T-Mobile Androids Getting Wi-Fi Calling

wifiT-Mobile announced today that they’ll soon offer built-in Wi-Fi calling solutions for their entire Android lineup including the newly announced Motorola DEFY. The carrier first began offering Wi-Fi calling in 2007 and this latest push into the Android space will allow customers to both spend less minutes and make calls where they might otherwise not be able to make calls.

Recently Skype announced they’re expanding to more Androids in the United States and they also allow Wi-Fi voice calls. T-Mobile’s solution leverages Kineto’s Smart Wi-Fi Application to get the job done, and on devices TMO Wi-Fi calling ships with, it will work out of the box complete with a tutorial for all the Android and smartphone newbs.

I’m loving the movement towards more options and flexibility, especially when carriers enable features that may cut into their revenue in the short-term. They’re finally realizing that providing the best experience and offerings is what keeps customers happy customers and turns existing customers into loyal customers… in the long run.

Full press release below:

T-Mobile Extends Wi-Fi Calling to Android Smartphones
Wi-Fi Calling To Be Available on New T-Mobile myTouch, Motorola DEFY and More

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Oct. 6, 2010 — T-Mobile USA, Inc. today announced its continued innovation of Wi-Fi Calling technology with the upcoming availability of built-in Wi-Fi Calling solutions planned for a wide selection of Android™-powered smartphones, including the recently announced new T-Mobile® myTouch® and Motorola DEFY™ with MOTOBLUR™.

A leader in bringing innovative and easy-to-use solutions to market to enhance indoor coverage for consumers and provide cost saving for businesses, T-Mobile hosts approximately 40 million Wi-Fi calls per month, a number that has grown steadily since the company launched Wi-Fi Calling in June 2007. In addition to consumers benefiting from enhanced coverage, T-Mobile business customers – from small business to multinational corporations – have long taken advantage of the company’s Wi-Fi Calling plan offerings, enabling them to take advantage of the enhanced coverage, as well as the opportunity for reduced domestic and international minute usage, increased enterprise mobility cost savings and improved productivity benefits this solution can deliver. Currently, T-Mobile offers Wi-Fi Calling on numerous devices including the Nokia E73 Mode™, BlackBerry® Curve™ 8520, BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700 and the new BlackBerry® Curve™ 3G.

“T-Mobile’s expansion of Wi-Fi Calling to Android smartphones is an excellent innovation, and part of our ongoing initiatives on behalf of our customers to enhance indoor coverage,” said Torrie Dorrell, vice president, connected family products and services, T-Mobile USA. “This new execution of Wi-Fi Calling technology helps us ensure that our customers’ Android-powered smartphones can keep them connected to the important people in their lives where they work, live or play.”

The implementation of Wi-Fi Calling for Android smartphones brings a new solution to a fast-growing mobile platform and broader range of smartphones for consumers and business customers. Powered by Kineto’s Smart Wi-Fi Application, T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Calling for Android smartphones will be ready to use out-of-the-box, providing the ability to make voice calls and send SMS from accessible Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) access points across the globe in addition to the connectivity available through T-Mobile’s mobile network. The application will also include a tutorial for the benefit of first-time users of the feature.

Availability
Wi-Fi Calling for Android is anticipated to be available on a growing selection of T-Mobile’s Android-powered smartphones in the coming months.

The new T-Mobile myTouch is expected to be available in time for the holidays, exclusively from
T-Mobile USA in four colors —white, black, plum or red. Customers can visit http://mytouch.t-mobile.com for more information.

Motorola DEFY with MOTOBLUR is expected to be available exclusively to T-Mobile USA customers in time for the holidays. For more information on Motorola DEFY with MOTOBLUR. Customers can visit http://www.T-Mobile.com for more information.

How many of you actually take advantage of Wi-Fi calling solutions?

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  • Josh

    Terrible cell reception in my classes. Thanks T Mobile!!!!

  • Vaektor

    Very smart T Mo. I see this as a good mitigation plan to prevent overloading of their 3G/4G network as seen on other carriers.

  • aborted fetus

    So will the wifi calling only be available only on new tmo phones or will older phones (galaxy, G2, etc) be able to download something off the market?

  • revs

    so this is only for new droids? my mt3gs is a no go ? im confused

  • blkidea

    @revs,
    From what I’ve read it will come in the form of an app. Hopefully it will be available for 1.x versions of android.

  • Quez

    So what about the vibrant? Does it have it? I hope so, would only be fair I think

  • Micah

    @revs,
    Well i’m assuming you mean androids, since droids is the term for verizon’s marketing name. I’m hoping that it’ll be for all android phones that will work with T-mobile, i’m just hoping my nexus one works with this.

  • Alvin B.

    Lead-in to the article is misleading. I seriously doubt if this is for the “entire Android lineup including the newly announced Motorola Defy.” The press release says NO SUCH THING. It only lists the newly announced phones and “more” which are probably unannounced phones.

    I seriously doubt they’re going to roll out wifi calling on the Vibrant, MTSlide or other existing Android devices. I would, in fact, be very shocked if they did so.

  • Nick

    If Alvin is right, phandroid needs to vet their headline/content a little better. If he’s wrong, phandroid should cite a source.

    The press release says “wide selection” not “entire Android lineup”.

  • me

    Also, I’m confused on the ” will allow customers to both spend less minutes” (even in the press release). T-mobile doesn’t offer that $10 unlimited wifi calling feature anymore… they going to bring it back? Otherwise it uses the same minute allowance your plan has.

  • JOE

    The Motorola Defy the New MTHD and all FUTURE android devices will have it out of the box. You will eventually be able to get it as an app for older android devices. Also, All Blackberries on the T-MO network already have it as well.

  • shawn1224

    I already have free wifi calling so no biggie.

  • reddragon72

    Ok before people start throwing around false facts, let me get all the answers out there.

    1. There is NO difference between WIFI calling and cell calling on your minutes. 700 minutes is 700 minutes using either method. This includes nights and weekends, fav 5 and T-Mobile to T-Mobile.

    2. SMS is the same. If you send on WIFI or cell it will deduct from your pool of messages. If you have unlimited then you have unlimited.

    3. There is NO “hand-off”. Any calls made on a cell will not transfer to WIFI, and any calls made on WIFI will not transfer to cell. So if your talking to you mum on WIFI and walk out of the WIFI range then you’ll loose your call.

    4. This is not an automatic feature you will have a simple button on your desktop of your phone that you will click on that will turn off the cell radio and turn on the WIFI. NOTE: This does not automatically connect you to ANY WIFI within range unless it is an “open” WIFI, meaning no security code required.

    5. Once the WIFI is up and running it will operate the same as a normal WIFI connection. You;ll be able to browse the WEB and download apps that same as before, the only difference is all your phone/SMS will come through the WIFI instead of the cell tower.

    6. turning on your regular WIFI without using the WIFI calling app will not route your calls through the WIFI. Routing calls through WIFI can only be done VIA the WIFI Calling app.

    7. THE BIG ONE! This will be “pushed” to phones VIA and OTA update. T-Mobile has openenly said that it will work on all 2.0(Eclair) Android phones and up. They also have said that they will be bringing it to as many of the Android headsets as they can in the next few weeks(note weeks not months)This includes the G2 and Vibrant.

    8. At this time T-Mobile has not mentioned the bringing back of the $10 Unlimited WIFI calling feature. All info about lesser minutes mention in the press release are directed towards business.

    9. Anything that anyone says other then what is listed here is false info. This is right from a top terr T-Mobile exec that Answered my E-mails as well as Boy Genius’s E-mails.

    I would also like to point out that there are people who are misconstrued about one thing. You DO NOT get a new number to use with this. This has not been a big question, but I have seen it in some forums. Also this will not effect the use of Google Voice numbers, that service will work as normal. All your actually doing with this service is routing your phones calling and text messaging ability through a WIFI router instead of an actual cellular tower.

  • reddragon72

    Also would like to add for those roaming around in other countries that this does NOT alleviate international calling charges. I.E… if you are setting in Paris and make a WIFI call to a hotel or theater around the corner from you you will be charged international calling fees. WIFI Calling takes your call from anywhere in the world and routes it back to the states. At that point the call then rings the hotel or what note around the corner from you. So in essence WIFI calling from overseas is just like setting next to a T-Mobile tower in the US. Your family and friends can call and text you all day. You can call them all day and just use your regular minutes. This is an awesome feature so you can stay in contact with family while traveling without international calling rates. So if your setting at a Cafe in London and wish to call your hotel, then do so from the Cafe’s phone and note your cell phone.

  • Eric

    This will be great for when I am at home and visiting places that have wifi but no tmobile signal. At home, I lose all voice bars in most of my basement. The one problem I have is that my wifi goes to sleep when the screen is off, and when I fire it up, it sometimes takes 10-15 seconds to re-aquire the signal. How will I get calls when my wifi is asleep? But if this feature isn’t buggy, I will love it.

  • reddragon72

    Eric, this is negated VIA the WIFI calling app. The WIFI calling app keeps, or as I am told, the WIFI awake so that the phone can receive calls and txt when not in use.

  • reddragon72

    I would also like to note that there have been computability reports with some WIFI routers and some “hotspot” routers. A list will undoubtedly hit the internet shortly after this function is released by T-Mobile.
    The ‘hotspot” issue is even if the “hotspot” is free and has no security feature, it has an initiated web page that you must click agree on to allow your IP to be routed through to the internet. All that has to be done in this situation is open your phones browser and click the agree button and then the phones assigned IP will be granted internet access and your calls should work as normal.

  • Bryan Seigneur

    My new house has terrible T-mo reception! In the middle of town, like it’s some sort of null vortex of signal death. I have been trying to figure out how to get a couple of T-mo androids off ebay for cheap and use some sort of Voip on them. If T-mo enables Voip in my house, on their contract so I don’t have to pay extra to someone else, that would be fantastic!

    Question is, why can’t they offer a Voip app for use with ANY of their Android phones?????? Why do I have to get a particular phone???? If there is a possibility of using it with non-T-mo phones, why not just make the wifi minutes part of the allocated minutes instead of free (that way T-mo wouldn’t get shafted when people use non-T-mo android devices)? I would settle for that.

  • revs

    thnx for the info guys i got one more ? when the hell am i getting this !!!??? i need it asap as im working in vermont where i have nooooo tmobile service in my condo or office ! pleaseee hurrryyy lol ~mt3gs

  • Matt

    @8, doesn’t matter who they port it to. People want this so badly that the minute it’s released it will be modified to work on all android phones across all providers, most likely.

  • reddragon72

    To the last three posts, please read all my posts as all your Q’s have been answered in those.

  • Eric

    Reddragon: thanks so much for your info. You sure sound like an insider.

  • Eric

    OK, I just voted and I see the results. This app will be a killer app! This kind of app will drive people in droves to drop their POTS. You can have your dsl/cable for home, and your cell phone for on the go. There are tens of thousands of people who have landlines, because their cell phones don’t work at home. I think this is really big.

  • Pat

    the wifi calling faq published on the tmo site doesn’t specifically address how wifi calling minutes will be billed for customers having the “old” uma/hotspot calling service (it goes to great lengths to say the 2 services are NOT the same) – but I just got off the phone w/a tmo tech who read to me directly from his wifi calling training docs that customers with a grandfathered unlimited hotspot calling service will also receive unlimited minutes with the new wifi calling feature: both features go thru the same billing.

  • TK

    @reddragon
    Are you VERY certain the minutes will count against your account over WiFi?
    “In addition to consumers benefiting from enhanced coverage, T-Mobile business customers – from small business to multinational corporations – have long taken advantage of the company’s Wi-Fi Calling plan offerings, enabling them to take advantage of the enhanced coverage, as well as the opportunity for reduced domestic and international minute usage, increased enterprise mobility cost savings and improved productivity benefits this solution can deliver.”

  • Pat

    all speculation/misinformation ends soon – G2 OTA update arrived w/wifi calling! (not mine – still waiting for my vibrant update)

  • Gerg

    Ok, a little clarity here. We have used Wi-Fi (aka UMA) calling for several years, to solve the “I get no bars in the house” problem. T-Mobile has had TWO different Wi-Fi plans – one let you use the T-Mobile branded hotspots around town for free but UMA calls were minutes on your plan. The other let you use any hotspot (but not for free if it wasn’t already) but UMA calls do NOT count against your plan. Both plans added a fixed $9.99/mo to your bill (but only once for an entire family plan). We were on the wrong plan for a while (they had similar names and the sales droid mixed them up), and it took several months of haggling and troubleshooting to clear it up. Roaming in/out of Wi-Fi range is usually seamless (sometimes get dropped), at lest on my daughter’s Blackberry. Makes a BIG difference in the bill, along with the better reception.

    I believe they have stated that these old plans are no longer available to new customers, but we’re still using it. So, I guess at least the version we’re on is coming back. (Charging for Wi-Fi access is hardly a business model these days.)

    But, one of the original questions still remains: Can the new UMA application be downloaded to any Android phone? I’m thinking of the new Comet…

  • Gerg

    Update: Take a look at T-Mobile’s FAQ on the subject. The plan I’m using currently is as I stated, and it’s only for existing (grandfathered) customers. Unfortunately, neither version of the plan appears to be what the new android phones can do – they’re offering a new service, and the service DOES take from your monthly minutes, and it does NOT transfer seamlessly. See:
    http://support.t-mobile.com/doc/tm24195.xml?docid=7189&docid=8442&navtypeid=6&pagetypeid=7&prevPageIndex=4&lid=y

    MegaBummer.