Sprint announced recently that iPhones on their network will now have the ability to make calls over Wifi signals, in addition to its traditional access to the Sprint cell network. This new Sprint WiFi calling iPhone support comes with the latest version of the iOS 8.3 update, which will be needed in order to take advantage of this great money saving feature.
What is Wi-Fi Calling?
For those that don’t know, WiFi calling basically means that instead of voice and data signals being transmitted via cell phone towers, calls and data access go through a simple wireless connection over the Internet. In fact, the concept is similar to VOIP (voice over internet protocol) like Skype for instance. However, in the case of Sprint and a few other carriers like T-Mobile and Republic Wireless, you don’t need a special wifi calling app since the iPhone will automatically recognize if it has a wi-fi signal and route calls accordingly.
How much does Sprint WiFi calling cost?
The good news is that since the Sprint cell network is not needed to make WiFi calls, there is no extra load on their bandwidth, and thus there is no cost since you are not using Sprint infrastructure.
What is even better about having Wi-Fi calling ability is that it decreases the amount of minutes used on your phone plan, assuming you have a limited number of minutes. Another benefit of this is that you will have more options to use your phone if you are not in a good network coverage area, so long as you are in range of an accessible wifi signal.
While the new wifi calling option is certainly a useful new feature for Sprint customers, it would have been nice to also see a price cut in some of the Sprint plans that have unlimited talk minutes. The reason Sprint should decrease prices for unlimited talk plans, especially for those with WiFi calls enabled, is because those customers will help to decrease the load on their cell network. Thus, it makes sense to reward those customers with cost savings.
As I’ve mentioned above, the small MVNO company, Republic Wireless, already has WiFi calling enabled for its line of Motorola Moto phones. The nice thing about Republic, who I am currently a customer, is that they pass the savings from their wifi handover technology on to you in the form of a sweet $25 per month unlimited everything plan. Compare this to Sprint’s unlimited everything plan which is twice the amount at $50 per month… yikes!
The only problem in regards to wifi calling for Republic is that it is limited to the Moto X, G, and E phones at the moment. This isn’t an issue if you love those phones and the Android operating system, which I personally do. However, if you are an iPhone fanboy or fangirl then either T-Mobile or Sprint is the only options for this feature at the moment.
Hopefully, in the future we will see more phone companies like Samsung, Motorola, LG, and others build this type of wifi handover technology directly into their devices so that any carrier can implement wi-fi calling ability.
If there are any readers who currently use an iPhone on a Sprint cell phone plan and you have upgraded to iOS 8.3, please test out the wifi call capability and let us know how it works for you. Is it as good as the tower network reception? Let us know in the comments below.