New iPhone Models On AT&T Now Have Wi-Fi Calling
A few days after finally getting its waiver approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), AT&T has officially launched its Wi-Fi Calling feature on Apple’s iPhone devices, most especially those of the newer models already updated with iOS 9. Thus, the feature works on the latest iPhone models, the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus, as well as the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, both released last year.
According to the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States, the Wi-Fi Calling can be used by its subscribers especially in locations where a cellular signal is spotty or otherwise absent, e.g. inside a basement in a large building. As soon as mobile users can get the feature activated on their handsets (subscribers can do this through their settings on their iPhone devices under phone settings and Wi-Fi calling options), the Wi-Fi Calling feature automatically allows their iPhones to connect to an available Wi-Fi network in areas where cellular signal is either limited or nonexistent. As further explained by AT&T, the feature by default works in the background, essentially letting mobile users make and take voice calls as they would when using the wireless carrier’s standard cellular network.
For now, the Wi-Fi Calling feature is made available to AT&T’s subscribers based in the US, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. As seen during the set up process of Apple’s iOS 9 mobile operating system for AT&T’s Wi-Fi Calling feature, the wireless carrier verifies subscribers’ physical addresses so as to potentially give a location to 9011 operators in the event a user places a call to 911.
As reported by FierceWireless, a spokesperson for AT&T has stated that the US wireless carrier currently does not have any further information to make public regarding any upcoming launches of the Wi-Fi Calling feature on mobile devices other than the newer models of Apple’s iPhone handsets mentioned earlier.
Just this week, the FCC had granted AT&T a temporary, limited waiver of the government agency’s requirements to support text telephony (TTY) technology on wireless networks, to the point that they are using Internet Protocol (IP) types of tech. The FCC’s waiver actually expires by the end of this year, or on the effective date of rules set for alternative IP based wireless services, whichever comes first.
A few days ago, AT&T had accused the FCC of double standards -- the wireless carrier had charged that the government agency did nothing in punishing T-Mobile and Sprint, two other major wireless carriers that are offering Wi-Fi calling features of their own without requesting waivers from the FCC. AT&T pointed out that it was unfair for the FCC to deny the wireless carrier’s proper request, while rival networks are currently offering Wi-Fi calling without disciplinary action from the FCC.
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