The pros of WiFi calling almost certainly outweigh the cons for many business users. But it’s not right for every situation. Here are some things to consider before relying on WiFi for any important upcoming phone calls.
Weak WiFi Connection Equals Problems
Just as weak cellular coverage may lead to dropped calls or low quality, so can a weak WiFi signal. Internet signal strength varies based on your distance from a router, the amount of people connected, and any potential obstructions. This can be especially relevant for those in large offices where the router is far away or near concrete walls or appliances, which can block the signal. Get to know the spots in your home and/or office where the signal is strongest (often close to the router) and use those for important WiFi phone calls.
There are Restrictions on International Calls
WiFi calling within the U.S. is usually free. But you may have to pay for international calls, since these are not technically made using only WiFi. For example, T-mobile customers may pay $0.25 per minute when roaming. It’s the same for WiFi calls as it is for traditional cellular phone calls. Specific rates vary based on your international calling plan. So get to know these rates to avoid surprises when calling internationally.
Not All Phones Have a WiFi Calling Feature
Most modern smartphones have WiFi calling. And all the major U.S. carriers support it on these devices. But it’s not included on older cell phones or office phones. If you or the person you’re calling doesn’t have a device that supports this feature, it may not be an option.
How to Setup and Enable WiFi Calling
Not all phones have a WiFi calling feature. And those that do generally don’t come with it automatically enabled. So before you make a WiFi call, you’ll need to make sure your phone is HD voice-enabled and connected to a WiFi network. Then you must enable WiFi calling before making your first call or text. Here’s how to do that on some of today’s most popular devices.
How to Setup WiFi Calling on Android Devices
Most modern Android phones make it easy to set up WiFi calling. Before you can make phone calls using WiFi, you simply need to enable the feature on your device. This allows you to call or text where no service is available or when your phone is in airplane mode, which stops it from connecting to a cellphone tower. Here’s how to do this on an Android phone:
- Go to your phone’s settings section and select Networks & Internet
- Click the mobile network option
- Turn on WiFi
- Click the Advanced settings option
- Scroll down to where it says “WiFi calling,” toggle on the option
- Enter your emergency address when prompted, since emergency services don’t automatically get your location if you call using WiFi
How to Setup WiFi Calling on iPhone Devices
For those with an Apple device, making calls with WiFi instead of cellular service is automatic as long as you activate this feature first. If you have an iPhone, here are the steps needed to enable WiFi calling on your wireless device.
- Go to your phone’s settings and select “Phone”
- Scroll down to where it says WiFi Calling and toggle it on
- Enter or confirm your address in case you need to make emergency calls
- Connect to a WiFi network
How to Make a Call with the WiFi Calling Feature
Once you enable WiFi calling, you don’t have to take many special steps to make calls. The exact process varies by device. But here’s a basic guide:
- Activate WiFi calling in your phone’s settings
- Connect to a WiFi network
- Dial or text as usual
- If you’re making an emergency call, provide your location either in your phone’s settings or at the beginning of the call.
How do I use WiFi calling on my Samsung phone?
Popular Samsung phones like the Galaxy series generally include WiFi calling if purchased within the last several years. Each specific phone may vary a bit, but here’s usually how it works:
- Tap the three vertical dots in your phone app
- Go to Settings and tap WiFi Calling
- Toggle the switch over to turn the feature on
- Certain phones also allow you to activate WiFi Calling from the Quick Settings Panel
What’s the difference between cellular data and WiFi calling?
Both cellular data and WiFi allow you to connect to the internet on your phone. However, when you connect using your cellular network, it comes from the monthly allowance you signed up for with your phone provider. Some plans offer unlimited data with text and voice calling, but many have limits. And you’ll usually pay overage charges if you surpass them.
When you use WiFi calling, it doesn’t come out of your phone plan. You just need to be connected to a WiFi network at your home or business. Cellular calls are often better if you have a strong signal. But WiFi calls are preferred if your cell signal is weak or if you’re over your monthly cellular allowance.
Do I want WiFi calling on or off?
WiFi calling is generally a good idea in areas where you have a strong WiFi signal but spotty access to your cellular network. For example, you might enable it on public transit or office dead zones. But your cellular coverage is likely stronger in other areas, so you may toggle it off in those instances. You can easily turn WiFi calling on and off. So try it both ways and see what works best for you in various instances. Generally, it’s best to turn WiFi calling off before making emergency calls. But many carriers will automatically connect you to a cell tower when you make an emergency call, if a signal is available.
Does WiFi calling save your battery life?
Yes. When you call with WiFi, your phone only needs to send a signal to your router, which is likely close by. When you call with cell service, your phone needs to reach the nearest cell tower, which is almost always further away. This may not make a huge difference for most users. But it can be noticeable for those who are far from cell towers.
Do WiFi calls show on your phone bill?
WiFi calls sometimes show up on your phone bill, but not always. If you are connected to a WiFi network at your home or office, then the WiFi call likely will not appear on your bill. You simply pay your internet carrier for access. And that allows you to make calls when you’re on the same network. However, if you aren’t connected to an outside network, you’ll use your phone’s data plan, which does appear on your phone bill.
Does WiFi calling work without a SIM?
Yes, you can make a WiFi call on a device without a SIM card. All you need is a phone that has WiFi calling capabilities and access to the internet. If you purchased a smartphone in the U.S. within the past five years, it likely has the ability to make WiFi calling work.
Is WiFi calling better than 4G?
WiFi calling lets you place calls and texts without access to a cellular connection. Calling with 4G does require you to be close to a cell tower. Some WiFi calls get slightly delayed if the connection isn’t strong. But this feature does let you make calls in areas with limited cell service. It can also keep your cell phone bill reasonable if you’re always near the limits of your cellular data usage. Generally, WiFi calling is helpful as long as you have access to a strong internet connection. But 4G may be better if you’re always out and about, or if you travel or call internationally, since overseas WiFi calling isn’t free.
Is WiFi calling the same as VoLTE?
No, VoLTE still requires access to a cell signal, while WiFi calling does not. VoLTE stands for voice over long-term evolution. This means you can use it to place voice calls using your phone’s signal. It aims to be faster than other types of signals like 3G. And you don’t need to be connected to a WiFi signal at your home or office to use it. With WiFi calling, you do need access to the internet, but you don’t need to be close to a cell phone tower to place a voice call or text.
Is there an app for free WiFi calling?
You do not need a third party app to place WiFi calls. It is a feature that comes standard with most phones, including iPhones and Android devices. Carriers like Verizon and T-mobile also support this capability without outside apps. Just enable the feature in your phone’s settings to use it.
However, there are apps you can use to place WiFi calls, like Google Voice, Skype, Tango, and Fring. These generally offer advanced features like international WiFi calling or the ability to call from other devices like laptops.
Can I still make calls to emergency services using WiFi calling?
Yes, you can place emergency calls using WiFi calling if you are not connected to a cellular network. This is a useful feature for business users because it allows you to keep your workplace safe even if there’s a spotty cell signal. It can also be useful for those who regularly travel, since you may sometimes end up far away from cell towers, or on trains or public transit systems.
However, most carriers will automatically connect you to your cell signal when placing an emergency call if their network is available. When you’re connected via cell service, emergency services can access your location in case you’re unsure or the call gets cut off. This feature is not available when you use WiFi calling. To ensure safety and fast response times when using WiFi calling, give your location right away and add your address to your device when prompted.