Android Central

Calling requires software update but no monthly fee; only supported in the U.S.

T-Mobile may soon no longer be the only major carrier offering first-party Wifi calling, as Sprint apparently is preparing to launch a system of its own. According to Sprint training materials we've received, Sprint Wifi Calling would be enabled on at least two of its current Android handsets through maintenance updates and on new devices running Android 4.2 and above.

We've reached out to Sprint for any sort of confirmation and will update if and when we hear back. 

In the meantime, let's look at more details of Sprint's anticipated Wifi Calling system.

As you'd expect, calls made over Wifi will not count against your voice minutes, and are in no way interchangeable with calls made over CDMA — i.e. calls can't be handed off between the two systems.

In order to take advantage of Wifi Calling, a customer will simply need a compatible device, enable the feature through a web interface, http://sprint.com/manage, and begin using it. No monthly charge will be assessed for turning on Wifi Calling. The training materials indicate that there will simply be a Wifi Calling toggle in the settings of "approved" Sprint Android devices going forward.

An interesting wrinkle here is that you must have Android Location Services turned on in order to make Wifi calls, and that it will only be a supported feature within the U.S., U.S. Virigin Islands and Puerto Rico. Sprint explicitly states that Wifi Calling will not be approved or supported from other locations or while using a VPN. Outbound calls over Wifi won't be allowed without a CDMA signal present either — Sprint claims this is for 911 reasons.

A timeline for the availability of Wifi Calling on Sprint devices isn't yet known, but all documentation currently available indicates that a launch is imminent, at least on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega.

So hang tight, Sprint fans. Wifi calling is coming. Probably. 

 
There are 68 comments

jeddo45 says:

How about LTE? That would be nice...

Nexus 5...enough said

Robbzilla says:

I've got LTE on my Sprint Nexus 5. You must be doing it wrong.

quailallstar says:

T-Mobile and Sprint merger/buyout anyone? First thing that came to mind upon reading the headline.

Posted via Android Central App

To bad you are seriously late. Their won't be any Sprint Tmobile merger.

Posted from my Galaxy Note 3 on Tmobile via Android Central App

jeddo45 says:

He's big, he's bad, he's back!

Nexus 5...enough said

icebike says:

I like how he posts that, and then Andrew immediatly bitchslapps him with a Sprint-T-Mo story just up the front page a couple.

Well Played Andrew!

mwara244 says:

People don't want a sprint buyout so they say this in every blog. I think sprint has more of a chance than ATT did. I just hope if it is approved, that Sprint doesn't fall in with VZW & ATT and their back door dealings and cooperation of more of the same. Other than the coverage their business plans and mark ups are practically the same as well with their anti-competition practices with each other.

I loathe T-Mo, but at least they have a pair and are trying to shake up the industry a little with what they have, even though they are only doing so because they can't compete. Its too bad that for the past 15 years T-mo never expanded their network enough to cover more of the states outside a major populous or highway. Their ability to not expand out is what has caused them the most harm.

squiddy20 says:

*too and *There
Also, just like you knew the G Flex wouldn't "make it to the States with those screen specs"? http://androidcommunity.com/lg-g-flex-specs-and-performance-appear-in-an... Yeah, I totally believe you now. -___-

CountryDevil says:

I seriously doubt that will ever happen. It is a dream at most. Two different techs all together. CDMA and GSM. They don't mix at all. Remember Sprint tried that with Nextel and we all know how that ended up.

T-mobile bought MetroPCS, look how's that coming along? "Mixing" CDMA and GSM can work.

MetroPCS is dramatically smaller than Sprint, and their CDMA network is quickly being shut down. The main reason why MPCS and T-Mobile can integrate easily is that their LTE networks overlap in their spectrum use.

NoNexus says:

But none of that will matter with LTE-A. Which if they start the merger late this year, would be available on a wide scale when it clears all the necessary approvals...

drokssilva says:

This merger will not happen.

Sent from inside a cave.

jwyche007 says:

Ew oh god no.

Posted via Android Central App

yankeesusa says:

The question is, does T-Mobile WiFi calling have the same restrictions? That's a great addition to Sprint. Hopefully they'll start spreading lte faster and wider range and that their Spark upgrade keeps going to other cities.

Posted via Android Central App

ebocioj says:

no restrictions for tmobile wifi calling.

yankeesusa says:

It's funny how when a company tries to do something to compete with T-Mobile they do it half baked. Example: JUMP and oneup and now this WiFi calling thing.

Posted via Android Central App

Believe you simply need a T-Mobile SIM in the phone and a Wifi connection anywhere. No other restrictions.

Posted via Android Central App

jonathan3579 says:

Except WiFi calling counts against your minutes on T-Mobile. At least on the prepaid end... Not too sure about postpaid.

NewhousePort says:

There are no restrictions on doing WiFi calling on T-Mobile. Even internationally which is awesome. I just spent 9 days in Norway & Sweden with my T-Mobile WiFi enabled phone. I did all the calling I wanted (as long as Wifi was available) and didn't pay a dime. As for the minutes against your account, it isn't an issue for typical accounts but yes, for pre-paid, that might be an issue although I don't know enough about it to confirm.

At least they trying.. Half baked or not....

Posted via Android Central App

FaisDogg says:

What's the point of having WiFi calling with these restrictions, I have unlimited minutes on tmo, the only time if ever I use this feature when there's no cell signal in the basement of my hospital where no carriers get reception

Posted via Android Central App

Jeff Hedfors says:

Yes pretty useless if you have to have a carrier signal!

mike31082 says:

I wish Sprint would release this for all their smartphones. This would alleviate my major complaint against them with poor building penetration.

ericdabbs says:

Who says that Sprint won't eventually? The article said that wifi calling is enabled via software/firmware upgrade.

I think Sprint just wants to test wifi calling on mid tier devices to fix any issues that may arise in the beginning. If things go well, I expect Sprint will at least enable wifi calling on all Spark devices currently (LG G2, GS4T, Nexus 5, LG G Flex, HTC One Max). No point of adding wifi calling on the GS3, HTC Evo LTE, Note 2, LGOG, etc devices when they are due for an upgrade in 2014.

NoNexus says:

yep

Cubfan says:

Sprint finally reveals its plan to improve the network for its phones. Use your wifi instead.

NoNexus says:

Hey if the Cubs go with game changing mascot, Sprint can pull this.

NoNexus says:

Hey if the Cubs go with game changing mascot, Sprint can pull this.

And that's the problem with offering this. It's an admission that your network isn't up to snuff. T-Mobile never really aggressively advertised Wi-Fi calling for this reason, just like AT&T and Sprint don't advertise microcells.

Posted via Android Central App

danibal says:

Sprint is probably tired of paying the fees for all of the airraves. Doing this will probably eliminate the need for them as much. Even with those odd restrictions.

hmmm says:

Ahh, that does make sense...

flychinook says:

Technically, Airaves also require a CDMA signal, at least during the initial setup.

jackinit says:

T-Mobile wifi calling works worldwide. No cell signal required. This is a very bad imitation. What's the point of this? Another carrier copying T-Mobile, but badly.

movielover76 says:

Yep absolutely a piss poor copy of a T-Mobile feature, their is no need to restrict WiFi calling to the us only or even worse require a CDMA signal as it destroys the two benefits of WiFi calling, free calls overseas and being able to make calls when you have no cell signal. Truly pointless.

Posted via Android Central App

kcerica says:

Don't worry, just like Sprint's updating towers and service it will only take 2-10 years before their Wi-Fi calling is up to date with what their competitors are doing now

Posted via Android Central App

DallasDude says:

It's mis-information in the article. As long as the address you supply for 911 is within Sprint's coverage footprint you can use Wifi Calling, CDMA signal present or not. If your address is outside of the footprint your Wifi service will be limited to incoming calls only if there is zero CDMA signal present, with normal Wifi service if you have ANY kind of CDMA signal present.

hmmm says:

Would be nice in my basement though I guess it depends what they mean by needing a CDMA signal. Other than that I guess sprints coverage has me covered and this wouldn't really be of any benefit.

flychinook says:

To my knowlege, the CDMA signal is only checked when the phone connects to wifi. Phone connects to wifi, phone checks for CDMA network. If there's CDMA signal, wifi calling gets enabled.

Good question! Maybe the check will just be if your are in a Sprint coverage area, instead of if you actually have a signal.

flychinook says:

When you first set up a particular wi-fi point for use with this, the phone checks to make sure you're in a coverage area. Then, each time you connect to the wifi point, the phone does a signal check to make sure you also have a CDMA signal.

This seems like it would work well for people who have poor indoor signal, as long as their wifi signal reaches outdoors.

DallasDude says:

As long as the address you supply for 911 is within Sprint's coverage footprint you can use Wifi Calling, CDMA signal present or not. If your address is outside of the footprint your Wifi service will be limited to incoming calls only if there is zero CDMA signal present, with normal Wifi service if you have ANY kind of CDMA signal present.

Retinella says:

That's one of the reasons why I switched to T-mobile from Sprint. I love Wifi calling. My lab doesn't get any cell phone reception as it's underground so it's nice to know that I can still make calls on wifi.

bigtank says:

Groove IP....ftw

Posted via Android Central App

GrooVe IP isn't going to work in a couple of months when Google shuts down third-party access to Google Voice.

Not to mention all of the other performance issues associated with GrooVe IP.

bigtank says:

This makes Republic Wireless look even better...money wise

Posted via Android Central App

Yeah really! Too bad the device selection isn't wider on Republic. But, I'm pretty sure Republic switches from VOIP to CDMA without much of an issue.

Jerflash says:

all people worried about calling on wifi should just use the vonage app! it works amazingly well and uses your real number. its the reason i can use the $ tmobile plan and dropped verizon!

I I'd prefer a better LTE

Posted via Android Central App on Note 3

Yes groove ip saves me plenty of times

Posted via Android Central App

Fuzzypumper says:

coop486 says:

Too bad Groove IP won't work after May 15th.

Fuzzypumper says:

I've been researching a way to do away with relying on cell service as much as possible -- in today's world of ubiquitous wifi availability cell service seems almost redundant (which makes it a good backup system for when you absolutely have to make/receive that call now and don't have wifi available.)

I've had my Google Voice number for years now, and it's worked pretty well for the most part -- hope the big G doesn't screw it up somewhere down the line (the tendency of Google to change a service or drop it altogether doesn't give me much confidence.)
I would love to be able to make Google Voice calls to phone numbers from my tablet, but haven't yet found the solution. GrooveIP won't work after May 15, 2014 when Google kills XMPP in Voice; the Vonage app mentioned above may hold promise -- gonna look into it later tonight.

Still keeping my eye on companies like Republic Wireless, Scratch Wireless, Boost Mobile, etc. I'm sure an affordable and workable solution is right around the corner.

movielover76 says:

I've tried all the apps they are more trouble than they are worth. Just constant problems with voip. Too embarrassing when your friends and family are always complaining they can't hear you or their s an echo. Get a cheapo prepaid plan like straight talk or go with republic wireless.

Posted via Android Central App

movielover76 says:

What's the point of WiFi calling of you need a CDMA signal? Isn't the point to be able to make calls anywhere ?

Posted via Android Central App

sprint4lyfe says:

The point is to not use any of your plan minutes.

dchawk81 says:

The point is to take your money while giving you nothing.

I agree this is the point, however it's not a large selling point. As far as I know their plans are all unlimited calling now. So the only people this would really benefit is those with older plans(like me) and who is to say they will allow older plans to use it?

I'm hopeful they would continue to build this out with more features and wider device support, but at the moment I'm not impressed if this is what it is.

DallasDude says:

As long as the address you supply for 911 is within Sprint's coverage footprint you can use Wifi Calling, CDMA signal present or not. If your address is outside of the footprint your Wifi service will be limited to incoming calls only if there is zero CDMA signal present, with normal Wifi service if you have ANY kind of CDMA signal present.

The whole "Outgoing calls will still require a CDMA signal" thing just ruined it all. According to the article, you should be able to make calls from your basement, etc. Umm...hello, Sprint! Isn't that why you are considering VOIP? Because we can't get CDMA signals in our basement? Quit being the "Johnny come lately" for everything and get caught up on your LTE. Wi-Max is dying dragging your 3G down with it. Your service is down more than it is up in a lot of places. Get with the program, Sprint!

Posted via Android Central App

dchawk81 says:

Yeah it's pointless. If I have CDMA signal I'll just use that. I mean, I'm paying for it...

This is the part that totally kills it. The point of it would be to use it in places that don't have service.

welcome to 2012 sprint so far behind

SaykredCow says:

You mean 2007 when T-Mobile first introduced WiFi Calling?

T-Mobile's offering is superior. I guess this is a step in the right direction though. Hopefully they continue to offer more phones(not just Android) and add more features.

psp1232171 says:

I'm in LA and my service is strong. My family members have Verizon and they drop calls more than me and have to watch the data consumption.
At home I have an airave which rocks. So bring on the wifi calling as well.

Posted via Android Central App

OLD_HATCH says:

Hmm.... Our network sucks, lets get people off our oversaturated network an onto their isp's ....

Then lets call this a "Feature"

Nice try Sprint, nice try.

namdude0373 says:

Those two services also support spark.. Hmmm I wonder if you would also see capability on the LG G2 and the Nexus 5..

Posted via Android Central App