WIFI Calling Preferences Being Forced to Cellular Preferred

  • 10 October 2020
  • 87 replies

Userlevel 3

I am experiencing my WIFI Calling Preferences always being forced to “cellular preferred”, as are others.   I live in an area with poor T-mobile mobile data signal and this recent behavior makes my phone unable to make and receive calls and text messages.   I believe the problem only started happening after the next to last T-Mobile software update.  Everything was fine for my first 5 months of ownership.  A Google search shows posts of other users experiencing the same issue, but no options other than a tedious workaround of manually switching the phone to Airplane mode and changing the WIFI calling preferences back to “WIFI preferred”.  I have to do this kind of process each time I enter and leave my home, and sometimes have to reboot my phone as well.   The times I’ve forgotten, I’ve missed package deliveries and went to a doctor appointment when the doctor had left a message that he was out sick.  This appears to be a carrier specific issue as far as I can see.   I even tried replacing my rock solid Netgear R6400 router with an ASUS AX3000 router with no resulting changes.   I’m in a small apartment only 10 feet from the router, with a very strong WIFI signal.  I have two Samsung Galaxy S20 phones (March 2020) which both exhibit the exact same behavior.   I spoke with T-Mobile Tech support which appeared to be clueless about this issue other than to send me two new S20 phones under warranty to my T-Mobile store.   I do not have high confidence in this approach but will try the new phones and report back. 

Does anyone know anything more?   I am not aware of T-Mobile publicly acknowledging this issue.

87 replies

Userlevel 2

Hey T-Mobile…

You need to fix this!  It is more than frustrating to have the Wifi Calling setting automatically switch to: “Prefer Cellular” when I have purposely set it to prefer Wifi.   Time and time again,  a contact will complain about my connection and sure setting has switched back to prefer cellular.  The LTE, around my home, isn’t consistent enough to support the prefer cellular option, which is why I select prefer Wifi.  

I echo this frustration.  When this crap happens during the phone conversation, it actually drops the call. 

Userlevel 1

Hey T-Mobile…

You need to fix this!  It is more than frustrating to have the Wifi Calling setting automatically switch to: “Prefer Cellular” when I have purposely set it to prefer Wifi.   Time and time again,  a contact will complain about my connection and sure setting has switched back to prefer cellular.  The LTE, around my home, isn’t consistent enough to support the prefer cellular option, which is why I select prefer Wifi.  

Userlevel 1

I am not a techie and I do not understand but I am having the EXACT same problem!!! Started a few days ago. If/When I enable Wi-Fi calling, all my phone does is CONSTANTLY ping back and forth between wi-fi and cellular preferred. I’m home all the time and my wi-fi is fine. I have tried turning off/on my phone, turning off/on wi-fi calling, turning off/on wi-fi connection on the phone and NO LUCK to resolve. (Well, other than leaving wi-fi calling off, but that’s not a solution.) I have no idea how to fix it but the constant back & forth makes texting impossible along with other issues. Is there a fix at all that I can understand and do? Why did this start happening when I’ve had no problems before? Please and thank you! 

Userlevel 2

I am having the same issue.  Wifi preference is being forced to cell preferred.  I just don’t understand why Tmobile is not taking this issue as a widespread issue.

Userlevel 1

Having the same problem. Frustrating that Tmobile is not acknowledging their customer issues. This is a big one for ppl with bad service areas. 

Userlevel 2

I have been frustrated with this issue for some time. I switched to T-Mobile years ago when they were the first to offer Wi-Fi calling. I needed it for a vacation, as the resort we stayed in had no cellular signal.

It worked fine for many years, always staying Wi-Fi preferred, until a software update caused it to start resetting to Cellular, even as I sit with 3 feet of my router. I switched from T-Mobile CellSpot router (ASUS RT-AC68U) to a pair of ASUS RT-AC86U routers with latest AIMesh firmware. No difference.

I update software every time it is offered, but can’t get Wi-Fi preferred to stay. With the latest November update, Wi-Fi preferred will stay for several days and then seemingly hourly continue to switch to cellular.

I have done the network reset and clear cache partition, but didn’t change a thing.

The last time I reported this to T-Mobile they replaced my SIM card, but didn’t fix it.

T-Mobile suggest S10 customers turn off 5G, but that isn’t an option for my S9.

I tried the Airplane mode with Wi-Fi on and Wi-Fi preferred, and Wi-Fi did stick, but my Windows 10 Phone Companion app wouldn’t connect to the phone. If I am on my computer, I prefer to use the app.

Except for this I am fairly happy with T-Mobile and happy with my S9. I live in Asheville, NC, and mobile service is spotty where I live. I hope the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint will offer better coverage.

As for 5G, if I ever do upgrade to get it, I will wait for the mid-range C-Band to be supported.Sprint already owns a lot of frequencies in the C-Band range that can be used for 5G.

I don’t understand the message.

“wi-fi calling preferences updated to optimize network experience”. If I have it set to Wi-Fi preferred  and am not connected to Wi-Fi, the phone will use cellular. If I connect to Wi-Fi, I want to use Wi-Fi. I set my preference and don’t want T-Mobile to reset it.

My only option may be to switch to Spectrum Mobile using Verizon network. I will have to buy a new phone, but the frustration with this issue may push me to do it.

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

Happening on a Galaxy S10 as well.  WiFi preferred will not stay checked.

Userlevel 2

Wow! That’s quite the “fix”. This is far more than I’d like to take on. This problem shouldn’t have to be fixed by adding some questionable app that controls all your permissions and then essentially hacking into the controls and experimenting your way to a solution….that, in the end, might just improve things (or not….or make them worse). I think it would be easier for me to just switch to Verizon! I think it’s up to T-Mobile to come up with a fix….a legitimate fix….not a hack! It seems an update they did caused the problem, why not come up with a fix update? It’s funny that my wife and I both had this issue starting about 5-6 months ago and now, thinking we could fix it with new phones (and sims)…...NOT….we had the exact same issue with the new phones and sims. Why OUR phones? Isn’t everyone having this issue? if not, why not? Who is affected and why? This should be at the top of T-Mobile’s diagnostics….and quickly! I can’t wait much longer and I’m certainly not hearing anything from them. Hmmmm…..why not? I thought they had excellent service! Well, they used to anyway. I’m not happy!

Userlevel 2

The fact that T-Mobile has not resolved this issue is horrible.


But - what is WORSE - is that if any customer WHO calls about this happening on their phone, technical support CLAIMS to know nothing about it. Like the customer calling is the first one to experience this.


They sent me to Samsung, and when I told the technician about the issue at Samsung, she started laughing and said T-Mobile should be able to fix the problem...


Perhaps T-Mobile higher ups dont’t know anything about it, which even reflects even more badly on T-Mobile. How could they not know with all these postings??


How can this company that spends zillions of dollars on advertising for new customers not spent some on IT to correct this problem?


Is this wi-fi issue only on the Samsung phones? I have an S9. If not corrected soon, I am moving to another carrier. T-Mobile does not deserve anyone’s business with such incredibly obnoxious and stupid technical support and their being unresponsive to a legitimate issue which troubles many of us for the very same reason.  I have read all the messages back and forth -- WHY HAS THIS NOT BEEN FIXED?????

Userlevel 1

Same thing happens to my s10 5g, switches back to cellular preferred and causes dropped calls in a WiFi area.  Been going on for about a year.  Called tmobile but the kid on the other end was so stupid he couldn't understand what I was talking about.  After about 5 minutes I jist hung up.

Userlevel 2

I am breaking my promise. I am making one more post as a T-Mobile customer.

I am leaving T-Mobile for CREDO Mobile. I do this with regret. When I joined T-Mobile it supplied voice reliability through Wi-Fi calling. As long as my Wi-Fi was working, my phone used Wi-Fi calling with no problems. If I had any problem, T-Mobile Customer Care came up with the solution.

This all changed with a software upgrade two years ago. Wi-Fi calling became unreliable, and my voice quality suffered. It kept getting worse. I started losing calls.

Over the past months I have put a lot of effort into trying to get T-Mobile to fix the problem. Calls to customer care did not provide a solution, and a promised callback from technical support never happened.

A letter to customer care at headquarters resulted in a call from a customer care rep, but my cell phone quality was so bad we had to switch to my land line, and then to emails. Still no solution, although I was offered a discount on a new iPhone.

I then searched for T-Mobile USA management and found Callie Feld, executive vice president and chief customer experience officer. I sent her a letter detailing my experiences and asked for help. I waited a week and a half, then sent her another letter yesterday saying the wait was over, I was switching to CREDO.

T-Mobile customer care is the main face of T-Mobile to its customers, and it is the face they see when they have problems. When customer care fails to provide the needed support, T-Mobile looks bad. With this issue T-Mobile looks incompetent.

T-Mobile should be able to query its problem database to determine how many customers have this issue, how long they have experienced this issue, and the models of the phone that are having this issue. Customer care should be sharing this data with product support. They should be saying ‘Albuquerque, we have a problem.’

So I will say it. Albuquerque, you have a problem.

Same promelem for me on the note 20 ultra. I constantly have to switch back to wifi preferred at work because I get no signal. 

Userlevel 2

Same issue here. The problem seemed to first appear about 6 0r 8 months ago or so after an update. I then starting missing many texts and calls both coming and going…..very frustrating! My wife was having the same problem with her Note 8. As with others here, the T-Mobile coverage here is marginal and we depend on the WiFi calling for the majority of our communication…...not anymore! We were actually due for new phones anyway so I thought, rather than try to fix the problem, well, it must be our old phones. We upgraded to an S21 Ultra and a Note20 Ultra…..$2300 worth of new phones! Things seemed good for a week or so….then we seemed to be missing texts and calls! Our phones were again swapping to “cellular preferred”! This is completely unsatisfactory!!!!  8 years ago I swapped from Verizon to T-Mobile (even though the Verizon coverage was better) because I believed in the T-Mobile customer service and extra perks. But if the phones can’t perform their basic functions, and, T-Mobile refuses to resolve this issue, it may very well be time to go back to Verizon! 

Userlevel 1

I have the exact same problem on my samsung s10e android software version 10.  The problem started very recently immediately after an update.  For over a year the phone was working fine.  Now I set my preferred network to Wifi (because there is very poor tmobile coverage at my house) I have excellent wifi signal.  After a few minutes my phone alerts me that it has updated my preference to Cellular.  There is thread from over a year ago reporting the same problem but the thread is marked solved and I don’t know why.  A lot of people started posting on it recently saying they started having the same problem in the last two months.  Does Tmobile think the problem is fixed because it most certainly is not.  

as of the one UI 3.0 / android 11 update, there is now a solution for this that seems to work 100% of the time via tasker without any further interaction from the user. one profile and one task and it will keep you on wifi preferred...i've had this running for over a week now and it has worked perfectly.


tldr - since the android 11 update, there's now a custom system setting that controls this that we can monitor and change via tasker. the custom setting you're looking for is wifi_calling_preferred1. create a tasker profile that will automatically set it back to wifi preferred as soon as it changes to cellular preferred. my tasker profile and action are at the link above, as well as on taskernet (link in the blog post).

Userlevel 1

I find it very interesting that TMobile has not responded to this. I had the same issue with my Samsung A71. I specifically moved to TMobile for the 5G capability which is not worth the letters that make it up. Why be sold into a 5G capable phone (for obvious money) when the service is not consistent. I too disabled 5G and have so far had limited success with the results. It still toggles back and forth but instead of every 10 min, I am down to about 5 times a day...success?!?! maybe. BTW, 5G was 50% speed of my old Samsung S10 on 4G on other carrier.

Userlevel 1

@fireguy_6364, I do not have a FB or Twitter account to deal with them. I have also tried calling and support was pretty useless. I had to troubleshoot through the internet to figure out to turn 5G off.


Userlevel 3

Went to the T-Mobile store on 10/20/20 to get the two “new” phones I was promised.  Only one phone was there and it was a refurb despite my specifically being told it wouldn’t be.  I passed on the refurb.

The district T-Mobile manager was there that day.  He called T-Mobile from the back room where I couldn’t hear and came back with a proposed solution:  disable 5G.   I put my phones back to LTE, disabling 5G.   The WIFI Preferences optimization notifications continued incessantly as before.  Actually I noticed that that the phone was actually bouncing between WIFI Preferred and Cellular Preferred settings, as others have described.   I had been setting it to WIFI Preferred and observing it being flipped to Cellular Preferred.   I did not realize that it would also optimize to WIFI Preferred, although much less often than to Cellular Preferred.

Interestingly, a new software update installed to my phone early in the morning on 10/21/20, which was the second update I received during the month of October.   For the rest of the day my phone continued changing the WIFI Calling Preferences just as it had before and making frequent notifications.   But by the next morning, the behavior abruptly stopped and both of my phones now seem to be working normally for the last six days, despite WIFI Calling being left set to Cellular Preferred and my being in a very weak signal area.   Hmmm.  

So everything seems good now for both phones.   Hopefully, I’m not celebrating too soon.   I might eventually reenable 5G and see what happens.

I’m guessing there may be some kind of learning going on where the phone now might be figuring out where I spend most of my time and connect to WIFI.   I wish there were a technical explanation somewhere about what really goes on “under the hood” with WIFI Calling, what the issues have been, and what fixes or other changes have been implemented over time.

I will post back if problems reoccur.

Same here (GS9+ from VZW, recent switch)

Thanks for the workaround, but T-Mobile needs to fix this from their side. I understand why they do this - i.e. for E-911, you should ideally always call from a cellular signal if available because then they can triangulate your position in an emergency - but I travel a lot (even with this ridiculous pandemic), and when I’m roaming that would be an extra cost.

The ideal workaround will be for T-Mobile to have any emergency call be forced over cellular regardless of this preference (and fall back to Wifi as a last resort), but all calls normally go over Wifi if that is preferred, and NOT MESS WITH THIS SETTING.

So here’s my problem. I’ve had poor cellular reception for over a decade at my home, so I had T Mobile  send me a 4G LTE cellspot, which works great.  But with my new 5G phone, it refuses to use 4G and keeps trying to use 5G towers, which do not work in my neighborhood. They work very well elsewhere in my city/county, but not at home.  So I’ve tried to use WiFi calling at home, the phone says it’s using it, but it will not connect nor do I get any incoming calls. I have it set to use WiFi and not cellular preferred, it doesn’t matter as it always tries using the cellular network. The phone keeps trying to use the 5G towers which suck.  So my only solution is to turn WiFi calling off and manually change my cell service to 4GLTE while at home (so I’m using the cellspot), and then remember to change it back to 5G when I leave the house.

Setting the preferred cell network at home to Automatic (5G on/ 5G/LTE/3G/2G) won’t work either, it won’t use the full bars LTE instead of the nearly non-existent 5G. 

Userlevel 2

I continue to have the “Wi F calling preferences updated to optimize network experience” message appear on my Galaxy S9 constantly. It is changed from Wi-Fi to cellular, even though I have only one bar on cellular service and am 5 feet away from my ASUS RT-AC86U router. It seems like I miss calls when it is reset to cellular preferred.

I have many issues with this unwanted “service”. If I set a preference, it is what I want and I expect my preference to be honored. Is this reset only on my phone, or is it also recognized by T-Mobile so if I get a call T-Mobile will only use cellular and not work if I don’t have sufficient coverage?

T-Mobile has replaced my SIM card, but that didn;t help. There was a suggestion to clear the cache partition and reset network connection. I have done this repeatedly and it doesn’t work.

It looks like I have three solutions: Take my Galaxy S9 to AT&T, stay with T-Mobile and replace my Samsung with a different manufacturer’s cell phone, or go to Spectrum/Verizon and get a new phone.

Note to T-Mobile: If you are monitoring this issue, please respond.

So frustrating to find such an old thread, on a topic that has not been answered.

We live outside cell-signal range. Way back when, Wi-Fi calling was THE reason we had T-Mobile in the first place.

And we are still being frustrated by automatic resetting to "cellular preferred" MULTIPLE TIMES DAILY, disrupting our communications. 

A year later, the problem persists! I am new to T-mobile. My galaxy S21 wiFi calling switches back from wifi-preferrerd to cellular-preferred after a few days. I think this happens when I leave the house and come back but it seems random.

T-mobile, this is more than annoying! I miss important calls when this happens because cell coverage is spotty in my house. Fix this!!

Userlevel 2

It is disturbing that nothing is being done to remedy this problem….and that T-Mobile will not even acknowledge it. There is an obvious issue here that needs immediate resolution. Perhaps public awareness is low because it mainly affects folks who don’t have the best cellular connection and even then, most folks would likely be unaware of why the were missing texts and calls. It really does seem to be from our phones spontaneously switching to “Cellular Preferred”. Wait, whose preference is that? Mine?….or the phone’s? Can’t I lock in MY preferences? What’s that setting for? Who’s it for? If it’s on “Cellular Preferred” and there is poor cellular service at that location (although there may be good wifi) you will miss calls and texts. Such has been my situation for the last 6 months or so. 

As much as I’ve loved T-Mobile for the last 8 years, they seem to have gone downhill. This is truly unacceptable and I am ready to change carriers. If I see no real changes, or at least an explanation and attempt to fix this, I will make it my mission to make this issue, and their lack of response, as public as possible and get the word out nationwide…..there’s a big problem and T-Mobile refuses to not only fix it, but to even acknowledge it!

Same here, Galaxy s8+. Very annoying, I'm guessing it's deliberate so tmobile can get you to use their network as much as possible. Pisses me off when working from home where my cell signal is basically between zero and two bars. Drops calls all the time. When you select wifi preferred it should mean use wifi whenever you have it goddam it, not act like a smart-ass and keep 'optimizimg' it so that you cannot make or receive phone calls and miss messages.