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AT&T receives FCC waiver to roll out Wi-Fi calling

After challenging T-Mobile and Sprint for rolling out Wi-Fi calling without regulatory approval, AT&T has announced that it has received the requisite waiver from the FCC. The FCC requires that all carriers offering Wi-Fi calling support teletypewriter (TTY) for the hearing-impaired, but the waiver allows AT&T to roll out the feature with a newer form of accessibility service called real-time text (RTT).

From AT&T:

We're grateful the FCC has granted AT&T's waiver request so we can begin providing Wi-Fi calling. At the same time we are left scratching our heads as to why the FCC still seems intent on excusing the behavior of T-Mobile and Sprint, who have been offering these services without a waiver for quite some time. Instead of initiating enforcement action against them, or at least opening an investigation, the agency has effectively invited them to now apply for similar waivers and implied that their prior flaunting of FCC rules will be ignored. This is exactly what we meant when our letter spoke of concerns about asymmetric regulation.

We'll let you know once AT&T announces a specific date for the rollout of its Wi-Fi calling feature.

Source: AT&T, FCC; Via: Engadget

Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • At the end of the day, though, they all provide the same RTT service, so it's just a piece of bureaucracy. Posted via the Android Central App powered by Droid Turbo
  • Yes, to a point, but it's also about fairness. First to market is a huge competitive advantage, and AT&T is going to be third, because it followed the rules. The other 2 should pay the price financially for cheating the rules in order to be first.
  • But we do not know if Sprint & T-Mobile got a waiver or not. AT&T is saying no, but no source has been able to state if they actually did or not.
  • Would that not be a matter of public record? I have no idea how to look it up, but I'm sure someone does.
  • I honestly don't know
  • But it's not like they were operating the service without usable service for the deaf. The fact that you need a waiver just to use a newer, equivalent service is ridiculous and an obvious money grab. I'm sure that waiver was expensive. But you're right: the law's the law. Posted via the Android Central App powered by Droid Turbo
  • Yes they should pay stiff penalties for their actions. Grats to ATT for following the rules and doing things properly! People (and companies) could learn a thing or two from ATT. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I hope you are joking. The only reason AT&T made it public is to try to convince people that they are a better company that Sprint & T-Mobile, when the truth is they are a much worse company. Again, we also don't know if Sprint & T-Mobile followed the rules or not. They may have or they may not have, but until someone finds out we can't say for sure either way.
  • +1 to that!
  • In dealing with matters of fact.. either you have the waiver or not, AT&T would not dare come out and say that someone was cheating, when they were not. It would be called liable and would cost them a lot of money in court. It's business l, not politics.
  • Sarcasm, yes?
  • Except they weren't ready and wanted to grandstand. If they were, they would have flipped the switch as soon as they got the waiver. It wasn't too long ago that AT&T said they weren't interested in WiFi calling. The duopolists still have that Bell mentality. Posted via the Android Central App
  • ATT is salllllty. Git gud Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol - exactly -# Cheers! #-
  • What is wi fi calling? Phone calls on wi fi do not use data? something witty. . .
  • Phones don't call on data, ever. So no it doesn't save data, it increases quality and allows you to call without cell reception.
  • Yea they do. Ever heard of VoLTE Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think he means calls don't use billable data. Obviously any digital call is going to use data, but you aren't paying for it per MB Posted via the Android Central App powered by Droid Turbo
  • FWIW, wifi calling is a call using wifi instead of cellular to originate or receive a call.
    Example - If parts of your house has wifi but no cellular signal you can send and receive calls or if you are overseas, you can call without an overseas plan (and not use google voice or others).
    TMobile had it quite a while on my old blackberry (UMA I believe). Don't believe there was a quality difference as long as you had a decent wifi network
    You will not be using your cellular data but rather wifi
    Hope that helps
    VOLte is using cellular data
  • But that throttlin of people's unlimited data though... Posted via the GS6 Active, aka GS6 M.E. (Manly Edition)
  • After 22 gigs and it's not a substitution for home you can't use it for whatever you want. It's meant for cell service not unlimited gaming. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm halfway through my month on Verizon unlimited and am at 35.5 GB. I have wifi at home. Unlimited should be what it is called, unlimited.
  • If your using for your unlimited cell service sure. If your not too bad. People need to stop complaining about it companies will throw loopholes and technicalities at you. If they throttle it's still unlimited. They don't say unlimited lte. They said unlimited data. Good on you for using 35 gigs halfway through. What the hell do you use that much data on? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Actually, the iPhone is why unlimited data is gone on big blue and big red Posted via the Android Central App
  • @zippo
    You get throttled after 22GB on what carrier ? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Att. They just upped it from 5 gigs. It was an article on here actually. I believe. I don't have unlimited. I have 30 gigs with rollover. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good Posted via the Android Central App
  • "after challenging", anywhere else AT&T would've been accused of snitching. And we all know what snitches get.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • All the bitches? Posted via the Android Central App powered by Droid Turbo
  • stitches* Posted via the Android Central App
  • LOL! -# Cheers! #-
  • I dont care tmobile cheated to be first with wifi calling. Been with tmobile for ages and cant remember how long ago they implemented wifi calling. Just shows they will do whatever they can for customers lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's great that Tmo does for the customers, but remember that they don't care the customers. They care about the money.
  • Don't care about the politics, just hopefully it comes out soon and it works on the nexus 6 with 6.0 since it's a unified image now (as in no more specific image for tmo to enable wifi calling)
  • So I have an AT&T 3G wireless modem that I connect to my broadband internet and then it gives me 5 bars of full 3g coverage. How is this better? Posted via the Android Central App
  • "The network is so good it doesn't need Wi-Fi calling"...or something like that... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Will we have to buy a new phone too use WiFi calling? I have a note 4 with 5.1.1. Will that work? Posted via the Android Central App