T-Mobile WiFi Calling: Mixed Messages

T-Mobile’s version of the Nexus 4 will apparently NOT support Wi-Fi calling, despite online documents showing T-Mobile would allow calls over Wi-Fi connections.

WiFi calling lets users take advantage of their own WiFi network instead of relying on T-Mobile’s towers. It’s available for T-Mobile’s Samsung S3 and BlackBerry Torch 9810. More information can be found on T-Mobile Support page.

The T-Mobile version costs $200 on a 2 year contract or $500 contract-free. The same phone costs $349 (unlocked) from Google.

The Nexus 4 from Google comes unlocked (contract-free) and costs $299 for the 8GB version. It will be available on November 13.

Voice over WiFi is handy for people who live in basement apartments or who work in a high-rise building where cell phone signals are blocked. It also is handy for people who can’t get reliable cell service in their home, enabling a WiFi connection to provide the link (via the internet).

T-Mobile uses Kineto Wireless Smart Wi-Fi technology as the main enabling technology for its Wi-Fi Calling service offer. It used special WiFi hotspots that optimize the voice connection. T-Mobile’s current version of WiFi Calling no longer supports automatic handoff to cellular.

Kineto’s Smart Wi-Fi application automatically activates when the user is in range of a wireless network; the app turns on the WiFi radio in the handset, registers with the WiFi network, then turns off the cellular radio. The operator bills for the voice minutes on the WiFi network, but data usage is free and does not form part of the customer’s monthly limit. WiFi calling apps are available for AT&T and T-Mobile.

In other news AT&T has reversed its decision to make FaceTime available only to those on shared data plans. Now Apple’s video chat app can be used over LTE, using their tiered data plans. They expect to roll out this functionality over the next 8-10 weeks.

Apparently, AT&T now feels they will make more money on overage charges than the upfront fee for shared data plans.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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