Wi-Fi calling is a service offered by the major mobile service providers that
Here’s a closer look at Wi-Fi calling, when you can use it, and how to turn it on for Android smartphones.
What Is Wi-Fi Calling?
Wi-Fi calling is
With Wi-Fi calling enabled, you can make calls directly from your phone’s dial pad. No special software or apps are required.
Having an Android smartphone doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to use Wi-Fi calling. It depends on your carrier’s services and the type and model of smartphone you have. Some new, but lower end Android phones may not support Wi-Fi calling.
How Does Wi-Fi Calling Work?
Wi-Fi calling relies on HD Voice technology, which delivers calls over the fourth generation of wireless networks (more commonly known as 4G LTE). 4G LTE offers better quality and faster speeds than older technologies, such as 3G. This results in clearer and produce more natural sounding calls.
Wi-Fi calling has actually been around for some time now. Services such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger have been using Wi-Fi networks to power connections between users for years.
What people may not know is that many carriers and smartphones support Wi-Fi calling, and you don’t need to use any special software or apps to make it work.
To find out if a mobile service provider supports Wi-Fi calling, you can check their website for details or call. You want to make sure a given carrier supports the service before signing up for a plan. Some pre-paid plans — even ones that run on the back of networks that do support Wi-Fi calling — may not offer Wi-Fi calling to their subscribers.
What Are the Benefits of Using Wi-Fi Calling on Android Phones?
The main benefit of Wi-Fi calling is that you can use any Wi-Fi connection to make calls. Unlike your mobile phone service, Wi-Fi calling is not tied to any specific carrier or network. This means you can make Wi-Fi calls using your home or office Wi-Fi connection, as well as Wi-Fi networks found in cafes, libraries, or airports.
As long as your phone can connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can make a call. But with most things in life, Wi-Fi calling has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Wi-Fi Calling:
- Just like a regular phone call, you can use your phone’s keypad to dial and your number is displayed to receivers.
- Wi-Fi calls to U.S. numbers are free, even when calling from overseas. You can also make video calls with other HD Voice capable phones, so you can see friends and family from afar.
Disadvantages of Wi-Fi Calling:
- Wi-Fi calling only works with HD Voice compatible devices. Many older models (and some new models) of Android smartphones don’t support Wi-Fi calling.
- Not all carriers offer Wi-Fi calling. For example, pre-paid services that rely on other networks may not offer it. Be sure to check with the specific provider.
How to Check If Your Android Smartphone Supports WI-Fi Calling
Most of the newer smartphones offered for sale through the major mobile service providers support HD Voice, the technology which allows you to make Wi-Fi calls. But you may want to know if your Android is Wi-Fi calling compatible?
Finding out if your existing smartphone will support Wi-Fi calling is not always a straightforward matter. This is especially true if you have an older phone or if you’re on a pre-paid plan and want to switch to a network that supports Wi-Fi calling.
In this case, you’ll have to do a model check on your Android phone. Some carriers allow you to enter your phone’s IMEI number online to check compatibility with their services. Sometimes it’s easier to call the provider to check if your specific Android model is supported. If it isn’t, you may have to buy a new smartphone.
Ok, My Android Is Compatible… How Do I Set Up Wi-Fi Calling? Once you’ve confirmed your mobile service provider and Android phone both support Wi-Fi calling, it’s a straightforward matter to activate Wi-Fi calling.
How to Activate Wi-Fi calling on your Android phone
To activate Wi-Fi calling on most Android phones just follow the steps below:
- In your phone’s settings, turn on Wifi and connect to a Wi-Fi network (skip this step if your phone is already connected to Wifi).
- Go to into your phone’s Settings menu.
- Under Wireless and Networks, select More.
- Tap Wi-Fi Calling on.
Once these steps have been performed successfully, Wi-Fi calling should be turned on. You can turn it off by going back into the same settings and toggling the Wi-Fi Calling option off.
How to Know If WI-Fi Calling Is On?
When Wi-Fi calling is activated, you should see a Wi-Fi phone icon in the status bar. You can also pull down the notification screen, where you will find a message stating that calls will be made over Wi-Fi.
If you’re on a carrier that supports it, Wi-Fi calling is a great feature to have. It will allow your smartphone to use the best connection in your house to make and receive calls and text messages. It also allows for higher quality audio, and it is perfect if you get good signal in your house.
- Pull down the notification shade and long-press the Wifi icon to enter Wi-Fi settings.
- Scroll to the bottom and select “Wi-Fi Preferences”.
- Tap “Advanced”.
- Select Wi-Fi Calling and flip the switch to “On”.
While this has been a feature found on Android for many years, it’s still shocking how many people don’t know it exists. This is in part due to slow carrier adoption, but also just a general lack of coverage for the feature and its usefulness.
In some phones, you are not thrown directly into the Wi-FI Calling menu, but rather into the advanced section of Wi-Fi settings, where Wi-Fi Calling is found. Go ahead and tap the Wi-Fi Calling option to jump into its section of the menu.
Boom, there you go—slide the toggle to turn it. You can also select whether you want the phone to prefer WI-Fi networks or mobile networks for calls. Whenever it has both, it will use your preferred
No Wi-Fi Calling? No Problem—Just Use an App
Just because your carrier and/or phone doesn’t technically support Wi-Fi Calling doesn’t mean you can’t use another form of the feature if you’d like. There are plenty of apps out there that will let you make calls, here are a few of the most popular ones:
• Facebook Messenger
• Google Hangouts (you’ll need the Hangouts Dialer app)
• Google Voice
• Google Duo
• Skype (Charges Apply)
Basically, any of these apps will let you make calls over Wi-Fi, but they won’t use your actual phone number, nor will they call out to a traditional phone in most cases. Instead, you’ll actually place calls from account to account;
For example, if you use Facebook Messenger, you actually just “call” the person on their Facebook account instead of putting in a phone number.
The same goes for free Skype accounts, though you can pay money to call normal phone numbers.
Google Hangouts and Voice are other exceptions—they essentially work together to make calls. You’ll need a Google Voice number, as well as the Hangouts Dialer to make calls, in which case you should be able to call out to any traditional phone number.
The problem will come when you want to receive calls using these tools—you’ll have to do quite a bit of extra setup for that. Truth be told, Facebook Messenger is probably the best way to go, assuming the person you’re trying to chat is also on Facebook (and your friends list).
It’s very easy to use and offers good call quality. It’s also worth noting that these services will also work with mobile data, so you don’t have to be on Wi-Fi to use them.