Enable Free Radio

  • 13
  • Idea
  • Updated 3 months ago
  • Implemented
I want my FM Radio! Unlock the FM chip in all smartphones you sell so I can get important emergency information when data networks are unavailable and reduce the amount of data I use each month.

Thank you. #unlockFM #freeradio
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Melanie Drew

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Posted 3 years ago

  • 13
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Dennis, Mobile Master

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My understanding is that Koodo does not block FM radio functionality.

Where did you hear that from?
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HolyHoundz

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Very few phones have the FM chip u phone probably don't have it if u see no options
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Daniel Kim, Mobile Master

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Hi HolyHoundz, this is a pretty old topic from a few months ago. No need to resurrect old threads, although awesome job for pitching in some information ;)
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Tyler Durden

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I have a Galaxy S7 which i specifically bought because the FM chip was supposted to be enabled in an update a while ago and i still cant get nextradio to listen with no data. Frustrating as hell  
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Tyler Durden

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They do block it. they tell the manufacturers not to activate it. Where are you getting your information from? http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/fm-radio-cellphone-telecoms-1.3577447
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rikkster, Mobile Master

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The Canadian variant Galaxy S7 has the Exynos 8890 SoC. This chip never had FM radio to begin with. Essentially, the carrier is not to blame. The manufacturer, for whatever reason, simply opted to do without FM radio when designing this chip.  

http://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/exynos/products/mobileprocessor/exynos-8-octa-8890/

On the other hand, the U.S. variant Galaxy S7 incorporates the Snapdragon 820 SoC which has FM radio built-in to the Bluetooth/Wi-Fi portion of the SD 820. Some U.S. carriers chose to deliberately disable FM radio. However, after much public outcry and media attention, carriers gave in, subsequently unlocking this feature.

Looking at the spec sheet for the SD 820, the fine print at the bottom of the page explains:

"Certain optional features available subject to Carrier and OEM selection for an additional fee".

https://www.qualcomm.com/documents/snapdragon-820-processor-product-brief

The carrier may not see adding FM radio worth it, especially if they are trying to keep overall costs in check. The reality is that streaming content offers greater choice, in comparison to FM radio. Thankfully, newer devices with the Snapdragon 835 SoC have FM radio built-in. Users can once again benefit from apps like NextRadio.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nextradioapp.nextradio&hl=en 
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Jonathan I, Mobile Master

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I don't think it's a Koodo thing; some NA models of various devices have FM radios in their international variants but don't have it when it's released in North America. My Telus/Koodo HTC M9 does, though, and I'm pretty sure my M8 does too. It's more to do with the manufacturer making the radio in the phone than the carrier.
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Mathieu, Mobile Master

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Jonathan is correct. Koodo has no control over it, it all has to do with manufacturing. If you want to listen to music, you can subscribe to a music service such as Google Play Music and you can download all your favorite music for offline listening!
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Melanie Drew

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It is correct that some phones have it and some don't but service providers decide if it is enabled or not. Look it up.
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David, Mobile Master

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Possibly you could post a link or two to share your source of information?
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MattPEI

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I doubt they can back it up.
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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If this was the case, there'd be hacks to enable such functionality.
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rikkster, Mobile Master

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There is some truth to what Melanie is saying. Spirit FM is one such app that provides an over the air solution for phones that have a firmware-locked FM receiver. The app doesn't apply to phones that have the hardware, (FM receiver or antenna system) purposely disabled at the manufacturing level.

The developer of Spirit FM, (Mike) mentions; "ALL Nexus & MANY Samsung & other devices have FM purposely and unfix-ably disabled in hardware. No app can EVER fix that". Mike goes on to say; "Google doesn't support FM radio and carriers suppress it".

https://play.google.com/store/apps/de...

http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/co...

That said, I have an HTC One M9 from Koodo with a fully functional FM radio.
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Harish Paskaran

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This is more of a manufacturer limitation rather than a Koodo limitation. If you really want something similar to FM radio, I recommend you give TuneIn Radio a try. It is internet radio, but provides most local radio stations and it's free! 

Here's a link to the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/tunein-radio-stream-free-music/id418987775?mt=8

and the Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tunein.player&hl=en

You can even use it on your computer at: http://tunein.com/
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rikkster, Mobile Master

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Harish, if we're discussing this from a design perspective and last years' HTC One M8 came with FM radio and this years' HTC One M9 didn't due to a design limitation, then that's understandable. Problem is, is that both models are equipped with FM radio and a carrier, (U.S. based), decided to block the feature.

We know that carriers work closely with manufacturers' fine tuning their product before it goes to market. So it wouldn't sound too farfetched for a carrier to instruct the manufacturer to block FM radio. The manufacturer really doesn't stand to lose anything monetarily; the phone still sells for the same price.

The advantage to the carrier is that by eliminating FM radio, they can generate a little extra revenue by quietly persuading customers to use apps like TuneIn Radio, (which I use on occasion as well). While the app is free, (pro version is $12.67), a data source is required, be it Wi-Fi or mobile data, the latter of which is not free.

A smartphone equipped with FM radio has its practical uses. If for example, a powerful storm were to knock out the cell tower and power grid to your neighbourhood, you would not be able to receive weather updates or warnings using TuneIn Radio. As old-fashioned as this may sound, FM radio is very much alive and well and it could be a life saver.

There's no shortage of complaints from people wanting FM radio on their devices. There's also information that supports the fact that some carriers choose to block FM radio. What I couldn't find was a tangible explanation or statement defending these allegations from either the manufacturer or the carrier.

https://www.google.ca/search?q=Verizo...

https://www.mediavillage.com/article/...

http://www.musicrow.com/2015/04/broad...

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showt...
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HolyHoundz

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Point to FM radio is to listen when u have no data or WiFi
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Shawn Kavanagh

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Sirius XM will work over the internet if you want radio
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BobTheElectrician

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There is no incentive at all for service providers to offer "free" radio when they can charge for all other mobile links. I'm sure if they could figure out how to tax wifi they would.

The areas where FM radio is popular (and generally available) are the less affluent parts of Asia where every penny counts. I suppose that Google tolerates this because Spotify probably doesn't carry the Indonesian top 10 hit parade. Otherwise Google would rather collect revenues from the commercial services in North America.

Interestingly, Videotron in Quebec offers free audio streaming (audio doesn't count against your data usage, just like picture messaging) on Stingray, by using their app, which offers a limited number of channels best considered as airplane music.

Many of the channels are French-only, which is appropriate for the Quebec market, but don't go looking for smart playlist or genius selections.
(Edited)
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Jeff Steiger

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Short of buying your own phone and activating it with the carrier of your choice, there seems to be slim pickings for offline radio options. I'm still waiting to hear back from the smaller providers, but out of the "big" ones, only Rogers offer one phone; a crappy Cat B15.
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Spence

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at Koodo,  Both the Moto G and the Alcatel Idol 3 have FM radio chip unlocked.
I'm sure there are a few more devices as well.
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Andrew

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Carriers don't block radio function it depends on the phone manufacturer and model. For example four phones that have been offered by koodo; the galaxy s5 and nexus 5 do not have FM radio while htc one m8 and lg g3 both have FM radio.

http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s5-6033.php
http://www.gsmarena.com/lg_nexus_5-5705.php 
http://www.gsmarena.com/htc_one_(m8)-6074.php
http://www.gsmarena.com/lg_g3-6294.php
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Jeff Steiger

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Carriers do block them. I contacted LG regarding the fm chip in my G3 and their response was they remove the chip at the carriers request.
The LG G3 only has the chip if you buy the non north american model number.
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Jeff Steiger

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Settle down, not ignoring it. How the hell should I know why they do anything. All I know for sure is the model I researched, or thought I researched anyways, was suppose to have the chip and it didn't. LG confirmed it is removed upon request by the carriers.
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Andrew

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Interesting, I asked someone I know who has the LG G3 if they have a built in radio function on their phone and they do not. 
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Grizz Can

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LG sent me a message saying that the Canadian providers asked that the FM chip not be provided in there phones.
I would imagine to force people to use data.
you can buy unlocked phones with the chip but I know the LG G4 version will not connect to LTE on Telus or Koodo.
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Dennis, Mobile Master

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Got a screen capture of that message from LG?
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Grizz Can

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I could but the email came with a confidentiality statement and I am not comfortable reproducing it.
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Taps

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OK the main reason for the FM on a cell in this case is for when towers are down and during emergency Times be it weather, traffic or another cause. I WOULD assume that if your at home or at work you have access to FM radio, the internet or TV. In a car your radio. So really the only times are when you are lets say walking around or maybe in transit like the bus/taxi or on a bike.I WOULD suggest signing up for texts from places like the weather network or even some major cities and their first responders have sites that offer text sign up notifications for emergencies. If that is not good enough get to know your neighbours and trade contact info. ...away from home talk to those that live where you do. This will also make your community safer!
By the way texts do not use data!
(Edited)
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Grizz Can

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I would rather buy an unlocked phone and check to ensure it will work on the carrier rather than receive 
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Bernard, Official Rep

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Quick update on this folks: The third generation of Moto G phones in our line-up have the receiver enabled by the OEM. While this doesn't solve the challenge for the rest of the phones, someone keen on having this feature now can.

Also an alternative accessory for receiving radio signals and be able to liste without using your data: http://enrad.io/preorder.html
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t elder

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Hello Koodo,  Can some one please confirm if the new Blackberry, Motion offered by Koodo is shipped with FM chip turned on.  I have been informed that there is an FM Chip per specs below yet It does not work for the NextRadio app.

https://www.blackberrymobile.com/ca/blackberry-motion/specifications/
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Dinh, Mobile Master

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hi,
I didn't see any FM compatible chip in the link spec. How did you come to the conclusion it had FM chip?
According to the NextRadio, the motion wasn't on the list: http://nextradioapp.com/supported-devices/
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Catherine

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I'm looking to have an FM radio app that does not use data, what can I do?  I have a new Galaxy S7 since 2 months and really missed my radio during my bus ride...  Thank you :)
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Allan, Mobile Master

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rikkster, Mobile Master

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Unfortunately, NextRadio will not work on S7 devices with the Exynos processor (Canadian variant). The app works on S7 devices with the Snapdragon 820 processor, (U.S. variant).

Here's the Canadian list of compatible devices. Samsung is absent from this list.

http://nextradioapp.ca/supported-devices/?__hstc=183552953.3d42388b63100c01df70779ae173d42e.15193200...
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Allan, Mobile Master

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Ahh nice catch.
That list isn't the most reliable though as my Note 8 has the fm chip in it. Someone needs to make some updates to their site.
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rikkster, Mobile Master

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Likely because Samsung opted to use the Snapdragon 835 processor in both Canadian and U.S. variants of the Note 8, instead of the Exynos 8895. To your last point, agreed.