Hat tip to long time Ausdroid reader Beau Giles who noticed that Telstra is finally enabling SMS over Wi-Fi for iPhone 6S and above as well as a range of Samsung Android powered phones.
It is quite reasonable to ask why Telstra didn’t bother to enable SMS over Wi-Fi years ago as Optus and Vodafone have had this feature enabled for some time.
While not mentioned in their official statement, it is likely Telstra realised that its customers in remote areas who move in and out of mobile coverage zones couldn’t receive government SMS about COVID-19, which forced Telstra to enable the SMS over Wi-Fi feature.
SMS over Wi-Fi means that when Telstra mobile customers with a compatible phone are connected to a Wi-Fi network that can access the internet, they’ll still be able to receive SMS messages even if their phone is not in an area where it can connect to the mobile (cellular) network.
Telstra has supported Wi-Fi calling on many devices for several years, so you might already be familiar with using Wi-Fi to access your mobile services.
Unfortunately this upgrade is not automatic for all Telstra mobile customers.
Updates to enable SMS over Wi-Fi on some mobile handsets have gone live during the last 24 hours and will roll out progressively over the next week. Some Telstra mobile customers will already see the functionality available on their devices.
Currently iPhones newer than 6S and Android devices from Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series have already just been enabled to use Telstra SMS over Wi-Fi.
Telstra is rolling out updates to Samsung Galaxy S10, S9, Note 8 series and Galaxy A20, A30, A90, A90 5G and A51 devices through the rest of this week. Older devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy A5 2017 and J2 Pro require a little more work to enable this feature, so Telstra will advise when they have an updated timeline for these.
It is unclear when other new Android smartphones from other manufacturers will be enabled to use Telstra SMS over Wi-Fi.
To make sure you receive these and other updates as soon as they’re available for your device, you should make sure your phone is set up to receive automatic updates.