In a good news / bad news situation, TmoNews has found out that the upcoming G2 will not support tethering at launch, but may offer Wi-Fi calling. We’ve previously called out T-Mobile for the lack of UMA calling, and finally we have reason to raise hopes.
As far as the tethering is concerned, here is T-Mobile’s official statement:
“T-Mobile does not currently support handset tethering or offer a tethering rate plan. Though tethering and Wi-Fi sharing will not be initially supported on the T-Mobile G2, we know that consumers are interested in these features and we are working to develop a solution to support them in the future.”
I don’t know if they actually are looking into enabling tethering, which is in stock Android 2.2 by default, but it’s nice that at least they’re publicly addressing it.
The info on UMA, on the other hand, is not official, but comes from leaked screenshots of employee training programs. There’s also a live shot of the G2, showing the same icon for Wi-Fi calling as in the training screens.
The text on one of the screens mentions that there won’t be any “hand-off,” meaning you won’t be able to continue a call on 3G/HSPA+ when you leave your Wi-Fi zone, which is a step down from how T-Mobile’s current UMA service works. A phone shot used in another screen looks like the Samsung Vibrant, implying that the Wi-Fi calling functionality can be added to existing handsets via software update. Which devices get it will be entirely up to T-Mobile, as the app won’t be available in the Market.
One has to wonder if the resourceful Android developer community won’t be able to hack the app and make it work over HSPA+, thereby allowing calls over data wherever coverage is available, and potentially eliminating the need for a voice plan at all…
For now, though, it’s just T-Mobile offering a great option for those who don’t have land-lines, or who make Starbucks their office.