You’re sitting in a meeting and it’s going on for way too long. You’re bored, your phone is in your pocket, and you want to check Instagram. But you can’t because you’re on Verizon and they don’t let you use the internet while on the phone. Why can’t I use the internet while I’m talking? Is there any good reason? Let’s take a look.
First thing’s first, why not make calls over the internet?
The phone network works by having a ton of towers spread all around your city and beyond. These towers connect with every phone in your area and they all talk to each other to let you dial others. But if everything were connected wirelessly, we could do away with those cables and those towers, and we could have a much more efficient phone system.
This is the idea behind Voice-over-LTE or VoLTE. It’s a next generation calling protocol that lets your phone connect directly with another using radio waves instead of cables. This saves money for the carriers by pushing all the “last mile” work to your phone instead of having to run cables from towers.
Phones have been able to use VoLTE for a few years now but the rollout has been slow and it’s hard to get your hands on one that can do it. Verizon is currently experimenting with using LTE signals for calls, which would put an end to dropped calls and poor connections.
But if calls are on the internet, then why can’t I use data while on a call?
This leads us to the real reason you can’t use the internet while on the phone with someone. It’s all about prioritization. Let’s say that both of your voices are traveling over radio waves at around 700Mb per second. There needs to be a way to tell the phone that it should put your voice on the top of the pile and only switch the radio to data when you’re talking and not your friend.
The phone’s software does this by prioritizing calls over anything else, even if they’re just VoLTE. You can’t use data because all of the bandwidth is dedicated to your call.
So it has nothing to do with the phone’s internal components?
Nope. All phones have the same internal parts, but there are certain phones that can do VoLTE and others that can’t. If you want to get really technical about it, there aren’t any cell phones that can’t do VoLTE, but carriers haven’t turned it on yet. However, if you have a phone that does support VoLTE, there’s nothing stopping you from making an internet call. It just might not work very well. LTE is great at sending data quickly, but the calls are still impairments in the system. Maybe one day carriers will figure out how to make the internet and phone call experience great, but for now, it’s still not worth your time. There are plenty of other things you can do online while you’re on the phone.
If I want to talk to my friend in another country or state, what options do I have?
You just need a SIM card from a carrier that supports voice and data on the same radio. In fact, Verizon just launched a promotion with international carriers that let your use your plan’s data to call anywhere in the world from Canada or Mexico! Just buy a package from one of these companies and you’re good to go. There are several other carriers out there that have similar deals. If you can’t find a SIM card like this at your local store, you might be able to get the company themselves to send one out to you.
So if I’m on Verizon and I want internet while talking, is there any way I can make calls over VoLTE?
Not right now. It’ll come when they start allowing LTE data, but it’s impossible to do with the current technology.
If I want internet while talking I’m going to have to make an expensive international call?
Not necessarily! If you are on Verizon, there is a way around this. Find your friendly neighborhood XDA member and get yourself a Google Voice account. Just set it up as a forwarding number and you’ll be able to make calls over the internet with no problem.
But there’s still the problem of not being able to use data while on a call.
Not quite! There is one way we’ve found that lets you do both, but this method isn’t very practical since it doesn’t really work well. The only way to do this is by using an app called CSipSimple. The CSipSimple application lets you place calls over the internet just like Google Voice, but it doesn’t allow for data use while on a call.
This is why your internet will drop during calls, it has nothing to do with the phone’s hardware.
So if I want to stop dropping wifi while talking on the phone, I just need a GVoice account?
Not exactly. It won’t actually solve the problem of dropped data while you’re talking on the phone. So if you want internet and calls at the same time, this is your best bet. But there is another solution: hang up! Calls are so cheap these days that it really doesn’t matter if you have to call back.
Your internet will start working again when the person on the other end hangs up, which is usually after you do anyways! And while you talking, just enjoys how nice it is not having poor sound quality or interruptions every few minutes. There are plenty of other things for you to do during your call than surfing the web. And if you need to make a quick Google search, just use your phone’s built-in voice command and dictate your search terms without having to hang up.
Just remember that cellular data isn’t meant for talking, but there are plenty of other ways around it!
While it is possible to use your mobile device as a wireless hotspot, you cannot connect to the internet and make voice calls at the same time. This will often depend on your specific plan.
Customers who talk and surf simultaneously with their devices could experience slower connection speeds when surfing the web. The reason is that the connection must be shared among all of a subscriber’s devices, so your phone may prioritize your voice call over data when you are using both at the same time.
Making or receiving a voice call while using a device as a wireless hotspot can also reduce battery life and slow down data transfer speeds.
If you are experiencing slower speeds, please contact customer service to discuss your specific situation.
So what is the policy on using your phone’s data while talking? There are a few reasons why Verizon doesn’t allow you to have internet access. The first is that it uses too much data, which means you’re not paying for all of your allotted monthly allowances if you use the internet during every call.
Second, many people don’t want to be distracted by texts or other notifications coming through their phones when they’re trying to talk with someone in person. And thirdly, some people may feel less comfortable having an extended conversation about personal things knowing that whoever they are speaking with can see images and posts from their life at any moment due to them still having internet access on their phone. You might find this helpful information as well.