After giving a green flag to the recommendations on the development of Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) technology infrastructure, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been stressing a lot on the launch of the technology in the country. This new VoWi-Fi feature would enable users with poor cellular connectivity to call subscribers by connecting to their nearest public Wi-Fi hotspot or any standard Wi-Fi connection. The service probably won’t incur any charges, like the industry experts have highlighted and it will decrease the need to rely on a handful of carriers for making a call.
Vodafone India is one company which is ready for the rollout of VoWi-Fi service at a short notice. Vodafone has already launched the same service in other countries, which means that it will be much easier for the company to replicate its model. However, the Indian wing of Vodafone, which is soon going to merge with Idea Cellular is probably going to start its VoWi-Fi services after the merger is finalised. Other telcos like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are also gearing up for the launch. While Reliance Jio is on the advanced stages of testing, the Sunil Bharti Mittal led telco is yet to initiate testing for the new technology.
What is VoWi-Fi Technology?
VoWi-Fi, also known as Wi-Fi calling, as the name itself suggests enables users to make and receive voice calls over a Wi-Fi network. You might be wondering by now- that’s what WhatsApp does, right? Yes, that’s how WhatsApp functions, but with VoWi-Fi, there’s no requirement of a third-party application as you can make and receive voice calls right from your phone’s dialer application.
Why VoWi-Fi in India?
It is DoT’s thought that the VoWi-Fi technology would enable users in the rural parts of the country to call anyone whenever they need, without the worry of cellular connectivity. The DoT’s amends over license rules which allow the telcos to unify a single number for cellular connection internet telephony has also fast-tracked the development of VoWi-Fi. However, like most other technologies, the VoWi-Fi also comes with some pros and cons. Below we have detailed all the possible upsides and downsides which the users might face while relying on VoWi-Fi for calling.
- Weak mobile network or no network coverage wouldn’t be a hindrance while placing a call.
- Calling from remote areas or from inside a building with thick walls won’t be an issue.
- VoWi-Fi won’t need much bandwidth, users will be able to place calls where connection speed is 500 Kbps or below.
- No need to depend on a single carrier for making calls.
- No universal support yet for the technology.
- Not all carriers will support VoWi-Fi right away
- Only selected smartphones which support VoLTE will be able to make use of the VoWi-Fi feature.
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.