Optus switches on support for native Wi-Fi calling

Telco offers VoWiFi for customers on compatible handsets

Optus has switched on Voice of WiFi (VoWiFi) support on its network, allowing customers with compatible handsets to make and receive calls using a local Wi-Fi network instead of the telco’s mobile network.

The telco says that currently only the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge can use the service, which relies on a mobile device supporting Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

“WiFi Calling allows customers to stay connected if mobile coverage is limited when they are out-and-about, at home or in the office but have access to a WiFi connection,” said acting managing director for Optus Networks, Dennis Wong.

“When Wi-Fi Calling is switched on, the device automatically detects and seamlessly switches to an available Wi-Fi connection to use voice and messaging services.”

Optus had previously launched an application for iPhones and Android handsets — WiFi Talk — that allowed voice calls and text messaging over Wi-Fi connections. However, calls and SMS messages could only be sent and received from within the app.

The telco recently announced the rollout of additional 'small cells' to provide mobile coverage in areas not reached by its cellular network.

Telstra turned on VoWiFi support in October (the telco also describes it as Mobile WiFi). Vodafone will launch it in the second half of this year.

"Currently, Mobile Wi-Fi calling is available to Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge customers and we expect to make it available to Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge customers next month as part of the Android Nougat update," a Telstra spokesperson said. "Support for additional smartphone models is expected soon after that."

Telstra in 2015 launched an app that allows calls to be made over a landline service while using a compatible mobile device instead of a standard home phone handset.

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