After a bit of a brouhaha involving the FCC, a waiver, T-Mobile, and Sprint, AT&T recently went live with its Wi-Fi calling functionality. Now it looks like Verizon is ready to do the same.
Verizon has requested a waiver from the FCC so that it can launch Wi-Fi calling. The waiver is required because text telephony (TTY) services are required to be used for voice, but TTY doesn’t work reliably over IP communication, aka Wi-Fi. The waiver will allow Verizon to ignore the TTY requirement and use real-time text (RTT) technology instead.
Verizon’s waiver request doesn’t mention when the big red carrier plans to begin rolling out Wi-Fi calling functionality. It’s also worth noting that while Verizon already offers Wi-Fi calling on the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus, but it does so through a custom messaging app, getting this FCC waiver will allow Verizon to enable native Wi-Fi calling in iOS and Android. That means that instead of needing an extra app, your phone will be able to use Wi-Fi calling automatically.
Wi-Fi calling is super-handy because it lets you conduct calls and send messages, even when your cellular coverage isn’t great. And while Verizon often boasts how solid its network is, even Verizon’s network can’t reach everywhere. So if you’re, say, deep inside a concrete building with no cellular service but a Wi-Fi connection, Wi-Fi calling will let you stay connected.