AT&T was clearly the early network to push the Wi-Fi market in the U.S. and still maintains the largest footprint of Wi-Fi access points among all of the carriers, however, when it comes to offering Wi-Fi calling (VoWiFi), AT&T seems to be in no hurry. Their plans look ahead to 2015 before they will be offering it up as an option for placing your phone calls over Wi-Fi rather than their cellular network. Speaking recently at a conference, Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T’s new Mobile and Business Solutions group just does not see any need to rush it out…he said, “We’re very focused on making sure it’s a great experience for customers, but we see it as a complement, not a replacement,” he said. “We feel good about a great nationwide network with unlimited talk and text.” So rather than a replacement to 3G and VoLTE, VoWiFi will be there simply as an additional option – they are confident in their existing network to handle that job and do not see the need to rush into the additional option.
T-Mobile has offered Wi-Fi calling for years now, and lest we forget that, their big Uncarrier 7.0 press event was dedicated to improving and expanding the concept…mostly to alert the new iPhone users. Carriers have to be able to assure there is a seamless handoff from VoWiFi to whatever other method the carrier is using for calls, for when you would drive out of a Wi-Fi area. Dropped calls would become quite common if that old proverbial switch-off is not handled smoothly and this is what de la Vega is talking about – not offering the service until it can give a great customer experience.
Android, Windows Phone and even BlackBerry devices have the capability…the next step is for the networks to flip the switch. Apple announced that their new iOS 8 will also have this option available – and as often happens, unfortunately, Apple’s finally adopting the concept will naturally speed things up – especially since “hundreds of thousands” of iPhone 6’s are already on order at AT&T.
Even Sprint offers Wi-Fi calling, but with no handoff and no iPhone capabilites and Verizon, always one to buck the system, said they have no plans to offer VoWiFi as they feel their network coverage is more than sufficient…so certainly AT&T feels no ‘heat’ to hurry out VoWiFi. Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know how many of you are waiting for VoWiFi, or could your care less…as always we would love to hear from you.