Beginning December 8, the wait for Wi-Fi calling on Verizon is finally over. That is, if you happen to own a Samsung Galaxy S6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. A full feature set, called Advanced Calling, is available to a large number of Verizon devices. Owners of the aforementioned devices, however, will be the first to be able to test out voice and video calls over Wi-Fi to supplement Verizon's fairly strong network. Despite the wide spread of voice and LTE coverage, as well as Verizon's strong building penetration, users still encounter the odd dead zone. For people who live or work in these areas or inside thick or underground buildings, this new feature could prove to be a game changer.
The new update that contains the feature is, naturally, a no go for custom ROM users. Samsung and Verizon faithful, however, will find that once they enable Advanced Calling from their settings menu, Wi-Fi calling should automatically kick in when necessary or when the device catches a whiff of Wi-Fi. Advanced Calling users on Verizon's LTE network will still enjoy the full spectrum of features that Advanced Calling brings, of course.
While Wi-Fi calling is set to only touch down on the two Samsung devices for now, updates are promised to bring it to a wider range in the near future. The updates are expected to appear early next year, so long as the initial rollout doesn't meet with too many hangups. Bugs aside, iOS and Android devices are promised the update, with no mention of Windows or Blackberry handsets. This doesn't exactly mean they'll be left out in the cold for certain, but with diminishing interest in both OSes, the writing is definitely on the wall.
Advanced Calling has been available for a bit over a year now, bringing video calling and HD voice to a decent stable of Verizon devices, though not compatible with all. As the feature list for Advanced Calling grows, it's not hard to imagine the device list including a larger number of newer devices, meaning heavier customization on the carrier side and a diminishing list of reasons to modify your device's software, whether by simply rooting or flashing an entirely new custom ROM.