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WiFi Calling – All You Need To Know in 2020

 

As the name implies, WiFi calling allows your network to place calls over-the-internet. Yes, you heard it right! We all spend time within signal-blocked locations or where voice service is unavailable or weak, then only WiFi calling and texting can save our day. 

It’s clear that WiFi calling option replaces spotty cellular signal issues, but this isn’t where it ends – there is much more to it.

What is WiFi calling?

Just like your regular (traditional) calling, WiFi (audio and video) calling doesn’t rely on your carrier network, instead your carrier routes the option to call using a “reliable” internet/ WiFi network. The algorithms are plain simple, i.e. while calling your phone opts for the best networks (based on strongest WiFi signal in the room), and boom you hear the calling tune.

What does it cost?

It is not charged at all on the compatible devices. WiFi calls to US numbers are at no additional cost (FREE) even while travelling around the world. Carriers, therefore, found this substitute as a threat to their income and thus, they treat your WiFi calling just like a regular sim enabled call (in the US). This implies that, whatever fees and rates are applicable to your conventional calling, the similar case will be applicable to WiFi calls, which includes monthly allotment on an unlimited plan.

It is better to use it as international calling because there’s typically no overseas charge or roaming for sending texts or making calls to your valued one’s. There are numerous carrier calling plans available allowing free calling to Mexico and Canada. Mind you, you will still be charged an international rate for placing an international call while using your smartphone. Please note that WiFi calling is not yet supported in some countries like China, Singapore, Australia, Cuba, and India.

How to make a WiFi call?

Let’s learn about the prerequisites before. Previously, we’ve learnt the service region of this excellent service and cost scope. However, you’d still require some “stuff” here:

  •  Compatible devices – by this it means HD Voice1 capable when it catches your WiFi signals.
  • International long distance rates.
  • How to enable2 or activate WiFi calling on your device? [We will look into this, later.]
  • FYI, Efani offers WiFi calling plans with sim preventative benefits, it is never too late to take your privacy seriously.

This is where VoLTE (Voice over LTE) technology comes in. This technology comprises 4G LTE network, traditional voice networks wouldn’t provide natural sounding audio and clear.   

In order to enable Wi-Fi calling on your device on iPhones and Android are listed below:

iPhone Android
Grab your phone and while swishing on your home screen and tap Settings and then Phone Open settings and tap for connections,
You will find an option termed as WiFi Calling and enable it. You will see a Wi-Fi calling option there
You will see a screen pop up enable it, while you continue, read relevant information under Wi-Fi Calling Important Information, Once you tap it, you will read the information here and then “accept” it
Whilst you agree, tap in emergency address for verification i.e. 911 address, Enter your 911 address,
Once everything is done, keep it ON for Wi-Fi calling.   HURRAY!! It’s enabled. 🙂 Verify it and then click on done.     Here you go!

Roaming process

 Note: Devices Roaming On/Off

Device 1: Android

Wi-Fi calls derive from USA, even when you’re outside America.

  • Call to American number (except for 411 premium numbers),
  • Calls to numbers outside USA are billed as per international long distance plan.

From Home screen, you need to navigate to the Apps icon > (tap on settings) Advanced Calling

  • Since Android varies per manufacturer you need to navigate to settings and more and then advanced calling
  • Samsung devices are straightforward go to apps>settings>connections.
  • Once it is figured out, please click on WiFi calling and tap roaming [for Samsung OS and pie OS you need to choose Mobile Data or Wi-Fi]

You have two options now – either to choose from your preferred network provider or WiFi, whatever option you chose, tap save, but note that other networks may charge roaming depending on their fee structure.

Device 2: iPhone

Prerequisites:

  • Please ensure HD Voice and WiFi calling has been activated,
  • WiFi should be turned ON
  • On Home screen you need to search for settings and tap on cellular
  • For e-Sim individuals, opt for primary or secondary line then click on step 2
  • Tap WiFi calling (and toggle ON),
  • You can see WiFi Roaming switch option that you have to toggle on/off per your preference

Frequently Asked Questions

How much data does WiFi calling consume?

Generally, audio calling uses 1MB/data, on the other hand, 60 seconds video call consumes 8MB data on average. Please note that the actual usage depends on the minutes your audio/video calls take and may vary.

How to update an Emergency Address on my device?

For Android – Apps icon > Settings > Advanced Calling;

  • Oreo OD, Apps icon > Settings > Network and Internet > Mobile Data > Advanced > Advanced Calling,
  • Once you have opted for WiFi calling you will see an option to Update Current Emergency Address right below where you toggle the WiFi calling option,
  • Once the address has been updated you need to SAVE it.  

For iPhone – you need to tap On Home screen you need to search for settings and tap on cellular

  • For e-Sim individuals, opt for primary or secondary line then click on ”step 2
  • Tap WiFi calling (and toggle ON)
  • Okay, since you will find the option to update emergency address beneath toggling on the Wifi calling, you will need to make sure that it is correct, this means while you are transmitting the information the dispatcher gets the information you updated over the WiFi network and will need prompt validation, unless it is entered.
  • Once you proceed, you need to accept terms and conditions screen, click on radio button then continue
  • Press Home button (iPhone 8 and precedent models) OR swipe up on iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR.  

How much does it cost?

Fundamentally, it is not under any cost tag (FREE of charge) if it is for US numbers, irrespective of your location, however, some plans charge it within your existing plan as an opportunity cost of switching. Please note that 411 and other premium calls are not part of “free charge”. International calling while in the US or International Long Distance terms are used interchangeably which means billing applied to international WiFi calling. If you have an international rate plan already, you will be billed in accordance to those terms.

What will be the impact on WiFi calling if I keep changing locations?

You need to keep an updated address register whenever moving. If you call 911 outside your registered address zone, WiFi calling will use your registered or (approved or) updated address (refer to iPhone FAQ 2 for better understanding).

Can I call 911 outside the US?

No, you cannot WiFi call 911 outside the US. You will need to observe and reach out to local emergency services.

Will 911 use my registered address?

Yes, they will. 911 calls will use local service first even if your device is on Airplane mode or switched off. The registered address will be routed to when there’s no service and the user has enabled WiFi calling.

What are the demerits of WiFi calling 911?

If there is no registered address, the call will be routed to an emergency service provider who is in closer proximity. ISP will be under outage if they call 911 or may face congestion, leading to poor call quality.

Conclusion

Google Fi (formerly known as Project Fi), WhatsApp, Viber or Skype, all these mediums serve as Wi-Fi calling as they catch Wi-Fi to make calls. The carrier technology and Wi-Fi calling goes hand-in-hand. Point to notice is, the recent Distributed DOS attack would mean stringent action plans to combat rising cyber threats.

Despite all, make sure to read T&C’s thoroughly before agreeing and potential charges on your way.