Carrier Three UK VoLTE / 800MHz LTE Data

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by AlecEdworthy, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. AlecEdworthy macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Leicestershire, UK
    #1
    Hello,

    Three UK's website[1] says that VoLTE only works on devices purchased from them ("Right now, 4G Super-Voice doesn't work on phones bought from other networks, but we're working on it"). Does anyone on the network know if this applies to phones bought SIM free from Apple? Does it apply to data over 800MHz LTE too? I plan to ask them myself but suspect that they'll just quote their existing page back to me so actual user experience will win out over that :)

    Kind regards, Alec

    1. http://www.three.co.uk/Discover/network/4G-Supervoice
     
  2. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    Location:
    Leicestershire, UK
    #2
    I contacted Three UK and they said that currently it is restricted to devices purchased directly from them and devices purchased directly from Apple are not currently offered VoLTE or data over 800MHz. However this is due to change soon as they're rolling it out to all customers with compatible handsets regardless of where the handset was purchased from.

    I'd still be interested to hear from users on Three UK who have compatible handsets (purchased from Three or direct from Apple). As soon as I have a device which supports VoLTE I'll be sure to report back myself.

    Assuming you're in a VoLTE enabled area it appears a fairly simple way to tell if you're using VoLTE is to ensure you're connected to 4G, disable wifi and place a call. If your handset switches to 3G then you aren't using VoLTE yet.

    A
     
  3. cableguy84 macrumors 6502a

    cableguy84

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2015
    Location:
    Essex
    #3
    I am on three, with a 6S plus bought from Apple. Calls move straight to 3g when making a call.

    Will be interesting what impact volte will have on battery life once up and running (if any)

    It annoys me with three how slow they are to roll out new features, only selecting certain users before a full rollout
     
  4. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #4
    Is your area VoLTE enabled? You have to do a coverage check at http://www.three.co.uk/Discover/Network/Coverage and then enter your device type before it will show you the true VoLTE/800MHz coverage map etc.

    A
     
  5. peckerhead macrumors member

    peckerhead

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    Apr 26, 2009
    #5
    I have read elsewhere that VoLTE should work fine on the iPhone. When Three say that it won't work on phones not provided by them, they are referring to Android and other phones where they have to customise the firmware. The iPhone is the exception to this as the carriers are not able to customise the firmware and the carrier profile is updated by Apple.

    Bear in mind that VoLTE is currently only on the 800mhz band. If your phone drops to 3G when you make a call then your phone is picking up 1800mhz.
     
  6. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #6
    That's what I thought but they still insisted (hopefully incorrectly) that iPhones purchased from Apple would not do VoLTE at present. Fingers crossed this is wrong. At the moment I have a 5s which isn't compatible (not sure why, it supports the appropriate bands AFAICS) but will have a shiny SE in a few days so will try again.

    A
     
  7. peckerhead macrumors member

    peckerhead

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    #7
    Dial *3001#12345#* to enter field test mode, then go into Serving Cell Info.

    If Freq Band Indicator shows 3 then you are on LTE band 3 (1800mhz) and it ain't going to work. You'll only get VoLTE if this shows band 20 (800mhz).
     
  8. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #8
    Thanks, I was playing with that earlier. Glad to know what I thought was the case is indeed the case. Roll on Thursday...

    A
     
  9. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    #9
    Field test mode doesn't work on my 5S on the 3 network - I can get it to show up but all the fields are blank and never populate. I tried toggling airplane mode on and off when the field test mode was active but no joy.

    You can see the dB display in the home menu screen for half a second as you quit out of the app, but no other indication that it is working at all except that the SIM info screen *is* populated, so I assume it;s being blocked somehow by 3.
     
  10. planetf1 macrumors 6502

    planetf1

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    Hampshire, UK
    #10
    VoLTE is definately working with three for me 6s+. Can confirm not only by coverage improvement in stone areas but also go into about and click on carrier. If on VoLTE it will switch to ims status. Also making a call will keep signal on 4g.


    SIM free from Apple.
     
  11. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #11
    That's just what I was hoping to hear! Fingers crossed mine will be the same later this week then

    Thank you!

    A
     
  12. planetf1 macrumors 6502

    planetf1

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    #12
    Note that it will only go onto 4g 800 VoLTE as last resort ie no 3g or higher freq 4g
     
  13. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #13
    Interesting... I suppose normally if you have 1800MHz 4G then you have 3G too so can make/receive calls normally and as such 800MHz 4G and VoLTE would be unnecessary. My main interest in this is coverage in an area where 3G and 1800MHz 4G is seriously patchy. If it really is the "blackspot banisher" Three UK claim it is then they'll get another customer in the form of one of my friends who struggles with all other networks unfortunately.

    A
     
  14. cableguy84 macrumors 6502a

    cableguy84

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    Essex
    #14
    Well this is annoying, i work in east london and i have only picked up band 20 once in the past couple days. Wanted to confirm this was working on my phone
     
  15. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #15
    Hello,

    I've spoken to someone within Three UK who understands what's going on and they've said that Super-Voice/800MHz 4G will work for all iPhone SE out of the box (same too for iPhone 6s I believe) and for all iPhone 6 which have received the carrier settings update (they haven't said how to obtain the carrier settings update if you've not got it automatically however) - i.e. your phone does not have to be purchased directly from Three. It will only work however when there is no 3G available (i.e. it's a connection of last resort) as @planetf1 said earlier. It will work for all incoming and outgoing calls and data when available and in use (compare and contrast this with HD Calling which is only for Three to Three calls and still sounds weird when it kicks in for me).

    A
     
  16. virginblue4 macrumors 68000

    virginblue4

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    Apr 15, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #16
    Can someone explain VoLTE to me? I purchased me iPhone 6s sim free from Apple, and I've just checked on the coverage checker and my area does have it.

    I have very good signal in my house and most places I go, so will this actually benefit me in any way?
     
  17. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #17
    VoLTE is basically using the data channel for making/receiving calls. Three are the only network in the UK which supports it currently and they've taken the decision to enable it only on their 800MHz frequency allocation. If you have any other coverage (3G or non-800MHz 4G) then your phone will use that for voice and data, only falling back to 800MHz VoLTE and data if nothing else is available. See http://jmcomms.com/2015/09/15/three-launches-first-volte-service-in-uk-but-there-are-limitations/ for a useful explanation of some aspects/limitations of it.

    Just thought, to check if you have the necessary carrier settings in place on your phone go to Settings, General, About and scroll down to Carrier. If you tap on this it should cycle around a couple of different pieces of information, one of which should be IMS status: Voice & SMS I believe.

    A
     
  18. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

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    Location:
    UK
    #18
    I received a text message a while back from Three with a link to a carrier-firmware update that enabled VoLTE. Have had it enabled for a couple of months now but not really noticed a difference in call quality. Does it only make a difference when both recipients are using it?
     
  19. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #19
    You won't notice a particular difference with call quality with Super-Voice, you will however notice extra coverage (less dead spots) because of it assuming the area you are in has no 3G, is 800MHz (Super-Voice enabled) and your handset is Super-Voice enabled. For better call quality you need to be making a Three to Three call in a 3G area (probably VoLTE would work too) between two phones which are HD Calling enabled (anything from iPhone 5s upwards, possible iPhone 5 too) whereupon you'll get a call more like a Skype call rather than GSM encoded call - it's freaky when it happens IMHO :)

    A
     
  20. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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  21. LCPepper macrumors 6502

    LCPepper

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    #21
    I wonder why they have done it as last resort?
     
  22. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #22
    My guess is because it is a new technology, not widely available and so if one of their existing, long standing and assumed more reliable (when in coverage) signals is available then use that. If all else fails, here, bust that blackspot with our shiny LTE. Hopefully once the 800MHz coverage increases we'll see it become more available.

    To be honest, as a network of last resort it's probably OK. If you have 3G coverage then you can make/receive calls, if you don't but 800MHz is available (and you have a compatible handset, settings etc) then you'll connect to that instead. My concern is where 3G is poor/patchy - will the handset see, join and remain on 800MHz? Ask me in a week or so...

    A
     
  23. SOLLERBOY macrumors 6502a

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    UK
    #23
    Mine has been active on the 6 plus for a little while, bought it from Apple.
     
  24. AlecEdworthy thread starter macrumors 6502

    AlecEdworthy

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    #24
    Got my iPhone SE today (direct from Apple). Went to a local pub which I've had poor coverage in before and noticed it was on 4G. A *3001#12345*# later and I confirmed I was indeed on LTE band 20. Rocking the 800MHz Super-Voice and Data :cool:
     
  25. iGeek2014 macrumors 68000

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    === Nowheresville ===
    #25
    I unlocked my Vodafone 6s Plus a few weeks' back.

    Tried a Three PAYG SIM in it and VoLTE was alive & kicking despite you being told otherwise.
     

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