Vodafone has a surprise announcement this afternoon, telling customers in an email that Vodafone WiFi Calling is coming, starting progressively with Samsung’s Galaxy S7 range, and coming to Galaxy S8 and Apple iPhones soon.
At home or at work, we all know places where mobile reception isn’t too great, and Vodafone knows that buildings, concrete and more can interfere with your mobile’s ability to take and make calls. To address this, they’re starting WiFi Calling support from today.
According to Vodafone’s support article, WiFi Calling will only be available to postpaid customers with selected devices. In particular, customers will need to:
- Update their device with the latest software.
- Enable 4G Voice & Data (VoLTE) in device settings. See our device guides for instructions.
- Turn on Wi-Fi Calling in device settings. See our device guides for instructions.
If you’ve got a compatible device, you may be able to use this feature from today. For people with the following devices, you’ll need to wait a bit longer, with support promised by the end of 2017:
- Apple iPhone 8 Plus
- Apple iPhone 8
- Apple iPhone 7
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus
- Apple iPhone 6S
- Apple iPhone 6S Plus
- Apple iPhone SE
- Apple iPhone 6
- Apple iPhone 6 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy S8+
The good news is, there’s no extra charges to use this service — calls, SMS and MMS sent over WiFi are charged at your plan’s rate, so if you’ve got unlimited calls and SMS (as many Vodafone customers do these days), there’s no extra charge at all.
The experience should be fairly seamless — there’s no call-drop in the handover from WiFi to 4G, but if you leave WiFi and go into a 3G-only area, your call will likely drop. It’s important to note that, bandwidth wise, a voice call uses very little data – something in the order of 120kbps or less, meaning that even on very slow connections (by modern standards) voice calls should proceed at a high quality.
An important thing to note is that your phone (and Vodafone’s systems) will determine how a call proceeds, whether that’s over a cellular network or over WiFi. Generally speaking, you can’t force a WiFi call, as they will only be preferred when no 3G/4G coverage is available. It may be possible to force this in some situations, but I wouldn’t be counting on it.
We’re looking forward to Vodafone enabling WiFi Calling for a wider range of devices soon, and for more information, you can keep track on Vodafone’s support page.