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Apple activates Wi-Fi calling for T-Mobile iPhones with latest iOS 8 beta

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Among the new settings options and user interface tweaks in Monday's iOS 8 beta release, Apple has switched on Wi-Fi calling for T-Mobile handsets, granting developers with access to the software a chance to test out the feature.


Source: Matthew Miller via Twitter


As seen in the screenshot above, Wi-Fi calling is now a selectable option for T-Mobile iPhones running Apple's latest iOS 8 beta 3 software that was released alongside a new OS X 10.10 Yosemite developer preview build earlier today.

The addition comes one month after T-Mobile chief marketing officer Mike Sievert said the feature would be supported in Apple's final iOS 8 build. Canadian cellular provider Rogers Wireless also announced its network will be compatible with iOS 8's Wi-Fi calling function on rollout.

Like other carriers' Wi-Fi voice calling solutions, T-Mobile's version offloads incoming and outgoing calls to a local wireless network, offering a more reliable and stable connection as well as enhanced audio quality and better battery performance. As a plus, Wi-Fi calling takes load off the cellular network backbone and can help ease bandwidth issues in congested areas.

Under current terms, T-Mobile subscribers are allowed to connect to and make calls from Wi-Fi networks as part of their monthly subscription, though usage counts against plan messaging and minutes.

When Apple's iOS 8 debuts this fall, over 90 percent of T-Mobile's smartphone offerings will support the feature first rolled out with select Android and Windows devices in 2007.
post #2 of 36
Hmmm. At first, I though "This is how the cell carriers will degenerate into dumb pipes. They'll be little more than glorified ISPs. They'll have no value-add."

On second thought, wi-fi calling will give them an excuse to drag their feet building out their LTE and next-gen "real 4G" networks*. And they'll be using ISP bandwidth to generate all that subscription revenue. Without giving ISPs a cut. Pretty sleazy. Of course, the consumer benefits, right?

* LTE is not real 4G. LTE is just the last iteration of 3G. Real 4G will eventually provide 100Mbps in high mobility situations (trains and cars) and 1Gbps in low mobility situations (pedestrians and stationary.) And there will no longer be any need for separate voice and data connections. It will all be IP packetized data, the same way your dumb-pipe ISP now handles your emailing, texting, web surfing, Netflix-ing, etc. Will be funny to see if the carriers still try to sell separate "voice" and "data" plans when real 4G is finally rolled out.
Edited by SockRolid - 7/7/14 at 4:01pm

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post #3 of 36
I am not seeing this option. I have tmo and iPhone 5.
post #4 of 36
Originally Posted by ny3ranger View Post
I am not seeing this option. I have tmo and iPhone 5.

 

And iOS 8?

post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And iOS 8?

Yep. 8 beta 3
post #6 of 36
Curious about the quality comparison versus FaceTime audio
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ny3ranger View Post

I am not seeing this option. I have tmo and iPhone 5.

Same here. I'm on T-Mobile and iPhone 5 on iOS 8 beta 3 but i'm not seeing this Wi-Fi calling feature. In my case, perhaps it's due to the iPhone 5 model. My iPhone 5 originally purchased as a Verizon iPhone (model A1429).
post #8 of 36
Don't forget the iPod touch deploying the same wifi call feature with iOS 8...
post #9 of 36

Is this going to happen for AT&T?

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post #10 of 36
Originally Posted by dinoone View Post
Don't forget the iPod touch deploying the same wifi call feature with iOS 8...

 

And how do you propose that works?

post #11 of 36
"Same here. I'm on T-Mobile and iPhone 5 on iOS 8 beta 3 but i'm not seeing this Wi-Fi calling feature. In my case, perhaps it's due to the iPhone 5 model. My iPhone 5 originally purchased as a Verizon iPhone (model A1429)."

Mine too but that shouldn't stop up for having that feature. T-Mobile iPhones are basically unlocked iPhones no? And mine is obviously unlocked after contract ran out from AT&T
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

Is this going to happen for AT&T?

You need to ask AT&T.

 

Of course, they could be sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see how T-Mobile USA does with the functionality. I assume AT&T has enough technical prowess to implement the feature should they so desire.

 

That said, T-Mobile definitely has more coverage gaps than AT&T, so the former has more reason to expedite WiFi calling with their network.


Edited by mpantone - 7/7/14 at 5:37pm
post #13 of 36

I wonder what would make any user allow Wi-Fi calling. I doubt that there are perceptible quality advantages, and I don't see how any kind of handover to the mobile networks would work in case I leave the Wi-Fi coverage area.

Essentially, all advantages are with the carrier, and all issues / disadvantages are with the customer. Great idea, folks!

post #14 of 36
Originally Posted by Philotech View Post
I wonder what would make any user allow Wi-Fi calling. I doubt that there are perceptible quality advantages, and I don't see how any kind of handover to the mobile networks would work in case I leave the Wi-Fi coverage area.

Essentially, all advantages are with the carrier, and all issues / disadvantages are with the customer. Great idea, folks!

 

Paid by the post, huh?

post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philotech View Post
 

I wonder what would make any user allow Wi-Fi calling.

Poor cellular reception.

 

Like in my condo. Right smack dab in the heart of Silicon Valley. I used to work in a building that had terrible cellular reception as well. Might of had something to do with the metal roof, but I didn't have a choice. It's not like I could have changed the building architecture.

 

Note that one does not need to venture very far to find locations with very iffy reception. Especially here in California, there are plenty of gullies and canyons where cellular reception is abysmal, but if you walk a hundred or two hundred yards, the service is fine.

 

Stuff like that.

 

Ideally, my cellular provider would have super-awesome reception wherever I go and Sports Illustrated swimsuit models would be texting me all day to join them in Tahiti. Sadly, I don't live in a dreamworld. 

post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Is this going to happen for AT&T?

I hope so but they have their piece of crap MicroCell "solution" that they are pushing on people to have similar functionality.
post #17 of 36
Looks like its only available for iPhone 5S, but has issues there as well.
post #18 of 36
Also great for roaming. Usually minutes are charged at local rate when calling using wifi while overseas. At least with T-Mobile, last time I checked.
post #19 of 36
I've read that wi-fi calling works only with postpaid, not prepaid plans.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
 Originally Posted by dinoone 
Don't forget the iPod touch deploying the same wifi call feature with iOS 8...

I haven't read anything about iPod touches being able to call directly to a phone by dialing a standard 10-digit number.  Could you take incoming calls too from a landline phone?  What number would they call?

post #21 of 36
Originally Posted by Lee493 View Post
I haven't read anything about iPod touches being able to call directly to a phone by dialing a standard 10-digit number.  Could you take incoming calls too from a landline phone?  What number would they call?

 

More importantly, how would they be billed?

post #22 of 36

My carrier supports WiFi calling now, but only on an extremely limited range of devices, mostly Blackberry. That has me wondering if there are hardware issues at play? The article says there's a switch for it in the iOS8 beta, but doesn't say if anyone has been able to make it work. Maybe it requires an iPhone 6?

 

An interesting aside, my carrier charges extra for the feature. I wish I could find a way to bill my clients for having someone else carry the freight!

 

When/if it becomes available for a device I own, I intend to ask my carrier to supply me the feature gratis in exchange for me no longer constantly complaining that I can't get a decent signal in my neighbourhood. I don't know if it will work, though. Most of my calls to them drop out before I can register the complaint!

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Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

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post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ny3ranger View Post

"Same here. I'm on T-Mobile and iPhone 5 on iOS 8 beta 3 but i'm not seeing this Wi-Fi calling feature. In my case, perhaps it's due to the iPhone 5 model. My iPhone 5 originally purchased as a Verizon iPhone (model A1429)."

Mine too but that shouldn't stop up for having that feature. T-Mobile iPhones are basically unlocked iPhones no? And mine is obviously unlocked after contract ran out from AT&T
you can use unlocked iPhones but an upgraded iPhone 5 was introduced that supported better T-Mobile coverage. The 5S once again became universal for the GSM model in the USA.

It appears that wifi calling is only activated for the 5S (and maybe not with all plans). I have it and look forward to it. I received afree microcell from T-Mobile a couple of weeks ago but it's not a drastic improvement.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee493 View Post
 

I haven't read anything about iPod touches being able to call directly to a phone by dialing a standard 10-digit number.  Could you take incoming calls too from a landline phone?  What number would they call?

Various solutions addressed VoIP for WiFi-only iDevices several years ago (like 2010) so there is very little discussion about the matter these days.

 

There have been a number of solutions over the years, although Google recently discontinued third-party developers from accessing the Google Voice VoIP API. 

 

The oldest and most well-known solution is Skype with the SkypeIn (incoming calls) and SkypeOut (outgoing) options to regular numbers. The first-generation iPod touch had no microphone, but there were third-party microphones that would attach via the Dock Connector. Eventually, the iPod touch got support for the four conductor mini-plug, allowing use of headphones/earbuds with the inline microphone.

 

Before Google's recent shutdown of 3rd party VoIP, you could use an app like Talkatone to answer incoming calls to your Google Voice number over a WiFi connection (yes, it worked with iPod touches, iPads, etc.). I often made outgoing VoIP calls with GV Mobile+. Since the end of third-party access, Talkatone has started their own VoIP service.

 

While I'm not sure about incoming calls, I do know that one can make outgoing VoIP calls via Google Hangouts. The ten-digit number assigned by Talkatone's VoIP service (limited talk time with the free account) does work with Google Voice's forwarding system.

 

Note that one can install the Google Talk browser plug-in and call people via Google Voice VoIP directly from Gmail (in a web browser page), thus your computer becomes your phone. This too has been around for years.


Edited by mpantone - 7/8/14 at 11:58am
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

More importantly, how would they be billed?

Billing is done to an account via an app or an online account management page on a website.

 

Skype does this. You can buy voice credits for Google Voice, Talkatone, and others.

 

Generally speaking, these VoIP services are prepaid; you have to buy credit to call landlines or mobile numbers. Many of these services come with a small amount of promotional "starter credit." I still have the original $1.00 of credit from Google Voice (or maybe it was pre-acquisition GrandCentral).
 
Some of them (like Google Voice) allow you to register a credit card to the account with auto-refill options, so you don't have a service outage. I believe for Talkatone, call credits are an in-app purchase.
 

The Google Voice international calling rates are very competitive.


Edited by mpantone - 7/8/14 at 12:12pm
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Various solutions addressed VoIP for WiFi-only iDevices several years ago (like 2010) so there is very little discussion about the matter these days.

There have been a number of solutions over the years, although Google recently discontinued third-party developers from accessing the Google Voice VoIP API. 

The issue at hand here is not can I make VoIP calls on an iPod touch with some third-party app. Of course you can use Skype, google voice or about 50 other options.

The only way I can see calling coming to an iPad or iPod touch would be similar functionality to the messages and calls being able to be routed through to your computer. Messages already sync in ios8 even if they are not iMessages but I haven't seen phone calls pass though yet.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post
Ideally, my cellular provider would have super-awesome reception wherever I go and Sports Illustrated swimsuit models would be texting me all day to join them in Tahiti. Sadly, I don't live in a dreamworld. 

Ideally they'd be sexting you.

post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by realjustinlong View Post


The issue at hand here is not can I make VoIP calls on an iPod touch with some third-party app. Of course you can use Skype, google voice or about 50 other options.

The only way I can see calling coming to an iPad or iPod touch would be similar functionality to the messages and calls being able to be routed through to your computer. Messages already sync in ios8 even if they are not iMessages but I haven't seen phone calls pass though yet.

Look, I simply answered Lee493's question. The answer is yes, an iPod touch can make calls to a ten-digit number. That's what he asked.

 

There are a boatload of texting apps for iPods and iPads as well.

 

In any case, the iPod touch and iPad are not serious replacements for a telephone. It's a hardware issue because the speakers and microphone are in the wrong place for a bonafide telephony device. Even if one can accept an incoming call (like with Talkatone), one really needs to answer the call, then fumble around with microphone-equipped headphones or earbuds before continuing with the conversation.

 

The iPod touch's speaker is in the base, and the microphone is next to the camera lens. Thus, to use the device as a phone, you have to flip it around and upside down, with the screen facing your palm, but that's not something one can realistically do on a regular basis.

post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post
 

Look, I simply answered Lee493's question. The answer is yes, an iPod touch can make calls to a ten-digit number. That's what he asked.

 

 

In reference to the original topic of this thread which is "Apple activates Wi-Fi calling for T-Mobile iPhones with latest iOS 8 beta". 

post #30 of 36

That's fine.

 

Lee493's question was a tangent to the original post's subject. That happens a lot on the Internet, although Lee493's inquiry is in fact related to the topic at hand: Wi-Fi calling on an iOS device.

 

Even if one does not have an iPhone 5s running the latest iOS 8 beta with T-Mobile post-paid service, Wi-Fi calling is available through third-party solutions.

post #31 of 36
And what about AT&T?! As usual, they are the laggards. 1frown.gif
post #32 of 36
O2 in the UK have wifi calling. You download a free app. It's handy if you're in a poor reception area. You can also send and receive SMS text messages via wifi.
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post #33 of 36

This feature of iOS 8 is different than a regular VoIP app. It's an implementation of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_Access_Network and it allows you to "roam" while on a voice call from the cell network to a WiFi network, and back and forth, without dropping the call. That's pretty awesome.

 

It appears that the feature only works in iOS 8 beta 3 on iPhone 5s models. Perhaps that's just for this beta, and Apple will add it to other models. I don't know if there's something in the 5s chipset that is required, that other models don't have, but hopefully not.

post #34 of 36
As a TMO subscriber, this is pure awesome. Why? Because in basement conference rooms of large hotels, museums, warehouses and the like - I have access to wifi, but my TMobile data signal is weak or nonexistent. Calls just don't work; messages (i.e. not iMessage) arrive much later and are not reliable.

With wifi-calling, I will at least get my calls when I'm traveling to such areas.
post #35 of 36
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post
Billing is done to an account via an app or an online account management page on a website.

 

And what does that have to do with the Big Four telecoms and making cell phone calls over Wi-Fi?

post #36 of 36

I'm trying it now prepaid and when I switch it on I'm told to contact the carrier.

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