WiFi calling: Is Reliance Jio better than Bharti Airtel?

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2020 Published on January 09, 2020

Can you make WiFi calls using any phone? How much data will a call consume? Can you make such calls while roaming? How much will a call cost? We give you the lowdown on this and much more

Reliance Jio on Monday announced its plan to launch voice and video calling over WiFi across India. Airtel has already rolled out the feature in select cities across India, including Delhi NCR, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, UP(West), Maharashtra, Mumbai, Kolkata, UP (East), Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. Now, Reliance has upped the ante, announcing that it will roll out this feature across India in the coming days.

This feature lets you create a separate channel for voice calling through your WiFi network. It enables users to make voice calls even in areas with bad cell reception, switching to a WiFi network for better quality.

So far, the feature was available only within OTT (over the top) apps such as Whatsapp, WeChat and Hike. This could be a major game-changer for telecom operators and takes the fight to the OTT operators. Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio had already been testing VoWiFi technology after getting the go-ahead from the Department of Telecommunications back in 2018.

How it works

Voice over WiFi calling lets you make calls from a phone through a WiFi network rather than through your mobile number, without using any third-party app. To use this feature, you will need to keep your VoLTE and WiFi calling options on whenever you wish to make a call through WiFi. Switching on Voice over LTE lets you transmit voice and data over your LTE network. This, with the WiFi calling option toggled on, will let you make voice calls seamlessly.

Calls can be made easily through the ‘Mobile Data’ option within the ‘Settings’ on your phone. In case you don’t see a WiFi calling option despite your handset being equipped with a WiFi calling feature, you can try and upgrade your software.

Airtel requires you to upgrade your software before you begin using its WiFi calling option. Once you locate the option within your phone’s settings, simply toggle on both VoLTE and WiFi calling options. Your phone will automatically switch between the two whenever you have poor reception.

For Airtel, you will need a WiFi Calling Capable Handset and 4G SIM to be able to use this feature. Airtel WiFi calling, however, does not work with all indoor WiFi networks and functions only on Airtel’s Xstream Fiber broadband service.

Reliance Jio WiFi calling will work with all kinds of indoor WiFi networks and broadband services. The only pre-requisite to use Jio’s WiFi calling feature is a compatible handset that supports WiFi calling with a Jio SIM and an active Jio tariff plan.

Supported handsets

Only users with supported handsets from Apple, OnePlus, Xiaomi and Samsung can leverage Airtel’s WiFi calling as of now. Jio is a step ahead; along with the brands that support Airtel's WiFi calling option, it also provides the features for Coolpad, Itel, Google, Infinix, Lava, Mobiistar, Motorola, TECHNO and Vivo handsets. Overall, you can use Jio’s WiFi calling option on 155 different handsets belonging to these brands.

Details regarding the exact brands and models supported by each of these service providers are available on their websites. You can simply check your brand and model to ensure your handset supports the WiFi calling feature.

Tariff plans

WiFi calls made over either network will be treated like normal mobile calls in terms of tariffs for either network. Jio WiFi calling can also be used over data roaming. WiFi calling will also utilise your WiFi data, at over half an MB per minute.

Currently, both these services are available only for Indian numbers. Jio is planning to expand its Jio WiFi calling feature internationally soon, after the initial rollout.

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Published on January 09, 2020
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