If you live or work somewhere with terrible mobile reception, you’ve already felt the pain of trying to make or receive a call and having it drop out or go straight to voicemail. Optus has finally switched on its solution to that problem, letting you make calls over whatever high-speed Wi-Fi network you’re connected to — at least if you’re using one of Samsung’s Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge phones.
Optus’ Voice over Wi-Fi doesn’t just enable voice calls to be made over a wireless network, though — it also supports SMS and MMS, too, making it actually useful for anyone that hasn’t already switched over to a data-friendly over-the-top messaging service like iMessage or Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger or Signal.
Telstra has had the same tech, which it calls Wi-Fi Calling, since October 2016. It only lists the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge as compatible, but it does work on other devices.
Although the pricing of calls is the same using Wi-Fi as a regular phone network, the tech allows seamless handover of calls when switching between Wi-Fi and 4G, so you can walk around on a call without worrying about falling out of Wi-Fi coverage. Calls to voicemail and emergency 000 also work as usual. Voice calls generally use around 1MB of data per minute, while a video call uses around 8MB over the same period.
The only problem is that Optus’ Voice over Wi-Fi only works on phones that already have its particular brand of Voice over LTE (4G) software installed, and that’s limited to only the Samsung Galaxy S7 and its larger S7 Edge variant. Good news if you’re one of the Samsung faithful, but we’re left hoping it’ll roll out to other handsets in the near future. [Optus]