Sharing the update via email, Vodafone stated that its new Wi-Fi Calling feature will be available to postpaid customers with compatible smartphones over the coming months. First up? Vodafone users with the Samsung Galaxy S7 or Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Although listing just two devices so far makes Vodafone's initial Wi-Fi call rollout seem extremely limited, customers with other high-end smartphones should also have access to the feature by the end of the year. Vodafone is working on supporting the following devices before 2018:
- Apple iPhone 8
- Apple iPhone 8 Plus
- Apple iPhone 7
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus
- Apple iPhone 6s
- Apple iPhone 6s Plus
- Apple iPhone 6
- Apple iPhone 6 Plus
- Apple iPhone SE
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy S8+
What is Wi-Fi Calling?
Wi-Fi Calling is simply the ability to make calls over a connected Wi-Fi network, rather than your telco's mobile network. Instead of connecting to Vodafone's 3G or 4G networks, your phone will make and receive calls over a Wi-Fi broadband network, such as the one you may connect to in your home or office.
As most mobile plans now include unlimited calls and texts anyway, this isn't really a money-saving feature, but it's a great form of backup for times when your mobile signal is weak, or you're outside coverage areas. If you frequently need to go outside to make a call, or have coverage 'black spots' at home or at work, Wi-Fi Calling can solve the problem.
Vodafone joins Telstra and Optus in offering Wi-Fi calling to compatible postpaid customers. Telstra switched on the service in November of 2016, with Optus following shortly after in January. While Vodafone is only rolling out Wi-Fi calls to postpaid subscribers this year, it plans to offer the feature to prepaid customers in the near future.
How do I switch Wi-Fi Calling on?
If you're currently using the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge and are on an active, postpaid Vodafone plan, you may be able to access Wi-Fi calling today. Here's how to set the feature up on your device.
You'll need to make sure your phone is updated with the latest software - for Samsung owners, this means going to Settings, then tapping About Device, then selecting Software Update. Depending on your version of Android, you can download any available updates manually, or switch on the Auto Update/ Download Update Automatically option.
For Apple users, you'll also need to hit Settings, then General, then Software Update. Once your device is up-to-date, make sure you have 4G Voice and Data (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi Calling enabled in your phone's Settings. Apple owners can find these options in Settings, then Mobile, then Mobile Data Options and Wi-Fi Calling. Samsung users will need to open Settings, then activate Advanced Calling or VoLTE and switch on Wi-Fi Calling (this may vary depending on your device).
Once your phone is Wi-Fi Calling enabled, you'll find your device automatically reverts to Wi-Fi calls whenever 4G or 3G Vodafone coverage is limited or weak. There's no additional fees charged by Vodafone when a customer makes calls over Wi-Fi, but the (usually small!) amount of data used will be taken from your Wi-Fi network's broadband allowance, or charged at your ISP's standard data rates.
As your phone will automatically switch to the best coverage available, customers should be able to move between Wi-Fi and 4G service mid-call without interruption. However, if you leave Wi-Fi coverage while on a Wi-Fi call and only 3G or 2G service is available, your call will disconnect.
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