[UPDATED] T-Mobile Blocking 3G Video Chat on the Nexus S


[UPDATE] The issue is apparently the result of an engineering constraint of the Nexus S and not simply a decision on T-Mobile’s behalf to block 3G video calls. Google must have corrected these issues with the Nexus S 4G, or it may simply boil down to an issue of chance when trying to use video calls over 3G.

The Nexus S received native video chat support via GTalk through the recent Android 2.3.4 update, but if you have the Google handset on T-Mobile you might be having a bit of trouble using the new feature over a 3G connection. Carriers apparently have the final say in exactly how video chat is enabled, and TMo has decided to only allow such calls over a Wi-Fi connection.

This isn’t the case with Sprint’s Nexus S 4G. Video chat works both over a cellular data connection and Wi-Fi. Their Nexus S also is cat approved, as evidenced by the below video.

[via Engadget]

Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

Amazon working up two Android tablets under “Coyote” and “Hollywood” code names

Previous article

Vizio’s Newest Smartphone Wins FCC Approval

Next article

You may also like


  1.  T-Mobile is in no position to be pissing off users. According to their last quarterly report they are losing customers.  

    1. They may not be in the position to be doing it, but they are and they have been and it is why people are jetting and dumping this service. I don’t understand why manufacturers are still giving nice phones to this crappy company? They f’ck up everything. Even worst is that they will be giving themselves away to Maa Bell and this is another reason why people are leaving.

    2. think about it, thats exactly what they want, is to piss people off, tmobile wants this deal to go through as much as at&t does, and by pissing people they know people going to leave, and the only chance of this merger have of passing through is if tmobile some how can show that the can no longer compete in this market, there for fcc must approve this deal, other wise tmobile is going bankrupt..

    3. Saw this news, and just got off the phone with Tmob.  Had been wondering why 3g video wasn’t working, and this was the whole reason my deaf uncle and fam switched to Tmob, because it advertised video chat over 3g so we could communicate without any 3rd parties in-between while going about our lives outside our homes where there is no wifi.  I called to complain, and the best customer service could do was to add a note to my account, and refer me to write a PAPER letter to customer relations in New Mexico.  No email address available, no other way to register a formal complaint.  CS rep hadn’t heard about this yet, and I pointed out this was to be expected due to the initial difficulty of finding a nexus s, since no Tmob store carried them and only -some- best buys had them on contract.  So very few people can actually use Gtalk relative to their user base = few complaints.  He asked where I saw this and I directed him here.  So I’ll write a letter shortly and wait it out.  Ever get that useless feeling?

      I was clear that we’d all (5 accounts probably) drop the service in about 3 months if this wasn’t addressed.  We pay for ‘unlimited’ data, and even if its throttled at 5gb, that’s still 5gb we should be able to use any way we choose!  I wonder if they’ll even have read the letter by the time we’re having to cancel.  I wonder if they’ll even care.  I wonder which carrier I should go with next, I loathe them all.. Tmob was the only I’d been happy with dammit.

  2.  It’s not like video chat over 3G is usable anyway. You need wifi in order for it to be decent

  3. Guess we found another shortcoming. I remember the commercial of them mocking facetime only being available on wifi, now look who is doing it. 

    1. Oh hi buddy I see you made an account to troll T-mobile articles how cute.

      Anyways this story has been updated and it is a hardware problem. As stupid as this problem is at least I would get better quality using T-mobile’s 3G at 5mbps to Verizon’s 1mbps. I don’t see how this could ever really be about T-mobile’s network anyways because I constantly get faster speeds on 3G then my friends do on WiMax. 

      1. To point out their shortcomings is “trolling” to you too huh? Get a life. And where I am, you wouldnt get even .5 mbps from Tmobile. Hardware problem? Really? Tell that to sprint and their users that have it working over their 3G. Doesnt matter why they are blocking it, fact is, they ARE blocking it. And my 3G from verizopn is over 1mbps.

        1. I see you switched to verizopn, LOL. No that doesn’t count as trolling but when you post the same comment like 20 or 30 times in one article it does. It has been confirmed to be a software issue. This was copied from Androidpolice.com “No 3G calling on T-Mobile
          There is another issue that Wei talked about – some carriers are apparently blocking the special P2P mode that Google Talk’s video chat uses to connect to the other party. This in turn means that video chat is not possible on such carriers’ mobile networks until they unblock this P2P method (Wi-Fi calling is always fine). I believe Verizon is one such carrier, but don’t quote me on that. Update: Wei emailed in and corrected me here – that carrier is actually T-Mobile. Verizon is allowing such P2P connections just fine. This is the reason why 3G video calls are not possible on T-Mobile at this time.
          And there you have it – no conspiracy theories, just engineering resource constraints and pure facts, as gathered at I/O.”

          1. You just contradicted yourself there. You’d have a great career in politics. Anyhoo, let me explain your contradiction. The fact that the technology works on other carriers (ie Sprint) means there’s no hardware issue.

            And if you’re implying that there’s a hardware issue on T-Mobile’s infrastructure, you’re once again wrong. It’s called business/technology policy. T-Mobile has elected to block (thru software) access to this P2P connection.

            So anyways, you were saying something about a hardware issue? 

          2. I was just coping what I read on Engadget. Thank you for correcting me, I have changed the wording on my post. I can admit it when I wrong unlike other people.

          3. Jdog, then admit that Tmobiles coverage AS A WHOLE blows, or stfu about how you can admit you are wrong. 

          4. You see the key word in the post above, BLOCK. And no other carrier is doing it. 

        2.  Agreed. You make a great point about their commercials dissing wifi video chat. No trolling there. Meanwhile, jdog here, who’s complaining about trolling, currently has 7 posts across 3 different threads of this commentary, none of which are helpful or positive.

          1. Hi I see your new to Phandroid.com welcome, you will learn the definition of troll very quickly or you could read through Nlsme’s comment by clicking his account. 

          2. You’ve done nothing but argue with and cut people down so far 

          3. Read all my 2000 comments and then read his. I wouldn’t cut him down if the
            guy wouldn’t be trolling the hell out of the T-mobile post, he posted the
            same comment over and over on the article about the HTC Sensation on
            T-mobile. This isn’t new with this guy he has just been gone from Phandroid
            for a few months. No matter how polite to speak to him and try to see things
            his way he will just continue to troll.

      2. Ah, see, Nlsme keeps denying that he has accounts anywhere else. Interesting that he lies about that. Yet you can confirm he does and he doesn’t deny it below. I wonder why he felt a need to lie about it?

        And notice how that once you point out that it isn’t actually a TMO issue but an issue with the phone (as someone below points out too, video chat does indeed work on other phones on TMO), he changes his argument to something else. Hmm, looks like I was right to call him out as a troll.

        1. I wasted many months trying to reason with him but he just wouldn’t have it. I explained many times that I understand the advantages and disadvantages with all the carriers but to him if your not using Verizon then your an idiot plain and simple. 

          He is the Yarrellray of Verizon, sadly.

          1. I can point out the flaws with Verizon, in fact I have. However, you just cant admit Tmobile coverage is ubpar. You might get good service from them WHERE YOU LIVE, but look at their map. Comapre it to even Sprints, it blows. 

          2. I know that is why I always say that as soon as I find the better carrier in
            my area I’m switching, my friend who works for Sprint is always telling me I
            should switch. I would switch but he gets almost all his Android news from
            me, I tell him what phone Sprint is getting before he knows.

          3. Sprint can’t even reliably cover their home area. I know, I’ve been all over it too. But then again, I guess real world experience accounts for nothing in your altered reality. 

          4. @Monkeyboy, lemme guess, you borrowed you friends phone, and went on a 2 week drive in “sprints backyard. While simultaniously monitoring the signal, and comparing it to their coverage map. Shut up, you have no credibility. 

          5. I have a lot more than you do. ;) And I’ve done better than a two week drive through their backyard actually. ;)  Just because you don’t like the truth doesn’t mean I have no credibility. Your denial doesn’t make reality go away. 

        2. I never “changed my arguement”. It is still Tmobile blocking it. As far as me “having accounts elsewhere”, same old tired arguement from you. I DON”T, but even IF I did, wtf does it have to do with ANYTHING? Move along little kid. 

          1. You do and it matters as it just points to yet another fabrication on your part. But then again, you don’t live in reality. 

            And it was pointed out that it is a problem with how the gtalk app was written. Can’t hold TMO responsible if Samsung and Google can’t make something work that other developers clearly have. Again, video chat is not blocked by TMO. But, no, you can’t accept reality.

          2. Well, it works on sprints 3g, and according to the article Jdog wrote, only tmobiles network has a problem with the root cause. In any case, they made a commercial mocking AT&T for doing something they are now doing themselves.  

          3. I do believe you’re trying to back pedal your way out again. Interesting. Other people reporting experiences counter to your made up little conspiracy and you just can’t accept that it. Interesting indeed. Are you sure you’re not posting from an asylum?

          4. Nanananabooboo.  I have more friends than you do!!!. See why I say you are immature? Now, about your experiances countering my arguement, how about the 4 other people who are Tmobile customers, IN THIS THREAD saying Tmobile service blows? Yeah, how about that?

  4. Well, with the T-Mobile and AT&T merger, seem like the carrier are make the rules around here. Pretty much all carrier are heading in the same direction, taking control and ignoring customer’s, all they care is money.

  5. Cell companies are full of it. They talk about how they are the fastest network in America and blitz you with ads talking about 4g this and 4g that but as soon as you do something that is 4G related (video chat, streaming, and downloading) they limit you with caps and restrictions. What do cell companies think? You are gone start using less data as the phones become more high end.

    1. Unless you’re using Sprint. 

      1. No, the Nexus S on T-Mobile isn’t 4G so @Chris  has a point. I’d imagine T-Mobile would much prefer 5,000 customer service calls as to why it doesn’t work and explaining that it would just suck over a 3G connection vs. 5,000,000 tech support calls as to why it sucks over a 3G connection.

        1. It works fine on Sprints 3G. Supposedly, Tmobile 3G is faster. 

      2. …and are lucky enough to have 4G, wich is like what? 10% of their customers!!!!!! 

        1. What is Verizon’s percent??? I only ask sir because you seem to be the VZW expert around here.

          1. Their 4G is relatively new, at least they are still rolling it out. Unlike Sprints 4g, wich stalled a long time ago. And Tmobiles 3g, wich has grown at a SNAIL PACE since inception. 

          2. I knew that would be your expert response.

            check and mate. 

          3. Because you knew that was the only response. Verizon added how many markets in 3 weeks time? Like 20. In 3 weeks. 

  6. How are they enforcing this?  Are they actually analyzing traffic and dropping packets, or is it some stupid switch that could be circumvented as root?  If it’s the latter, then this isn’t really news.

    1. they are blocking the ports that gchat uses for video im sure.  Not something local to phone

  7.  …and why exactly is T-Mobile losing customers? Weren’t they the company unilaterally deciding which of your text messages to block too?

  8. my take on this is that tmobile actually wants to keep on loosing customer so the fcc can approve the merger, tmobile wants to show that they can’t keep up with the other carriers there for they need to sell to at&t, and what other way to accomplish this? is to do things they never done before like blocking video chat on the 3g network.

    1. sounds like AT&T policies to me??? 

  9. Wow, no wonder why t mobile is going down the drain.

  10. so is the little girl in the pink dress still working for T-Mobile? 

  11. Dear T-Mobile representatives,

    Your all bitches!!! !!!!!! AMA SWTICH TO SPRINT!!!

  12. It’s probably because the Nexus S doesn’t support the HSPA+ 4G network.  Video chat over 4G on the MyTouch 4G works great, so there is no reason they would be blocking it for network reasons.  Video chat over standard 3G would suck anyway.

  13.  Who are you going to talk to anyway?  Use Fring and you can video chat to Iphone users, other android devices not running gingerbread 2.3.4., ipod touches, etc.  Works great. 

  14.  wasnt this one thing they were bashing AT&T about in their ads, oh the irony

  15. reason number 485 why Tmobile sux and I would never buy a phone for their network.  Just picked up the Nexus S 4G on Sprint for my brother today, video chat works great!  Sprint FTMFW

  16. Google should have bought T-mo and transformed it into the carrier we all wanted. 

  17.  Wow still no update to this story guys? Turns out that GChat uses P2P to connect and that’s why it’s blocked. T-Mo already had P2P blocked over it’s network beforehand. 

  18. ……….Bahahahahahah!!! I’ve actually gotten really nice video chat over 3G. 

  19.  @mods Please kill Nlsme’s account his first 50 comments are all just down talking T-mobile’s coverage and if that doesn’t make him a troll then I don’t know what does. Nobody even has to make him mad his sole purpose is just to troll like he used to a few months back.

    1. @mods, please make Jdog see, that Tmobiles service does in fact BLOW. 

      1. For you it does but in my city we get great “4G” coverage from every carrier, maybe you shouldn’t live in the country.

        1. I rather enjoy my home, and why would I move to get Tmobile, when I already have Verizon? Where I live, I will have LTE, before Tmobile has service. Kinda reinforces my claim that tmobile coverage blows. 

          1. I don’t have to move to get coverage from Verizon or T-mobile. It’s not T-mobile that blows sir, it is your location. If Verizon was the best carrier in my area then I would be Verizon customer and who knows in 12 months I might be. 

          2. My location i awesome. Nice schools, low crime, no traffic. Only downfall that pertains any relevance here, is Tmobile has noceverage here, like a LOT of place. 

          3. Please edit your comment.

          4.  What comment should I edit? I am gonna stick to my arguement that their coverage blows, wether you call it trolling or not.

          5. I meant this one “My location i awesome. Nice schools, low crime, no
            traffic. Only downfall that pertains any relevance here, is Tmobile has
            noceverage here, like a LOT of place.” There are so many misspelled words,
            is this the face you were making while typing it.

          6. Wow, two mispelled words. Sorry, it was a rushed post from my phone. Glad you still got the point though. Again, it isnt just my location that doesnt get Tmobile service. 

          7. jdog25 – when he starts misspelling like that, it’s his troll showing. I can’t wait until he has a coronary, should be fun.

        2. Sry, it was a rushed post from my phone. I think the general idea came through though. As in, there is nothing wrong with my location. Other than Tmobiles lax coverage. 

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Handsets