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Wi-Fi calling, shining a light on your darkest mobile blackspots

Category: News, Sky Muster/  Posted On 01/08/2018

Is that better? And now? Hello? Yeah, I can hear you. Can you hear…hello? Is that better? Oh, forget it…damn phone.

Sound familiar? Then Wi-Fi calling will shine a light on your darkest mobile blackspots. If you haven’t already heard of Wi-Fi Calling then it may well be time to get on board.

We all know Australia has been lagging behind when it comes to mobile phone reception and mobile call quality. There have been improvements but many parts of the country still struggle to stay connected by phone.

After what feels like the longest wait, Australian mobile network providers are now offering customers the chance to make the most of Wi-Fi Calling; just as long as your phone is geared up for it.

Okay, tell me more.

The idea with Wi-Fi Calling is that instead of using your regular mobile network connection to make calls or send texts, you can do both using your home Wi-Fi or any other Wi-Fi hotspot you join while out and about. It’s the ideal solution for those of us that live or work in mobile dark zones, where one or no bars is the bane of your life.

So, it’s basically Skype?

That’s not a bad starting point. Think of it as Skype’s cooler, smarter, better-looking older cousin. Services like Skype, WhatsApp and Google Hangout, for example, are what we call VoIP (Voice over IP) applications that let you use a Wi-Fi connection to make voice calls. However, the benefits of a dedicated Wi-Fi Calling service through your own network provider create a much simpler hassle-free experience.

Okay, you’ve whetted my appetite. Now feed me more!

For starters, with the likes of Skype and WhatsApp – what we call ‘third-party apps’ – each person that you wish to contact must also have that same app before you can connect over Wi-Fi. With a dedicated network service, everything is already hooked up into your phone’s system. You don’t need to buy an app, download an app, log on to a service – and neither does the person you want to be on the other end of the phone.

What’s next?

For the main course, such is the Wi-Fi Calling tech these days that if you begin your call in a part of the house with four bars, get lost in catching up and find yourself absentmindedly wandering into that dreaded blackspot, then Wi-Fi Calling will seamlessly kick in. The chances are you won’t even notice the switch apart from your device will display a Wi-Fi call icon next to the Wi-Fi signal bar.

I’m still hungry…

Well, for dessert, Wi-Fi Calling makes the whole internet voice calling thing so straightforward. There’s no adding of contacts to a third-party service, you dial the number or send that text just as you normally would and the call or text will appear on your contacts phone as normal too. The cherry on the top is that the person doesn’t even need to have Wi-Fi Calling.

It is worth bearing in mind that under pretty much all of the current Wi-Fi Calling plans, any call time or texts used over your Wi-Fi Calling facility will count towards that month’s allowance.

I need something to wash it all down with…

For your nightcap, we’ll tell you how you can make Wi-Fi Calling happen for you. First, you’ll need a smartphone with Wi-Fi Calling capability. The current range of compatible phones does start at the top end of the market.

For Apple’s iPhone that’s the iPhone X, 8 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus or SE. For Samsung it ranges from the Galaxy S9 Plus down to the 2016 Galaxy A3. It’s best to check with your network provider (check out their website or give them a call, if you can, to find out more).

The availability of Wi-Fi Calling will depend on your current monthly plan so it’s worth checking that too and, if it’s not available to you, it might be worth working out whether it’s worth an upgrade to be rid of those bleak blackspots. Currently, it’s only available to customers on post-paid mobile plans with selected Wi-Fi Calling compatible devices.

I’m compatible, now what?

If your phone is compatible and your plan allows it then all you need to do to enable your phone is:

  •  make sure you’ve got the latest version of your phone’s software;
  •  make sure you’ve got VoLTE (i.e. 4G Voice Calls) enabled in the ‘Settings’ on your phone;
  • head to the ‘Phone’ section in ‘Settings’; and
  • select ‘Wi-Fi Calling on This Phone’ and flick the switch to ‘On’.
Thanks for the feed, I’ll be off now.

Let’s not be forgetting the bill, there’s no such thing as a free dinner! Here’s the damage:

  • If you make a call using Wi-Fi Calling and then travel outside the Wi-Fi range, the call won’t automatically transfer to your mobile network;
  • You will need at least a 1Mbps Wi-Fi connection, which shouldn’t be too difficult, to be frank;
  • As well as using up your minutes and text allowance, the calls you make over Wi-Fi Calling will also use up your data (not much but always worth knowing about);
  • Wi-Fi calling doesn’t currently support international roaming, but that may change.
Any mints with that?

There is one last thing: the most recent SkyMesh routers for Sky Muster™ and Fixed Wireless support Wi-Fi Calling.

Oh, and thanks for dining with us, please come again.

 

Written by Matthew Fearon

Matthew is part of the SkyMesh Marketing team. He likes words and choosing the right ones to put in the right order at the right time. When not writing content for online he can be found writing content for his notebooks.