In December last year, Google added the ‘Enhanced 4G LTE Mode’ to support 4G VoLTE calling in its Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones with Android 7.1.1 Nougat update. This came as a solution to enable VoLTE calling technology currently provided by Reliance Jio. Google now says Wi-Fi calling will soon be coming to Pixel, Pixel XL smartphones on Reliance Jio networks with the next Nougat update. This feature will let you make calls even in low mobile network reception when connected to the Wi-Fi network. It is expected to roll out with the next Nougat update arriving on Pixel smartphones.
What is Wi-Fi calling?
Wi-Fi calling is a essentially a service that allows users to make and receive calls and texts over a Wi-Fi connection instead of over the cellular network. Sure, Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and other apps allow you to do voice, text and video calling over the internet, and they are decent enough. However, unlike VoIP ((voice over IP) services like Skype and Facebook Messenger, Wi-Fi calling lets you use your actual mobile phone number over the internet. Plus, Wi-Fi calling is simple to use with no separate app or log-in required.
What is the advantage of Wi-Fi calling?
Simply, Wi-Fi calling gives you the ability to call or message from almost anywhere you have a stable Wi-Fi connection. This is beneficial when you have limited connectivity or no mobile network coverage. Perhaps the biggest advantage of Wi-Fi calling is that it helps you cut your monthly bills; generally calls do not count against your plan. However, Wi-Fi calls might be billed at the same rate as regular calling and text messaging. Again, that entirely depends upon your network provider.
Can I send text messages over Wi-Fi?
Yes, both SMS and MMS messaging is supported in Wi-Fi calling mode.
Does Wi-Fi calling require a strong Wi-Fi connection?
Wi-Fi calling indeed requires a strong and stable Wi-Fi connection for the best possible audio. If you ever experience poor call quality, make sure you are getting a strong Wi-Fi signal.
What phones support Wi-Fi calling in India?
For those who are not familiar with the Wi-Fi calling feature, it is similar to the VoLTE (Voice over LTE) feature, but uses Wi-Fi instead of mobile data. The Wi-Fi calling feature makes the use of Internet to connect calls, just like VoIP calling services like Skype. However, unlike VoIP, the call will be placed with your mobile number itself. This is helpful when mobile data and other cellular connections are spotty. The Wi-Fi calling feature has already been available from other carriers in countries like the US for some time now. As far as the charges are concerned, we are unsure how Reliance Jio is going to implement this feature since voice calls are absolutely free on its network. Some charges will be levied by your Internet service provider as well.
It could be possible that Wi-Fi calling may only be available when connected to Reliance Jio’s JioNet Wi-Fi Hotspot. Alternatively, some charges may be levied by Jio when you are using other internet service provider’s Wi-Fi for placing calls. Reliance Jio hasn’t mentioned about it yet, and we will have to wait until the announcement is made official.
The Pixel and Pixel XL are not the first smartphones to get Wi-Fi calling feature. Besides the Pixel range, both Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 edge have Wi-Fi calling capabilities, but the feature hasn’t been enabled by any telecom provider in India.
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