I’ve just had a chat with a public relations contact at Optus MVNO Circles.Life Australia and have some unofficial good news to pass on, they’ve recently soft launched VoLTE and VoWIFI for customers that have compatible devices on the telco’s new plans.
There will be an official announcement about VoLTE/WIFI and a few other new features that Circles.Life will be releasing early next year, likely around Feb.
In the meanwhile if you’d like to port to Circles.Life now that they have VoLTE and VoWIFI there are some special port-in deals on offer which end 4 Jan 2022 at 1PM AEDT.
The budget $10 and top end $55 plans remain at their normal prices but the 2 middle plans are on sale:
30GB for $15 for first six full months. $25/month after that.
100GB for $30 for first six full months. $45/month after that.
Note that Circles.Life charges once every full calendar month and your first payment will be pro-rata at the full undiscounted plan cost/month.
Explained: Wi-Fi calling (VoWiFi) and Voice over LTE 4G calling (VoLTE)
To use VoLTE on Circles.Life you need to have a VoLTE capable mobile phone and 4G Optus coverage.
Not all phones are capable of VoLTE and VoWiFi, though most mid range and top range models from the last few years are. Even if your phone supports these features they’re often turned off by default in your Android SIM card network settings, so you need to turn them on manually.
You may ask why you should care about these acronyms? The answer is that these are quite powerful features, especially if you live or work in a building where your mobile network signal is really weak inside like my double brick house or you have no coverage at all because you live in a valley.
While you are on a Wi-Fi call, if you move out of your Wi-Fi coverage and have a 4G network signal, your call will seamlessly move between the Wi-Fi and 4G networks (perhaps with a second or so gap in audio). If you move from Wi-Fi into a 3G network or there is no mobile signal your Wi-Fi call will drop out when you leave Wi-Fi coverage.
The reverse isn’t necessarily so; if you are on a 4G / Voice over LTE call and move into WiFi coverage, your call will usually continue over the 4G network until its conclusion. Your phone will then register for VoWiFi after the call, and use that going forward.
Don’t worry about using lots of data during Wi-Fi calls – you’d be surprised how little it actually uses eg: 100-120kbps of your broadband Wi-Fi upload bandwidth. For the typical NBN connection which runs around 25 – 50 Mbps, that voice bandwidth is negligible.
It’s a minor change from a user perspective but it can significantly improve the quality of your mobile experience.