AT&T has officially launched its Wi-Fi Calling feature to LG’s 2015 flagship device, the G4. This marks the first time that the Wi-Fi Calling feature has been made available to subscribers of the major US wireless carrier who own Android powered mobile devices. AT&T has promised to extend this feature to other Android handsets as well in the weeks or months to come.
For those who currently an LG G4 smartphone, they will receive a notice that will request them to install a software update. This update should allow these users to start making and taking phone calls as well as text message over a Wi-Fi network. It should be noted though that the Wi-Fi Calling feature is made available only to postpaid subscribers of AT&T.
According to a blog entry posted by Bill Smith, the president of technology operations of AT&T, on the wireless carrier’s official website, calls made or accepted via Wi-Fi are billed based on the number AT&T subscribers are calling or receiving from. Moreover, it does not matter where the user is connected to Wi-Fi. To illustrate, making a call on one’s US number to another US number is free of charge, even if one is in a country outside America.
Wireless carriers used to see Wi-Fi Calling as a rival service to cellular service, something most mobile service providers’ operations are revolving around. But in recent years, more and more carriers are convinced that Wi-Fi Calling features would make for great additions to their repertoire, especially if the intent is to further boost network coverage while at the same time, lessen the current load of their networks. Among the major wireless carriers in the US, T-Mobile is considered one of the very first to embrace Wi-Fi Calling, debuting its offering almost a decade ago in 2007. Last year, the wireless carrier claimed that 7 million of its subscribers were taking advantage of the feature.
As the second biggest wireless carrier in America, one would think that AT&T would be the one of the first to join in on the fun. But circumstances have not been to the company’s side. Still, there is some progress -- in October of last year, AT&T was granted a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission on its rules for the hearing impaired that it claimed were hindering it from providing Wi-Fi Calling services, and a few days later it debuted support for Wi-Fi Calling on newer models of iPhone devices. By way of Apple’s iOS 9.3 released earlier this year, both AT&T and industry leader Verizon Wirelessstarted offering international Wi-Fi Calling to their respective subscribers who own iPhone devices.
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