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Why is T-mobile charging for WhatsApp international video calls?


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I have been noticing increases on my monthly bill lately and called in to verify. The agent  told me the extra charge is due to an international call. But guess what: I have been calling my country for years using WhatsApp Video Call and I have never been charged, since I have unlimited data. When I google the question I realize I’m not the only one who has this problem with T-Mobile. On my first call to the billing department the agent told me that international phone calls made through WhatsApp can be charged; she issued a one time courtesy refund to my account though. Then I spoke to a second agent and then a third agent, who both blamed WhatsApp for the issue. Here is what What’sApp says on google about this known issue:

“WhatsApp uses your phone's cellular connection or Wi-Fi network to send and receive messages and calls to your family and friends. As long as you haven't exceeded your mobile data allowance or you're connected to a free Wi-Fi network, your mobile provider shouldn't charge you for messaging or calling over WhatsApp”

I I’ve been with TMobile for about 15 years, but this issue made me consider taking my business elsewhere, since I video call Brazil everyday using What’sApp. I was offered to have put a block on international calls on my account what I will not do since I must be able to call abroad in case of an emergency. So, in other words they may keep charging me and keep blaming WhatsApp for that. Thanks God they are not the only cellular company over there!

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Best answer by Bertrand 28 June 2022, 03:27

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If you are using cellular data for WhatsApp, that may be what’s triggering international phone calls. If you are using wifi, then there shouldn’t be any charges since you are not using any data on the TMobile network. You can also try disabling international phone calls.

I believe all cellular carriers in the US have some cases of billing for WhatsApp and other VOIP apps for international calls.

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I found online that a t-mobile customer with the same issue, in 2016, was informed by T-Mobile that when T-mobile realizes there is an issue with the connectivity of the WhatsApp call, T-Mobile itself changes from data call to a regular call, and then charges the customer. Take a look on the attached screen shot.

 

I just had the same problem and the agent blamed it on WhatsApp. I have been using WhatsApp for international calls for 10+ years and never had this issue. The agent said that when there is a problem with connectivity WhatsApp changes it to a direct call and uses their network, which I don't get! Last year I put a block on all international calls and the agent confirmed that this is still active. Clearly it is pointless since they are still able to switch my WhatsApp call to normal just to charge the clients extra.

I am very disappointed by this and clearly it is a recurring problem!

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Hi Sylvia, you can go to every cell phone forum out there and tell your story. A lot of people check on these forums before choosing a cell phone carrier. On this actual competitive market, reviews, good and bad, are everything!

Me too, got charged $80+ during travel to Colombia, even I purchased 30 days international passes for both lines I have . The support manager promised a partial refund $12 for a clear wrong charge during the time I had the international pass ($100 for 2 month)

But still remains $78 un-recovered, because a WhatsApp call from US in last day of returning home, charged outrageous $3/ min!

Agent and supervisor similar blamed WhatsApp   connection drop and switched to T-Mobile direct call network, where I have unlimited data and WIFI calling!

 

Of course, WhatsApp claims No charge on any WIFI calls

Just to mention: WhatsApp drops could be very well caused by T-Mobile data/WIFI Call  problem , not WhatsApp server  

 

I understand the technical issue but T-Mobile should prompt at switching, if this is the case, a message to the customer, that will be a $3 /min charge if continue talking (just like Google Voice announce 1c/min for using their service)

 

T-Mobile fix this issue, before losing customers  

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Hi Mike, I shopped around and found a better deal with AT&T, getting more than I’m getting with T-Mobile and paying less. However AT&T has received some complaints like ours. Or I can pay a little more and go to Verizon, which is a better company in every aspect. I’m waiting on my next bills, if I see even a small increase due to this shady practice that they blame on WhatsApp, I’m out for good.  I’m not even telling T-mobile because they can make it difficult for you to port your number to the other company. Just start the service elsewhere and as soon as your number starts working on the other company you may call T-mobile for a last Good Bye!

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It’s NOT the carriers.  It’s how whatsapp handles calls.  If the handoff fails it’ll go through cellular instead of OIP.  To ensure you don’t go over cellular turn off cellular before you make the call.  This happens to ALL carriers around the world not just in the USA.

Carriers can’t prompt switching because it’s NOT their choice to switch you over it’s whatsapp. Also FCC got rid of those prompt calls unless you are calling collect or it’s a party line last I remember.

It has gotten worse the past few years since Facebook or Meta if you will took over Whatsapp.

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It became a HE SAYS SHE SAYS thing. The solution is all over the Internet: pushing airplane mode and only using a WI-FI connection before making the call. So how come T-mobile doesn’t widely display a solution for this, since I realize now it’s such a widespread problem? Is T-mobile really interested in not charging the customer for international calls made via WhatsApp? What if I don’t have a Wi-Fi spot available when I need to make an international call via WhatsApp? The situation in the market today is that there is a lot of competition out there. We don’t need T-Mobile, T-Mobile needs us. These attachments are from Google!

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It’s how Whatsapp sets up their app.  Carriers around the world are not singling out just whatsapp.  Notice it doesn’t happen with Signal, Vonage, Skype, Duo, or similar apps?  They have no problem with cellular on or off and no charges.  Whatsapp code has always been trash especially since Meta took over.  If signal is weak it will drop the call instead of handing off unlike Whatsapp which will do just that without batting an eye.  Just food for thought  it has to be coded in that way.

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Oh! So the problem is WhatsApp and it does not happen with similar apps, wright? Nope, it’s wrong. It happens with Apple FaceTime also. Look at the complaints, see the attachments. And if this problem really happens because of the apps, what I doubt, WHY DON’T T-MOIBLE ADVERTISE A SOLUTION FOR THIS ISSUE AND STOP CHARGING CUSTOMERS THAT FREQUENTLY CALL ABROAD USING WHATSAPP VIDEO OR I-PHONE FACETIME?

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for the reddit guy…  Numbers don’t add up and dates don’t add up either.  The first 2 only has times and no dates.  Also all 3 doesn’t show a charge of any kind and they may have not been charged at all for actual Facetime and making an actual call at a later time.  Yes people do be doing stuff like that… 


I read some getting charged were in fact roaming…  They were in the in the US, BUT they were near the boarder and connected to a tower that wasn’t in the USA.  This Actually happens a lot at the boarder states near the boarders of Mexico and Canada. They would get charged for international data without knowing it.  This is why if you are near an international boarder it’s best to turn off roaming.  I am a sys admin for a company that we travel a lot.  I can tell you 100% Facetime packets which Apple flags do not go over voice lines or wifi-calling.  If it did I could see that too.  Skype I can see only packets as well.  Whatsapp from time to time would piggyback the stock dialer and at times fails to hand off.  When other apps start doing that we will move them for our employees to use them.  Another Tidbit no pun intended if carriers were going to charge for Facetime Apple will just remove the option.  Saudi Arabia for example you can’t use it.  It’s easy to see when it’s used by how Apple flags packets.

Also explain how is T-Mobile supposed to warn people when they have no control of software of the devices or the software you are using?  You want them to intercept the call?  As I said it’s against FCC regulation since the late 90’s to do so unless it’s a collect call type of thing.  So why don’t you give some feedback that doesn’t violate various copyrights as well as Federal Regulations?

Just because a company eats the cost of a softwares mishaps doesn’t mean they were in the wrong and should fix that apps mishaps.  Whatsapp needs to stop hijacking the dialer.  I never tried using Facebook messenger call stuff I just outright banned it on our network because Whatsapp and Facebook are synonymous and call data is primo $$$.

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Bro, you look upset; you work for T-Mobile …maybe? I did not screen shot the whole conversation, I just did with the relevant part for this issue. Anybody can google about this and find the whole discussion online, plus other events of people complaining about being wrongly charged by T-Mobile. It is still not clear why T-Mobile does not recognize the problem and openly talks about it on its website, offering a solution for every customer to avoid this type of charge. On my side I have my Plan package ready through a different company. One more wrong charge to my bill, even a single dollar, and I’m out, 15 years of loyalty will be thrown into a trash can. I’m no longer answering you. You can easily google the subject and find details about this repetitive issue online. Good bye!!!

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Again what can T-Mobile do?  There are regulations, and laws stopping T-Mobile doing what you ask.  Also T-Mobile has no control on the OS and software you are using to do anything.  If you want those FCC regulations and laws from around the world give me a few weeks and I can probably do about 30-40 with actual references for you.  It would actually make me giggle you switch and sometime after that switch you get charged because Whatsapp code is trash and people should have already moved away from them long before Meta bought them.

 

IF you actually THINK about it and not be so emotional about it…  Different carriers, Different regions, Different devices.  Only thing in common…  Whatsapp and software.  Signal is a far better alternative and is encrypted end to end.  Not to mention their code is open source AND if a problem of bad code happens to where someone gets charged it’ll get fixed a lot quicker.  Just food for thought.

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Well…it happened again! Even if it is not T-Mobile’s fault, they should at least send the customer a text telling there will be a charge for international calls, but they don’t. Other junk texts they send all the time: evaluation after customer service calls, special promotions, etc. So, after 15 years, I’m dropping T-Mobile for good. And guess what; Verizon, the best company out there, is cheaper now. They pay $800 on your cell phone when you trade it in and they have a program for calls to other Countries, what I’m getting, so they can never charge me for international calls. And even after adding that, still cheaper than T-Mobile. Good bye T-mobile!!!

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Well…it happened again! Even if it is not T-Mobile’s fault, they should at least send the customer a text telling there will be a charge for international calls, but they don’t. Other junk texts they send all the time: evaluation after customer service calls, special promotions, etc. So, after 15 years, I’m dropping T-Mobile for good. And guess what; Verizon, the best company out there, is cheaper now. They pay $800 on your cell phone when you trade it in and they have a program for calls to other Countries, what I’m getting, so they can never charge me for international calls. And even after adding that, still cheaper than T-Mobile. Good bye T-mobile!!!

 

you should probably do a tad bit of research before making such claims…

 

 

https://community.verizon.com/t5/My-Verizon/Fraudulent-Long-Distance-Charges/m-p/1226761

 

https://community.verizon.com/t5/My-Verizon/Fraudulant-International-Charges-usiing-WhatsApp/m-p/1210097

 

https://community.verizon.com/t5/Verizon-Wireless-Services/Got-charged-international-minutes-for-using-whatsapp-to-call/m-p/1205721

 

their search list on this subject alone had quite a few more examples..i snagged the first couple..

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Another T-Mobile puppy speaking nonsense. Can you read? They are not claims, they are facts, they happened to me.

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Now, about Verizon, they allow you to choose a Country in Latin America for free, where you can call free of charge. So, just in case the call jumps from data to regular calls I’m still ok because regular calls to Brazil are free of charge.

Can I use t mobile in my na7 whatsapp v11.95 please help 

It’s NOT the carriers.  It’s how whatsapp handles calls.  If the handoff fails it’ll go through cellular instead of OIP.  To ensure you don’t go over cellular turn off cellular before you make the call.  This happens to ALL carriers around the world not just in the USA.

Carriers can’t prompt switching because it’s NOT their choice to switch you over it’s whatsapp. Also FCC got rid of those prompt calls unless you are calling collect or it’s a party line last I remember.

It has gotten worse the past few years since Facebook or Meta if you will took over Whatsapp.

WhatsApp does not switch calls over to the phone line. It might use cellular data if the WiFi is not good, but that is not a reason for the carriers to charge per minute fee for data usage for which they already charge, either based on limited gigabytes or unlimited data plans.

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It’s NOT the carriers.  It’s how whatsapp handles calls.  If the handoff fails it’ll go through cellular instead of OIP.  To ensure you don’t go over cellular turn off cellular before you make the call.  This happens to ALL carriers around the world not just in the USA.

Carriers can’t prompt switching because it’s NOT their choice to switch you over it’s whatsapp. Also FCC got rid of those prompt calls unless you are calling collect or it’s a party line last I remember.

It has gotten worse the past few years since Facebook or Meta if you will took over Whatsapp.

WhatsApp does not switch calls over to the phone line. It might use cellular data if the WiFi is not good, but that is not a reason for the carriers to charge per minute fee for data usage for which they already charge, either based on limited gigabytes or unlimited data plans.

It uses an API which uses your DIALER to initiate the call.  That IS the problem. It doesn’t actually use it’s own dialer.  What happens when WIFI fails there is a chance it’ll use the actual landline instead of mobile data.  That’s why I say their app is trash. They’ve know why and how it happens but they haven’t changed it.  To ensure it doesn’t hand off to cellular you put  your phone on airplane and turn wifi on.  If the calls fails that was a chance you could have had it hand off incorrectly.

I have been using T-mobile and WhatsApp for years. Never had an issue. 

If this becomes an issue to me, I am out of T-mobile service. I continue to stay with T-mobile because of their excellent customer service, not because they are cheaper, and definitely not for their coverage.

What Term & Agreement? That is crap! Data is data. Switching over to cellular call and we will be charged, customers like us need to be notified in advanced/right away by text and email. Not until end of the statement date. Especially for those post paid customers, they can’t charge anything they want just because of “Term & Agreement”. This is abusive!!

Like credit card, I signed up for notification that whenever I am charged for certain amount, if my balance reach to certain level, etc.

I want to be notified in daily basis if my balance is beyond my standard monthly payment. No more surprises.

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