Blackberry UMA International Calling

I figured the trip to South Africa would be a good test of UMA calling on the blackberry in an international setting. I set up a wireless network connected to a DSL 256/512 connection. As soon as I connected to the WiFI network with the blackberry the UMA symbol popped up.

I disabled the carrier wireless network just to be certain that I would not be roaming and made a few test calls on UMA. The call quality was surprisingly good. I made a few changes enabling Quality of Service for the UMA ports – TCP 500 and 4500. I selected this ports per this RIM document
http://www.blackberry.com/btsc/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=KB13922

I am not sure if the QOS settings will make a difference or not.

Since South Africa is currently 7 hours ahead of the US, internet speeds are decent when the US is asleep. As soon as the US wakes up, the internet speed slows down significantly. The UMA voice quality also degrades when US internet usage begins in the morning US hours.

So far I am very satisfied with the service. I did make a mistake and pay the $9.99 with T-Mobile for UMA / WiFi calling when I did not need to. I am on the unlimited voice plan so using UMA voice has no affect on my minutes used. The $9.99 add-on is only for people with restricted minute plans, who want to use UMA / WiFi calling without burning the minutes on their plan.

Roaming internationally with T-mobile BES with a blackberry 9700

I had to post something about this because I have had a field day with T-mobile’s tech support regarding my blackberry. First, I was lured in by the great priced plans that T-mobile has. And just to give some perspective… I’m paying half of what ATT charged me per month, I qualified for 0% interest financing on 2 new blackberries, and get this…. I don’t have a contract. I’ve got the unlimited blackberry data plan and I’m loving it.

Now for the ugly part. T-mobile’s customer support rocks, but their reps are very hit or miss. When I signed up, I made it clear I needed corporate email. The sales person set up BIS instead of BES on my line. Fine… no problem…. after fighting with enterprise activation for a day, I finally called T-mobile and asked if the issue was that my account wasn’t provisioned. Sure enough – that was the case. The rep told me that it would take up to 48 hours for my account to be provisioned. Please note that my activation took just a day later- so I was happy.  Since Peter and I were taking a trip to Cancun, I wanted to make sure that I could have my email while roaming. I called them up and set up the $19.99 a month addition to let you get your data internationally.

I get to Cancun and I have ZERO connectivity. After furiously trying to switch networks, I got on the T-mobile chat to talk to a rep. Lo and behold she mentions that … yes you have data, but your line hasn’t been provisioned to roam internationally. Imagine that! Anyway, long story short… she went ahead and provisioned my account to get international data. So problem solved right? NOPE – this created a new problem. Now I couldn’t surf the web, my blackberry app world didn’t work, and my facebook App wasn’t working either!

So here I am back in the US, on chat AGAIN with T-mobile. After the rep takes me through a sequence of steps (rebooting my phone, taking out sim cards, taking out batteries), he finally gets it all working.  He also lets me know that whenever I travel internationally this problem  is possible .

Just FYI – here’s the fix :

1 – Take your battery + sim card out

2 – Give your IMIE and Pin to the tech support

3 – They will push down updates and new service books

4 – Power your phone back up and pray

5 – Repeat if it doesn’t take the first time.

Needless to say they got it fixed, and their tech support is great. But frankly speaking, my new blackberry has been anything but plug and play ! T-mobile really needs to work on the default settings for accounts, because it’s just not practical to have to keep going back to tech support because features keep randomly turning off.