Looking to improve the calling experience for users with steady WiFi connections but weak mobile or cellular signal, Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel has announced that it would be rolling out voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) services by the end of this year.
VoWiFi technology lets customers, enterprises and service providers use private wireless LANs (WLANs), home WiFi networks and public WiFi hotspots for voice calls to other mobile numbers. The technology works with select smartphones just like VoLTE or voice over LTE.
It is designed to plug indoor network gaps as operators continue to find it challenging to get site approvals and right of way in residential areas. VoWiFi will allow telcos to take on over-the-top players like WhatsApp and keep them from eating into their revenue, even as voice calling rates to rise, say analysts.
The official website of the Airtel WiFi Calling service states that the service will only be available via Airtel Broadband. It means that you don’t only need a supported smartphone but also Airtel Xstream Fibre network.
You can activate the service by heading to SIM Card Settings > Enable VoLTE Switch and then enable the WiFi Calling switch. Once you enable this feature, restart your device and then wait for the VoWiFi symbol to appear in the status bar. The service is available only in Delhi NCR region and will be expanded to other circles as well. The rollout is expected to become available in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, where Airtel is already testing its WiFi Calling service
The list of smartphones that support this new service includes the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7T series, Apple iPhone 11 series, Xiaomi Redmi K20 series to name a few. For those unaware, the WiFi Calling service allows its users to make and receive calls and texts using the WiFi network.
According to an ET report, people familiar with the matter said that the telecom provider has already tested its VoWiFi with employees and select customers.
Reliance Jio Infocomm has also been testing Vo-WiFi services in circles like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala, the people said. The telco hasn’t decided upon a launch timeline.