When Google launched the Pixel into Australia back in October, one of the features promoted as part of the tie-up with Telstra as carrier partner was the ability for both Pixel and Pixel XL to use Telstra’s VoLTE feature for voice calls over 4G. However, while the Pixel XL launched with support for VoLTE (with some hiccups), the Pixel didn’t, and we asked Telstra why. The short answer? It wasn’t ready to provide a good quality service, so it was disabled on the network side.
Fast forward just under two months, and it seems as if VoLTE on Telstra has been switched on. In fact, we only noticed it this afternoon when making a call and seeing a rather unusual error message; when making a call, the Pixel returned a “Server did not respond” message, which seemed odd for a call proceeding over 3G.
It was a double-take which confirmed that the phone was trying to make the call over 4G, and due to it being a low signal area, the phone wasn’t able to connect with Telstra’s VoLTE system, and thus the call failed. A few moments later, with better signal, I was able to make VoLTE calls to a number of other parties, and even managed to see the elusive HD Voice icon shown only when both your phone, and the person you’ve dialed support the feature.
If you’ve got a Pixel on Telstra, and you’re in a 4G coverage area, it’s time to see if you’ve got VoLTE support — best bet? Call your Message Bank on 101; it doesn’t cost anything, and if VoLTE is working, you’ll see a screen like the above.
Telstra hasn’t, to our knowledge, made any public announcement about this, but equally, given the nature of the feature (it not being especially well known) and the relatively few people affected (it’s just Pixel users, out of however many dozens of other VoLTE capable handsets), they’re probably not likely to.
Regardless, we’ve written to Telstra and asked if they can tell us more about what’s happened, what the issues were, and how they’ve been addressed. However, if you don’t care for the details, just be pleased that your phone can now make higher quality voice calls with quicker setup times!