WiFi Calling to Save Monthly Cell Usage (How to)

What is WiFi Calling?

WiFi calling allows users to make and receive phone calls and text messages over a WiFi network instead of the cellular network. It converts the call into packets and routes it through the internet. This enables calls in areas with poor cellular reception like basements or buildings. WiFi calling works by using a technology called Voice over IP (VoIP).

With WiFi calling enabled on your smartphone, whenever you connect to a WiFi network, calls will automatically route over WiFi instead of the cellular network. The call quality is similar to a regular cell phone call. Your phone number remains the same so callers do not need to dial anything different.

Major carriers in the United States that support WiFi calling include AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint. Most newer Android smartphones and iPhones have built-in support for WiFi calling. Users just need to enable the feature through their carrier.

Benefits of Using WiFi Calling

One of the biggest benefits of WiFi calling is the ability to save on cell data usage. When you make calls over WiFi, it doesn’t use up your monthly cellular minutes or data. This can help you avoid costly overage charges, especially if you are on a limited data plan (Ringcentral). WiFi calling routes your calls over the internet, so you can talk as much as you want without racking up a huge phone bill.

WiFi calling is also useful for making calls in areas with poor cell signal or reception. If you frequently experience dropped calls, static, or inability to connect in certain locations, switching to WiFi calling can significantly improve call quality. As long as you have a stable WiFi connection, you can make smooth, uninterrupted calls (WeBoost). This allows you to call from remote areas, airplane cabins, basements, and buildings where cellular coverage is spotty.

In addition to reliability, WiFi calling often provides higher overall call quality compared to traditional cellular networks. WiFi calls route over the internet which can minimize background noise, static, echoes, and distortion. The sound quality may be noticeably crisper and clearer to both parties on the call when using WiFi instead of cellular alone.

Requirements for WiFi Calling

To use WiFi Calling, you’ll need to have the following:

Compatible smartphone – Your smartphone must be compatible with WiFi Calling. This feature is available on most newer iPhone, Android, and other smartphone models from major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Check with your carrier to see if your device supports WiFi Calling (Verizon).

Cell plan with WiFi Calling enabled – You’ll need to have a cell phone plan that includes WiFi Calling as a feature. Most major carrier plans now include this, but double check with your provider. You may need to enable WiFi Calling manually through your phone settings (T-Mobile).

Strong WiFi connection – For optimal WiFi Calling performance, you’ll need a stable WiFi network with good speeds. A minimum of 2 Mbps is recommended for WiFi Calling for basic voice calls (SimpleWiFi). For higher quality video calling, speeds of 10 Mbps or higher are ideal.

How to Set Up WiFi Calling

Setting up WiFi calling on your smartphone is easy and usually just requires enabling the feature in your phone’s settings. Here are the basic steps to get started:

First, open the Settings app on your iPhone or Android device. On iPhone, go to Phone > Wi-Fi Calling and toggle it on. On Android, go to Network & Internet > WiFi Calling and enable it. You may need to contact your carrier to provision WiFi calling if you don’t see the setting.

After enabling WiFi calling, you’ll be prompted to enter or confirm your emergency address. This is required so emergency services can locate you if you dial 911 over WiFi. Enter your full home address.

Finally, confirm with your carrier that WiFi calling has been activated on your line. You may receive a text message confirming WiFi calling is ready to use. Some carriers require additional steps like adding your home address to your account profile before enabling WiFi calling. Check with your carrier if you have any issues.

Once the feature is enabled, the WiFi calling icon will appear in your status bar when connected to a WiFi network. Make calls and texts as you normally would and they will route over WiFi automatically.

Sources: https://support.apple.com/en-us/108066

Using WiFi Calling

When WiFi Calling is enabled, your phone will automatically switch to using WiFi for calls and texts whenever you are connected to a WiFi network. You will see a notification showing that WiFi Calling is active. This allows for a seamless transition between cellular networks and WiFi networks without interrupting your call or text messaging.

According to Google’s Phone app help, your phone will automatically prefer WiFi networks for calling whenever available. Even if you move out of WiFi range during a call, your phone will smoothly transition the call from WiFi to cellular without dropping the call.

Similarly, Apple notes that iPhone can intelligently switch ongoing calls between WiFi and cellular networks to avoid any disruption in service.

WiFi Calling Abroad

One of the major benefits of using WiFi calling is the ability to avoid costly roaming charges when traveling internationally. When connected to WiFi abroad, calls back to the US are free when using WiFi calling. This can lead to substantial savings compared to relying solely on a cellular network overseas where roaming charges can add up quickly (Verizon).

To take advantage of free calling over WiFi internationally, it’s important to set up WiFi calling on your device before leaving for your trip. Check with your carrier to confirm WiFi calling capabilities and any requirements. Once WiFi calling is enabled, simply connect to a local WiFi network internationally to route calls and texts over WiFi instead of the local carrier (T-Mobile). This prevents expensive roaming charges from accumulating.

With WiFi calling enabled abroad, you can enjoy free calls back to the US and affordable calling to international numbers. Just connect to any local WiFi network such as at your hotel, a restaurant, or cafe. This provides a convenient way to stay connected while traveling and avoid costly roaming fees.

Limitations of WiFi Calling

While WiFi calling can provide benefits like reducing cellular data usage and enabling calls in areas with poor cellular reception, there are some limitations to be aware of:

WiFi calling relies on having a strong WiFi connection. If the WiFi signal is weak or unstable, call quality can suffer from lag, static, or dropped calls. Public WiFi networks often have bandwidth constraints and cannot provide the consistent connectivity needed for VoIP calls (Verizon).

Using WiFi for calling can also drain a device’s battery faster than using the cellular network. The WiFi radio has to stay active continuously to maintain the phone connection, consuming more power (WeBoost).

For emergency calls, WiFi calling may not be able to automatically determine your location. Callers should be prepared to provide details on their location. Calls made outside of the registered service area may also face routing limitations (Verizon).

Troubleshooting WiFi Calling

If you are having issues with WiFi calling, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take:

First, check the strength of your WiFi connection. WiFi calling requires a strong and stable internet connection. Move closer to your router or access point if the signal is weak. You can also try disconnecting and reconnecting to the WiFi network.

Second, test WiFi calling on different WiFi networks. Connect to a different network like a friend’s WiFi, public WiFi, or even your phone’s mobile hotspot. This will help determine if the issue is with your main WiFi network or with your phone’s WiFi calling feature.

Finally, you can try resetting the network settings on your phone. Go to Settings > General > Reset and choose “Reset Network Settings.” This will erase all network settings and reset them to default. You’ll have to rejoin WiFi networks and re-enable WiFi calling.

If none of these basic troubleshooting steps resolve your WiFi calling problems, you may need to contact your mobile carrier for further support. The carrier can check that WiFi calling is properly enabled on your account and test the feature on their end. See this T-Mobile troubleshooting guide for more tips.

WiFi Calling vs VoWiFi

WiFi Calling and VoWiFi both utilize VoIP technology to make calls over Wi-Fi networks instead of traditional cellular networks. However, there are some differences between the two:

VoWiFi uses VoIP specifically to route calls over Wi-Fi networks. With WiFi Calling, your mobile carrier provides the service and it integrates with your existing phone number and plan. VoWiFi is similar but may be provided by third-party apps or services. Both allow you to make calls over Wi-Fi when you have a weak cellular signal.

In terms of compatibility, WiFi Calling is built into most modern smartphones and available from major carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. VoWiFi may require downloading a separate app and account. WiFi Calling only works when connected to your carrier’s network, while VoWiFi can work with any Wi-Fi connection.

Overall, WiFi Calling and VoWiFi provide similar capabilities to make calls over Wi-Fi. The main differences are who provides the service and compatibility with your existing phone number. WiFi Calling integrates directly with your carrier and mobile plan, while VoWiFi may require third-party apps and services.[1]

Tips for Using WiFi Calling

WiFi calling allows you to make calls and send texts over WiFi instead of your cellular network. This can help you conserve monthly cell data usage. Here are some tips for getting the most out of WiFi calling:

Enable airplane mode and turn WiFi back on when you are in an area with a known, trusted WiFi network. This forces your device to route calls and texts over WiFi rather than cellular.1 Just remember to disable airplane mode before leaving WiFi coverage.

Disable WiFi calling when you don’t need it. If you have an unlimited cell plan or don’t need to limit data usage, keeping WiFi calling off can ensure the best call quality.2

In general, use WiFi calling to conserve cell data when on trusted networks. Turn it off otherwise for optimal call reliability.

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