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iOS 8 beta 3 brings Wi-Fi calling to T-Mobile iPhones

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In June, Apple(s aapl) said Wi-Fi calling was coming to the iPhone and on Monday it delivered, according to 9to5 Mac. That’s the good news. The bad news is you can’t use the feature unless you’re running beta 3 of iOS 8, which Apple released today. That means most iPhone users will have to wait a few months for until the official launch of iOS 8 to make calls over Wi-Fi.

Here’s a peek at the Wi-Fi calling settings in the beta software as tweeted by Matthew Miller.

wi-fi calling on iPhone

T-Mobile(s tmus) has long supported Wi-Fi calls on various handsets over the years to help customers that had inadequate cellular service in their homes or offices. It has never had native Wi-Fi calling on the iPhone, however, because iOS didn’t offer the feature. This fall, that changes with iOS 8. The next step would be for Apple to bring Voice over LTE to the iPhone — sending voice packets directly over an LTE data network — but we’ve asked the company previously about that and haven’t yet heard back.

The new Wi-Fi calling for iPhones could actually help T-Mobile more than it helps Apple. For example, our family has recently looked at switching from AT&T(s t) to T-Mobile to save some money, but some in-house testing with T-Mobile devices showed that the signal isn’t ideal. We do have fast home broadband, however, thanks to our 75 Mbps FiOS service paired with a zippy 802.11ac router, so we could make the switch if our phones could use the Wi-Fi network for voice calls.

Everyone in the house currently uses an iPhone so it could work out well. I’m curious how many of our readers would go with a T-Mobile iPhone that supports Wi-Fi calling? You’ll have your chance in a few months; sooner if you can install the iOS 8 beta.

This article was updated on 7/8/2014 to remove an incorrect statement. I originally noted that I also use Android and Windows Phone handsets, so Wi-Fi calling might not be available for my phones. As several commenters have pointed out, many T-Mobile phones on various software platforms do support Wi-Fi calling.

24 Responses to “iOS 8 beta 3 brings Wi-Fi calling to T-Mobile iPhones”

  1. Nashville Audio Guy

    I have a perfectly good, like new iPhone 4 that I use everyday. I also have T-Mo and it’s utterly CRAP service in my area (North Nashville) and I’ve been pleading with them for Wifi calling since i ditched my Blackberry for the iPhone. Now I hear that we are getting wifi for T-Mo with iOS8, but it will only work with 4s, 5, 6 generation iPhones. I’m pissed and I guess it is finally time to leave T-Mo and just get on a network that has enough towers to provide a decent cellular signal.

  2. I can’t get this to work. I have an iPhone 5 on Tmobile with iOS Beta 3 and don’t see this option. Maybe since my iPhone was originally from Verizon? Would not think it matters since the SIM works on Tmobile now.

  3. Spot On Networks

    WiFi calling is going to be a real game changer in the MDU/ MTU industry. In discussions revolving around the impact of WiFi calling, the iOS 8 announcement and subsequent T-Mobile announcement to support WiFi calling, the MDU/ MTU industry gets left out of the discussion. The fact is the biggest problem facing building owners and managers today is the problem of poor indoor cellular coverage. These building owners represent a large segment of the U.S. population – 120+ million people. The carriers are focused completely on geographic coverage, not improving the poor coverage that exists inside large buildings.

    Building owners are left with a few options: 1) spend a lot of money to install a cellular booster system or DAS system in their building 2) ignore the problem and lose residents and tenants 3) deploy a secure, managed WiFi network property-wide so that callers can use their devices and available WiFi calling apps to have indoor coverage. The problem with the third option is that seamless WiFi calling, while available from T-Mobile on a few select devices and via downloadable apps like Skype, has not yet seen the device/ carrier support it needs to become commonplace. We are thrilled that more devices are being built with seamless WiFi calling and now, with the iOS 8 update, we are hoping that market demand will force the major carriers (i.e. Verizon and AT&T) to allow for WiFi calling on the iPhone and Android. Obviously the reason we see the iPhone update as being such a big deal is that a) Apple typically dictates the market and b) it is hard to imagine the dedicated Apple crowd walking around with a device that does not allow for use of all features.

    Support for WiFi calling from all major carriers including Verizon and AT&T will allow millions of Americans who currently do not receive adequate cellular coverage access to calling that would allow them to truly rely on their smartphone as their primary method of communication. The major carriers need to support this feature.

    –Spot On Networks

  4. I wouldn’t switch to an iPhone. I have a cheap Alcatel phone that does the job. For me, phones are too small for much of anything. Even with the new android wear and apple health and etc I still don’t see anything compelling for me personally. But as a developer, maybe. But for apple, I am eyeing an iPod for that.

  5. Appreciate all the comments here; since I haven’t been a T-Mobile customer for about 3 years (and because many of my review unit phones come direct from the handset makers), I’ve clearly missed the boat on how widespread T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi calling is supported across devices these days. (Which is actually GOOD news because it would make my family’s switch that much easier!)

    I’ll update the article to reflect that. Thanks again!

  6. Bally Chohan

    There is nothing new that Apple is going to do. As far as T-mobile is concerned, it is already supporting WiFi Calling for years. So, logically there is nothing new with this move. All T-Mobile Android devices support WiFi Calling except for few.

    Bally Chohan

    • “There is nothing new that Apple is going to do.”

      So, that’s obviously not true else prior iPhones on T-Mobile’s network would *already* support Wi-Fi calling. ;) There likely isn’t *much* Apple has to do since the T-Mobile aspect has long been in place. But Apple still needs to add the support for Wi-Fi calling in the iOS software, which is what it’s doing in iOS 8.

  7. Eddie

    For all the people here complaining or acting like know-it-alls and criticizing the author of this article about how Wi-Fi Calling is nothing new and how late to the game Apple is, then tell me please oh wise owls why is Wi-Fi Calling missing from the great Google “god” and their “open” and “unencumbered” Nexus line of phones? It makes even less sense when you look at, say, the Nexus S which Google allegedly “teamed up” with T-Mobile on. The Nexus S shipped with a T-Mobile SIM in the box. But Google either was too cheap to license whatever technology is required for Wi-Fi Calling or perhaps more likely the Googleheads live inside a “bubble” in the GooglePlex amid the flat lands of Silicon Valley where there are hardly any highrises / skyscrapers to be found. Have you ever tried placing a call over the cell phone network from inside a highrise building, even if you’re next to a window, in a densely populated city with a boat load of high rises next to each other like in New York City (Manhattan)? Good luck. Since Google’s Andy Rubin and his pals who now run Android live in their little bubble in the Valley, they apparently didn’t think Wi-Fi Calling was worthwhile.

    • TechWings

      Wifi calling is proprietary software by T-Mobile. Nexus devices come sans any manufacturer or carrier modifications for speedy updates and a stock experience. If Google included T-Mobile’s wifi calling software it would need to be certified as functional before they could push update to the device; thus negating the whole point of the Nexus experience.

  8. James T

    IPhone is late to the game bud even Sprint is starting to offer Wi-Fi calling but T-Mobile always had that for almost every one of there branded smart phones except Nexus and iPhone.

  9. THIS. This article kind of contradicts itself. It’s talked about T-Mobile supporting WiFi Calling for years so this is clearly not something new with the iPhone. All T-Mobile Android devices support WiFi Calling except for the Nexus. The Lumia 925

  10. My galaxy s *the first one had Google Wi-Fi calling* most T-Mobile android phones have Wi-Fi calls to begin with. It’s nothing new, only for iPhone which is kind of funny how you make it sounds as if “of well I have some android phones & I guess I’ll be using regular cellular voice calls, which I can’t use in home to begin with* be happy iPhone finally has that ability now, I’m sure you are. But do give android their recognition for having WiFi calling for about 5 years already.

  11. Sohail

    “I also use Android and Windows Phone devices so I’d be stuck with traditional cellular voice calls on those phones and couldn’t take advantage of Wi-Fi calling”

    Kevin .. most of the Android and Windows phone’s have WiFi calling feature for some time now.