Sprint will begin offering International Wi-Fi Calling back to the United States at no additional cost starting with an over-the-air software update to Samsung Galaxy S 4 with Sprint Spark rolling out now. This new feature allows those traveling abroad with Wi-Fi Calling enabled phones to make and receive calls to friends and family in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico at no additional charge while connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Three of the four major wireless operators in the US have announced they’re deploying voice over LTE service (excepting Sprint). Voice over LTE will eventually replace existing 2G voice service. Currently LTE is a data-only service, with voice routed through their separate 3G infrastructure.
Wi-Fi Calling lets Sprint customers use voice and messaging services over existing home, office and public Wi-Fi networks. Available at no additional charge to Sprint customers with a compatible Android smartphone, it offers improved voice, data and messaging services in locations that previously had limited or no mobile network coverage.
Sprint’s HD Voice transmits and receives a wider octave range on traditional cellular networks. HD Voice actively detects background noise and minimizes its presence, making your voice and the voice on the other end of the call more defined and easier to understand.
WiFi calling essentially allows cell phone packets to be forwarded to a network access point over the internet, rather than over-the-air using cellular providers. Since the system works over the internet, a UMA-capable handset can connect to their service provider from any location with internet access. This is particularly useful for travellers, who can connect to their provider and make calls into their home service area from anywhere in the world.
Say you take your Wifi phone to France, you can connect to Wi-Fi Calling and call your friend in Seattle. The call is billed like a local call to Seattle (e.g. it comes out of your bucket of minutes), with no international roaming fees. But if you’re in France and you call a French number (+33 …) then it’s billed like an international call to France.
Wi-Fi calling is available on T-Mobile and others, using special Wifi handsets or with smartphone apps like Kineto.
Kineto Wireless, a major supplier of telco-OTT solutions, says it has added a suite of Smart Calling services to its downloadable Smart Comms smartphone application for mobile operators. The new services include the ability to make and receive cellular calls and SMS over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi), 2nd line service, home line calling, and international VoIP calling.