Phones forum

Resolved Question

wife texting on the main number, unlocked phone?

by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 19, 2013 9:10 AM PDT

Any carrier allowing wifi calling and texting with unlocked phones on the main (carrier) number?

To clarify: I need to receive texts sent to my main cell phone (not any VoIP service or SIP) number in an area with zero cell reception.

One option is to get a supported phone on T-Mobile, the other one - on Republic Wireless... But all these are locked phones, and I'd like to use my own (Nexus 4). What are my options?


arlexx-221533934081301720 has chosen the best answer to their question. View answer
Answer This Ask For Clarification
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: wife texting on the main number, unlocked phone?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: wife texting on the main number, unlocked phone?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Best Answer chosen by arlexx-221533934081301720

Collapse -
wifi texting with an unlocked phone?

The answer is "no" for unlocked phones with the exception of certain "crackberries" which can have UMA enabled on T-Mobile. So there's hope for unlocked Android users, too.

Another option is a micro-cell tower (AT&T sells one). It's rather expensive.

Unlike what most responders said, SMS does work via Wi-Fi calling on T-Mobile.

Collapse -
Sprint has the Airave too
by Pepe7 / March 21, 2013 12:54 AM PDT

But you would have to find different handsets.

How about providing a zip code & nearby major street intersection so we can check coverage(?) Wouldn't hurt.

Collapse -
by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 21, 2013 2:19 AM PDT

90290, Paradise and Sylvania. Tested coverage with friends' phones: next-to-no coverage with VZ, zero with TMo, AT&T, Sprint. On AT&T, the nearest coverage is about 1/2 mile.

Collapse -
by Pepe7 / March 24, 2013 2:23 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks

So you are inside/near the Santa Monica mtns recreational area? LA topography can be harsh for reception, that much I know. The pico cells/street light installations have been installed in that general area AFAIK to help a little with the poor physics involved to get clear reception.

Their coverage maps show you are supposed to have moderate coverage. (not that the coverage maps are ever accurate) By chance did you walk down the street a few hundred yards to see if your friend's ATT handsets worked? Were they on post-paid plans? Which handsets? Are their trees on your property or next door that could block the signal at all?

My gut feeling is to try a repeater (with a return policy) if you could get a weak signal at the neighbors lot.

Collapse -
no cell reception
by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 24, 2013 10:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Hmmm

Thanks - neighbors (who've lived in the area for a while) say the same thing - no cell reception.

My goal was to see if texting was possible over WiFi, and now I have a much clearer picture what it'd take to do it. Not going to pursue better cellular connection atm.


Collapse -
" zero cell reception."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 19, 2013 10:08 AM PDT

I think you explained it all too well. Since SMS is over the cellular network and you don't have such, you'll have to find other ways to communicate.

Collapse -
The calling part is the easier part
by Pepe7 / March 19, 2013 11:03 AM PDT

Since there are plenty of forwarding permuations, that part's a breeze. But w/o cellular as Bob has pointed out, you won't get SMS. Perhaps there's some sort of SMS forwarding app, but I am not aware of it to function as you require in this case.

Collapse -
no texting w/o cellular connection?
by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 19, 2013 1:12 PM PDT

Not sure I quite get it: if there was no texting w/o cell connection, how would a text get from a GV number to another GV number? The idea is that the carrier has gotten your text and is holding it for you until your phone has a connection or unless there is another way to get it to you - such as... via wifi calling/texting.

I guess the 1st question to answer, is if RW or TMo have wifi texting, and then go from there.

Thanks guys.

Collapse -
texts can travel over IP
by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 20, 2013 1:31 AM PDT

Another indication that texts can travel over IP are micro-cell towers. Texts can only get to them over IP, and from there they talk to cell phones over cellular. The points here are: (a) nothing prevents the phone itself from having some of the functionality of a micro-cell tower, (b) texts can travel over IP, they don't absolutely need cellular connections to work.

Collapse -
A question for you.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 20, 2013 1:46 AM PDT

Are you asking if it's possible to use SMS texting over the internet or telling us your carrier has implemented it or are you just spit balling?

Collapse -
You missed part of the point
by Pepe7 / March 20, 2013 4:33 AM PDT

Since you stated <ahem> that you wanted to keep the main line active (and not use GV, VoIP or SIP service), sending SMS wouldn't be an ideal option under those parameters.

<I understand completely that most cellular numbers are now VoIP numbers in themselves anyway. And SMS messages get routed somewhere...>

My only remaining question is whether T-Mobile's service would have any permutations for you. They had wifi calling (UMA) at one point on certain models. I'm not aware that this service is currently being sold though.

There's also Talkatone for Android, if you wanted at least partial functionality with your Nexus.

And then there's mention of SMS forwarding apps, which might present a tiny part of a solution worth testing out.

Collapse -
wifi SMS
by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 20, 2013 8:44 AM PDT

"They had wifi calling (UMA) at one point on certain models. I'm not aware that this service is currently being sold though."
According to TMo, they do. The question is, does it also work for SMS? I'll check with them.

<div>An SMS forwarding app would be awesome if it worked without cell reception. I doubt it does, given these are clearly client-side (not server-side)

apps , and will not work without cell reception.</div>
Tolkatone and other VoIP calling apps including GV do not give me something I need: the ability to receive text messages sent to my Tmo (or other major carrier) number - such as bank transaction verification texts.

The general question remains: is there a way to get texts sent to a major carrier (AT&T, Tmo) cell number on an unlocked Nexus 4 when there is no cell reception, short of buying a micro-cell tower?

If not, what are my other options as long as the cell carrier is a major one, that my bank would work with?

Thanks again for all the responses.

Collapse -
missed the point?
by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 20, 2013 8:47 AM PDT
In reply to: wifi SMS

Which point did I miss?

Also, don't understand this sentence:

"Since you stated <ahem> that you wanted to keep the main line active (and not use GV, VoIP or SIP service), sending SMS wouldn't be an ideal option under those parameters."

What did you mean by it?

For the record, the goal is to receive texts. A micro-cell tower would work for the purpose, I just hope to avoid the expense of it.

Collapse -
if there is no cellular reception....
by birdmantd Forum moderator / March 20, 2013 8:52 AM PDT
In reply to: missed the point?

.....there will be no SMS plain and simple.

Collapse -
fact or fiction?
by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 20, 2013 10:25 AM PDT

...and you know it how?

No SMS even with a micro-cell tower?

(A micro-cell tower is not equal to cell reception, for the record, as SMS travels over IP and not over a private network, before it gets to that tower.)

Collapse -
Just exeperience
by birdmantd Forum moderator / March 20, 2013 10:35 AM PDT
In reply to: fact or fiction?

My answer is based on 7 years of CS experience for a cellular provider and personal experience. I will admit I have no experience with a micro-cell tower.

Collapse -
Here's what I know.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 20, 2013 10:50 AM PDT
In reply to: fact or fiction?

My background includes circuit design and more of those early 2 way paging systems over cellular. While what you say is true, the carriers do not offer access to SMS via IP to you.

That's why it's a dead end and why folk are giving you such answers.

You seem to think that it would be possible without and to that, yes that's true. Now back to reality. Such features are locked down for a very few simple reasons.

Collapse -
To be clear....
by birdmantd Forum moderator / March 20, 2013 12:25 PM PDT
In reply to: Here's what I know.

.....I think the reason is simple. I think that the cellular carriers want to require the SMS to travel exclusively through their networks so that they can bill for such services. Why allow customers to circumvent the carriers to accomplish what the OP is asking?

Collapse -
It's still on ATT's network
by Pepe7 / March 21, 2013 12:53 AM PDT
In reply to: To be clear....

Even using the microcell/femto cell/Airave devices (ATT/T-Mo/Spring), it's still technically on their network, at least partially. It's just routed traffic over your broadband connection.

Collapse -
SMS via WiFi calling does work on T-Mo
by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 20, 2013 1:01 PM PDT

Just confirmed, SMS does work via T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling:

"SMS via WiFi calling?" on T-Mobile support community.

<div>Not to beat a dead horse but dudes... a little fact checking?

Collapse -
Don't be snarky, or we won't help you
by Pepe7 / March 21, 2013 12:45 AM PDT

If you know so much, why are you asking here, amigo? Seriously.

In fact, I've probably configured more equipment/complex networks that you've ever seen, so let's at least get that straight, eh? Frankly, your first post should have contained a lot more information to be useful without having to ask five hundred follow-up questions Wink

Back off the soapbox- In some cases you may be able to obtain a micro-cell from your carrier at a heavily discounted rate, and even the monthly rate may be reduced depending on your levels of service/monthly bill total IME.

Plan 'B' would be to actually find a carrier that works where you reside/require cellular service. If a signal's too weak, then bring that indoors with an amplifier/repeater. One time cost for that, but it works for most carriers (except T-Mo & LTE service currently).

Collapse -
wife texting on the main number, unlocked phone?
by zookeeper820 / March 23, 2013 2:25 PM PDT

Google voice should work its internet base service.

Collapse -
by arlexx-221533934081301720 / March 24, 2013 10:43 AM PDT

I use GV for texting since dinosaurs roamed the Earth - yet BofA among others won't work with it for security confirmation texts.

Like I said in the OP - GV and other SIP/VoIP numbers will NOT work for me. I need an actual cell number to work for texting over WiFi.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,224 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,453 discussions
Laptops 20,090 discussions
Security 30,722 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,937 discussions
Windows 10 1,295 discussions
Phones 16,252 discussions
Windows 7 7,684 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,215 discussions


What do the color stripes mean on your tires?

Brian Cooley tells you why you might see various color lines on the wheels of your automobile.