All major carriers will support WiFi calling in 2015 – Get Your Property Ready!
WiFi: A Holistic Approach To Coverage & Capacity
The best part about WiFi as a solution to the indoor cellular coverage problem: you control your own destiny; you can manage and control the unlicensed frequencies in your building.
- Unlimited high capacity data offload
- Staff services (Facilities WiFi) extends secure back office networks to improve operations
- Building automation via WiFiPlus®
- Patient tracking
- Marketing automation services
Managed Building-Wide WiFi: Why Not?
Why Not Let the residents get their own WiFi?
- Most consumer routers have no Quality Of Service (QOS) and no coordinated frequency plan resulting in poor voice service.
Why Managed WiFI?
- QOS and coordinated frequency plan for voice services.
- Ancillary services: staff data services, customer service to residents, other “bolt on” uses.
What About “Bulk” Contract Issues? Problem Solved.
- Managed WiFi allows building owners to provide smartphone services to residents.
- Retail/ fee based internet access for laptops and computers competes with existing data providers. Allows you to generate additional revenue for your property.
- Only $0.40/ sq. ft.
GEOGRAPHIC-BASED COVERAGE VS. CAPACITY/ USER-BASED COVERAGE
With coverage maps like Verizon and AT&T – why is it that so many subscribers are still without coverage?
- The major carriers are building their networks to cover geography using large macrocells to cover broad areas. This type of architecture is geared toward suburban and rural areas.
- For large cities with dense populations in large “green” buildings, macrocell architecture is ineffective in delivering services. Small cells need to replace the macrocells and need to be inside buildings. This is a monumental effort for the cellular carriers.List item #3
WiFi is a small cell architecture with much greater capacity.
The Problem Facing Building Owners
- The current demographic of apartment residents indicate that mobile phones are the primary communications mechanism for both voice and data.
- Poor mobile coverage results in complaints, lost revenue and lost renters and tenants.
- Without mobile phone coverage, 9-1-1 may not be usable by residents.
- DAS Systems are extremely expensive and take a long time to implement.
OTT APPS are apps that provide a service that bypasses traditional distribution and traditional billing models. In this case, an OTT app allows for voice, text and data transmission via smartphones, tablets or computers over WiFi instead of using the cellular networks. This allows users to perform actions that circumvent traditional billing from the cellular carriers or telcos.
The top 10 WiFi Calling Apps boast over 1 billion users who are calling, texting and video chatting over WiFi.
- Allows users to make voice calls, text and video message over WiFi when there is no indoor cellular signal.
- Many OTT apps are free or “freemium” allowing users to have voice service for little to no cost.
- Some users prefer the functionality of the app calling interface to their own phone’s built-in interface.
- Requires an app download.
- App services vary depending on the app. Some are voice only, smsonly or chat-messaging only.
- Not device-seamless/ requires opening an app and using the app-specific dialer.
- Does not offer seamless roaming between cellular and WiFi.
- Typically WiFi Calling apps require that you use a number other than your mobile phone number.
Seamless WiFI Calling
- Calling is seamless to the device. This means that when the user goes to make a call on their smartphone they are clicking on the same calling icon that they would use to call over cellular and that they are calling using their phone’s built-in dialer.
- Roaming is seamless between the WiFi network and the cellular carrier. This requires that both the carrier and the device support WiFi calling.
Seamless WiFi Calling solves the indoor coverage problem.
- There is no difference to the user, fully transparent –users make calls and the phone determines whether it uses WiFi or cellular, seamlessly roaming between both.
- International travelers can make calls over WiFi without international roaming charges.
- Seamless WiFi calling is not yet supported by all major carriers.
Carriers & Operating Systems
Current Carrier Support – T-Mobile
Seamless WiFi Calling is easily enabled on the users existing T-Mobile device using three simple steps. T-Mobile offers three WiFi Calling preferences: WiFi Preferred, Cellular Preferred, WiFi Only.
1. Tap Settings
2. Tap More Settings
3. Toggle On WiFiCalling
Current Carrier Support – Sprint
Sprint also requires 3 steps to utilize WiFi Calling.
1. Choose the network you will be using for WiFi Calling
2. Turn on WiFi Calling for that network
3. Either manually enter your address or hit “Locate Me” for E-9-1-1 purposes
T-Mobile WiFi Calling Device Manufacturers:
- T-Mobile branded
- Apple (coming with iOS 8 update)
Sprint WiFi Calling Enabled Devices:
Apple iOS 8 Support
On June 2, 2014 Apple announced at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that iOS 8 will support SEAMLESS WiFi calling on Apple smartphones.
Immediately after the iOS 8 announcement, T-Mobile announced that they will be the first carrier to support WiFi calling on the iPhone. This major announcement places T-Mobile at the forefront of the WiFi calling revolution.
Apple tends to drive the market and with Apple now supporting WiFi calling, the market demand will put pressure on Verizon & AT&T to support WiFi calling as well.Apple Smartphones supporting the iOS update will include: iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S
WiFi Calling “Carriers” & Technology
Scratch Wireless and Republic Wireless are two carriers that use WiFiFirst℠ which utilizes the theory that 80% of smartphone use is on WiFi and 20% is on cellular.
These carriers use a “prepaid” plan that costs less than standard plans, and automatically make use of WiFi when available.
While they have limited phone choices, reviews have been generally good. Republic wireless is now over 100K subscribers and Scratch wireless boasts thousands of users already!
Cable MSO WiFi calling –some cable operators are looking into devices for calling over their WiFi networks.
Companies like Kineto and Smith Micro market applications that can be integrated with phone firmware to allow devices to choose and manage network connections. These applications are primarily marketed to the major carriers to help improve customer experience.
Kinetos’s“Smart Wi-Fi” product is software that allows voice networks to extend voice and messaging service over the internet, primarily WiFi. Kinetois used by both Sprint and T-Mobile.
Smith Micro’s NetWiseproduct uses policies on the device to manage all data connections (3G, 4G, WiFi) to choose the best connection.
Future Carrier & Support
On August 5th, it was announced that Verizon had signed a deal with Smith Micro to use their NetWisedata and device management product.
Verizon representatives have not yet disclosed what they will use the product for, however, industry speculation is that WiFi calling on Verizon’s network is fast approaching.
News outlets are also reporting transcripts from Smith Micro’s company earning’s conference call:
“Smith Micro’s CEO William Smith, ‘We recently were selected by Verizon to work on the project utilizing the NetWiseplatform and we are finalizing deals now with two other Tier 1 operators, including one project with an end-to-end middleware platform and another for dynamic policy management platform’”.¹
Properties outfitted with managed WiFi will have a significant competitive advantage!
Networks Characteristics For WiFi Calling
- Managed WiFi
- Secure WiFi
- High Quality WiFi Services –QOS, SLA, Coverage, Reliability
- Interference mitigation using patent pending tessellated grid design
- UserSafe® technology –client isolation guards against hacking and spoofing
- CALEA Compliant
- E-9-1-1 Calling Requirement
- 24/7 Network Operations Center and Support
How Does WiFi Calling Relate To CALEA & E-911 Services?
- For WiFi calling occurring over your property’s network, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) still applies.
- By having a WiFi network at your property, it is your responsibility to be able to provide user information in the event of a government subpoena.
- E-9-1-1 services are carrier supported giving residents 9-1-1 service inside of your building even though there is no cellular coverage.
- As always, Spot On WiFi Networks are fully managed and CALEA compliant.
Steps To Solve In-Building Voice Problems
- Site Survey to determine signal issues by carrier
- Architect most cost effective solution based on survey results
- DAS/ Hybrid DAS
- WiFiCalling Only
- WiFiCalling/ Small Cell
- Implement solution