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ATT WiFi Calling now works over seas for free
Old 03-22-2016, 07:24 PM   #1
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ATT WiFi Calling now works over seas for free

WiFI calling on the iPhone (6 or better) has been available from ATT for a while (also T-Mobile and recently Verizon). But with iOS 9.3, which came out yesterday, ATT has a new feature that I though might be of interest to a few folks here:

When you have WiFi calling enabled, you can now call from overseas to the US for free over the internet.

Quote:
With the latest software update for your phone you can use Wi-Fi Calling when traveling outside the U.S. *This means you can call back to the U.S. or receive incoming calls, with no airtime charges. *When you call international numbers, your rates will be the same as those in your smartphone plan or your international package. For details visit att.com/wificalling
It uses the newer HD voice codec, so your calls don’t sound like crappy “cell phone calls”.

Might be useful to folks traveling or who live overseas and call the US a lot. It should work from most countries except China, Saudi Arabia, India, Turkey, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Pakistan, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Not sure why these are excluded, but there you go.

I know Skype or FaceTime calling offers something similar, but this seems pretty convenient and works to any US phone number.

One other aspect of WiFi calling is that you can use your iPads or iPod Touches to make or receive phone calls via WiFI to/from any phone number. Your phone doesn’t need to be nearby or turned on.
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:40 PM   #2
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Nice! I have an AT&T iPad.

I guess I had better update my software!
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Old 03-22-2016, 10:12 PM   #3
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Good to know, thanks for posting.
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:31 AM   #4
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How do you turn wifi calling on?
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:43 AM   #5
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On iPhone:
Settings, Phone, Wi-Fi Calling (turn on)

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Old 03-23-2016, 07:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Richard4444 View Post
On iPhone:
Settings, Phone, Wi-Fi Calling (turn on)

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That setting doesn't exist on mine (verizon) - maybe with the new operating system. I can't see much reason to use it unless they extend it to international like ATT.
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:13 AM   #7
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I can't see much reason to use it unless they extend it to international like ATT.
Isn't WiFi universal, and works where ever there is WiFi coverage? Whether it is overseas or here in the USA? Unless the WiFi provider shuts off a VOIP part of the spectrum, which I understand may be possible.

I thought about on a cruise ship, buying a WiFi package, and being able to make and receive calls. Or at least being able to get texts from my tenants.
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
That setting doesn't exist on mine (verizon) - maybe with the new operating system. I can't see much reason to use it unless they extend it to international like ATT.
Verizon gets WiFi calling on iPhone 6 (and newer phones) with iOS 9.3.

What got me interested was it's main purpose. It can give you a good connection via WiFI even when the cellar coverage is subpar or non-existent.

In our house cell coverage was very spotty. I previously used a MicroCell, a device which set up a small cell in our house and routed the call over the internet. It actually worked OK, but cost extra, and can be finicky. Most people aren't going to get one.

There's not much reason not to enable it if your phone supports it. If WiFi can give you better call quality, the phone picks that over the cell signal. Otherwise the cell signal is used.

The various carriers do differ a bit in the details of how it works.
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:32 AM   #9
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I just updated the OS and I have wifi calling now. I will look into whether this works overseas.
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:50 AM   #10
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DW has IOS 9.3 on her 5c but I understand that WiFi calling is not supported on older phones such as hers.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:55 AM   #11
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For those that don't have unlimited minutes plans be aware that some carriers bill wifi minutes the same as regular minutes.
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:56 AM   #12
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This is from the ATT web site: (if this the case what is the advantage of wifi calling- is it that it avoids the roaming fees?)

Any calls you make via wifi calling are charged the same as calls made over the cellular network. All wifi calling does is connect you to the cellular network over wifi instead of through a cell tower. Your calls still use the cellular network. You only pay international rates if you call an international number, the same as if you weren't making a wifi call.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:06 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Senator View Post
Isn't WiFi universal, and works where ever there is WiFi coverage? Whether it is overseas or here in the USA? Unless the WiFi provider shuts off a VOIP part of the spectrum, which I understand may be possible.

I thought about on a cruise ship, buying a WiFi package, and being able to make and receive calls. Or at least being able to get texts from my tenants.
The phone contract that covers WiFi calling may specify within US only.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Blueskies123 View Post
This is from the ATT web site: (if this the case what is the advantage of wifi calling- is it that it avoids the roaming fees?)

Any calls you make via wifi calling are charged the same as calls made over the cellular network. All wifi calling does is connect you to the cellular network over wifi instead of through a cell tower. Your calls still use the cellular network. You only pay international rates if you call an international number, the same as if you weren't making a wifi call.
I think it means that you can call the US from overseas without paying international rates.

If you go through the cellular network, you'll be paying international rates to call the US from overseas.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:10 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by misanman View Post
DW has IOS 9.3 on her 5c but I understand that WiFi calling is not supported on older phones such as hers.
I thought WiFi calling was supported on 5c and later iPhones with AT&T Sprint and T-Mobile. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203032
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:13 AM   #16
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Ok, so I will pay my local USA rate instead of rates in Mexico or Jamaica. I am going on cruise next week and was considering buying an expensive international plan for a month.
We will give it a try. They have not yet offered me the new IOS. I hope to get it this week.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:23 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Blueskies123 View Post
if this the case what is the advantage of wifi calling- is it that it avoids the roaming fees?)
Domestically, the advantage is being able to connect to the phone system if your cellular coverage it poor inside where there is good WiFi. Many houses are like this. There is also a case where your cell company might have coverage in an area, but there is WiFi available (typically indoors).

Internationally, you can bypass the local cellular company - and their often very high roaming fees. It also means you may be able to access your cell service on board a ship, if the WiFi/internet connection is good enough.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:25 AM   #18
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We use wifi calling at home because our cell signals are so poor - all carriers. Without it we would not have been able to switch to T-Mobile.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:25 AM   #19
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They have not yet offered me the new IOS. I hope to get it this week.
Open

Settings > General > Software Update

It'll check for it. You should be able to install it now.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:26 AM   #20
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Ok, so I will pay my local USA rate instead of rates in Mexico or Jamaica. I am going on cruise next week and was considering buying an expensive international plan for a month.
We will give it a try. They have not yet offered me the new IOS. I hope to get it this week.
Don't forget that this feature only applies to phone calls. You may still want the international plan for data.

Also, you can download and install the new OS whenever you like.
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