- VoWi-Fi has been rolled out in few cities only
- It is dependent on which Wi-Fi network you are using
- There is also a limit on supported smartphones as well
There was a time a few years back when Voice Over LTE was all the craze in the telecom industry. The first telecom operator to step into this field was the Mukesh Ambani led telecom operators, and it makes perfect sense because the telco is the only one in India to have a 4G-only network and the only thing necessary for a VoLTE deployment was a robust 4G network which Reliance Jio did not lack. Other telecom operators soon followed on the same footsteps and deployed the VoLTE technology. But, now three years later, VoWi-Fi is making rounds of the Internet. Most people are looking towards trying this new technology on their phones. The two telecom operators who are having a head-start when it comes to the VoWi-Fi technology are Reliance Jio again and Bharti Airtel. Both of these telecom operators have availed the technology in many places for their subscribers to try. There is definitely a hint of innovation and a sense of ease to the VoWi-Fi tech, and it surely solves some problems which the consumers might face. But, with that being said, there are some things about the current situation of the VoWi-Fi technology right now which pose limitations.
Limited to Certain Areas
Currently, the VoWi-Fi support from both Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio is limited to certain geographies only. These geographies are also not entire circles and a handful of cities only. This means that the subscribers who want to use VoWi-Fi will have to be in certain areas to be able to access the technology. This also means that the infrastructure required to deploy the technology is hard-found, and the telecom operators might take their time to deploy the technology pan-India. Airtel and Reliance Jio have turned on VoWi-Fi support for the subscribers in prominent regions like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, and other metros. Some other areas like Nashik have also started getting VoWi-Fi support. But, still, the presence of technology is very sparse.
Another issue with VoWi-Fi technology until now has been the smartphone support. If geographical limitation was not enough, smartphone support is another thing which draws the line on who will be able to use VoWi-Fi and who would not. Only a handful of phones from select brands like Xiaomi, Samsung, Apple and OnePlus have received support for VoWi-Fi from the telecom operators. Hence, only being in the eligible region is not going to ensure that you can access VoWi-Fi, but you would also be required to have the right device.
There is another limitation, and this is the one that people are most concerned about, and it is based on which Wi-Fi network the subscribers are using. Initially, the VoWi-Fi support for Airtel was only available on Airtel broadband, meaning that the subscribers would have to be using Airtel broadband and its Wi-Fi network to be able to use VoWi-Fi feature. However, later there were reports of people being able to use the feature on other networks as well. But, even then there is no sure shot way of knowing for the subscribers whether or not they would be able to enjoy VoWi-Fi services from their operator on their current broadband or Wi-Fi connection
These are the three faceted issues that the VoWi-Fi technology faces right now. Unlike the VoLTE technology which is simply smartphone and network-dependent, two easily solvable issues, there are many factors which go into making the VoWi-Fi technology possible and it is going to be sometime before the telecom operators are able to roll out the technology for most smartphones, across all Wi-Fi networks and across all circles.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.