very forthcoming and bullish about the service, he went to almost comical lengths to make sure he didn't slip up and in any way imply that the existence of Wi-Fi calling means there are holes in T-Mobile's "all around great 4G experience." While I kept on trying to slip the word "augment" into my questions, Josh and his team kept firing back with the word "complement." But even Josh, like his best-value nationwide 4G network, makes mistakes sometimes.Now even T-Mobile is offering a femtocell fallback, which serves as another ringing non-endorsement of UMA.Femtocell is sort of like the Rube Goldberg take on Wi-Fi calling."The reality of radio networks in general is that there's no such thing as a perfect radio network," Josh confessed, in his moment of weakness."It's impossible and that's driven by physics, how cell sites work, economics, land use restrictions, and practical aspects like 'you just can't put a tower in everyone's backyard.'" Exactly.
Fun fact: T-Mobile has a service called "Wi-Fi calling." Have you ever heard of it? Wi-Fi calling was originally launched as "Hot Spot @ Home" in 2007 by T-Mobile as a bid to compete with the landline.Of course, every carrier has its own coping mechanisms for service problems, typically activated at the point the customer complains.If you say "I don't get good reception in my home," for instance, T-Mobile will inform you of your phone's Wi-Fi calling functionality (if your Android device has received the appropriate update), while the other carriers will likely offer you a femtocell device.It turns out, the first step is admitting you have a problem."To implement UMA may take a certain level of humility," says Sascha Segan, Lead Analyst at PC Mag.
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