Last fall saw a flood of major news on the WiFi calling front. First came the T-Mobile/ Apple announcement that T-Mobile would be the first major carrier to support WiFi Calling with the release of iOS 8, then the subsequent announcements by both AT&T and (a reluctant) Verizon that they would support WiFi calling in mid to late 2015. WiFi calling has been a huge boon for T-Mobile with their “UnCarrier” marketing pitch holding mass appeal to millennials. Now, six months later, Sprint has announced support for WiFi calling on the iPhone. Sprint had previously supported WiFi calling on Android devices, but the WiFi calling support (which requires an iOS 8.3 update) on the iPhone is big news. Announced yesterday was that Sprint will be making carrier settings over the next couple of days to support the new update.
David Owens, SVP of Product Development for Sprint spoke about the obvious benefits the carrier will see as a result of adding WiFi hotspots to their arsenal of voice coverage:
WiFi Calling is like a major expansion of our network, allowing Sprint customers to get coverage anywhere they have WiFi connectivity… Traditional wireless technology has some limitations in places like basements and high-rise office buildings. WiFi expands our customer’s connectivity in a big way. The addition of WiFi calling for iPhone customers is just one more example of how Sprint is getting better every day.”
Next on the horizon should be some major announcements coming from AT&T and Verizon regarding their support for WiFi calling. Both carriers have been somewhat smug when speaking about WiFi calling as an offering on their networks and pointing to holes in T-Mobile/ Sprint coverage as being the primary motivators for supporting the WiFi calling feature. That being said, you simply can’t argue with market demand and the market is demanding WiFi calling… the adoption of support of the feature on the iPhone is proof enough of that.