Airtel has announced the Wi-Fi calling feature for its users of Airtel Broadband or Airtel Xstream Fibre network. It becomes the first telecom company in the country to employ the VoWi-Fi or Wi-Fi-based VoIP technology. This should result in superior Indoor coverage and better call quality in congested urban areas. The inception would begin in Delhi NCR, i.e., the national capital region of India. And eventually, a nation-wide roll-out is said to take place.
Similarly, the number of devices supporting the new feature is also limited at the moment. Find if yours is in the list down below:
- iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max, XR, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
- OnePlus 7, 7 Pro, 7T, 7T Pro
- Poco F1, Redmi K20, K20 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy J6, Galaxy On6, Galaxy M30s, Galaxy A10s
On the official website, the telecom also extolls the benefits of the new service. So let’s see what is it, and why should you care about VoWi-Fi.
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What is VoWi-Fi
Simply put, VoWi-Fi uses the internet as the mode of transmission for calls, SMS, and MMS. It stands for voice over Wi-Fi. It works with the existing Airtel SIM, through the default phone dialer and messaging app without any need for 3rd party app or log in. You can make Wi-Fi calls to the other person regardless of their phone supporting Wi-Fi Calling or not. The recipient can be on any network, be it 2G/3G/4G/VoLTE/Wi-Fi.
You may be already familiar with VoLTE, which is short for voice over LTE ( a 4G standard). While it uses a data network, the VoWiFi depends on WiFi mesh your device is connected to. In principle, both VoWiFi and VoLTE can work in tandem. If Wi-Fi gets disconnected, the call will take place over your mobile data.
Just like VoLTE, VoWiFi also displays an indicator in the phone’s status bar. If you’re wondering, yes, it does work whilst you’re on roaming. With that said, let’s see its value proposition to you.
Benefits of VoWi-Fi/ Wi-Fi Calling
As Airtel vaunts, the Wi-Fi calling has the following perks for the customers –
- Use your prevailing phone number. No need for separate Airtel pack, 3rd party app or logins.
- Calls without any mobile signal.
- If you’re in a strong Wi-Fi radius, you would get better indoor coverage and faster connectivity
- This results in clear conversations
From the company’s standpoint, this is a nice bait for luring more customers and gaining revenue. It will have an upper hand over the competition until they introduce their own service.
Further, this enables operators like Airtel to sideline Instant Messaging or OTT (Over The Top) apps like Whatsapp, Hike, and Viber, which uses VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol). This is not operator dependent and hence a SIM card is not required. If you’re connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or mobile data, then you can make the call.
But, it comes with caveats –
- Foremost, WiFi calling is not free as you may mistake it to be. Airtel underlines that ‘A Wi-Fi call will be treated exactly the same as a regular call.’ So, calls and texts will reflect in your Airtel master balance.
- WiFi Calling doesn’t support international calls or roaming calls from a foreign country to India. However, Airtel is not a fault here as this is mandated by Law Enforcement Agencies.
- Calls made using Airtel’s WiFi Calling Services to any other network or number not having Wi-Fi Calling Services would be possible and will be charged for at the existing prices/ plans as applicable to other networks for the duration of the call.
- It doesn’t work if the Airplane mode is turned on.
- You may find more terms and conditions here.
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Now that you have a fair idea about what is it and why it matters, let’s get down to the actual setup process.
Steps to activate Airtel WiFi Calling
Depending upon the brand of your phone, this might differ a little. Nonetheless, it’s really simple. The only perquisites are compatible phones with the latest software and an Airtel 4G SIM.
- If you have a Samsung phone, head over to Quick Settings Panel and turn on the WiFi calling option.
- Xiaomi users can find the option within the device Settings > SIM cards and Mobile Networks > Airtel > Make Calls using WiFi
- Similarly, OnePlus users will get the option within Settings > Mobile Network > SIM 1 or SIM 2 > WiFi Calling
- Lastly, if you’re an iPhone user, go to Settings > Mobile Data > WiFi Calling
- Ensure both VoLTE and VoWiFi enabled for an enhanced experience.
Even Reliance Jio is reportedly testing Vo-WiFi services in various Indian states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana. Since Airtel has introduced its service, we expect Reliance won’t take much longer.