T-Mobile Nokia E73 Mode: UMA WiFi calling may be killer functionality

T-Mobile Nokia E73 Mode: UMA WiFi calling may be killer functionalityOne of the unique features found in the Nokia E73 Mode is the support for calling over WiFi via the T-Mobile UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) network. This support may be a bit confusing and I want to make it clear that UMA is not the same as VoIP with SIP over WiFi. T-Mobile launched their Hotspot @Home service a couple of years ago and I gave it a shot for a few months, but found I rarely made that many calls at home or was outside of great T-Mobile coverage. However, the service can be very valuable for those who travel or are in a low signal area.

I understand the Hotspot @Home service option (now named T-Mobile Unlimited Hotspot Calling) has been canceled. but it is not clear if there is still a UMA optional service you can add. You used to be able to pay $10 per month and make unlimited calls over WiFi with a supported handset. If you did not subscribe to the service you could still take advantage of the UMA service and make calls over WiFi networks with the only cost being minutes against your included plan minutes. This was a great option for travelers who had WiFi access, but no T-Mobile signal. I contacted Nokia and T-Mobile people to try to determine what service options are currently available. Here is the offiical word from T-Mobile USA:

The Nokia E73 Mode offers Wi-Fi calling at no additional cost to the customer. Like Unlimited HotSpot Calling, Wi-Fi Calling provides customers with improved coverage and the ability to reliably replace their landline with a cell phone and have a single number for work and mobile needs. Wi-Fi Calling does not include the unlimited, nationwide calling service plan of Unlimited HotSpot Calling, which is no longer offered as of October 2009.

So, with UMA support on the Nokia E73 Mode you will be able to make calls via WiFi that WILL count against your included plan minutes. I rarely even approach my plan minutes, and doubt most anyone does, so this UMA support will let you make calls when you have no T-Mobile cellular signal. I now wonder if you could use this in a foreign country while traveling if you can connect the device to a WiFi network. I’ll ask T-Mobile about this too and let you know what I find out. Here is the clarification for international travel and calling:

All international calls made using Wi-Fi or wireless networks are charged accordingly for international long distance. Any incidents that allowed customers to place Wi-Fi calls without charge are due to billing anomalies, which T-Mobile has addressed. Customers will be billed accordingly for International calls placed over Wi-Fi.

With the E73 Mode and WiFi turned on I do see the UMA icon in the upper left of the display and calls appear on my bill with a U identifier denoting the call was made over the WiFi network. This UMA support on the E73 Mode is awesome since the only other good UMA phone was a BlackBerry device. With UMA on the E73 Mode you can be assured of making and receiving more calls with good network support thanks to T-Mobile’s cellular network and support for WiFi hotspots.


27 Comments to T-Mobile Nokia E73 Mode: UMA WiFi calling may be killer functionality

June 14, 2010

Matt – does the E73 include the sip stack as well? I am looking at one of these for my daughter who will going to school in Argentina for 5 months. With UMA she could stick in her tmobile sim and make all the calls she wants or with a sip stack she could do it with wifi anywhere.

June 14, 2010

UMA calling on t-mo does not use airtime minutes. when you’re logged on to a wifi network with a t-mo phone the signal bars show wifi signal instead of cell signal.

i’ve had t-mo UMA since it started and where i live it’s great as i have no bars.

i’m just waiting for an android UMA device, that wil be the game changer.

i’m no stranger to nokia either, i used my nokia E-70 for almost 3 years.

June 14, 2010

Here is my question regarding wifi calling, will it work with sending and receiving text messages too?

I work inside the basement of a school. They purposely block all cellular radio signals to keep kids from using their phones, but offer free wifi to everyone. Is it possible to send/receive SMS and MMS over wifi?

Or am I just stuck using my N900 for Gtalk?

Robert Najafabadi
June 15, 2010

@ James I do believe that this phone can do SIP (VOIP)

June 15, 2010

T-Mobile USA’s Samsung Galaxy S (T959) hits the FCC…

We found your article usefull on our site, androidliving.com…

June 19, 2010

I also have a question regarding possibility to make sip calls over VoIP. As far as I know now Nokia provides SIP stack with smartphone however without native/built-in VoIP Client. I know it’s possible to download SIP VoIP Settings App from Nokia website that will enable VoIP client but it’s limited to certain models of smartphones. So my question is it possible to place sip/voip call on NOkia e73 mode?

June 20, 2010

Does anyone know how this would work with other unlocked nokia products such as the E71 and E75? Thanks

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Anand Dharmaraj
June 24, 2010

SIP based Voip services work on the E73. I just configured Gizmo on my E73

June 26, 2010

@David Yes, text messages can be sent and received over WiFi in E73.

July 5, 2010

i got my e73 the day after T-Mobile released this phone. The wi-fi does NOT work & T-Mobile says this is a known issue. How are you guys using wifi????

July 6, 2010

I ordered the phone the day after it came out and my wi-fi works flawless…as in uma

July 11, 2010

i changed the priority setting of the wifi to priority 1 &now my wifi works on my E73

July 12, 2010

Is it a pink dot in the upper left corner or is it the word UMA ??

July 13, 2010

its a pink dot in the corner but i know it’s not a tmobile hotspot coz when i am away from home i cannot select the GAN option (which is my home wifi)

July 13, 2010

oh & sometimes it just shows 3G without the pink dot. Why?

July 16, 2010

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding Wifi calling using UMA versus VOIP. Let me try to clear it up.

1) To use VOIP on this phone or other E series phones you need to set up the SIP settings and have an account with a VOIP provider such as callwithus.com, with some VOIP providers you can even choose a phone number to associate with your VOIP account. Once its set up, you need to connect to WiFI and then when you dial a number on your phone, it will give you a choice of a Cell call or Internet Call. If you choose internet call it will use VOIP.

2) UMA calling is totally unrelated to the above, this is a special feature that currently only T-Mobile supports in the USA. This means if you have wifi turned on, the phone will switch to UMA mode, you can see it indicated on your phone and then when you dial a number just like you would normally it will use your wifi connection to complete the call and not use the cell tower.

This means you can use it anywhere in the world and not pay roaming charges of long distance charges if you call USA since the phone behaves as if you were in the USA. If you have the T-mobile unlimited plan you can use it unlimited on wifi as well for making phone calls and receiving text messages.

YOU WILL NOT PAY ANYTHING EXTRA OR ROAMING CHARGES..BUT ENSURE YOU ARE ON UMA or else you will end up paying roaming charges…if you have unlimited text messages then those are also included..or counted as text messages against your normal plan, you won’t pay extra.

I used my Blackberry 9700 on T-Mobile which also has UMA when I was in Italy and France, all my calls and text messages on wifi were free since I have the unlimited minutes and text messages plan with T-Mobile.

I hope this clears up any confusion. I hope T-Mobile will introduce Android Smartphones with UMA feature.

July 17, 2010

what is the indicator that shows you are on UMA?

July 17, 2010

UMA does not change anything on your phone. The advantage is that it uses a Wi-Fi signal instead of a cell tower signal to continue your conversation or send and receive texts. In a perfect world it changes between cell and wifi just like it would change between towers when you drive. As long as you keep your wifi active on your phone, you never have to think about it again.
I live in a spotty coverage area and depend on it for my old Nokia phone. Had to return my T-MO vibrant after one day of use because it was useless at home and at work. T-MO, please make all your Android phones with the UMA feature. You have a great opportunity to set yourself apart from competitors. And I don’t care if I get charged the minutes or not. I just want to be able to upgrade my phone and (gasp) be able to make calls on it 😉

August 29, 2010

Come and support the T-Mobile UMA facebook fan page!


October 8, 2010

My E73 does not work on wifi, why is that happening? If you check the Nokia support forum you´ll find a lot of angry users that can´t use wifi on their E73s.

January 12, 2011

Srini is correct. I have used my Crackberry 8900 many times in Europe via T-Mobile UMA and it works great. To make sure I don’t get charged the roaming fees, I turn off the cellular part before connecting to UMA. Otherwise, there might be some small data charges while the phones hunts for a connection. Moreover, I have a VM message telling people not to leave me a VM message when I’m in Europe and instead send a SMS for the times when I’m not connected on UMA.

September 14, 2011

Prior to discovering UMA, I my enthusiasm for my E73 Mode had waned since purchasing it in June 2011 from Amazon. While travelling outside the US this week, with my Tmobile-activated E73 Mode connected to a local WiFi hotspot, I discovered this UMA gem completely by accident. FANTASTIC feature!!!!

January 12, 2012

It all sounds very good in theory. UMA can be a life saver with T-mobile’s coverage and reception. However, there is “if”…? If it works… There are significant bumps with UMA. In my case, UMA is absolutely unreliable. There are random and unpredictable crashes of UMA service. That functionality absolutely needs polishing in this stage. UMA mode can randomly crash while phone still stays connected to wi-fi access point.

February 23, 2012

My wife and I got E73s back in 2010. As part of our contract, we were able to get the phones without a data plan. (Neither my wife nor I really care about having mobile broadband access.) However, I was intrigued by the ability to make calls over wi-fi. I also assumed that I would be able to access the internet on the E73 when the phone was connected to a wi-fi network (primarily my wi-fi connection at home).

After configuring my phone to connect to my wi-fi network, I attempted to get on the web. I was confronted with a message saying that I’d be charged $2.99 per MB. Say what? Charge me to use my own network? I called T-Mobile, and they told me that I had to have a data plan to use the E73 on a wi-fi network. I said WTF to that, because why would I have to pay T-Mobile for data that I’m accessing on my network, never touching theirs?

So what is the deal? Can I use wi-fi on the E73 for free, or do I have to pay T-Mobile? In other words, does this phone actually have real wi-fi capability (as in, does it have a wi-fi radio that functions the exact same way my laptop does), or is this phone merely hobbled by the pseudo-wi-fi that is UMA?

Why would anyone ever have to pay T-Mobile to access a local wi-fi network that is in no way connected to T-Mobile’s network resources?

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