Telstra small cell 4g areas

Submitted: Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 07:08
ThreadID: 139148 Views:1458 Replies:12 FollowUps:18
While travelling recently every now and then we would get a text from telstra we were now in a small cell 4g area. We could use Internet but could not make calls. The last place was Innaminka but two people we met there could make calls. The only difference seemed to be they were on postpaid telstra plan and had bought the phones from telstra and we were prepaid telstra
with phones bought elsewhere. Telstra have been no help. It suggests unless you bought your phone from Telstra calls in these areas i
are not possible
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Reply By: Kenell - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 07:30

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 07:30
Most travellers will have received text messages suggesting they are in a small cell area if they are with Telstra. I have never noticed the situation you are referring to but I have a Telstra supplied phone on a plan so guess I am immune.
I am no lawyer bit if the condition is as you suspect and you can only access their network if you have one of their phones it sounds very close to "Third Line Forcing" or at least anti competitive conduct. The ACCC take a dim view of such practices and fines are hefty. It is hard to imagine that a large coy could expose themselves to that but from memory it wouldn't be the first time a telco stuffed up in that area.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 07:38

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 07:38
I do not believe that it has anything to do with where you purchased the phone. I have an IPhone purchased from JB HiFi, it works in any Telstra network area. I am on a Telstra Plan. Same thing applies with Optus & Vodafone, if you are not in an area that they have coverage, your phone will not work.

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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 07:33

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 07:33
Hi teryt,

I am not 100% sure, but I think it has a lot to due with the age of your phone, and what SIM card you have. It is my understanding (I am sure those in the know will correct me if I am wrong) that some older phones do not have the firmware to use 4G only networks. Also, depending on who you purchased the prepaid SIM card from (Boost Mobile etc), they also do not access the full Telstra network.

Certainly for the most comprehensive coverage, Telstra is the way to go.

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Reply By: Craig H4 - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 08:14

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 08:14
The people you met were probably using the Telstra Wi-Fi call function, All phones purchased in the last few years should have this ability (my iPhone 6 does). All that is happening is you are making a phone call over Wi-Fi via the internet and using a small amount of data instead of paying to make a traditional phone call.
Check the settings on your phone and turn Wi-Fi calling on and never pay for a phone call again, as long as you have the internet or some data.
I use it all the time at work as we have no phone service at all, but we've got internet so my phone works as normal. If you have an Iphone and this function is turned on it will say "telstra wifi call" on the top left of screen next to signal strength.
Hope this helps
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 10:46

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 10:46
Craig is on the money.

Phones with 4G capability (pretty much every decent/brand-name one from the last decade) have two methods for voice calls:

1. 3G. They drop back to 3G for voice calling; or

2. "VoLTE" - that's voice over Long Term Evolution (aka 4G).

The catches?

A. Those 4G small cells DON'T have 3G capability installed, so method 1 isn't available.

B. Not all phones' firmware support VoLTE, and not all service providers support it even when your phone does. Example: Optus support it but NOT for their resellers' customers. So you need to check (a) your phone's settings/capability, and (b) your service provider's support for VoLTE and access to it if a reseller.

So if you can't make calls in a 4G small cell area, YOU don't have VoLTE available.
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Reply By: Member - willawa - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 10:24

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 10:24
Where there's a will !!

Apart from one of our party able to call out and receive calls some of the time the rest of us had to resort to this while camping at the Limmen river NT
All of us had iphones and are with Telstra .

We did resort to our sat phones when needed
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Reply By: Notso - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 10:48

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 10:48
It is simply the capabilities of your phone. Some are capable of Voice Over LTE, or VoLTE which you may have heard of as Voice Over IP or VOIP.

LTE is the protocol for 4g data networks so some phones have the capabilities and others don't.

If you have a handset that is capable of VoLTE, you should be able to make voice calls as well as use data while in a small cell area. If your handset is not VoLTE capable, then it will not be able to make voice calls.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 13:08

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 13:08
subject to your SERVICE PROVIDER supporting it. It requires all three elements - the phone, the carrier, AND the SP - for VoLTE to function.
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Follow Up By: Notso - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 14:24

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 14:24
Yep Zippo, but I would have thought that was self evident.
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Follow Up By: Dave B18 - Saturday, Oct 12, 2019 at 19:36

Saturday, Oct 12, 2019 at 19:36
"Voice Over IP or VOIP" has no correlation to VoLTE whatsoever. They are two completely different technologies.
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Follow Up By: Notso - Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 08:17

Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 08:17
VoLTE is Voice over LTE LTE is the Data Network on the 4g system. The technology may be different, but the principle is the same, transmitting voice over a data network.
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Reply By: terryt - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 14:58

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 14:58
My phone is 4g compatible. I have Telstra prepaid plan. What else is needed
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 16:16

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 16:16
If you bought your phone on line or overseas or somewhere other than a Australian phone retailer it may have non-Australian firmware which may not support VoLTE, even of the hardware can.

I have a phone I bought on line. It is VoLTE capable, but it has Vietnamese firmware which does not support VoLTE.

Neither Samsung Australia nor my BT50 telco will help. It is possible to do a DIY firmware change but if it goes wrong you end up with an expensive small brick.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 00:04

Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 00:04
What Frank says. Not only does the Phone have to support VoLTE, but it has to support the right parameters for any particular carrier. Hence generally speaking, only phones supplied by a carrier will work with that carrier.

If you want this to work reliably with Telstra, then you should buy the Phone from Telstra ( Same same for optus etc)
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Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 07:23

Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 07:23
I"think" that it actually has to be a 4GX capable phone and also have the frequencies that they use, it combines the 700hz/1800hz bands one in each direction.
Many overseas sourced phones and even phones from other carriers besides Telstra while they have VoLTe don't have the 700 band so won't work the same thing applies to portable modems.
Some Telstra resellers will also not be able to access either.
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Follow Up By: Dave B18 - Saturday, Oct 12, 2019 at 19:42

Saturday, Oct 12, 2019 at 19:42
"I"think" that it actually has to be a 4GX capable phone and also have the frequencies that they use, it combines the 700hz/1800hz bands one in each direction."
Completely incorrect. Many towers are only 700Mhz B28.
Optus also uses B28.
All modem sold by Telstra and Optus for a long time without B28.
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 21:18

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 21:18
I received several of those text messages on our last trip east.

I rang, texted, and emailed Telstra and said I don’t want ANY text messages from the unless they were telling me it was the End of the World.

It finally got through to them and now I don’t get those messages.
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Reply By: Craig H4 - Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 09:04

Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 09:04
This might clear things up.
https://www.telstra.com.au/support/category/mobiles-tablets/telstra-wi-fi-calling/wi-fi-calling-frequently-asked-questions
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 11:23

Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 11:23
Unfortunately it doesn't - it just confuses the issue. VoWiFi is NOT the same as VoLTE.

VoLTE uses connection to the cellular network directly using 4G.

VoWiFi uses a wifi connection (your home broadband, Telstra Air, etc etc) to connect into the cellular network by a totally separate portal and on different frequencies (2.4GHz or 5GHz) to any used in 4G cellular telephony.
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Follow Up By: Craig H4 - Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 17:52

Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 17:52
If you’ve got a half decent Unlocked Australian bought phone it’ll work with both and you’ll be fine.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 19:36

Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 19:36
At risk of labouring the point and seeming pedantic, "it’ll work with both" ???

Let's put it simply. If Terry was in Innaminka with an active 4G cell nearby, with a phone that had:

>. VoLTE operative but not Telstra's "VoWiFi" he would have had call capability (1).

>. VoLTE inoperative (2), VoWiFi operative but NO WIFI SYSTEMS to connect to/through, he would NOT have had call capability.

1. If we knew which pre-paid service provider Terry uses (NOT just "on Telstra", and which phone - more info reqd) maybe his issue might become clearer.

2. As stated previously, for VoLTE to be operative it needs to be supported by:
(a) the carrier (Telstra in this case);
(b) the MVNO (service provider);
(c) the phone's firmware; AND
(d) enabled in the phone's settings.

I'm finished here.
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Follow Up By: Craig H4 - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2019 at 19:53

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2019 at 19:53
So if you’ve got a half decent Unlocked Australian bought phone, have telstra as your provider, make sure your phone is updated and appropriate settings enabled then you've done everything you can reasonably do to make it happen.
Yep simple.
I am also finished here.
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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 21:46

Sunday, Oct 06, 2019 at 21:46
You can find your phones capabilities and specifications on GSMarena.com.

GSMarena

Zippo's information is on the mark, particularly his last paragraph.

If you buy a phone off an Australian Telco, you are halfway there, because these phones are built for the Australian market, and are equipped with the bandwidths and technologies that we use here.

There are up to 10 or 20 different versions of phone, in any particular phone brand, and model number.
Each one is built to cover a certain market area or region. Not every country uses the same phone technology as us.

Then you have to have a phone with VoLTE technical capabilities, and your phone firmware up to date.
Then your Telco has to have VoLTE activated in the area where the small cell is.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, I bought it off eBay, and it's an unlocked Australian-specific model, and I'm with Telstra pre-paid.

The Note 4 was released in 2014, and it's a pretty capable 4G phone, but I can't make voice calls from Telstra small cell areas, because it doesn't have VoLTE capability - even though it has 4G LTE capabilities.

Cheers, Ron.

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Reply By: Michael H9 - Monday, Oct 07, 2019 at 07:01

Monday, Oct 07, 2019 at 07:01
Just get a voip account with someone like Mynetfone and install the 3CX voip app and you'll be able to make a call through the app.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 07:58

Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 07:58
The handsets/networks that support voLTE ...

https://www.finder.com.au/what-is-volte

Activation may be necessary ...
https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/telstravolte
AnswerID: 628107

Follow Up By: terryt - Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 10:20

Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 10:20
Thank you Sigmund. Your post answers my question. Telstra does not support volte for my phone. Neither does Optus but Vodaphone does. Phone is a Huawei mate 20
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 13:26

Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 13:26
Telstra is shutting 3G down by 2024 BTW.
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Follow Up By: terryt - Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 15:36

Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 15:36
After this it is over and out. Just phoned Telstra again. This time I was put through to technical support. The gent I spoke to said he would enable volte on my service and it should be operational shortly. Now I have to wait till I am next in a small cell 4g area to see if it works.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 19:08

Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 19:08
Cool.
You find the cells in popular holiday spots and small towns.
They can get overloaded.
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Reply By: Dave B18 - Saturday, Oct 12, 2019 at 19:47

Saturday, Oct 12, 2019 at 19:47
Here is *authoritive* content - not guessing
https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/telstravolte
https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/mobile_phone_frequencies
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