T-Mobile just announced the next phase of its Uncarrier initiative, which it is calling “Wi-Fi Unleashed.” It’s all about enhanced WiFi calling, and here’s what you need to know:
- T-Mobile’s “next generation” WiFi calling and texting can be supported in any WiFi environment, and will support a seamless handover from VoLTE to WiFi, and vice versa.
- According to T-Mobile’s Neville Ray, “We’re lining up our OEMs, and Apple is the first one that’s going to do this with us.” While this wasn’t specifically mentioned during the Uncarrier event, I take this to mean that the WiFi/VoLTE seamless experience will be available in the iPhone 6.
- T-Mobile says that 100% of smartphones sold in T-Mobile stores going forward will be capable of WiFi calling.
- T-Mobile is making it easier for every T-Mobile customer to obtain a WiFi calling device by opening an exclusive enrollment window in JUMP!, so anyone can upgrade right away.
- This next generation of WiFi calling will support HD voice calling.
- Starting September 17, every Simple Choice customer with a broadband connection and a WiFi calling smartphone can get a free T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, with only a $25 refundable deposit. Like Sprint’s Airave, this acts as a mini-cell tower that uses your home broadband connection to deliver service. Unlike the Airave, this is also an ASUS-made router that delivers 801.11 a/c WiFi speeds comparable to a $200 router at retail.
- Additionally, any T-Mobile customer with a WiFi calling device will be able to text in the air using Gogo in-flight WiFi, completely free of charge. Visual voicemail will also work in planes. WiFi calling, apparently, will not.
It’s unclear what this means for Nexus devices in T-Mobile stores. T-Mobile has sold both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, both of which do not support T-Mobile WiFi calling. This could spell the end of Nexus devices in T-Mobile stores, or it could indicate that – like Apple – Google will add WiFi calling support to future Nexus devices. Time will tell.
What do you think of T-Mobile’s Uncarrier 7.0 announcements?