Wi-Fi calling, also known as wireless calling is a feature that has been around for some time now. This feature offers users the ability to call over a wireless network, rather than a mobile network. This called VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), we have discussed this in a past blog and a few examples that use some sort of VOIP are Skype, Google Voice, Zoom, Facetime, etc. This feature is provided by most wireless carriers nowadays. However, not all carriers make it readily available or free to their customers. This feature is supported on most smartphone devices, but you do have to look for it in the settings as it can be hidden. Both Android and iOS devices have accepted the universal standards (APIs) for VOIP calls so it is optimized and does not drain a significant amount of battery.
As mentioned above Wi-Fi calling works by using a VOIP system. To explain, when making a call over Wi-Fi the phone connects to your carrier using the internet rather than the traditional cell tower. As a user of this feature it is near effortless to use after you enable the feature on your phone, but obviously for it to be so easy to use there is a lot of things happening behind the scene. The main objective of Wi-Fi calling is to provide a better experience for the user.
This is where the topic gets a bit touchy. Based on the carrier you have for your phone it may be a feature that is free and, in some cases, you would have to pay for it just like tethering your internet from your phone. Usually, it is a free feature as long as you have unlimited calling and texting. Even though you are making the call over Wi-Fi, it does still count against your minutes (assuming you have limits). We have recently found out a few companies have charged some of our clients when they used Wi-Fi calling but that may have been specific to that client’s case.
Most people do not realize how beneficial Wi-Fi calling is once set up properly. To explain, once you set up Wi-Fi calling you can make calls to other phones while your phone is in airplane mode. Why should you care? Well, think of it like this, if you are on an airplane or in a remote location with no service on your phone but have some sort of Wi-Fi you can still make a call and send text messages. That’s right you read it right, you can text over Wi-Fi if you have it enabled. A good example of how useful this is was not too long ago one of our team members was stuck in the hospital and in most hospitals, there is a signal jammer of sorts meaning most if not all phone signals are blocked. This is one of the reasons most people cannot make phone calls or text while inside hospitals. Anyways, because our team member had Wi-Fi calling enabled, he was able to take calls, send text messages, and multimedia messages. The best part is just like when you make regular calls and your carrier encrypts your data the same is applicable when calling over Wi-Fi.
When enabling Wi-Fi calling, each device is slightly different and sometimes you may not be able to enable it or find the option in your settings if your phone does not support it. Below we will give you a rough guide/idea on how to enable it but keep in mind it may not be exact.
Steps to active Wi-Fi calling on iPhone:
Steps to active Wi-Fi calling on an Android (This can be different based on your device):
If the call doesn’t go through, then you may need to call your carrier to verify they support Wi-Fi calling and see if there are any additional requirements needed to set it up on your phone. If you are not able to find the Wi-Fi calling settings try to search for the setting using the search bar in your settings. Note: To turn off Wi-Fi calling go back to the settings where you found the option and toggle it off.