Apple September 2014 event (Wi-Fi Calling 001)

AT&T, the nation’s second-biggest wireless provider, is allegedly planning on rolling out the Wi-Fi Calling feature to its subscribers, but in 2015 rather than this year, LightReading reported Friday.

Already supported on T-Mobile, but not coming anytime soon to Verizon (Sprint has yet to announce it), Wi-Fi Calling is supported by the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The feature will be coming to older iPhones from the iPhone 5 onward, courtesy of the free iOS 8 update scheduled to release next Wednesday.

Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO of AT&T’s new Mobile and Business Solutions group, told investors Friday at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference that his company would deploy Wi-Fi Calling at an unspecified point in 2015, “but only as a complement to voice-over-LTE and 3G voice,” as per LightReading.

Apple’s marketing honcho Phil Schiller said Tuesday at the iPhone 6 unveiling that Wi-Fi Calling will be supported at launch by T-Mobile in the United States and UK’s EE, with more carriers flipping the switch on Wi-Fi Calling in due time.

If I were AT&T, I’d go out of my way to roll out Wi-Fi Calling on my network. Some high-end Android handsets already implement this interesting feature that will quickly gain popularity now that the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 support it.

Apple September 2014 event (Wi-Fi Calling 002)

Earlier today, AT&T said that “demand for Apple’s iPhone 6 is already greater than the last two years,” reporting “hundreds of thousands” of pre-orders for the device in just a few hours. An Apple spokesperson also confirmed to Re/code that iPhone 6 demand is already off the charts.

For those unfamiliar with Wi-Fi Calling, it’s a really cool feature which promises to improve audio quality while enabling calling even in pockets of coverage dominated by poor cellular reception.

As the name suggests, Wi-Fi Calling makes calling and text messaging over Wi-Fi, by using your standard cellular connection, possible. So, as you make a call over Wi-Fi (and it’s all automatic, you just make a phone call), you stay on Wi-Fi.

But as you leave the Wi-Fi network, your call will be seamlessly handed off to the normal cell network as the VoLTE call. Wi-Fi Calling uses the ubiquitous Voice over IP (VoIP) protocol to deliver voice communications over IP networks, such as the Internet or your cellular network.

iPhone 6 ladscape home screen sideway

VoIP-based calling over the Internet is supported by Apple’s FaceTime applications, as well as by popular VoIP apps like Skype, Viber and others.

Compared to standard calling over carriers’ public switched telephone networks (PSTN), Wi-Fi Calling offers much better audio quality and enables voice communications in areas with bad cellular reception — provided there’s Wi-Fi available.

Again, Wi-Fi Calling is now available to T-Mobile customers as a free of charge feature. Sprint has yet to announce support for Wi-Fi Calling on iPhones and Verizon apparently is not interested to undercut its service revenues with this potentially disruptive feature and confirmed ti CNET it had no immediate plans for Wi-Fi Calling.

[LightReading]

  • Agru

    Hey it’s been 2 days since iPhone 6 was presented, where are the iphone 7 leaks and concepts

    • Rowan09

      You mean the 6s.

      • It will have iOS 9 2Gb ram and sapphire glass: S for sapphire lol.

      • Chun-Li aka ThunderThighs

        You’re a idiot. Look how thin the iPhone is and look what the camera does. There’s a reason why it’s protruding.

      • You’re ‘an’ even bigger one thinking Apple won’t find a way to make it thinner within a year. Besides that, there is always a minor external change with the S model no reason it can’t be that.

      • Fanboy 

        I’ve been thinking that! LOL, they will remove the protruding camera lens in the 6S, and they will boast about how hard their engineers had to work very hard to achieve that. As if they couldn’t have done it for this iPhone.

      • Agru

        No, the 7. It’s never too early for some stupid concepts

    • RuddyN

      Lol.. I probably laughed more than I should have.

  • InfinitePlusOne

    Three (UK) released an app recently known as Three In Touch which allows wifi calling and texting…works on iOS 7 and all iPhones i think.

  • chjode

    And that’s just one of the reasons why I’m walking from AT&T and my “unlimited” data plan and going to T-Mobile.

    • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

      enjoy the coverage !

    • Beat Modz

      Tmobile sucks. And I love my upgrades on AT&T. I’m a truck driver and I had to switch from tmobile because it would barely get Edge outside of the city and AT&T usually has 4G

    • Unicorn Drank

      I have AT&T unlimited but I would never walk away from it I know a couple of people on T-Mobile, all I can say to you is don’t do it, unless you really have bad coverage in your area

    • Brzfld

      Had the same plan on AT&T, left them for T-Mobile. I got the unlimited for a year promotion for $50. 5 days later I was back with AT&T.
      Their signal strength and building penetration lacks.

  • LOL it would be called the iPhone 6S plus. If it were going to exist. but yes it does kind of look and sound weird. But hey so does using Plus for an iPhone in general.

  • Rupinder S

    I feel like next year, they’ll drop the two different phone concept (So both sizes have the same internals, just same screen sizes) and call them both a 6S.

  • drewjbx

    umm.. google voice app works fine

  • Jared

    I have a feeling AT&T is going to find a way to extract more money from us for this feature. Also I think that they’ll make it unavailable to those of us who are grandfathered on “um…limited” data plans.

    • James Gunaca

      Another reason I’m ditching them. Preordered two iphone 6 from tmobile for my wife and I.

  • Chinch07

    The iPhone 6S Plus doesn’t sound as bad

  • n0ahcruz3

    Good for tmobile.. I ordered my iphone 6+ with them and will arrive next friday. Not totally impressed with the iphone 6/6+ but i need a flagship phone.. I like their free data roaming, gogo inflight texting(new) and the wifi calling. And they offer unlimited data.

  • Beck Hoefling

    Phone carriers have already lost a lot of business from iMessage, FaceTime, and FaceTime audio. Now they have to figure out how to overcharge people with wi-fi calling

  • Guest

    iPhone 6S Plus

  • Freddie Webster

    Ugh when is sprint gonna get this their carrier version is 17.0 on my phone (iOS 8 GM)

  • Moho Judit

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