Airtel was the first telecom company to announce the WiFi calling feature for its users of Airtel Broadband or Airtel Xstream Fibre network. Soon thereafter, Jio also launched its Wifi Calling service in India. Both companies had a public release after a few months of limited circle testing.
In brevi, VoWiFi or WiFi-based VoIP technology should result in superior Indoor coverage and better call quality in congested urban areas. The inception was in Delhi NCR and eventually followed by a nation-wide roll-out.
What is VoWifi
Simply put, VoWiFi uses the internet as the mode of transmission for calls, SMS, and MMS. It stands for voice over WiFi. It works with the existing Airtel/Jio SIM, through the default phone dialer and messaging app without any need for 3rd party app or log in. You can make WiFi calls to the other person regardless of their phone supporting WiFi Calling or not. The recipient can be on any network, be it 2G/3G/4G/VoLTE/WiFi.
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 WiFi 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 VoWiFi/ Wi-Fi Calling
The Wi-Fi calling has the following perks for the customers –
Use your prevailing phone number. No need for separate Airtel/Jio 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 companies’ 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 Jio/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. It is underlined that ‘A Wi-Fi call will be treated exactly the same as a regular call.’ So, calls and texts will reflect in your Airtel/Jio master balance.
WiFi Calling doesn’t support international calls or roaming calls from a foreign country to India. However, the operators are not at fault here as this is mandated by Law Enforcement Agencies.
Calls made using either Jio/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- for Airtel and Jio.
As you can see after enable Wifi Calling the icon has been changed from VoLte to Wifi calling sign on the network signal icon.
The disadvantage of Wifi Calling is that during call we can't record a call.