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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: missundecided on December 20, 2016, 05:05:44 PM

Title: Ting & MMS
Post by: missundecided on December 20, 2016, 05:05:44 PM
How do all my fellow Ting users get MMS messages to receive/deliver?

On my previous phone (an LG G3), I used the Textra app instead of the native messaging app and even when I had data turned off, regardless of whether I was using wifi, an MMS (whether it was a group text message or a picture) would briefly and automatically use my data to transmit the message. Which worked great because I'm not always in an area with wifi and I don't want my data on at all times.

However, I recently had to downgrade my device because my G3's data and wifi stopped working (affecting everything; I think it is a hardware issue), and I'm now using an LG D415 as a placeholder until I get a more permanent replacement phone. Unfortunately, even though I've installed Textra again and set it up to match the settings I used on the G3, I can only receive/send MMS messages when wifi is off and data is on. Not exactly a good way to be conservative with my data plan, as I don't want to have data on on the off-chance a random MMS is trying to come through. Same problem with the native messaging app.

I've checked my MMS settings to match whatever APN configuration it needs to be and Ting doesn't know. Instead, they recommend I keep data on all the time or switch to a third-party app (which can be a hassle to get everyone on my contacts list on board and doesn't serve me well if I'm in area where I'm not on wifi and I'd rather not use data [which defeats the purpose, because I could just send/receive MMS through the messaging app in that case]).

There HAS to be a way to do this. I know because my G3 was able to push MMS through a brief, automatic flash of data when I was only using wifi, as I mentioned. Both LG phones are using the T-Mobile network, and not Sprint, which I know makes a difference.

Anyone with a workaround? And if not, what devices do people use on Ting so that I can actually send/receive MMS without a hitch and without keeping my data on 24/7?
Title: Re: Ting & MMS
Post by: Daley on December 20, 2016, 05:53:11 PM
I'm having a bit of difficulty tracking what the exact problem is and where the failure point is as you have conflicting information. Are you having problems sending MMS on WiFi only? While on mobile data? What exactly?

If we're talking WiFi MMS support... is WiFi calling enabled on the Ting end and on the phone end? The T-Mobile G3 has T-Mo WiFi calling support, as does the L90. If you have a T-Mobile branded L90, here's the settings to enable it properly: ( (

With WiFi calling enabled, SMS and MMS should route over UMA/WiFi as well as calls, however some phones need WiFi disabled to send MMS anyway. If it's not a T-Mo branded/flashed L90, you're not gong to have WiFi calling support at all.

Hope this gets you sorted. Any other questions or if I misunderstood and you can clarify further, let me know.
Title: Re: Ting & MMS
Post by: missundecided on December 21, 2016, 03:10:30 PM
I suspected my OP would be difficult to understand. Sorry about that!

Ignore the wifi thing for now. Essentially, what my G3 used to do was, whenever I was sending/receiving an MMS, it would automatically transmit using data. Even when my data toggle was manually turned off.

When I manually toggle data on (and turn wifi off), MMS works no problem. But I'd rather not walk around with my data on at all times. When I catch an MMS trying to come through, I can quickly turn it on to "capture" it, but that doesn't work in those instances where I don't see the incoming message in a timely fashion and by then it's too late; it's gone for good and I can't even see who is trying to communicate with me so I can tell them to retry. (In cases of group messaging, the retry request would probably not be a good idea anyway.) Instead, I just get a message saying something to the effect of "failed MMS, turn on mobile data." (This is in Textra.)

I hope that clarifies my problem a little more. If not, I'm happy to take another stab at it.

Title: Re: Ting & MMS
Post by: Daley on December 21, 2016, 04:23:51 PM
Okay, I'm following now.

The feature you're looking for is a Textra specific setting, or at least was at one point, and dependent upon a now depreciated and removed Android API.

Rummaging a bit, it appears that the L90 runs Android 5.x (Lollipop), correct? I'm also wondering what version of Android your G3 was last running? 6.0 (Marshmallow)? Or were you still using 4.4 (KitKat - which I suspect you were running)? If so, this might be of interest to you on the Textra SMS knowledgebase: (

It appears Google depreciated the "setMobileDataEnabled" API after version 5.0 Lollipop, and that's why you can't do this anymore. It impacted a whole slew of apps, and it appears Google is unwilling to bring the API back (

My only suggestion is that if this is that important to you, downgrade to the KitKat system blob for your L90 and deal with the increased security issues. Google's got you over a barrel. You can either have a useful feature or patched system security and ridiculous data usage.

This is yet another reason why I stopped recommending Android smartphones and went to Windows Phone myself...
Title: Re: Ting & MMS
Post by: missundecided on December 21, 2016, 05:03:15 PM
I was worried you were going to say something like that. I'm investigating Windows phones now, but can't tell if a) they're compatible with Ting and b) would solve the MMS problem.

What about CDMA? Does that change anything? I think the friendly folks at Ting said CDMA phones at least transmit MMS over wifi, if I understood correctly, although I didn't have great MMS experience with a Sprint HTC Evo on Ting either, if memory serves.

I'll have to get back to you on which Android versions my two LGs are/were running, but I'm not terribly keen on trying to figure out how to downgrade and whatnot, so may be a moot point.

Thanks for your rummaging skills, IP!
Title: Re: Ting & MMS
Post by: Daley on December 21, 2016, 06:53:18 PM
a) They're absolutely compatible with Ting. My wife and I are using two Lumia 435 ('s without any specific problems at all. Because we're using T-Mobile branded Windows handsets, we get WiFi calling capabilities as well with Ting, which can be handy in hospital basements and whatnot... though MMS over UMA WiFi doesn't work, nor does purely sending/receiving MMS over WiFi only work - you have to use mobile data.

b) The MMS problem would still be an "issue" in that you would still need to have mobile data active at all times, but (and this is a huge but)... the inbuilt Data Sense manager? Best data manager on any smartphone platform. Aggressive, too, if you want it be. I'll give you an example: shared data usage between our two Lumia 435s runs around 50MB a month total (we each have the phones set to a 50MB "soft cap" on the phone end). I'm currently on day 25 of this cycle, and I've personally only used 2.01MB. My wife goes out a lot more and isn't as aggressive with her data settings as I have, and she's only used 44.06MB, and this has been a heavy data usage month for her. In comparison, my mother's on a Moto E, and I've optimized, restricted and tweaked to my all-fire optimized best on her phone, and the basic Google background apps easily chew up 100+MB a month, and she's averaging nearly 250MB per month at this point - she used to get by with under 80MB/month on the same phone pre-Lollipop. Microsoft's Data Sense actually respects your data restriction limits. Same with privacy and app restrictions to cameras, microphones, GPS, etc. This said, we don't do a lot of MMS-ing.

We do occasionally have to reboot the phones to get MMS data working again, but we had the same problem with our old Blackberry 9900's as well. I suspect it's something with our local network specifically, and it usually happens after we've been in a 2G GSM service area or off roaming.

Regarding sending/receiving MMS via WiFi data, Ting doesn't officially support it ( (almost nobody does - they want that sweet sweet mobile data MMS revenue), not even sure you can on Ting. This said, I know you could on T-Mobile, but it wasn't a universal thing, it depended heavily on the phone and/or app. Textra is the only app I know of that can specifically do this, but I also know that Textra had a hack for T-Mo users that disabled WiFi to send MMS with T-Mo users. Textra isn't available for Windows Phone, in fact, no other SMS/MMS handling apps are available for Windows Phone... so if you go this route? You will lose that... but other than not being able to avoid mobile data charges on MMS messages, the Messenger app is quite slick.

If you go the Windows Phone route and you want WiFi calling support, you'll need a T-Mobile branded handset running WP 8.1. Anything that can or does run WP10 won't support UMA WiFi calling. If you don't care about that, go with a carrier unlocked, refurbished AT&T Lumia 640 and update it to WP10 the instant you get hold of it.

That help?
Title: Re: Ting & MMS
Post by: neo von retorch on December 22, 2016, 09:05:55 AM
I'm assuming this isn't an option with the version of Android you have. With 7.0 (and possibly earlier), I have Data Saver enabled, and Textra SMS is the only app which is allowed to use data; now when an MMS is sent to me, it works regardless of WiFi connectivity, and I can leave Data on because nothing else tends to use it.
Title: Re: Ting & MMS
Post by: missundecided on December 22, 2016, 04:39:24 PM
I have Android 5.0.2 on the current phone. Neo, sounds like the set up I had on my previous device, but if I'm understanding correctly, IPD is saying that Textra doesn't work this way anymore because of a removed API. (I'm going to pretend I understand the lingo used, mmm hmmm *nods head*). Perhaps your Textra still works because it's an older version, and mine doesn't because it's a re-installed/upgraded version.

Just in case, I enabled Data Saver but couldn't figure out how to disallow other apps from using data.
Title: Re: Ting & MMS
Post by: neo von retorch on December 22, 2016, 07:27:57 PM
By default, all apps are "disabled" with data saver on unless it's the active app. "Unrestricted data access" is clickable on my phone, though it isn't obvious.