T-Mobile’s latest attack in the increasingly competitive wireless market comes on the voice over Wi-Fi front. VoWiFi is expected to be a hot area now that handsets are available that do not require special dialing or a different phone number to send calls over Wi-Fi. And T-Mobile seems to have a head start on its competitors in this area.
Wi-Fi Calling: T-Mobile
The carrier late yesterday afternoon announced several new VoWiFi-based offerings, including:
- 100% of new T-Mobile smartphones will be capable of Wi-Fi calling and texting. Customers who don’t already have a VoWiFi phone can upgrade to one.
- The T-Mobile network now supports what the company is calling “next-generation Wi-Fi calling and texting,” which sounds a lot like what some people are calling “carrier VoWiFi.” According to the company next-gen Wi-Fi calling includes high-definition voice, fast call setup times and “seamless” voice coverage between T-Mobile’s nationwide voice over LTE network and Wi-Fi. As the company notes, this means customers can make free calls to the U.S. from outside the country by using Wi-Fi.
- T-Mobile customers will be able to send and receive unlimited free and picture messages and get visible voice mail on any flight on a U.S.-based airline equipped with Wi-Fi from Gogo. According to T-Mobile’s press release, this includes more than 75% of domestic flights.
- Every customer on T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan with a broadband connection and VoWiFi-ready smartphone can get a “T-Mobile Personal CellSpot” for free with a $25 refundable deposit. The device enables the end user to use his or her smartphone in the home, even if cellphone service normally suffers there, T-Mobile says. The company also says the device can replace an existing WiFi router and has patent-pending technology that prioritizes voice calls.
The new VoWiFi announcements are the latest in a long string of groundbreaking moves that T-Mobile has made in the wireless marketplace. Until now most of those moves have been price-related. But this time the company is making its attack on the technology side. While other carriers are still putting the pieces in place to support VoWiFi T-Mobile appears to have taken the lead on that front.