Updated 09:22 PM EST, Thu, Nov 26, 2020

Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge News: Wifi-Calling Now Available on Samsung Devices from Verizon

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Verizon has announced that it will turn on Wi-Fi calling on Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones next week.

Verizon's move makes it the last major U.S. carrier to offer the wireless network feature, following AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, CNET reported. This was because the carrier opted to get an official waiver from the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC. The waiver is essential because Wi-Fi calling doesn't agree with FCC's rules about accessibility for people who have speech and hearing impediments.

Verizon's announcement on Friday revealed that it would release a software update on Dec. 8 allowing Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge devices to make a call through a Wi-Fi network, the news outlet noted. The feature is handy for users in an area with weak or no carrier coverage.

More devices, including Apple's iPhones, will be updated to support Wi-Fi calling service "early next year," according to the Verge.

Verizon is touting Wi-Fi calling as part of its "Advanced Calling" feature, a branding it has applied to both VoLTE HD Voice calls and its own video calling service, the Verge added. It's unclear whether Verizon devices will be default to using Wi-Fi if it's accessible or if it will only rely on a Wi-Fi network "when a customer uses Advanced Calling on our 4G LTE network and travels outside of coverage," Verizon stated.

Verizon's Wi-Fi calling will slightly differ from those offered by its rivals. Tech Times wrote last month that other network operators "may deploy the native Phone app for the purpose and the phone call is placed over the local network." Verizon will include the calls made through Wi-Fi on its own Message+ messaging app.

All calls to U.S. phone numbers made through a Wi-Fi network will not be charged, Verizon wrote in its website. But calls made to foreign numbers are billed at international long distance rates.

In order to activate Wi-Fi calling on Android devices, users must first download and install the latest software update and turn on Advanced Calling from the settings menu, Verizon noted. Users can activate Wi-Fi calling when the Advanced Calling is enabled.

Wireless carriers have been hyping Wi-Fi networks as a way to boost call quality and extend coverage of their voice networks. Wi-Fi is a helpful technology for this function since it utilizes unlicensed wireless spectrum, but it also comes with roadblocks. Its short range obliges users to "often must hand-off between multiple networks if they are at all mobile," CNET wrote. The spectrum's unlicensed state also gets airwaves congested and interference between various Wi-Fi networks may come about.

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