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T-Mobile will require new devices to support VoLTE

Internal documents obtained by Android Police say that the requirement starts Aug. 4 -- and in January, older-gen devices might not work at all.

With no support for Voice over LTE, devices like Xiaomi's Mi 10 Pro might not be compatible with T-Mobile come January.
Sareena Dayaram/CNET

T-Mobile is preparing to make support for Voice over LTE a requirement for all new devices, according to a report Thursday. The move was reportedly detailed in internal T-Mobile documents obtained by Android Police.

The requirement won't mean much for users at first, but as of January 2021, "T-Mobile will require all devices connecting to our nationwide 4G LTE and 5G networks to be VoLTE compatible." That means that older-gen devices that don't include support for the IP-based voice network won't be able to use T-Mobile at all.

VoLTE has been around for several years now, and it enables wireless operators to use the 4G LTE network to transmit voice services in the same way they transmit data. The majority of today's phones support the feature, including all iPhones dating back to the iPhone 6 and all Samsung Galaxy devices dating back to the Samsung Galaxy Avant. Those that don't include recent devices from Xiaomi and the Huawei P30 Pro, among others.

"We're making great progress building a truly transformative nationwide 5G network," a T-Mobile spokesperson told CNET. "As part of that, we will be phasing out some older technologies over time to free up even more capacity for LTE and 5G. In preparation for that and to give customers the best experience, those activating new lines at T-Mobile will need a VoLTE capable device, which is all we've offered for years now and represents the overwhelming majority of devices on the network."