Verizon will launch WiFi calling in mid-2015, the carrier has confirmed, having previously dismissed the technology as needless given the breadth of its existing voice network. The decision was announced by Verizon Wireless CFO Fran Shammo this week, conceding that the carrier will need to do some technical work to upgrade its network, and pointing out that the system was “never a top priority” in the past.
That, Shammo said at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference, FierceWireless reports, was because voice coverage from Verizon was always relatively ubiquitous.
Shammo also pointed to the difficulties in ensuring consistent call quality when it’s being shuttled over WiFi rather than the carrier’s own network.
According to the CFO, that’s the same reason that saw Verizon’s VoLTE roll-out take such a protracted length of time.
Verizon’s approach differs from that of T-Mobile USA, which has been swift to embrace WiFi calling. In fact, the magenta carrier has already announced its own router, a customized ASUS model which is specially designed to deliver solid voice call performance even if the user’s home or office suffers from poor cellular connectivity.
T-Mobile USA will offer the router free to subscribers, though request a $25 deposit.
AT&T, meanwhile, has already announced it intends to launch WiFi calling in 2015. However, only T-Mobile’s system will – eventually, and with the iPhone 6 only – support seamless transition of WiFi calling to VoLTE.