Bharti Airtel is set to commercially roll out Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) service in December. The service will be rolled out in the country as a way to tackle call drops. The new feature should also improve indoor voice calling experience for Airtel users. The second largest telecom operator has already tested the service with employees and select customers across various circles ahead of its commercial roll out next month. The voice over WiFi feature will also help Airtel compete with OTT players like WhatsApp in the market.
According to Economic Times, the service will allow Airtel users to place calls using a WiFi network. It will subject to customers having WiFi calling capable devices. “The service will help the telco step up the indoor network experience for mobile customers,” a person familiar with the matter told ET. When it becomes available next month, Airtel will become the first telecom player to commercially deploy this solution.
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“It has been testing the services for some time now and select customers and Airtel employees have been using the solution for a couple of months as part of the beta. The results and calling experience feedback has been fairly good,” the person added. The VoWiFi service from Airtel will be available at no additional charges for its customers. Apps like WhatsApp, Hike and WeChat allow voice calls over WiFi for free. Airtel seems to be competing with these over-the-top players by offering similar service.
The service will not require a separate app or any additional log-in or new numbers. Airtel subscribers will be able to use it on any WiFi connection inside their household. The VoWiFi technology allows users to make outgoing calls even when the cellular connectivity is poor. The service will initially plug the gap in indoor network experience as operators struggle to improve network in residential areas.
“The company has always brought in latest technologies ahead of the curve to ensure customer get the best possible network experience,” an Airtel spokesperson told ET. Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi and OnePlus have already pushed software updates to enable VoWiFi on their devices. Reliance Jio and BSNL are also said to be testing Voice over WiFi service in various circles. Jio is testing its service in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala. Airtel seems likely to become the first service provider to enable this service.