Old school streaming: AT&T reportedly wants working FM chips in all Android smartphones

Old school streaming: AT&T reportedly wants working FM chips in all Android smartphones
With so many music streaming services now trying to emulate old school radio channels, one might be tempted to think that FM radios are still one of the most basic features of any smartphone. However, although most modern smartphones have the hardware that's required of them in order to access FM radio channels, you'll be hard pressed to find a smartphone that actually comes with a working FM radio. 

If you're thinking that this is the wrong way to go looking forward, you'll be glad to know that AT&T allegedly feels the same way. If a new report from RadioWorld is to be believed, AT&T wants smartphone makers to include a working FM radio in their handsets. Since this is an unconfirmed rumor, make sure to digest it with the proverbial grain of salt.

According to the report, all smartphone makers who want to sell their phones through AT&T will have to include a working FM radio starting with 2016. Furthermore, since many current-generation handsets have the required hardware, AT&T is also said to be urging smartphone makers to turn on FM radio functionality in existing handsets through software updates.

At the moment, it's unclear what prompted AT&T to force FM radio compatibility on smartphone makers. One of the most obvious reasons would be an attempt to reduce the amount of data that subscribers use up for streaming audio. Another possible explanation would be that FM radio channels are also much more reliable during emergency situations compared to digital streaming. We'll keep our eyes and ears open and we'll let you know as soon as we hear more details on AT&T's push for working FM radios on modern smartphones.

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24 Comments

1. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

It's a mystery to me why phones sold in the US, sometimes the very same one sold elsewhere, doesn't have the FM radio enabled...

3. buccob

Posts: 2952; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

to force people use more Network Data, through FM Streaming apps

18. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Sprint has been doing this for several years with the NextRadio app. www.freeradioformyphone.org explains it all. They are supported by NPR, Sprint, FEMA and a few other big supporters.

2. 2faraway

Posts: 75; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

Agreee!!!

4. Plutonium239

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Windows Phone includes a working FM radio, it is one of the system requirements and comes with a default FM radio app. Windows 10 Mobile also requires a working FM radio.

8. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Is that all Win phones? I know for Android Moto has it in some phones, LG in some, HTC in some. If that is a requirement thats nice of MS. But I think carriers may have some say so in this too. AT&T just became my favorite carrier tho...lol.

13. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

No, not all. My old Lumia 810 never had one. Anyway, he just goes on about windows phone in every thread. Kinda annoying.

16. Plutonium239

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

I thought I read one of the hardware requirements for Windows Phone was an FM radio, even the low end 520 I had, had one. I seriously doubt that the 810 does not have one.

21. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

http://m.winsupersite.com/windows-phone/nokia-explains-amber-rollout As I said, there is no FM radio on the Lumia 810. Apparently that also applies to the Lumia 620 and Lumia 928.

23. Plutonium239

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Three devices out of how many different Lumia models do not have an FM radio? I was under the impression it was a hardware requirement for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10, but I cannot seem to find the article. Oh well, the vast majority of Lumias, aside from those three, seem to have them. The strange thing was Windows Phone 8 did not support them upon first release and the previous os did.

5. Fuego84

Posts: 357; Member since: May 13, 2012

Htc one m7 has FM radio app, you just have to insert some headphones into the headphones jack to become the Antena. I wish I would use it with Bluetooth though.

6. Plutonium239

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

It can't use it with bluetooth. The wires become the antenna for the radio, through physical contact through the jack.

7. Kary1

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 26, 2015

If I'm in the car and have a radio station's streaming app, I'll use the streaming app over the FM radio in the car. The only use I see for this is emergencies, and then I probably wouldn't even think of it.

9. Rager722

Posts: 621; Member since: Jan 30, 2013

Soon At&t will force AM Radio...

10. gws898

Posts: 24; Member since: May 31, 2013

I'm looking at you Samsung...

11. ph00ny

Posts: 1994; Member since: May 26, 2011

What's the point of radio in the ages of digital media? I honestly haven't touched FM stations exception of rare occasion to see what the heck is going on with traffic

15. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Morning shows, evening shows, late night shows, radio personalities. It was doable until a handful of my local stations stopped streaming thru specific apps. I would have to go to their websites and it just wasnt as good. And free is always a good thing.

22. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

FM Radio is spontaneous entertainment available anytime without Internet connectivity.

12. athos07m

Posts: 137; Member since: Apr 22, 2012

US users may be accustomed to unlimited (secretly throttled) plans, but here in the old continent this is rare. I have 500MB on my ~22USD plan, and even if I paid 75-100USD, I'd still only get 2GB max. If you want to stream and browse and maybe upload some photos to the cloud you are scr**ed with half a gig. Actually FM radio is one of the apps I frequently use.

14. kevv2288

Posts: 272; Member since: Jul 30, 2015

Sprint phones have working fm radios. I have galaxy s6 and I use it often

17. rambo6

Posts: 25; Member since: Apr 06, 2015

Unbelievable. I thought AT&T has been forcing Samsung to keep the radios out of the phones so users would use more expensive data. For example, the early Samsung phones on AT&T had no Fm radios while the International models had them. Streaming radio is not only more expensive, it also uses more battery. Now if AT&T would just unlock the bootloaders, I'd consider buying phones from them.

19. Plutonium239

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Buy the unlocked phone from the manufacturer(if available, or from Amazon and make sure it can support your carrier's bands), its generally cheaper that way regardless(sometimes the price can be the same or very close). The only reason I would buy something from AT&T or Verizon for that matter, is if they were bundling something together with it, like the Galaxy s6 was bundled with a galaxy tablet.

20. jessyi

Posts: 325; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

In glad finally at&t did this..my lg g2 and g3 had the fmradio disabled on at&t. I hear at the LG G4 aswell...

24. rambo6

Posts: 25; Member since: Apr 06, 2015

I have been buying international phones for years. Samsung has not put an FM radio in any phone including international phones since the original Note 1. Only certain versions of the LG G3 had activated FM radios, but not that worked on AT&T bands (B17) in the states. The international LG G4 Model H815 supposedly has the FM radio activated and has (B17) and other bands that work in the States. I have a Sony Z2 phone and their Z3 Tablet primarily because of the FM radio which I listen to a lot. I'm an old coger and like to listen to Talk Radio.

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