& cplSiteName &

AT&T to Launch WiFi Calling in 2015

Sarah Thomas
9/12/2014
50%
50%

AT&T plans to start offering WiFi calling in 2015, but the carrier isn't as gung-ho about bringing voice over WiFi as its competitors, despite its huge footprint of unlicensed spectrum.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was the early market leader in WiFi in the US, and it easily maintains the biggest footprint of access points amongst all the carriers here, but Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T's new Mobile and Business Solutions group, doesn't see an urgent need to offer WiFi calling capabilities. Speaking Friday at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, he said the carrier would use WiFi calling in 2015, but only as a complement to voice-over-LTE and 3G voice. (See AT&T's Lurie Promoted to CEO of Mobility.)

"We're very focused on making sure it's a great experience for customers, but we see it as a complement, not a replacement," he said. "We feel good about a great nationwide network with unlimited talk and text."


Want to know more about carrier WiFi strategies? Check out our dedicated WiFi content channel here on Light Reading.


T-Mobile US Inc. just dedicated its entire "Un-carrier 7.0" launch event to talking up its voice-over-WiFi calling capabilities as a way to ensure coverage indoors and in areas where its LTE network doesn't reach. AT&T doesn't need to play that game, de la Vega explained. It doesn't share the coverage issues, and it offers unlimited talk and text on its Mobile Share plans, so its customers aren't seeking other networks. (See T-Mobile Turns Up VoLTE-to-WiFi Handoff.)

As with VoLTE, de la Vega says it won't launch VoWiFi before it can ensure it's a great customer experience with no dropped calls, which suggests it plans to implement it with seamless handoff in place next year. (See Taqua Acquires Kineto for VoWiFi Push.)

The need might be less acute, but de la Vega has seen the writing on the wall. Now that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has announced support for VoWiFi in iOS 8, there is a lot more interest in the technology. All WiFi-enabled Android devices and iPhones have the capability, it's just up to the operators to turn it on in their networks. With "hundreds of thousands" of AT&T iPhone 6s already ordered since pre-sales started at 3 a.m. today, according to de la Vega, this could be a feature they are looking for from AT&T. (See Apple's New iPhones Have 20 LTE Bands, VoLTE.)

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) also offers WiFi calling, albeit without handoff and not yet on the iPhone, and a number of MVNOs like Scratch Wireless and Republic Wireless are offering services that rely entirely on WiFi calling and texting. (See Sprint Selects Kineto for WiFi Calling, Taqua Lets Mobile Users Talk Over WiFi, Is WiFi the New It Network? and Why WiFi-First Works for Wireless.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(17)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/15/2014 | 10:43:27 PM
Re: How Quickly the T-Mobile HotSpot has faded from memory
re: As soon as I leave my apartment, my phone is looking for signals to connect to – a waste of the phone's energy, if you ask me.

 

Surely this energy expenditure is minimal, though.  What kind of phone do you have?  Mind expends no noticeable energy/battery drain in seeking WiFi signals.

In any case, you could always turn off WiFi when you leave home.
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/15/2014 | 7:34:18 AM
WiFi Calling and WiFi Network Selection
It will be interesting to see the extent to which WiF calling and WiFi network selection will be linked -- the latter being the harder problem -- and how different operators and device-makers approach the problem of deciding which network to connect to. This also has implications for in-call handover, as we've dicussed on these pages over the years.
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/15/2014 | 7:25:17 AM
Re: Microcell replacement
Ianbrown -- a fair comment. WiFi has dominated femtocells at home and in the office.

Still it's interesting to note the initiatives for LTE femtocells (yes, that's back) and especially for LTE-U, which if I understand correctly, will ship with WiFi in the same silicon.
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/15/2014 | 7:21:23 AM
Re: terrible
@brooks -- "on my Samsung G3" New features, means new phones.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/14/2014 | 2:15:22 PM
Re: How Quickly the T-Mobile HotSpot has faded from memory
I get why carriers want to take advantage of the spectrum wifi calling provides. The problem I have, however, is that wifi drains my phone battery. 

As soon as I leave my apartment, my phone is looking for signals to connect to – a waste of the phone's energy, if you ask me. 
brooks7
50%
50%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/14/2014 | 12:31:15 PM
Re: terrible
Joe,

WiFi Calling is worse than UMA was - not better as there is no switching.

I have no idea on 9/11.  The locator on the phone works best when WiFi is connected, but to me it looks like normal cell service.  I don't think that 9/11 has caught up to Wireless only folks as I think the service still assumes that there is a landline somewhere.  

As the VoLTE versus all this stuff, I was using WiFi Calling when all we had was 3G.  So WiFi calling pre-dates 4G deployments.  I have yet to see how to enable/use VoLTE on my Samsung G3 (and I live in Santa Rosa CA).  Every call drops when I leave WiFi and switch to cellular.  If I am in a location where this is going to happen (like I have band indoor coverage and am using WiFi Calling indoors)...I tell the person on the other end so they will be prepared to get cut off if I have to go.  Because of this, I have chosen the Cell Network as my preferred voice network.

seven

 
milan03
50%
50%
milan03,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/14/2014 | 8:55:59 AM
Re: terrible
Let me begin saying that this is not UMA based WiFi Calling. This is fully IMS compliant which is also why we're able to handoff calls to and from WiFi environment and into IMS based VoLTE. It won't handoff to circuit switched 3G/2G voice.

AT&T is being lazy because their IMS core hasn't been updated to support this feature yet, and their VoLTE footprint is silly small. Only few areas in the Midwest. That's it. So they simply can't deploy this NExt Generation VoWiFi because there would've been many dropped calls and unhappy customers.

T-Mobile on the other hand has VoLTE deployed over the entire LTE footprint, so they're really the only US Operator in position to deploy this technology nationwide.

And lastly, Apple wouldn't stand behind something that isn't enhancing the user experience. THey've never included UMA solution because it just didn't provide that seamless handoff to cellular environment. Well, this Next Gen VoWiFi does.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/14/2014 | 7:29:16 AM
Re: terrible
I strongly suspect WiFi calling will improve over the next several years, but in the meantime, I like your idea of using it as a landline substitute.  I am reluctant to get rid of my landline for several reasons, but WiFi would probably be almost as reliable as my current landline.

How does 911/emergency calling work on WiFi calling?  Is it available?  Do you have to register your address (or do they have no clue what your address is when you call)?
brooks7
50%
50%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/13/2014 | 11:46:47 PM
Re: terrible
Voice over WiFi will not replace cellular.  What it has replaced for me is my landline.

I have had T-Mobile's solution since it came out - back when they referred to it directly as UMA.  Call switching between WiFi and Cellular was a dicey situation before.  With the latest WiFi calling, I have never even seen it try.  Calls that start on WiFi just drop when you leave the coverage of the WiFi network that you were connected to.  Even switching between WiFi networks will cause calls to drop.

I love the capability.  I wish they had stuck with and improved the call switching that was being provided with UMA.

seven

 
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/13/2014 | 7:37:07 AM
Re: terrible
@nasimson: Indeed.  More to the point, if the big guys don't get going with new tech, then they are subject to upheaval by a little guy.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
The Urgency of Commercial 5G Services

4|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


The progress of 5G has been closely monitored in the industry. At the 2017 Brooklyn 5G Summit, the sense of urgency for a commercial 5G launch had started to surface among operators.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Verizon: Small Biz in Cybercrooks' Crosshairs
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/27/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.