WiFi calling is fast catching up with our time, but the technology isn’t exactly new. Since apps like Facebook Messenger use VoIP to make calls over WiFi, people often confuse it with WiFi calling. But there are subtle differences. You see, network coverage is improving day by day, but it’s not available everywhere yet. This is where WiFi calling can save the day. So what exactly is WiFi calling and how does it enable on your iPhone?
Wi-Fi calling allows you to patch a call using the internet, but it’s different from apps like Skype. You don’t need a Wi-Fi calling app. We understand why major operators and even private companies like Google are promoting Wi-Fi calling.
What is Wifi calling
Wi-Fi calling allows you to make voice calls over the internet using a Wi-Fi network with your existing carrier plan. You can use it to make and receive calls via your Wi-Fi’s high-speed internet. Calls will take place on the same number you received from the courier. A separate or special international number or card is not required.
One of the benefits of Wi-Fi calling is that you can use your Wi-Fi network to make better quality voice calls. The best part is that you can make Wi-Fi calls even when the cellular network is extremely weak.
The switch happens automatically, so you don’t have to do anything. When Wi-Fi is not available, the phone will use the GSM or VoLTE network to make the call. When you connect your iPhone to a Wi-Fi network, calls will be made over Wi-Fi instead.
How Wi-Fi calling is different from VoIP calling via apps like Skype, Messenger and WhatsApp. The key difference is that you don’t need a separate app to make the Wi-Fi call. The feature is built right into your phone and you’ll use the default dialing app, the same one you use to make calls with the operator.
You don’t even need the manager app. Plus, you don’t need to fiddle with contact permissions or save a number before you can view it, like in WhatsApp to make a call. Just dial a number directly.
Please note that video calling is not supported using the dialer app when using Wi-Fi calling. For this, you will need a separate chat app that works like the VoIP apps made available by the operators right now. There are operators that do not yet offer that feature or any dedicated app for video calling.
This is one of the reasons why Wi-Fi calling is also called VoWi-Fi or Voice over Wi-Fi. You need ViLTE (Video over LTE) to make video calls over Wi-Fi, but iPhones do not currently support ViLTE.
Why do you need wi-fi calls?
As noted earlier, it can be very useful when the signal is absent or weak. Most of us have faced this problem at some point. This is even more true when you travel or live in a rural area. Some of us have experienced signal problems when talking or working in a bathroom for example. Others cannot connect when they are in the basement or underground parking.
Another benefit is the elimination of dropped calls, which seems to be a big deal where I live. It’s annoying as hell when you talk to someone and suddenly you realize that no one is listening on the other side. This spoils the joy of talking to someone on the phone.
When you make a call and the signal is no or weak, your smartphone will automatically turn on or connect via Wi-Fi calling.
How to activate wi-fi calls on iPhone
Turning on Wi-Fi calling on iPhone is very simple, but I wish it was on by default. Open Settings and scroll slightly to find the Phone app. Select Wi-Fi calling under it.
Turn the Wi-Fi Calling option on this iPhone on or off inside to enable it.
That’s all you have to do. Now you need to make sure the feature is available through your carrier in your area. Contact the operator you are subscribed to find out more details.
Supported devices, operators, and cost of wi-fi calls
Wi-Fi calling is currently supported by iPhone 5C and later models. Not all phones that can connect to a Wi-Fi network support Wi-Fi calling. It is a feature built into the phone and is not software dependent.
Most major carriers support Wi-Fi calling, but I recommend you get in touch with your carrier. Several carriers around the world are in the process of implementing it. Yours may or may not support it. Much will also depend on your position.
Wi-Fi calls are free and won’t cost you extra. What it really means is that the minutes will count towards your usual rate plan. There is no way to escape this unless you use something like WhatsApp or Skype. There are no separate operator plans you need to purchase. Keep in mind that every call you make will be absorbed by your phone’s data plan or Wi-Fi plan as the call is made using the Internet. Other than that, there are no operator costs.
National calls are completely free. However, calls made to special numbers and international calls may incur additional charges. This will depend on your carrier.