Good News for Indians. Wifi Calling is finally available in India. It was a technology that should have arrived a few years earlier, but glad that it came here eventually, and it should solve a lot of call-connectivity issues faced by weak signal strength in Indian households. Right now, it is not supported by all networks or in all devices, but hopefully, it should follow soon.
In today’s post, we will discuss Wifi Calling and its advantages, how it works. You will also find the step by step guide to activating Wifi Calling in India. And finally, a lot of common queries are also answered in the FAQ section given below.
So, let’s get started!
What is VoWifi Calling?
The term VoWIFI is synonymous with VoLTE. ‘Vo’ means ‘Voice-Over.’ VoLTE translates to Voice-over-LTE, which means the call goes through 4G LTE network, providing higher latency and better call clarity than traditional 2G calling. But 4G had one disadvantage compared to 2G. 4G uses higher frequency than 2G or 3G, which means their wavelengths are shorter, and they tend to break when faced by indoor barriers. The upcoming 5G will use an even higher frequency and have even shorter wavelengths. So, there had to be an alternative medium to facilitate smooth calling indoors.
How Does VoWifi Work?
The VoWifi or ‘Voice over Wifi’ technology relies on your household Wifi Network to make or take calls. As long as you are connected to a wifi network, you will be able to make calls to any other number anywhere. The end-user need not have to be on a Wifi Calling plan, and he or she will receive you as a typical voice call. You can call any landline or mobile number using Wifi Calling. It is just your telecom network placing calls through your Home Broadband Wifi network and then transmitting it through their telecom network.
What is the technology behind Wifi Calling?
Technically speaking, Wifi Calling relies on something called the Generic Access Network (GAN) protocol. This technology extends voice calls and mobile data over IP networks. Let’s make it easier for non-techies.
In voice calls, your voice gets converted into radio waves that are picked up by the nearest cell tower or antenna and is fed to your telecom network. It is then transmitted to the radio receiver of the other device.
With the help of a GAN protocol, a smartphone can forward data to a network access point via the internet. A GAN Controller device can receive that data from that network access point and feed it to your telecom network, the same way an antenna or a tower. The rest is similar to voice calls. So, the end-user gets the request as a regular voice call.
VoIP and VoWifi are NOT the same:
A Wifi Calling is different from VoIP: A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) entirely relies on the internet to make or receive calls. It does not need a telecom network at all. Your free Whatsapp Calls, Messenger Calls, etc. are facilitated over VoIP technology. As they are not directly telecom operator dependent, they don’t incur voice calling charges and only consume your existing data. You can make VoIP calls over your Wifi or Mobile Data. But a VoIP call over Wifi is not a VoWIFI. Remember this one.
VoWifi Calling Charges:
As of now, there are no additional extra charges to use VoWifi calling in India. It will only use the data plan from your Broadband plan. But, you will still pay the usual fees for the minutes you use, to your telecom network provider, which would have been charged if you placed the call via your telecom network. So, in short, nothing changes in your end, only that the calling will be facilitated through your Wifi Network.
Advantages of VoWifi Calling:
- Improved Indoor Connectivity: Wifi Calling is aimed at solving a lot of call drop issues over weak signals. If you face weak signal inside your premises, or inside your room, the issue should be solved forever with Wifi Calling. You won’t face any call drops or even bad call quality when you are calling using your Wifi.
- Saves 4G Data: The VoLTE feature used to rely on your 4G network, and it consumes 4g Data. But thanks to Indian telecom operators, they waived off that additional data charges from our plan. But now, with Wifi calling, they will get to save that data consumption and leverage your indoor Wifi plan data to place or receive the calls.
- Reduced Network Congestion: Imagine this: 100% of all telecom users placing calls through telecom networks; this leads to network congestion in densely populated areas, such as big cities. Now with VoWifi, a good number of voice calls will be placed over the Wifi Network, thus reducing the network congestion at a particular region. The big picture is that even voice calls you to make using your telecom network when you are outdoors, will go through with ease. There will be no dead zones.
- Improved 4G Speeds: Again, this is a big picture you need to imagine: With VoLTE, your telecom operator had to leverage the 4G network to place calls. Now with a good percentage of calls going through Wifi on homes, offices, and industries, they will be saving a lot of 4G bandwidth, which will lead to higher 4G speeds even in densely populated regions.
- Take calls in Flight Mode: Not only can you place calls, but others can call you when you are in flight mode, and you can still receive them. I tested it out on my iPhone 11. If you have a weak signal at your home or office, you can enable the flight mode and save some juice on your devices, and still don’t miss calls anymore. (Note: Your SMS will not work over your wifi, though. Hell, do we need a VoSMS now? Maybe, soon enough, since messenger apps have already taken over traditional SMS)
Prerequisites for Wifi Calling in India:
As of now, only Reliance Jio and Airtel India are offering PAN-India Wifi Calling in all states they operate. They work on any Wifi Network, and you do not need any special software to do Wifi Calls. You can place calls normally using your phone dialler app, just like VoLTE calling. It is so seamless that you won’t even realize that you are placing a call using your Wifi unless you look at your notification bar.
All you need to do a Wifi Calling is these:
- A Jio 4G or Airtel 4G Sim.
- A compatible 4G Smartphone.
- Any Wifi Network.
To be able to make Wifi Calls, the first thing is to have a Jio or Airtel sim card. If you have any other sim, you can use MNP to switch to Airtel or Jio without changing your number. As per the latest TRAI MNP rules 2019, your existing number will be switched to the new telecom network within 48 hours if it is within the same telecom circle.
The next thing to ensure Wifi Calling is that your device needs to support it. Just like devices have VoLTE support, they need to have VoWifi support as well. And, on this front, you don’t have much to do, except to check your device compatibility.
Each telecom operator manages Wifi Calling in their way. Hence the compatibility varies between the telecom operators as well. If you own a high-end smartphone, yours will support it, but every day, the Wifi Calling support devices are increasing. The complete list of devices that support Wifi Calling is given below. Click on the respective links to browse the devices.
- List of Smartphones that support Jio VoWifi Calling.
- List of Smartphones that support Airtel VoWifi Calling.
Check those links out and see if your device is on the list. If yes, then you are good to go.
The final condition is the availability of a Wifi Network. The good news here is that all types of Wifi are supported. I have tested Wifi Calling on Railway Wifi, my Institutional Wifi, and on Shopping Mall Free Wifi, which requires logins. They work fine.
Now that you have checked everything else, here’s the step by step guide to Wifi Calling.
How to Activate Wifi Calling on your iPhone?
If you own an Apple Device running on iOS, activating Wifi Calling is very simple. I tried it out with my iPhone 11 running on Airtel 4G. Since all iPhones have similar UI, it is going to be the same for others as well. Just follow the steps below.
At first, you need to ensure that the latest software is installed on your device. You can check for Software Updates by going to Settings > General > Software Update. See if you have any pending software updates available and upgrade if you have any. If your device is already running on the latest version, you are good to go.
Tap on Settings > Mobile Data > Wifi Calling.
The Wifi Calling menu will load. Toggle the ‘Wifi Calling on this iPhone‘ button. A popup will load, which will ask your permission to activate Wifi Calling. Tap on ‘Enable.’
Congratulations. You have successfully activated Wifi-Calling on your iPhone. You can check it from your Notification Bar.
Enjoy calling even when you don’t have a network at home.
How to Activate Wifi Calling on your Android Device?
Well, Android devices differ from each other in the user-interface, so it is not going to be the same process for all methods. I tried it on a OnePlus Device and writing down the steps below. If your device uses a close-to-stock ROM, then your procedure should be similar.
At first, again, check if you have any pending software updates. If you are running on the latest software, you are good to go.
Tap on Settings > Wifi and Internet > Sim and Network.
You will find the Wifi Calling option over there. Toggle to enable it.
You are done. Wifi-Calling is now enabled on your device. Enjoy!
Wifi Calling FAQ:
Over the last few days, I got a lot of common queries about Wifi-Calling. I have listed them below. You can check them out.
Q: Does Wifi Calling need any additional App to function?
Ans: No. Wifi Calling does not need any additional app. If you own a compatible handset, you can use it regularly, just like you do voice calls. It will use your default dialer app.
Q: Is Wifi Calling Chargeable?
Ans: Yes. Wifi Calls will use your default voice calling plan, and you will be charged accordingly. But it won’t incur any additional charges, and you don’t need to have any Wifi Calling plan. In fact, in India, we don’t have any Wifi Plans separately.
Q: Can I take calls in Flight Mode with Wifi Calling?
Ans: Yes. Once you are connected to Wifi Calling, you can safely toggle Flight Mode and still receive all calls. You can make calls over the wifi too, using your default dialer app.
Q: I have a dual-sim smartphone. If I Wifi Call in Sim 1, Can I receive calls in Sim 2? Is there any relation between VoLTE and VoWIFI?
Ans: Interesting. This depends on whether you have dual 4G standby on your smartphone, irrespective of the Wifi availability. Let me elaborate on this.
If your device supports Dual VoLTE, you can use Wifi Calling with both the sim. When you are in call with one sim, and someone else calls you on the other sim, you can see that waiting call and accept it if you want to.
If your device does not support Dual VoLTE, you can use Wifi Calling only with the sim that is on the 4G network. The other sim will be on 2G/3G, and hence it won’t support Wifi Calling. You need to remember this.
Q: I use Jio Wifi / Airtel Broadband, but I own a different Sim Card. Can I still make Wifi Calling using Airtel or Jio?
Ans: Unfortunately, no. You can only make Wifi Calling if your Sim Card is Airtel or Jio. Any other sim card will not work, even if your Wifi Network is from Jio or Airtel.
Q: My Wifi Speed is Low, and I have limited Data. Can I still make calls? How much speed do I need?
Ans: Your Wifi Call can take place even if you have low speed, or you are on a limited data plan. On an average, a good quality wifi call consumes just 1 Megabyte (1MB) of Wifi Data per minute of calling. So, if you call for half an hour, it will consume 30MB of data.
Q: What if I face a power cut and my Wifi Network disconnects? Will my call drop?
Ans: Good Question. And nopes, your call won’t cut (unless you have forcefully enabled flight mode). Wifi Calling is designed in such a way that your device can seamlessly switch between 4G network and Wifi network, in case the Wifi is unavailable or gets disconnected accidentally.
Q: Can I call using my College Wifi that requires signing in?
Ans: Yes. You can make calls using any Wifi networks, including your Institutional Wifi, Railway and Airport Wifi, Shopping Mall or Restaurant Wifi, etc. But you need to be signed in to the system.
Q: My Device does not support Wifi Calling? Is there a Workaround?
Ans: If this is a regional issue, then there might be workarounds. For example, OnePlus devices support Wifi Calling on Airtel but not officially on Jio. Some devices like OnePlus 5T does not officially support Wifi Calling on either of the telcos. But since their hardware supports Wifi Calling on other regions around the world, there is a workaround for activating it. If you own a OnePlus device, you can check it out here.
Well, as of now, Wifi Calling is supported only with a few Telecom Networks, but we hope it will be extended to other telecoms as well, very soon. It’s only a matter of time. For now, you can wait, or do an MNP to switch your operator.
That’s all about how to activate Wifi Calling for FREE in India. I hope you will now be able to make calls over your Wifi with ease and won’t face call drops anymore. If you still have questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section below, I will be happy to help you out.
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