Sprint launches WiFi calling, only select Androids get access

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Sprint users are getting a treat today in the form of WiFi calling, a new service that gives subscribers the ability to place calls and sends texts over a wireless network for absolutely free. There is a catch, though. WiFi calling, as of now, is only available on an extremely select number of Android handsets — two, to be exact.

The Samsung Galaxy Mega and Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini are, as of now, the only device’s in Sprint’s stable that will enable users to avoid any limits or charges associated with their standard wireless service by routing calls over any WiFi network. These handset will be able to take advantage of the feature after receiving an over-the-air update.

If those seem like odd choices as the flagship devices for Sprint’s WiFi calling, they are, but fear not. Sprint says more devices will be receiving the capabilities as the year rolls on. For now, current Galaxy Mega and Galaxy S4 Mini owners can expect the needed update to arrive sometime in the coming weeks.

[via Sprint]

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  • Chimphappyhour

    Been using this on Tmo for a while now and have to say that I can’t imagine life without it now. It’s really great when you work underground and can’t get a signal. I still get all of my texts and calls. Whereas before, I’d go 8 hours without a signal and sometimes texts get lost from the carrier servers.

    • No_Nickname90

      I think that down-vote was an accident. LoL!!

      • http://codeversed.com/ Steve Albright

        Maybe T-Mobile just spammed them with text messages. …happens a lot to me…but wasn’t my down vote. :)

    • Michael Quinlan

      You’ve described a great use for Wifi calling, but I suspect that the phones would default to using Wifi whenever possible, and only using Sprint’s network when Wifi is not available, when it really should be the other way around.

      • Chimphappyhour

        I only turn on wifi when I know I’ll be away from my carrier’s signal since my data is faster on their network than the wifi I have access to. So I’m essentially controlling when the phone uses which data system.

      • Chad Vincent

        “I suspect that the phones would default to using Wifi whenever possible”

        That’s not how it works on the newer T-Mobile phones. My HTC One actually has the option of Prefer WiFi, Prefer Cellular, and WiFi only. The last was very useful while in Mexico.

      • New_Guy777

        Chad Vincent is correct about TMo’s implementation…it’s the same for the Galaxy lineup. No clue, though, as to how Sprint will implement it.

      • Anfronie

        But wouldn’t it save battery life when it’s on wifi?

    • HeatFan786

      I miss that feature from T-Mobile. I am on AT&T, but that would help immensely with my unlocked Note 3 900V (Verizon unlocked Band 4 LTE unlocked.)

    • http://codeversed.com/ Steve Albright

      I wish you could use their WiFi calling on custom ROMs but they never release the needed source in time so I can never take advantage of this. …wish I could.

      • New_Guy777

        I had several ROM’s with WiFi calling baked in, one even had voice recording over TMo’s UMA service, which was a big deal. It just never made it to CM based ROM’s because they lacked the TMo framework to make it work.

      • Chimphappyhour

        Yeah, I wish Tmo was able to release it as a stand alone app. Wifi calling is my sole reason for buying a carrier phone at this point.

  • Carl Rood

    I see a couple of problems here. Sprint’s plans have been fairly generous with minutes (I wish they had a family plan with less than 1500 minutes when I signed up) and things like 7pm nights & weekends. Most of their text plans are unlimited. From that angle, it really helps Sprint more than their customers.

    Second, like a lot of people, I have quite a few public WiFi hotspots programmed in my phone that connect automatically. Some require me to verify or authenticate on a web page first. Others can be pretty crappy, but the phone still connects and won’t switch back to LTE or 3G. I often have to turn off WiFi when near one of these (I’m talking to you CableWiFi) So my question is what happens to the call when I’m on a crappy WiFi?

    • BigPoppaPhat

      Back in my T-Mobile days if I made a WiFi call on a carappy connection the call would just sound choppy. Typically the quality you’ll get when you’re about to drop a call.

    • No_Nickname90

      I remember being on Sprint and they installed this thing on your phone that automatically connected to WiFi. Go check under WiFi like you’re going to connect to a network then press menu on your device.

      You should have an option for advance settings. I don’t entirely remember what it was, but I know the issue you’re having. I turned that off. It kept connecting to public WiFis and I didn’t want it to.

      • Steven Paul Morales

        It’s called “connections optimizer”

    • Michael Quinlan

      I have no doubt that this is intended to benefit Sprint, and not the customers. All Sprint is doing is offloading their customers onto unsuspecting hot spot providers and sucking up their bandwidth.

    • KingOliver

      If you are in a bldg without a cell signal a crappy WiFi signal is better then nothing.

    • Scotsman of Loch Ness

      From what I’ve experienced on my SGN3, it will flip the call to the cell network if it’s available.

    • Nearmsp

      On T-mobile we have choice to set up as wifi calling only (I do when overseas), wifi preferred and cellular calling preferred. Regardless if Wi-Fi speeds are poor, wific calling will not work. But when wifi calling is enabled, it shows a green or blue calling icon on the top bar

  • yankeesusa

    Wow, now its available on 2 of the most unused phones sold by sprint. Great. I’ll stick to tmobile and my non blocked wifi calling.

    • Henri Weich Conradie

      Unused? Probably in the case of the Galaxy Mega, but that’s not very likely with the S4.

      • HeatFan786

        S4 Mini is not a main seller.

  • steveb944

    I wonder if you get unlimited calling and to know how it works overseas. First CDMA devices to function worldwide as long as it’s free to use.
    Hasn’t T-Mobile had this for nearly a decade now? Started with BB I believe. Their rules have changed quite a bit through time on international use.

    I do miss the feature as I’ve gone Nexus for a couple years now.

    • No_Nickname90

      As far as I knew, WiFi calling doesn’t prevent any type of overages. All it did was allow you to have coverage.

      That’s why I’m surprised they’re saying Sprint’s WiFi calling can help prevent any limits.

      • Chad Vincent

        T-Mobile WiFi calling had an unlimited option ($5/mo/line) for a long time, and went to free unlimited about 2-3 years ago.

        • No_Nickname90

          What I meant was using WiFi calling still used your minutes. Are you saying if you have minutes and switched to WiFi calling you wouldn’t use up your minutes anymore?

          If so, that’s new to me.

          • Chad Vincent

            EDIT:

            Okay, I got that backwards.

            It USED to not use your minutes, but cost. Now it’s free but uses minutes. Not that minute usage is a concern for the current plans.

        • Brian

          T-Mobile WiFi doesn’t work with Nexus or iPhone devices.

          • Chad Vincent

            Correct. And neither will Sprint’s, unless the extra market pressure convinces someone to put it into AOSP or changes Apple’s mind.

  • Crimsonshadow774

    So they start out with the phones barely anybody buys…genius.

  • MIKEEEEE

    i loved it when i was on t-mo.

  • Nearmsp

    I have used this for over 8 years now. Very useful when traveling international. T-Mobile also has unlimited edge data world wide on all plans for no extra cost. So wifi calling with free data international means I have the golden handcuffs on Tmobile.