AT&T Wi-Fi calling starts rolling out for some iOS 9 beta testers

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2015
AT&T on Tuesday started to rollout iPhone Wi-Fi calling support for devices running the latest beta version of iOS 9, with a number of users across the U.S. reporting successful activation of the new feature.




The carrier appears to be conducting a staggered rollout as Wi-Fi calling is not yet accessible by all iOS 9 beta testers, though wider availability is expected in the coming hours. The feature was first discovered last week in Apple's latest iOS 9 beta build.

As seen in the screenshots above, toggling on the Wi-Fi calling option in Settings invokes an informational iOS pop-up regarding billing. Clicking through brings up an AT&T splash screen that notes Wi-Fi calling can be used to talk and text in poor coverage areas.

Finally, users must agree to licensing terms, which include a warning message saying cellular is a better option for 911 emergency calls, before moving forward with the activation process. As noted by AT&T, the EULA applies to Wi-Fi Calling Trial, suggesting that only a limited number of users have access to the service.

Apple first activated Wi-Fi calling on iOS with support for T-Mobile's network in iOS 8, allowing customers to offload incoming and outgoing calls to a local data network. Using a Wi-Fi backbone aids in call stability and, in some cases, better audio quality.

With Wi-Fi calling going live for some, AT&T is making good on a promise to support the feature made shortly before Apple released iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last year.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    dugbugdugbug Posts: 283member
    I hope this will work on all plans
  • Reply 2 of 15
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 221member
    dugbug wrote: »
    I hope this will work on all plans
    Yes that would be a great feature to have. Also Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi calls which is technically VoIP voice quality is much better most of the time!
  • Reply 3 of 15
    dtidmoredtidmore Posts: 137member
    In the user terms of service, it states that a user must be on a mobile share plan with unlimited talk and text in order to participate in the beta test. I suspect these terms will apply once it goes GA.
  • Reply 4 of 15
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dtidmore View Post



    In the user terms of service, it states that a user must be on a mobile share plan with unlimited talk and text in order to participate in the beta test. I suspect these terms will apply once it goes GA.

     

    It may simply be that their billing system is still in beta. Unlimited minutes = no need to worry about lost or otherwise screwed up billing records.

  • Reply 5 of 15
    I try to sign up and get the screens above and then the old screen saying it isn't available comes up. Is anyone actually successfully signing up?
  • Reply 6 of 15

    Here in Seattle we're on the HD Voice program, it sure does sound great.  I imagine WiFi calling would sound as good.

  • Reply 7 of 15
    swiftswift Posts: 436member

    Since I live back from the street about 75 feet, there is a horrendous problem with reception, which was only cured by getting a microcell or whatever they call them. So for the last three or four years, I've been using wifi calling, and paying a monthly fee. I phoned in about when the wifi calling was going to happen, and they said, so-ooo-on, rather vaguely. Well, given that, why am I still paying a charge for this? Silence on the line for a minute or so, and the monthly charge was changed to free. When it becomes operable in my area, I'll test to see whether I have to keep that microcell (or is it nanocell) going. 

  • Reply 8 of 15
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Swift View Post

     

    Since I live back from the street about 75 feet, there is a horrendous problem with reception, which was only cured by getting a microcell or whatever they call them. So for the last three or four years, I've been using wifi calling, and paying a monthly fee.


     

    The microcell calling fee entitles you to unlimited minutes on the microcell. You don't need to pay the fee, the minutes then are deducted as usual. I recall T-Mobile had the exact same deal, pay a extra fee for unlimited WiFi minutes.

  • Reply 9 of 15
    konqerror wrote: »
    swift wrote: »
     
    Since I live back from the street about 75 feet, there is a horrendous problem with reception, which was only cured by getting a microcell or whatever they call them. So for the last three or four years, I've been using wifi calling, and paying a monthly fee.

    The microcell calling fee entitles you to unlimited minutes on the microcell. You don't need to pay the fee, the minutes then are deducted as usual. I recall T-Mobile had the exact same deal, pay a extra fee for unlimited WiFi minutes.

    That's correct. There's no monthly fee.

    ATT charges up front for the device, but when I called them and said that I was in a location that was getting only one bar and that I've been a customer for a while (and was very polite!), ATT gave it to me for free.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    That's correct. There's no monthly fee.

    ATT charges up front for the device, but when I called them and said that I was in a location that was getting only one bar and that I've been a customer for a while (and was very polite!), ATT gave it to me for free.

    Same here. My phone was unreliable at my new office. At first they were going to try and charge me for the microcell. After a discussion of how good a customer I've been (I've given enough money to AT&T for a crate of damn microcells) and the fact that I have 3 phones coming off contract just in time for the 6S, they finally had a change of heart.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    Still not available on my 6+ in southern Oregon :( can't wait to have this would make life so much easier for the one place I don't get service but get some wifi to use when camping
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Swift View Post

     

    Since I live back from the street about 75 feet, there is a horrendous problem with reception, which was only cured by getting a microcell or whatever they call them. So for the last three or four years, I've been using wifi calling, and paying a monthly fee. I phoned in about when the wifi calling was going to happen, and they said, so-ooo-on, rather vaguely. Well, given that, why am I still paying a charge for this? Silence on the line for a minute or so, and the monthly charge was changed to free. When it becomes operable in my area, I'll test to see whether I have to keep that microcell (or is it nanocell) going. 


     

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

     

     

    The microcell calling fee entitles you to unlimited minutes on the microcell. You don't need to pay the fee, the minutes then are deducted as usual. I recall T-Mobile had the exact same deal, pay a extra fee for unlimited WiFi minutes.


     

    To clarify, the MicroCell is not equal to WiFi calling and is not the same thing. As it's name suggests the MicroCell is a very small and significantly more limited Cell site which is configured to use your broadband connection as it's "backhaul" to the carrier network. konqerror is still correct that you do not need the MicroCell add-on and that the add-on is only to give you unlimited calling while connected to the MicroCell. As this technology was introduced back when AT&T's unlimited calling plan base price (one line) was $99 and $49 for each additional line on the family plan, a majority of users had something like the 550 minute individual plan, 700 or 1400 family plan and having unlimited calling from your MicroCell for $20/mo made sense for a lot of people who also dropped their (EDIT: Home) phone line.

     

    If you are on any of the newer Family Share plans that include unlimited Talk & Text they should have automatically dropped the Unlimited MicroCell  calling add-on feature as I don't believe the feature code is compatible with the Family Share plan code.

     

    Another side note about MicroCell is that calls originating from the MicroCell are able to be handed off to the Cell network as the connection is being tunneled through the internet to the carrier network and supports switching the call to another Cell tower (e.g. a normal Cell tower), however, the opposite is not true if I recall correctly. That is, you can not establish a call on the Cell network and then hand it off to MicroCell. Similarly, with WiFi calling the call is not able to be switched and handed off to a Cell connection, however, if the carrier supports it a WiFi call can be switched over to VoLTE. This is why with the iPhone, the iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s if you leave the WiFi area (or the WiFi connection drops) the call will be disconnected as these devices do not have the hardware to support VoLTE. If you have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and your carrier supports VoLTE then your call would be transitioned to VoLTE if your WiFi connection drops (assuming you have an LTE Cell signal). As with the MicroCell, a call that originates on the Cell network is not able to be switched to your WiFi network as a WiFi call, thus if you were on a call while driving and arrive to a WiFi network such as at home or work you would need to hang up and place the call again once you were on the WiFi network with WiFi calling supported.

     

    -PopinFRESH

  • Reply 13 of 15
    normmnormm Posts: 545member

    Does AT&T charge international roaming rates if you use WiFi calling outside the US?  The text in the "Enable Wi-Fi Calling?" popup suggests they do:

     

    Quote:


    When you join a network, information about the country where the network connection is made may be sent to your carrier for details like billing.


  • Reply 14 of 15
    There sort of was a fee that may not have gone away. When I first got my microcell I was on a shared 500 minutes of talk plan. Plugging in the microcell didn't have to cost anything monthly, but they counted all the minutes on it as talk time even though it wasn't even using their cell towers so was really saving them money. That was a complete rip-off, but that is how it was. So you had two options: either buy more talk minutes (before "unlimited" minutes was the norm) or pay a monthly fee for unlimited microcell use. The latter was a lot cheaper at the time, so that is what I did. When the unlimited talk plans became cheap I converted, but on my next bill I realized that I was paying both for unlimited cell minutes and also for unlimited microcell minutes. You would think they would have automatically deleted the unlimited microcell plan for everybody who changes to an unlimited talk plan, but they didn't for me. When I called they stopped it, but not before. I wonder how many people have been on unlimited talk plans for years and yet are also paying the monthly unlimited microcell fee.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    So is this limited to only iPhone 6 and higher somehow? 9 days later I still don't see this feature on the latest public beta on iPhone 5s.
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