After Sprint and T-Mobile successfully launched Wi-Fi calling quite some time ago, AT&T yesterday started to offer its customers the same service. The news comes after AT&T was given the waiver they asked for from the Federal Communications Commission regarding technology related to deafness.
In a blog post on their "Innovation Space Blog", AT&T reiterated the statement they gave months ago when the carrier first asked for the waiver, saying customers will only have to rely on the service as a complimentary feature. AT&T stands by the coverage they say has the potential to connect 99% of Americans. The new ability to make calls over Wi-Fi will allow users to make or receive calls in places where AT&T's signal is at a minimum, and any good quality Wi-Fi will do. AT&T anticipates that the feature will be used most often when customers are stuck in buildings where their signal can't penetrate far enough. Wi-Fi calling will also be useful whenever you're underground or in areas where AT&T's signal is simply not cooperating. Since Wi-Fi is almost universal, AT&T's latest service is sure to be a hit with their users.
Before you get any more excited, be aware that AT&T is only offering the service to iPhone customers. Also, not any iPhone will do as the oldest supported device is last year's iPhone 6 with iOS 9 required as well. An account that has HD Voice enabled is the only other prerequisite. Interestingly, Apple already has its own FaceTime Audio service which allows iPhone users to make calls on Wi-Fi similarly to Wi-Fi calling. If you are eligible for Wi-Fi calling, don't expect to be able to notice its presence. The feature will operate almost invisibly, meaning little effort is necessary to enjoy a voice connection wherever you may be. Wi-Fi calling does need to be enabled in the settings menu.
There is no additional fee for Wi-Fi calling. Also, note that the service is only available domestically. AT&T customers who have already used Wi-Fi calling report a pleasant experience with little hassle. Still, the carrier is playing catch-up to the smaller T-Mobile network, who has had Wi-Fi calling for years, and also Sprint, currently the fourth largest carrier in the United States.