On tethering, hidden SSID and Visual Voice Mail, where art thou in Mango?

For those who managed to get Mango on to your phones in the last 24 hours, congratulations. It seems like so far everyone is really liking the new OS--in fact, folks are ecstatic over it. Still, some features seem to be "missing" from various phones and we want to shed some light on why that is.

This information comes way of Microsoft themselves, who we met with prior to "Mango day" and gave us the details. Ars Technica has also published some of this info recently.

On tethering

Two things will determine if it is available--the chipset of the device and if the carrier wants it. The chipset in question is the Broadcom 4329 which is found in the newer Windows Phones. Specifically, drivers are need for it to work with that chipset. But ah! you say, what about that Samsung Focus we saw? A lot of our older hardware also has the Broadcom 4329 on board, but not the correct, tested drivers. Why?

Microsoft had to make a choice: delay Mango to test the drivers on older devices, or ship now and release a patch later to enable. They obviously went with the former. But even Vodafone is aware of this when they said recently on their blog "Regarding Wireless Hotspot, it isn’t integrated in the initial release of Mango however it may be deployed at a later date." That's exactly the situation--it's basically up in the air at this point for certain phones.

On visual voice mail

This is easy: it's carrier choice, dependent on their system i.e. is it compatible with Windows Phone. What we heard from Microsoft on this was AT&T: no visual voice mail, but yes on tethering; T-Mobile: yes on visual voice mail, but no on tethering. That is subject to change.

On hidden SSID

This too is dependent on some drivers/chipset combo. Microsoft was a little fuzzy on the details on why it is device specific, but that was their explanation at the time. (For instance, our Dell Venue Pro (unlocked, AT&T) does not have hidden SSID, but our Sprint HTC Arrive does.)

Now some of these things, like tethering and hidden SSID may come later in some revised updates for specific phones. Things like visual voice mail are more complicated and require restructuring on the carrier's backend. For what it's worth, we saw some of these features enabled on an AT&T Titan. Still, we hope this helps in explaining where these features are on your new Mango-ized Windows Phone.

Thanks, Marin S., for the link; Image credit: Pocketnow

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • I have Hidden SSID on my Omnia 7 updated yesterday (OS and FW)
  • same here, got hidden wifi......weeeeeeeeee!
  • That's bull no visual voice mail with AT&T... The iPhone has it with AT&T so why did they choose to not have it for the WP7.5? Why do they even get to choose?
  • Not so much a choice just has to do with the way it works--VVM is not really a standardized system, from what I understand.
  • Is it any good anyways? I have never had it, but it doesn't even seem appealing to me.
  • Good post Daniel. So we dont have to give up hope yet of Tethering with a GEN1 Samsung Focus! :)
  • Tethering works, you just have to do a litlle tinkering. Wireless tehtering would be better though.
  • Didn't realise this was WPCentral-US-only-version. No worries, I'll know now not to bother coming back.
  • Oh come on... Grow up... They hardly mentioned every US carrier either. What about Verizon?
  • They are a troll they are posting this on almost every single news article.
  • I updated my Samsung Focus just now. It has hidden an option to connect to a hidden ssid.
  • My HTC HD7 that got driver update together after Mango has hidden Wi-Fi option. My Omnia 7 which didn't get driver update after Mango update - doesn't.Hopefully I will get it soon - I know that others got it, so it's only a question of time.
  • I'm on AT&T with a Samsung Focus, and it's got the ability to connect to hidden wifi.Sad about the lack of visual vmail, though :/
  • I had visual voicemail service on AT&T prior to buying the Windows Phone
  • Time to complain to AT&T Wireless folks. I urge everyone who wants Visual Voicemail to let them know. It's damn hard to contact them via email. But they are AT&T... you can phone them and usually connect with a decent CSR. If they give you a bs answer, take it higher. It's time to complain loud about this, now that it's possible, but they are demurring.
  • In regards to visual voicemail is Microsoft's fault. They should have talked to ATT and gotten them to prep for the features since iPhone and blackberry's are the only ones so far that have the feature. They should of made some kind if arrangement to get their customers to have this feature. I encourage everyone to write on ATT's Facebook page and mention them on twitter about this issue.
  • Visual Voicemail for HD7 on tmobile does not work. Says it fails to operate. Where is the multitasking? Mango doesnt seem much different from Nodo, more bells and whistles but not much to me.
  • for multi-tasking hold down the back arrow for a second. Exit programs by tapping the windows button not back.
  • Yes it does work. YOu have to get on the my.t-mobile website or call CS and have VVM added to your services. It is free. Mine works great.
  • Does anyone know what the deal is with Verizon? What they allow and don't allow?
  • My updated AT&T Samsung Focus has hidden SSID.
  • updated yesterday...Rogers - samsung focus, got the ability to add 3 hidden networks.
  • HD7 TMO US same. Has ability to add 3 hidden networks.
  • I have the ability to add hidden wifi on my at&t samsung focus as well.
  • Well damn. I just got the Focus on Monday and updated to Mango yesterday. I really did expect Visual Voicemail and wireless tethering. Now I find that I cannot do either on AT&T. My old iPhone 3GS could go both. I switched from an unlimited data plan so I could use the wireless tethering (20% discount).It looks like I will be taking the Focus back and getting another iPhone.
  • Be quiet stop pretending apple troll. We all know you dont have samsung focus. Just jealous because wp7.5 mango blows away iphone OS. iphone are a junk phones it more of a **** phone and which we know your **** hahahaha
  • When I had the tech demo of Mango, the Visual Voicemail worked fine on my HTC HD7. Now that I upgraded to the official Mango, the visual voicemail does not work. Whats up with that? I was on the phone with Tmobile for a while and they could not figure it out.. Am I alone with this problem or are everyone having the same issue with the same phone I have???
  • You may be alone. However I did not have the demo/leaked Mango on my HD7. NoDo to Mango and just had to add the service to my TMO account and now it works.
  • Is there a list of devices that do contain the appropriate chipset from our first Gen Win Phones? I do see the option on my Arrive for hidden networks (though haven't tested it). I'm more curious on hotspot.
  • I do have the visual voice mail on my account, but for whatever reason it does not work on my HTC HD7. I had the RTM version of Mango and the visual voice mail worked fine. I don't understand why I'm having this problem. Like I said before, i spoke to a rep at tmobile. They see that I had visual voice mail on my account for months. There should be no reason for it not to work. My roomate who has the same phone has the same problem. I don't get it...
  • I can confirm that my Samsung focus on at&t got the update from the dev preview just fine. Also no visual voice mail or WiFi/usb tethering but does have hidden ssid capabilities.
  • My dvp unlocked have no tethering and hidden ssid. Btw, does anyone know if this first generation of wp 7.5 will get Skype integration?
  • The mango update is nice, I use it as a business phone and it was perfect for that, it's now even better, Did anyone else notice a large internet speed improvement on the samsung focus?, my windows phone on AT&T was slow .8 - 1mbps before, now I just got 2.4mbps
  • Interesting. T-Mobile's Android phones all have native tethering enabled... but not Windows Phone... what gives?
  • One thing to note, at least for T-Mobile, all you have to do to enable visual voice mail is go to their website, and click a checkbox for visual voice mail under your plan settings. It doesn't cost anything additional but it is not activated by default.
  • According to a post on AT&T's Facebook page (Discussions-MANGO), AT&T claims they got the code for VVM and Mobile Hotspots from Microsoft too late to test, but that they are testing and are planning to make both available.
  • OK, I'm confused. There is misinformation somewhere because of your article here: http://www.wpcentral.com/confirmed-ATT-getting-visual-voice-mail-windows... Who is wrong?
  • T-Mobile Dell Venue Pro. I called T-Mobile yesterday and had them activate VVM. They said it would take ~2 hours to activate. A day later and I still get an "Oops!" error message when I try to switch it on. I wonder if it could be because they also activated Voice to Text Voicemail ($3.99 but free for 30 days.)
  • Just got a 456 text saying they made the changes to my account. Still not working. Guess I'll give it 2 hours... from now.
  • Still no dice.
  • Visual VM problem with my HTC HD7.. Does not work.. I had it working just fine when I had the RTM Mango, then I went back to NoDo to force update to the ledgit Mango and the Visual Voice Mail did not work. Keep getting that Oops message too.. I reverted my Phone back to NoDo and wait till it tells me to update my phone.. So far its been two days and I have not gotten the mmessage to update to Mango just yet.. I'm hoping doing it this way would get the Visual Voice Mail to work.. I don't understand why the Visual Voice Mail worked when I had the RTM Mango, but does not work with the forces Mango.??? Just don't know.. I was on the phone with T-mobile about it, but they didn't know why either.. I'm still waiting for the update..
  • AT&T LG Quantum does not have hidden SSID support. Fail.
  • No hidden SSID support on LG Optimus e900h. Fail x2.